Hong Kong – Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

– SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of a Sakyamuni Buddha, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong.  The statue is sited near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong and is also a popular tourist attraction.

To see this attraction we had to take a bus to the airport (a 60 minute ride), then switch to another bus for another 30 minute bus ride.  Then we entered the ticket booth for the tram up to the top of the mountain.  The Ngong Ping 360, consisting of the  Ngong Ping village and a gondola lift running between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, was built near to the Po Lin Monastery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride mid station where it transfers to a 90 degree turn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride mid station where it transfers to a 90 degree turn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride mid station where it transfers to a 90 degree turn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride mid station where it transfers to a 90 degree turn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-018

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-019

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-020

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-021

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-022

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride exit stop

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) gondola ride exit stop

The top area is completely updated for tourists to spend their money.  Seriously…there is nothing holy about a Starbucks right before you climb the stairs to see the great Buddha statue.  Call me a pessimist, but part of this experience feels spiritual and part of it feels like a cash grab.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) mini statue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-050

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) top tourist area

Po Lin Monastery is a Buddhist monastery, located on Ngong Ping Plateau, on Lantau Island.  Tian Tan Buddha is an extension of the monastery.

The monastery was founded in 1906 by three monks visiting from Jiangsu Province on the Chinese mainland and was initially known simply as “The Big Hut”.  It was renamed to its present name in 1924.  The main temple houses three bronze statues of the Buddha – representing his past, present and future lives – as well as many Buddhist scriptures.  The monastery boasts many prominent architectural structures, such as the Main Shrine Hall of Buddha, the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-060

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-061

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-062

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-068

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-069

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-073

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-076

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-077

Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-078

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Po Lin Monastery

The statue is named “Tian Tan Buddha” because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. One of the five large Buddha statues in China, it is enthroned on a lotus on top of a three-platform altar.  Surrounding it are six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha.  These symbolise the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.

The statue is 34 metres tall, weighs over 250 metric tons, and was constructed from 202 bronze pieces.  In addition to the exterior components, there is a strong steel framework inside to support the heavy load.  Reputedly the figure can be seen across the bay from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha, though the site also features a small winding road for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.  The Buddha’s right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity.  He faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.

There are also three floors beneath the statue: the halls of the Universe, of Benevolent Merit and of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Ga Gautama Buddha, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. Only visitors who purchase an offering for the Buddha are allowed to see the relic, entering to leave it there. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas in the show room. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolising the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-093

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-094

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-095

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-097

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-105

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha) interior

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-114

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Hong Kong-Big Buddha-116

Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha)

Now its time for the long gondola ride/bus rides back to downtown Hong Kong.  Tomorrow we are flying to Shanghai as we have secured our 7 year multi-entry visas to China (we only wanted a one time 30 day entry visa, but of course they ended up giving us 7 year visas to come back as many times as we want.)

<><><><><><><><>

For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.