The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a seated representation of Lord Gautama in all its 23m high and 202-tonne glory. The massive statue is located on a hill above the Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. It is called Tian Tan after the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, upon which the base of the statue was modeled from.
While there are much bigger Buddha statues all over China, the Tian Tan Buddha is unique because it is seated, located outdoors and made of bronze. The Big Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. 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 symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana.
The Tian Tan Buddha is a relatively new landmark, having been finished on December 29, 1993, the day of the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
One of the main attractions of this Buddha statue is climbing 268 steps and circling the platform (the lotus) where the Buddha sits. This area provides stunning views of mountain forests, sheer rock cliffs, and the blue ocean. Inside the Buddha is a computer-controlled bell which rings 108 times during the day to symbolize the escape from what Buddhism terms as the "108 troubles of mankind". Access to the outside of the Buddha is free of charge, but there is an admission fee to go inside the statue.
How to get to the Tian Tan Buddha:
Visitors may 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, provides another means of access.
Visitors are requested to observe some decorum in dress and behavior. It is forbidden to bring meat or alcohol into the grounds. There are vegetarian meals and refreshments available in the monastery.