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The Big Buddha, on Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Buddhism, an Indian Religion introduced into China, in the 1st century AD(after death), and Taoism, a traditional Chinese religion, have a considerable number of adherents in Hong Kong (90% are thought to practice an eclectic mixture of local religions[1]). The numbers of Buddhists are approximately 700 thousand[2]. There are more than 600 temples in the HKSAR (Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region). The history of some of these temples can be traced back to more than 700 years ago, while some others have been built in recent years. Notable temples include the Wong Tai Sin Temple located in the Wong Tai Sin District in Kowloon. This popular temple is dedicated to the Taoist deity, Wong Tai Sin. The Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill is a group of temple structures in Tang Dynasty's architectural style. It is now open to the public following the completion of its redevelopment in 2000.

The Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is famous for the outdoor bronze statue, Tian Tan Buddha, which attracts a large number of visitors during the weekends and holidays. It is now linked to the city's latest tourist attraction Ngong Ping 360 Skyrail [3]. The cable car and park complex is built around a Buddhism theme, featuring sites of the Wisdom Path [4] and the Po Lin Monastery.

Buddhists' organizations and temples in Hong Kong have long been involved in social welfare and education in the city. The Buddhist's Association of Hong Kong [5] operates a dozen primary and secondary schools, hospices and elderly homes as well as centres for youth and children in Hong Kong[6][7]

The leadership of mainstream buddhists organizations have aligned themselves with the establishment in Hong Kong. For example, high-ranking Buddhist Association's executives have openly endorsed the re-election of the city's Chief Executive Donald Tsang. Several of the association's members were on the drafting committee of the Basic Law of Hong Kong's mini constitution].

Under the leadership of the former Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, the SAR government formally recognized the influence of Buddhism in Hong Kong. In 1997 the SAR government designated one public holiday in May or June to mark Buddha’s birthday, which replaced the Queen’s birthday. This year Buddha’s birthday is on May 24th. Tung himself is a Buddhist and participated in major, widely publicised Buddhist activities in Hong Kong and China.

Academic studies and research of Buddhism in Hong Kong have thrived over the past 10 years. The University of Hong Kong has a Centre of Buddhist Studies [8]. The Chinese University of Hong Kong also has a Centre for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism [9].

References

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