Chi Lin Nunnery

Adjacent to the Nan Lian Garden is a very large monastic complex called the Chi Lin Nunnery. It is a Buddhist temple home to about 60 nuns. The nunnery was built in 1934 but remodeled and reconstructed in 1990 and was finally opened to the public in 2000.
To get inside the nunnery, you will enter the Shan Men, the main entrance of the monastery. Literally, it means the mountain gate as most monasteries are situated in the mountains, far from the civilization. When one enters the mountain gate, one leaves everything behind.
It's also called Shan Men, meaning the "three gates", referring to Buddhist wisdom, compassion and skillful means, or faith, understanding and practice. These are the three important methods to gain liberation. Just like the mountains, when one enters the monastery, one leave everything behind, all the worries that life gives.
The only bonzai tree that's inside a cage
As soon as you enter the Shan Men, you will be greeted by the first courtyard with landscaped Lotus Garden with 4 large lotus ponds. Potted bonzai trees and and bougainvillea are scattered all over. There are actually 3 courtyards but only the 2 are open to the public.
Located on the left side from Shan Men is the Western Lotus Pond Garden. You can actually go down to enjoy the garden and just sit there to enjoy the cool breeze and the sound of silence. We didn't go down because we are content from what we can see from above.
Taking pictures is allowed only at the first courtyard and the Western Lotus Pond Garden, but not inside the Hall of the Celestial Kings, where divinities and Buddhas are kept. This is located at the opposite end of the Shan Men. Visitors can go inside to pay respect or just to admire the shrines where the Buddhas are housed. When we visited, it's still early but we can already see offerings of fruits at the altar. And a couple of locals that offered their prayer.
Pardon me for my taking pictures of the Buddhas but I just can't help it. At least I made sure that my flash is off when I secretly took pictures. I actually asked the old lady why taking pictures of the Buddhas is not allowed and she explained that they considered Buddhas as alive and people takes pictures with flash on, blinded them and their soul leaves their body and never return.
Stairs leading to the Celestial Hall of Kings
Some Chinese temples are not even allowing people to take pictures with the shrine as the background. That's what was posted in front of the Taoist Temple in Cebu City, Philippines. You are only allowed to take pictures of the temple but not the altar. It's sacred and must be protected at all times. And silence must be observed at all times. This is also practiced at Catholic Churches and religious places.
Seeing how the Buddhist worship their Gods, Catholics are no match. I'm not talking about their beliefs but the way they worship them. This monastery is almost as convincing as temples in the mountains because it's tranquil and serene, only if you don't see the high-rises on the background.
This is a must visit when you go to Nan Lian Garden as it's next to it. And when you're there, take pictures of the Nan Lian Garden from the stairs going to the Nunnery, it's the perfect spot to take pictures of the Golden Pavilion.

Chi Lin Nunnery
Address: Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 9:00am to 4:30pm

Please click here on how to get there and to Nan Lian Garden.


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