One of the most impressive attractions that are a must-see in Hong Kong is the famous Chi Lin Nunnery, located in Diamond Hill right opposite Nan Lian Garden. Housed in a monastery complex, the nunnery is reminiscent of the Tang Dynasty in its architecture, and was built in the 1930s. When the building was renovated in 1998, it was designed so that no nails were used in the reconstruction. It was built in this manner to show the harmonious nature of people with their environment. The Chinese belief is that if houses are built from wood, the life of the trees is much longer. The sections of wood are locked together in the same manner as a jigsaw puzzle. Three different gates, each with its own representation, are at the entrance of the complex. The first gate represents compassion, the second wisdom, and the third, the skills of people.
In the first courtyard of the Nunnery is the Lotus Pond Garden. The garden features lovely water lilies, four ponds, and beautifully-manicured Bonsai Trees. The planters into which the trees are placed are decorated with intricate carved designs. The garden is a place of peace and total tranquility. One of the interesting features of the Lotus Pond Garden is a waterspout in the shape of a dragon's head. In China, the dragon is the symbol of terrestrial and celestial power. An ancient Chinese myth tells that the dragon controls the rain. Lotus flowers were used in the pond because they are representative of purity.
The Hall of Celestial Kings at the Chi Lin Nunnery has statues of four deities that represent each of the cardinal points, or four compass directions. They are also commonly referred to as the Four Heavenly Kings. In the Buddhist religion, they are protection against evil. It's very common in China for the four deities to be placed near entrances to temples and holy places. In the center is a statue of the Buddha. Various areas all around the compound have wind chimes hanging from the corners of rooftops where you'll also see elaborate carved designs.
The main hall of the monastery complex features another statue. This one is of the Sakyamuni Buddha. The impressive hall has a variety of Bonsai Trees placed around the exterior of the structure. Two holy people of the Buddhist religion who are known as Bodhisattva Manjusre and Bodhisattva Samantabhandra are on either side of Buddha. Two of the followers of Buddha are standing with the statue. They are known as Mahakasyapa and Ananda. Chi Lin Nunnery is considered to be one of the most beautiful religious shrines in Hong Kong, and if you love Chinese culture, it is definitely worth an exploring.
Admission is Free.
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