Since we’ve been here, we’ve visited our share of monasteries, both here in Hong Kong and in Thailand. All of them are unique in their own way, from the giant Buddha at Po Lin to the 1,000+ year structures at Castle Peak or the modern edifice up the road from us. The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin, which we visited on Thursday, was no exception.
As the name suggests, there are A LOT of Buddhas; in fact, there are more than 13,000 Buddhas at the monastery. You can’t take pictures in the temple itself, so I can’t show you all of the statues, but believe me, it was pretty impressive to see that many of them– thus the awe. But at the same time, the monastery was incredibly peaceful, despite the fact that we were only a 20 minute hike from a bustling MTR station (and an Ikea, which we visited after our trip to the monastery. Pretty much exactly like Ikeas in the U.S., right down to the Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria. Of course, we didn’t sample those although we did go in for the .25 soft serve ice cream cones). At the top, surrounded by beautiful structures and mountains in the background, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace (and understand why people pay top dollar to be interred there. I guess that’s how the monastery makes money to stay in business).
The hike itself was pretty awe-inspiring too as the portion of the path closest to the monastery was lined with a wide variety of interesting statues. The boys entertained themselves the whole way up (and down) by picking out which one they wanted to be.
At the end of the day, Berkley said it was the best day off of school ever (until he was reminded that we went to Ocean Park on a day off at which point he corrected himself by saying it was the second best day off of school ever). And I certainly agree with him that these unplanned excursions as a family are the sorts of things we’ll really remember when this trip is over. If we were in the U.S., we certainly wouldn’t be springing the boys from school like we have been here, but here, we will. I mean - how often do you get the chance to see over 13,000 Buddhas?