Friday 10 October 2008

Po Fook Memorial Hall in Sha Tin

We went to Sha Tin last week, with the goal of seeing the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. We kind of ended up in Po Fook Memorial Hall by mistake...but it was really interesting, seeing all the many memorial halls, filled with small pictures dedicated to ancestors.

Tradition dictates that when people pay tribute to their ancestors, they burn paper offerings. These paper offerings come in many guises - it's possible to buy banknotes from the Bank Of Hell (usually in outrageously large denominations), but the more unexpected items are quite interesting.

The concept of Hell does not really have negative connotations in Chinese culture - allegedly the word "Hell" was introduced to China and Hong Kong by Christian missionaries, and the Chinese understood that "Hell" was simply the word for the afterlife.

People burn whatever they think the dead will need after life, or sometimes the things that the person had in life. On Queen's Road West, just near Sutherland Road, there are 5 or 6 shops which sell these items. A few examples: a motor boat, mobile phone, suits and shirts, cars, stereos, domestic helpers, plasma TVs and even foot massagers! They're all made with incredible detail from fine paper.

Anyway, after wandering around the Memorial Hall for so long that we ceased to need air and converted to incense-breathing, we eventually found the path up to the Ten Thousand Buddhas.

1 comment:

  1. I made the same mistake and ended up in this Buddhist columbarium.


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