Ascend a winding staircase lined by golden, life-sized statues of Buddhist men, each a unique character with a unique facial expression. The artist who created them was clearly quite creative and as you ascend the 400+ steps to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, the golden statues seem to get more and more…bizarre. At the top of the stairs is a beautiful pagoda, more Buddhist statues, and 5 temples, including a “Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple” with over 12,800 uniquely different, hand-crafted Buddhist statues.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
(Man Fat Tsz)
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tsz) is actually a series of temples and a pagoda and not a monastery at all. It’s a quirky and interesting place and one that is slightly off the main tourist circuit. You’ll definitely find foreigners here but it’s nothing like the crowds at some of the more famous sights such as the Tian Tan Buddha or The Victoria Peak Tram.
Ten Thousand Stairs
It starts with a bit of a climb up some stairs (431 by some counts), but with all of the quirky Buddhist statues to check out and benches to rest, it’s not all that bad. Just take it slow in the Hong Kong heat and try to avoid the (sometimes aggressive) monkeys.
“Keep laughing at someone who can let you laugh.”
“Big belly can contain all things that are difficult to contain”
One of the Buddhist men reminded me of Dhalsim (For anyone that used to play Street Fighter II). Though I read another blog referring to him as “Selfie Stick Buddha”. Guess it dates me. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
I should add that these aren’t representations of Buddha but rather “Arhats”, or enlightened Buddhist practitioners.
Laughing Buddha greets you at the top of the stairs with a particularly applicable poem to everything you just saw coming up the stairs. A Chinese Poem that translates to (Left side) “Keep laughing at someone who can let you laugh.” (Right side) “Big belly can contain all things that are difficult to contain” (Translated by my friend Bonnie)
In the spirit of Laughing Buddha, Bonnie and I saw some kind of resemblance. Just the imagination, or something more?
Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple
The lower portion of the grounds is home to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple. Inside the walls are over 12,800 uniquely carved statues of Buddha. The temple was founded in 1949 by the Reverend Yuet Kai and his body still sits, preserved, on display at the center of the temple.
Pagoda and Surrounding Area
Some more interesting and Beautiful statues surround the plaza where the famous Pagoda stands overlooking the city. This is the Pagoda featured on the HK $100 from 1985 to 2002.
Four More Temples
A bit further, (up some more stairs) are 4 more temples and more Buddhist statues. There are: The Temple of The God of Heaven, The Candi Buddha Temple, The Kwun Yam Temple and The Temple of the Nei Tor (Amita) Buddha. Each temple has a different statue of Buddha to worship.
This is a beautiful area with a waterfall and some great views. Don’t miss this second level.
The View from 10,000 Buddhas Monastery
It’s a beautiful area, up in the trees with fantastic views of the metropolis below.
More Information about the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
History of the Temple
(From the temple brochure) The founder of the temple Reverend Yuet Kai arrived in Hong Kong in 1933. At first he preached Buddhism in a local monastery and many people began following him. Some years later, a pious Buddhist and rich merchant, gave him an estate. Initially he planned to establish a Buddhist college, but finally, he decided to found a monastery here instead. Construction on the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery began in 1949. Around that time, Reverend Yuet Kasi, in spite of his old age, joined his disciples in carrying the building materials personally from the foot of the mountain, to build this monastery. It took eight years to complete all the buildings, and another ten years to finish the (over 12,000) Buddha statues. Since then, the Monastery has become one of the most popular monasteries in Hong Kong.
Why is it called 10,000 Buddhas Monastery if there are over 12,000 statues of Buddha?
Getting to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery
Hours: 9 am — 5 pm daily. Closed for heavy rain or when a typhoon signal 8 or above is issued.
It’s not the easiest place to find but this should help you get there
- Take the East Rail Line to the Sha Tin Metro Station, Exit B
- Turn left and walk down the pedestrian ramp.
- At the bottom of the ramp is a sign for the Government Building. Follow this sign onto Pai Tau Street.
- Follow Pai Tau Street as it turns left. You’ll see a large Ikea sign on your right.
- Turn right at the first street, Sheung Wo Che Road.
- Walk down Sheung Wo Che Road
- At the end of Sheung Wo Che Road on the left-hand side is a cement path lined with old chain link fence. This is the start of the path to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. You’ll see a sign and then a bunch of Golden Buddhist statues.
If you see a series of escalators you’re in the wrong place.
Here! You’ve arrived in the right place and have hundreds of holy Buddhist men to greet you and keep you company for the next 431 steps. Enjoy your walk up!
Have you visited the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery? Which was your favorite Buddhist statue and what did he/she remind you of? If you haven’t been, which is your favorite in the pictures? Let me know in the comments.