High above a lush hillside in the New Territories town of Sha Tin, the Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas is one of the most dramatic sacred sites in Hong Kong. I managed to visit the monastery before the start of my conference, taking Hong Kong's commuter rail halfway to the border with mainland China. To reach the monastery you must first climb over 400 steps up the hillside, the path lined with lifesize statues of Buddhas of all shapes and sizes. The payoff is well worth the climb - the monastery itself contains a beautiful giant pagoda and a temple with more than 13,000 small buddha statues lining the walls.
||One of the many life-size buddhas adorning the upward path to the monastery.||
||The monastery courtyard.|
||This statue reminded me of some of the decorations you'd see at Buddhist temples in Thailand and Cambodia.||
||One buddha sits atop a giant blue dog. Unfortunately no one spoke English there so I couldn't get an explanation.|
Following the signs to the monastery, I reached the first of what would be nearly 500 steps to the top. The entire path upwards was lined with Buddha statues, statues different from any Buddha I'd seen at a previous temple. In fact, each statue was probably unique. There were thin Buddhas, chubby Buddhas, bald Buddhas, hairy Buddhas, Buddhas with walking sticks, Buddhas with dogs and dragons and frogs, macho Buddhas, androgynous Buddhas. The entire climb was a lesson in Buddha diversity.
The only Buddha I didn't see, though, was a sweaty, exhausted Buddha, which is exactly what I felt like by the time I reached the top of the hill....
(From Andy's blog, 10,000 Buddhas and a Wi-Fi Connection)
||Looking down the center of the courtyard.||
||A close-up of a giant golden urn filled with incense sticks.|
||A woman places incense inside the urn.||
||A second woman follows.|
||The nine-story pagoda for which the monastery is famous.||
||The lower levels of the pagoda, with that giant blue dog off to the right.|
||A closeup of the pagoda, decorated with more Buddhas.||
||The inner temple of the monastery. Towards the left is the embalmed corpse of the monk who founded the monastery, covered in gold.|
||The walls of the monastery temple are decorated with thousands of buddha statues.||
||A final view of the monastery before making the walk down the hillside.|
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