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Tsing Shan Monastery - One the Oldest Monasteries in Hong Kong

Tsing Shan Monastery - New Territories, Hong KongThe Tsing Shan Monastery, also known as Castle Peak Monastery, is a Buddhist monastery complex located at the foot of Castle Peak, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong. The exact time it was built is still unknown but some experts believe that the monastery complex is over 1,500 years old. The monastery is declared as a Grade I historic building by the Antiquities and Monuments Office.

According to a legend, the site of the monastery used to be the residence of an Indian Buddhist monk who supposedly traveled around in a wooden tea cup. Named Reverend Pui To (which literally means travelling in a cup), he accidentally discovered Castle Peak during one of his sojourns and fell in love with the area's tranquil ambiance. He built a cottage there for practicing meditation and had numerous followers.

As a tribute, his followers built a shrine in a cave near where the monk formerly lived. Some say the Pui To Shrine was built in the Jin Dynasty and redeveloped in the Song Dynasty. Regular maintenance works has kept the historical structure's original appearance intact.

The monastery complex is comprised of a cluster of shrines and temples dedicated to different deities and Bodhisattvas. Other historic structures in site inlcude the Main Tsing Shan Temple, Hall of Kshitigabha, Kwun Yam Pavilion, and Hall of Merits, which are all declared Grade I historic buildings.

Another structure in the area that have stood through the ages is the monastery's front gate, inscribed with the Cantonese words "Heung Hoi Ming Saan" (which means Fragrant Sea and Prestigious Mountain), a caption given by the former Governor Sir Cecil Clementi. The words "Repentance is Salvation," an inscription by Reverend Tit Xim, is written on the other side of the gate.

To reach Tsing Shan Monastery, take Light Rail line 610, 615 or 615P and alight at Tsing Shan Tsuen. From there, follow the sign to Tsing Shan Monastery Path, which is due west of the station. The steep path to the entrance of the monastery is a 30-minute walk.

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