Tian Tan Buddha

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Tian Tan Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha by Beria.jpg
The Big Buddha
Traditional Chinese 天壇大佛
Tian Tan Buddha from afar
"The Offering of the Six Devas": Buddhistic statues praising and making offerings to the Tian Tan Buddha. Po Lin Monastery can be seen in the background.
View from the upper platform, with the detail of the Buddha's robes clearly visible.
A view of Big Buddha from Ngong Ping Village. Lantau Peak is visible in the background.

Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of a Buddha Amoghasiddhi, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. The statue is located near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction.[1]


The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar.[2] It is surrounded by six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolise charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana.[3]

The Buddha is 34 metres (112 ft) tall, weighs 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was the world's tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha prior to 2000.[4] It reputedly can even be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha,[2][5] though the site also features a small winding road to the Buddha for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.

The Tian Tan Buddha appears serene and dignified. His right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction.The Buddha's left hand rests on his lap in a gesture of giving dhana. The Buddha faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.

In addition, there are 3 floors beneath the Buddha statue: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Gautama Buddha,[6] consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. Only visitors who purchase an offering for the Buddha are allowed to see the relic, to leave the offering there. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas in the show room. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolising the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.


The Tian Tan Buddha was constructed beginning in 1990, and was finished on 29 December 1993, the day of the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion. The statue was formed out of 202 separate pieces of bronze. In addition to the exterior components, there is a strong steel framework inside the statue to support the heavy load. When the statue was completed, monks from around the world were invited to the opening ceremony. Distinguished visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the United States all took part in the proceedings.

On 18 October 1999, the Hong Kong Post Office issued a stamp depicting the Tian Tan Buddha. The MTR corporation has also issued a souvenir ticket featuring a photograph of the statue.

Visiting and access[edit]

Po Lin Monastery and the Buddha are open to the public between 10:00 and 17:45. Access to the outside of the Buddha is free of charge, but there is an admission fee to go inside the Buddha.

Visitors may also see the nearby monastery, known as the "Buddhist Kingdom in the South," which serves as an international Buddhist retreat, and is one of the largest and most well known in Hong Kong. The monastery was built by three Zen masters in 1920. The main temples have painted vermilion interiors with dragons and many other different Chinese mythical figures on the walls and ceilings. Visitors often spend time in the attached tea garden, the only tea garden in the territory. A five-minute walk past the tea garden leads to the "Wisdom Path" – 38 calligraphies by famous contemporary scholar Professor Jao Tsung-I of verses from the Heart Sutra on as many high wooden columns reminiscent of bamboo tiles (zhujian),[7] set within a figure 8 to symbolise infinity.[8]

One of the main attractions of this Buddha statue is climbing 268 steps and circling the platform (the lotus) where the Buddha sits.

Also nearby is Lantau Peak, the second highest mountain in Hong Kong.

Public transport[edit]

Entrance of Tian Tan Buddha

Visitors can reach the site by bus or taxi, travelling first to Mui Wo (also known as "Silvermine Bay") via ferry from the Outlying Islands piers in Central (pier No. 6) or to Tung Chung station via the MTR, or cable car. Visitors may then travel to and from the Buddha via the following bus routes:

  • Mui Wo ↔ Ngong Ping — NLB No. 2
  • Tung Chung ↔ Ngong Ping – NLB No. 23

The Ngong Ping 360 gondola lift between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping (25 minutes).[9]

Nearby attractions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DeWolf, Christopher "9 Hong Kong tourist traps – for better or worse" CNN Go. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2012
  2. ^ a b "Tian Tan Buddha". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Tian Tan Buddha Re Caroll, Journal Before the Mouse
  4. ^ Tan, Bee Hong (5 November 2006). "Watched by the Buddha". Sunday People. The Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. Retrieved 30 December 2006. Constructed from 202 bronze pieces, the statue weighs over 250 metric tons (280 short tons) and used to be the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha statue, [dead link]
  5. ^ "The Tian Tan Buddha". About.com. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ John S. Strong, Relics of the Buddha (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004)
  7. ^ "The Wisdom Path (formerly known as the Heart Sutra Inscription)". Hong Kong Tourism Commission. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Wisdom Path". Next Stop Hong Kong. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Tian Tan Buddha

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°15′14.78″N 113°54′18.52″E / 22.2541056°N 113.9051444°E / 22.2541056; 113.9051444