I’ve always been fascinated with Buddha statues. I don’t have a deep understanding of Buddhism but I believe that different Buddha statues symbolize many different things. To see different kinds of Buddhas imaginable, I walked over 400 steps up a winding hill in Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong. Getting there was quite easy. From Tsim Sha Tsui, I got on the MTR and arrived at Sha Tin Station, walked around Pai Tau Village and found myself at the bottom of a hill of Buddhas at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tsz). It was a sweltering hot afternoon when I went there so I made sure I had enough water with me. Going up the hill, I was greeted with gold painted life-size statues among lush greeneries which depicted the followers of the Buddha. The statues were different from another and they lined up the stairs going to a number of pagodas, temples, pavilions and Buddha statues.
The monastery is not ancient nor are there any ancient relics on the site but what makes it interesting aside from the thousands of statues is that it houses the mummy of its builder, Yuet Kai. His remains are preserved in a glass casket at the main hall of the monastery.
Yuet Kai was a pious Buddhist, a preacher, and a rich merchant. He constructed the elaborate monastery about 60 years ago atop 8 hectares of land. The construction started in 1949 and was finished in 1957. The construction of the monastery can be considered a “labor of love” as Yuet Kai personally carried the building materials from the foot of the mountain going up. Of course, he was assisted by his devout disciples all throughout the construction of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.