Craving a bit of peace and quiet in the frenetic buzz of Hong Kong, I found myself really attracted to the idea of visiting the Chi Lin Nunnery. It was a short taxi ride from our hotel but felt far far away.
The small guide book I bought in the gift shop describes the complex as an “oasis of architectural harmony” and I agree.
It is a totally timber construction in a concrete jungle replicating the style and charm of the ancient Chinese monestaries dating back to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).
Hong Kong wasn’t settled then so the buildings and gardens are replicas of monasteries on the mainland China, many of which were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.
It’s a place of worship for Buddhists—a working temple if you will—while serving as a museum for the people of Hong Kong and the many international visitors to appreciate Chinese culture and heritage.
The actual Chi Lin Nunnery was founded in the 1930s on this site with the huge temple complex added in the late 1990s.
The Nunnery compound comprises the monestary, a home for the elderly, the garden, a cultural center and a school. They also operate a gift store where I bought little treasures for friends at home.
Photos aren’t allowed of the massive Buddha and other religious statues. Guess you just have to go there to see them, but here are some photos of the exterior of the buildings and the serene grounds to enjoy. It is truly a place to slow down and meander and contemplate. It’s a lovely respite from the shopping centers and busy-ness of Hong Kong.