Grading: Declared Monument
Situated on Shan Kwong Road in Happy Valley, Tung Lin Kok Yuen is the first Buddhist monastery on Hong Kong Island. Founded by Lady Clara Ho Tung — wife of Sir Robert Ho Tung, a prominent businessman knighted by the British crown in the early 20th century — the monastery is named after the Ho Tung couple. “Lin Kok” was the dharma name of Lady Ho Tung, a devout Buddhist committed to promoting Buddhism and women’s education throughout her life. She established Po Kok Free School and Po Kok Buddhist Institute in the early 1930s, and used the money given by her husband as a wedding anniversary gift to build Tung Lin Kok Yuen and Po Kok Primary School. The two buildings were completed in 1935.
The monastery is built in the form of a traditional Buddhist temple, featuring a Chinese classical revival style that was popular at the time. It consists of red walls and yellow tiles — elements included to resemble Chinese ancient palaces — as well as other Chinese architectural features, such as overhanging eaves and brackets. Western elements, including floor tiles decorated with tulip motifs and stained glasses, are also incorporated in the design. When it is looked at from above, the monastery appears as a giant ship, a symbol in Buddhism that represents the ferrying of all beings to the “other shore” of nirvana.
The project is supported by Lord Wilson Heritage Trust.
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