Monday, February 1, 2010

Buddha Says Hello from Hong Kong

This Buddha statue is located at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. His official name is the Tian Tan Buddha, and he was constructed out of bronze in 1993. The rest of the info comes almost directly from Wikipedia:

1. The base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. (Hence the name.)
2. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China.
3. He sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar.
4. It is surrounded by six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana.
5. Buddha is 110 feet (34 meters) tall, and weighs 280 tons (250 metric tons).
6. Buddha's right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction. Which is perfect, because my friend Iris sent me this postcard to cheer me up after a bad day.

To me, Hong Kong seems like a really fascinating place. As many people know, Hong Kong was a British territory from the mid 1800s until 1997, when governance was formally handed over to the Chinese government. As a result, Hong Kong is a unique blend of East and West - it has one of the world's leading economies, and it is among the healthiest and most well-educated regions in the world. Western institutions like fast food restaurants and a Hollywood-style film industry
are integrated with a very serious belief in feng shui and other folkloric beliefs - for instance, buildings often lack any floor with the number 4 in it, due to its resemblance to the word "die" in the Chinese language.

In Hong Kong, most people speak Cantonese, but English is also an official language, and many people speak it primarily or as a fluent second language. About 95% of Hong Kong's population is of Chinese descent, with small but visible enclaves of Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalese, Vietnamese, Europeans, Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos. Interestingly, mainland Chinese do not have right of abode in Hong Kong, nor can they enter the territory freely.

About 90% of those living in Hong Kong practice a mix of local religions - mainly Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. About 8% of the population is Christian, and there are smaller groups of Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Baha'i. Religious freedom is guaranteed under the Basic Law.


anne said...

Amazing cards!

imajica said...

the Buddha reminds me of one of the statutes in some district in my state, where Thai population is big.

From Google: Buddha Kelantan


Shaunna said...

I have linked your blog in mine:
Have a great day!

pinuccia said...

I was lucky enough to go to Hong Kong for business back in 2008. I was luckier to take a day off to go to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha (There are also really cool statues in front of it), Po Lin Monastery and Aberdeen Fishing Village. I hope you make it to that part of the world one day, dear Katie:) Weekend hugs from Ankara...

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