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A sight in Hong Kong – somewhere I hadn’t previously been!

fullsizeoutput_2aaIn 2008 I worked in Hong Kong and had a lovely boss who I have remained friends with albeit long distance.  So prior to arriving in HK, I contacted my friend Evelyn who said she would pick up Naomi and I up from our hotel and take us to a monastery I had not been to.  So off we went in her beautiful Mercedes Benz…what a car..she took us up to Tai Po District which is about a thirty-minute drive from HK Island.

We arrived at the Tsz Shan Monastery located in the hills with spectacular views of the sea and nearby cities.  Evelyn had kindly arranged a private tour for us but firstly we took in the fabulous views…Image 325Image 324fullsizeoutput_2b0Our elderly guide met us and we commenced our tour.  As soon as you arrive at the monastery, the first thing you see is an outdoor bronze statue (Guanyin) which is seventy-six metres high and said to the second highest in the world.  Guanyin is the six armed goddess of mercy and we were told has miraculous powers to assist all those who pray to her. fullsizeoutput_2b5fullsizeoutput_2bdSo because of those miraculous powers, we joined other visitors and walked up to Guanyin to make a water offering in the Thousand Wishes Pond where each of us made a wish.

Our guide had started to give us a complete history lesson of the monastery and Guanyin and because we only had one hour, I was trying to get him to walk and talk; to little avail!

He walked us around the grounds walking up the Compassion Path to the Grand Buddha Hall and the Universal Main Hall; all the while explaining (in incredible slow detail!) its history which I must admit mostly went over my head as words to describe buddhas like Sakyamuni and Bhaiṣajyaguru were hard to comprehend.

So mostly I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and serenity of the place.  fullsizeoutput_2b2Image 336fullsizeoutput_2b9I do remember a few things though.  One is that the monastery is a sanctuary for the purpose of spiritual purification.  Secondly it is open to the public who can attend various activities where compassion and wisdom are the main themes.  I think this would be a lovely thing to do.Image 332fullsizeoutput_2b8Our dear guide was told we only had a short time but because he wanted to ensure we were told everything about the history, Evelyn had to remind him of our time restraints – but that didn’t matter he kept on talking.  Very sweet man but boy could he talk!!

Finally we made it clear we really had to leave…our guide understood and after a quick look at these scary statues, we left.  It definitely was worth the visit but I don’t suggest a private tour unless you have many hours to spare.fullsizeoutput_2affullsizeoutput_2abfullsizeoutput_2acAnd the reason we had to leave is we were driving back to Kowloon [as this was our last evening in HK], to see the sun set from Ritz Carlton Ozone rooftop bar which is located in the International Commerce Centre, HK’s tallest building.  We definitely didn’t want to miss that…but more on that in another post.