Columns etched with Chinese rhymes at the base of Lantau peak

Saturday, September 23, 2023


Situated at the base of Lantau peak, a peak on the biggest of the 250 islands that border the city of Hong Kong, each column here is engraved with Chinese rhymes that are respected in Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

The columns stand at 10 meters elevation, in a number of eight, which, in numerological terms, signifies eternity. The stanzas etched on the columns are a type of prayer and relating to centuries-old Heart Sutra, from the Mahayana Buddhism sacred texts. The loftiest column, marked No. 23, has been deliberately left blank to express that form is blankness and blankness is form, an important idea in the Buddhist way of life that everything in this universe is interrelated.

A 10-minute stroll is a vision that most people come to Lantau Island to appreciate. At Ngong Ping, a plateau in the western area of Lantau is the soaring Tian Tan Buddha, a 34m-high bronze figure placed calmly in the pinnacles. In order to reach the top, there’s a hike of 268 strides. Right under the massive Buddha’s lotus feet, beside shops selling silk, incense and prayer beads, is a magnificent round shrine decorated with flowers, paper sculpture and pictures of fiery dragons.

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