Sunday, August 5, 2007

The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery (Photo-essay)


Should anyone wonder (especially if they've been checking out quite a bit of this blog), I don't consider myself to be an especially religious person. In fact, I reckon I'd be considered pretty a-religious by many people's standards.

All this notwithstanding, I came to the realization some time back that I really like visiting and checking out religious structures (be they cathedrals and churches, temples, mosques, etc.) because I often find myself being very appreciative of the buildings' architecture and the art within their walls. Consequently, I've gone ahead and made artistic pilgrimages to many a religious place over the years.

Earlier today, I paid a visit to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery that's on a hill overlooking Shatin, one of the New Territories' major towns. There's a fun plus detailed description of the place over here. Rather than repeat what has already been written by others, here's just going ahead and sharing some of the many photos I took there, albeit with accompanying comments cum captions... :)

"You ain't seen nothing yet!" is what the first Buddha (statue)
the visitor to the Monastery of 10,000 Buddhas encounters
if (s)he goes up the path that starts off
near the Shatin Government Offices appears to be saying!

Buddhas, Buddhas, and more Buddhas
-- some of which look like they're enjoying
seeing people sweat as they walk (stagger?) up
the circa 500 steps up the hill to the monastery proper!

Get the picture yet that there are lots of Buddhas
in that there monastery? ;)

More seriously though, one of the amazing things
about these Buddha statues

is how each one of them is so physically
different from, and distinct vis a vis, the others


Females are represented along with males
-- though I must say that I'm not sure
whether these divine beings
actually are considered to be Buddhas

Seeing a figure like this one makes me realize
how little I know about Buddhist teachings and lore
(Alternatively put, I've never ever seen
a Buddha figure like this one before!)

...and I don't know the story behind this figure either! :(
(So would appreciate it if anybody could enlighten me about him;
but, hey, at least after seeing him, people will know that
not all the statues at the monastery are gold in color! ;b)

Yet more gold statues
-- this time inside the monastery's main building --

along with the gold leaf encrusted body (corpse!) of
the monastery's founder, the late Reverend Yuet Kwai

To be continued? (But only if requests for me to do so are forthcoming...!) ;S

7 comments:

sbk said...

Before visiting the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery I spent part of my lunch hour for three weeks walking up and down a couple of flights of stairs as I'd read it was a long walk up....When I arrived at the Monastery I was told the stairway was closed for 'repair' so please take the escalator... I think I was directed to a 'back' stairway for the downward walk as there were only plants and a couple of buddhas...

This is along way of saying I found your post most interesting and yes, I would like to see more pictures!!

A. said...

Another request here! It's wonderful to read about places which in reality I'm unlikely ever to see for myself, though if we were to win the lottery ....

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Oh no re your not getting to walk up to the monastery as the great bulk of the Buddhas I saw were on the two (main) paths between Shatin and the monastery itself!

And a. --

Thanks for visiting on days other than the Photo Hunt! And yes, I will take both yours and sbk's requests/votes into account... ;b

sbk said...

ytsl

From his dress I would guess the figure holding the dragon is one of the Lohans (one of the 18 guardians of Buddha and his followers. There are 500 lesser Lohans also). He is usually shown with a pearl in one hand, a bowl in the other hand and the dragon on the ground beside him but artistic license is common in these depictions.

The Lohan in the picture above him is Jivaka or Gobaka and is known as the Heart Exposing Lohan.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Thanks much for the info re lohans (and we don't mean Lindsay or her relatives here!). Did a bit of googling and here's more re lohans for curious folks:-
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/lohan_h.htm

Hmmmm...from your description, sound like the statues I had described as of Buddhas may well be Lohans (and other spiritual beings) after all... ;S

Willow said...

Thanks for the introduction to this place. I don't think I'd ever visit it though. Very cool. Maybe they should put a buddha in there. haha.

YTSL said...

Hi Willow --

You find the prospect of some 500 steps up a hill -- or the sight of so many Buddhas (and/or Lohans) -- intimidating? ;b