Hong Kong the City (Lantau Island, Po Lam Zen Monastery)
Continuing with Hong Kong the city (Lantau island Monasteries)
Po Lam Zen Monastery
This monastery can be found on the Ngomg Ping to Tung Chung trail.
Setting out fro Ngong Ping I went through an arch with inscriptions on it (sorry I cant read Chinese) finding out what it means with have to be later. After walking for about an hour I came across a rest area with views of Tung Chung and the surrounding mountains what a great sight it was also peaceful all that could be heard were the birds. Having been on many a walk I found this to be one of the best because it was a good path and just peaceful. then out on nothing I came across Po Lam monastery (Po Lam meaning “jewel of the forest”) and what I found was space, no fences or gates. Following the path I walked right into the monasteries gardens, vegetables of course and flowers with such wonderful color, monks working away.
They acknowledge me by smiling and a waving. Where else would you get such a friendly welcome, straight away I could feel at home, where else Po Lin monastery I don’t think so. Having been to a number of monasteries I found this to be different, tucked away on a mountain side surrounded by trees and the peace and quite was something else. Having just left Ngong Ping tourists by the hundreds, hustling camera clicking to come to the tranquility of Po Lam where meditation would not be hard to find. This monastery is used as a retreat for visiting monks (bhiksus) and nuns (bhiksunis) as I was told by a nun who approached me and asked if I wanted to talk, so I did. The nun told me about why it was a retreat for monks and nuns from china and farther afield. Prayer and meditation are there way of live and occasionally you need to separate yourself so coming to Po Lam where the way of live is so simple lets that happen. Reading one time a heard of a visiting monk who brought a cassette player with him but was reminded that it will clutter ones mind and it was taken away. While talking to the nun I asked about wars, her reply was, greed man always wants more, there’s enough on this earth to please all, just a simple sentence meaning so much. That’s why being a monk or nun possessions our of the mind not of the price tag. Thinking of what she just said, how true even I have to admit I always want more but there is a right and wrong way of obtaining more.
The monastery is run on rules which comprise of prayer and meditation and an early start 3, 30am, morning pray 4 to 5am meditation 5, 30am and so the day goes on with walking meditation from 6. 15 -6. 30pm there day finally finishing at 9:00pm. The building are not the best monastery ones but they are still well worth a visit some beautiful flowers like I have never seen before and the monastery itself is a beautiful building.
My time there taught me how to relax because it was so easy in such a tranquil location, the question will I return most certainly. Mentioning how I got here earlier, meeting hikers coming the other way and its only about 1 hour from NgongPing (less if you walk quicker than me which wouldn’t be difficult) but if you want to see and feel a sense of satisfaction then this is the place to visit.
The inscription on the arch, there to remind us all of the letting go of the dust of samsaric life (of course a buddhist saying).
My next article will be on the lantau trails.