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Chi Lin Nunnery

Chi Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong

Chi Lin Nunnery

Are you into art and architecture of ancient Chinese? Chi Lin Nunnery is a must see place for you. The architecture is one of Hong Kong's main attractions that showcase the region’s rich heritage despite of modernization.

Chi Lin Nunnery is a large temple complex of elegant architecture patterned in Tang Dynasty. First opened in 1939 and rebuilt to make it more attractive and elegant yet maintained the traditional essence of Tang Dynasty in the old days. The complex sits on 30,000 square meter site which consists of a large temple with Buddhist relics that some are made of clay, wooden statues, gold, and lotus ponds. It is a place of tranquil retreat in urban surroundings. You can also find the divinities such as bodhisattvas and Sakyamuni Buddha that are very sacred in Buddhism in the complex.  Chi Lin Nunnery is found at 5 Chi Lin Drive, Diamond Hill, Kowloon.

Inside the monastic complex are fifteen cedar halls, gardens, courtyards, gilded statues and lotus ponds and metaphorically described as forest or “conglin” in Chinese from the Sanskrit word Sangha which means a gathering of monks and nuns from ten directions. Together they resembled trees growing like a forest and follows Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice of balancing yin and yang by creating harmonious environment.

Two of the three courtyards in the Chi Lin Nunnery complex are open to the public entering through the Shanmen (the first door or mountain gate). The amazing lotus gardens landscaped in four large lotus ponds, statues, bonsai trees in pots, cypress and peony trees, and rockeries will greet you at the entrance. At the opposite end of the courtyard is the Hall of Celestial Kings where the statue of Maitreya Buddha sits on the altar surrounded by the images of Celestial Kings. The north door of the hall that leads to second courtyard is surrounded by five halls with covered passageways on the sides with respective Buddhas on it.

The inner courtyard and main hall on the opposite side of the courtyard to the Hall of Celestial Kings is a magnificent structure made by an elaborated ancient system of Chinese building housed for five gilded Buddhas. Seated in the center is Buddha Sakyamuni (founder of Buddhism in India) flanked by Bodhisattvas Mahakasgapa and Anada (standing) and Bodhisattvas Marjusri and Samantabhadra (seated). The third courtyard is close to the public. Inside is the ancestral prayer Hall, Dharma Hall, Patriarch Hall and Ten Thousand Buddhas pagoda containing over 10,000 Buddha images. Photo taking here is prohibited.

Chi Lin Nunnery is open daily and admission is free. A visit to the place is a great joy and opportunity to experience the serene beauty and uniqueness of sacred temple structure in the heart of the city.

Website : Chi Lin Nunnery

How about you, have you visited this place already or are having a plan to visit? Please feel free to share your experiences or leave comments.