Hong Kong-based Suveera decides to visit the Big Buddha. It’s a huge bronze statue of the Buddha sitting on a lotus. It was built in 1993 at the Po Lin monastery. Standing tall at 112 feet the Buddha commands awe and respect, says she, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
I am one of those people that love the rains. Everything looks glistening and clean. It automatically puts me in a yearning mood, and I feel like going on a new adventure. So even though I am being warned of monsoons by the observatory, it does not deter me. I am off to my favorite place in Hong Kong. The Big Buddha or the Tian Tan Buddha as the Chinese call it. After all, how much harm can a bit of rain cause?
The Big Buddha is a huge bronze statue of the Buddha sitting on a lotus. It was built in 1993 at the Po Lin monastery, a beautiful place hiding in the mountains of Lantau Island. The statue adds to the essence of this spiritual place. Standing tall at 112 feet the Buddha commands awe and respect.
They say that the journey is as important as the destination. It is particularly true of the drive to the monastery. Winding roads with breathtaking views of the sea and lush green mountains engulf you. I almost don’t want the drive to end. Nature is giving me great company.
I arrive just before noon. Although the observatory said mild rain, this was one of the rare occasions when the Rain Gods chose not to oblige! It poured. The beauty of the majestic statue and the antique incense stick holder trying very hard to keep the flame alive while being thrashed by the rain is beyond belief.
The downpour has just bathed the whole area, and everything looks even more sparkling. The abundant mountains are an even brighter shade of green now. The rain has left behind a cool breeze and a beautiful rainbow.
I feel an inexplicable peace pervading. They say every place has certain vibes. This one is truly divine and sacred. Every time I come here I do not want to leave too soon.
I take refuge from the rain in the vegetarian restaurant. The food is delicious. Just what I need to gratify my appetite.
The monastery is prepossessing by itself. Many monks are busy moving about, doing their daily chores. They are busy but still seem so relaxed and tranquil. Totally undisturbed by the presence of visitors in their world, harmonious and conflict-free.
The Big Buddha statue stands tall near the monastery almost standing guard over the whole of Hong Kong as well, I would choose to believe.
There are 268 steps leading to the statue. Each step to me is symbolic of one’s advancement in life. Slowly with every step moving closer to The Big Buddha, towards enlightenment of our own souls. The climb is not easy, but surely worth the endeavor, climbing towards a beautiful goal.
Every time I come here, it makes me reflect upon life in our times. It inspires me to slow down and take a few steps back.
Let’s not keep running constantly to catch the next big thing, the next promotion, the huge house with the view, those beautiful solitaire earrings that you think will give you true happiness, and set your life right or even that latest phone that you absolutely must have!
We are running so fast, we have lost focus. It is like travelling in a superfast train, all that you see outside is a haze of images, merely a passing glimpse of what things actually are!
We are just whizzing past life, having lost direction, often clueless about where we have arrived. Just like modern day slaves to our routines and calendars.
I finally force myself to leave. The trip has left me rejuvenated and energized. We all must find a place like this for ourselves, in order to escape every once in a while when the world starts to get too overbearing. I return home feeling peaceful and satisfied. I think my soul is happy. Life is good.
Photos by the author
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.