Imagine being in one of the largest cities in the world, yet not being able to see another person for as far as your eyes can see. Both times I have visited the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery that is exactly what happened — I had the entire place to myself. This hidden gem is located in Sha Tin, a busy part of Hong Kong, however surprisingly very few locals or tourists visit. Thus, it is the perfect free cityscape that will not only afford you some breathing room in such a crowded place, but will also leave you speechless for the beauty found there is magnificent.
The pathway up to the Monastery is picturesquely beautiful, though the real star of the show are the grounds of the Monastery itself, which occupies over 8 hectares and contains two levels. The main level houses a pagoda, several halls, and a temple. Leave plenty of time during your visit to wander around, take photos, and to find the perfect spot for a moment of reflection.
Although it is called a Monastery, there are no resident monks and the grounds are managed by laypersons. It was built by Yuet Kai, a devout Buddhist layman, who dedicated the last years of his life to constructing this extraordinary place, which at the time contained ten thousand statues of Buddha. Over the years people have added Buddhas and other Buddhist statues as a sign of devotion.
My favorite part is definitely the temple where the walls are lined with the original ten thousand miniature ceramic Buddha statues. Each statue is about twelve inches high and adopts a different pose and expression and contains an inscription bearing the name of its donor. The glow that is cast from the light inside each golden Buddha is ethereal. Yuet Kai’s ashes are also displayed in a glass case, though I chose to not photograph it out of respect.
If you should find yourself in Hong Kong, please do yourself a favor and make certain that you visit this place. After you do, send me a message that you did and let me know your favorite part about it!