Are you happy? The World Happiness Report says that Hongkongers get more sad by the year, falling behind cities like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Peace activist Nhat Hanh once said, “In Buddhism, we talk of meditation as an act of awakening, to be awake to the fact that the earth is in danger and living species are in danger.” Perhaps it is time for us to unplug and let go of the stress. Here are some of the best Buddhist retreats to get your zen on in Hong Kong!
Su Bong Zen Monastery – Causeway Bay
Established in 1992 as a registered non-profit charitable organization and located in the heart of Causeway Bay just across Times Square and Lee Theatre, Su Bong Zen Monastery offers a moment of silence in the hustle and bustle of the city. Aimed to rest Hongkongers’ busy minds, they offer public morning practice from Tuesday to Sunday and evening practice every Tuesday. Newcomers can join the introduction to Zen Meditation on Tuesdays – just be sure to change to long sleeve clothes of muted colors, long and relaxed fit pants and socks during meditation.
Po Lin Monastery – Lantau Island
As a celebrated but secluded tourist spot on Lantau Island, visiting The Big Buddha is a pilgrimage itself. It doesn’t matter if you choose to take the ferry, the bus or the cable car – any mode of transportation would ensure a relaxing experience to marvel at the Buddha statue. If you want to see the Big Buddha up close, this involves a mini workout of walking up 268 steps, which could be strenuous for some, but for most people, it it totally worth the effort when you can enjoy a remarkable sea view at the base of the statue.
Plum Village Hong Kong – Lantau Island
A less well known Buddhist retreat on Lantau Island is the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism, which has two separate monasteries for monks and nuns. Every summer, the Institute offers mindfulness retreats for families and adults. The practice does not only include meditation, but also Dharma talks that share ideas about ethics and morality. It is ideal for people who truly want to learn about Buddhism.
Vipassana Meditation Center – Sheung Shui
“Vipassana” is the way to see things as they really are – it originated from India more than 2500 years ago. Offering minimum 10-day retreats, this meditation experience is provided as a gift from previous students who have benefitted from the course. Easily accessible from Sheung Shui MTR station, this is a place where you can learn how to be happy and find a balance between life’s ups and downs.
Offering classes in 6 branches in Hong Kong, Kadampa Meditation centre may be the most accessible meditation centre. It offers a variety of events, such as Ritual Workshop, Moral Downfalls Practice and Learn to Meditate Evening Course. These Kadampa Buddhists integrate all their knowledge of Buddha’s teachings into their everyday lives. Its knowledgeable practitioners are sure to guide you and help you escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.