Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of a Sakyamuni Buddha, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. The statue is sited near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction.
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. One of the five large Buddha statues in China, it is enthroned on a lotus on top of a three-platform altar. Surrounding it are six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These symbolise the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.
The statue is 34 metres (112 ft) tall, weighs over 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was constructed from 202 bronze pieces. In addition to the exterior components, there is a strong steel framework inside to support the heavy load. Reputedly the figure can be seen across the bay from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha, though the site also features a small winding road for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped. The Buddha's right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity. He faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.
There are also three floors beneath the statue: the halls of the Universe, of Benevolent Merit and of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Gautama Buddha, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. Only visitors who purchase an offering for the Buddha are allowed to see the relic, entering to leave it 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.
Visiting and Access:
Po Lin Monastery and the Buddha are open to the public between 10:00 and 17:30. Access to the outside of the Buddha is free of charge, but there is an admission fee to go inside the 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).