Hong Kong is world famous for its shopping, scintillating night life and frenetic pace. Yet less than an hour away on Lantau Island is fresh air, blue sky and bliss in the form of the world famous Giant Buddha and its new attraction “Wisdom Walk”. Built atop the highest terrain on Lantau Island, the Giant Buddha is only 13 years old and already a place of pilgrimage.
“Wisdom Walk” is a new attraction to complement Giant Buddha. A 20-minute stroll from Giant Buddha, the path meanders through a forest that seems magically filled with mist most of the time. Emerging from the trees, Wisdom Walk opens up dramatically as it consists of tall wooden pillars arranged to form the number “8” or infinity symbol!
One of the world’s most famous sutras or prayers is the Heart Sutra, expounded more than 2,500 years ago. Wisdom Walk is a reenactment of the Heart Sutra which espouses the right path of living in accordance to universal precepts. The 260-character Heart Sutra is engraved in Chinese calligraphy on 38 blocks of timber arranged as an “8” against a hillock so the columns slowly ascend as you walk upwards. Each wooden pillar is engraved with exquisite calligraphy except for one located at the highest point. This pillar is left blank to represent the prayer’s theme of nirvana, which is a form of emptiness. This is the key theme of the Heart Sutra.
This wonderful project is the brainchild of renowned scholar Professor Jao Tsung-I who was inspired by a trip to Mount Tai Shan in 1980 where he admired a sutra laboriously carved onto a rock face. From this he envisioned Wisdom Walk.
As the pillars are so big, it is not immediately obvious they are arranged as an “8”. However, if you stand on a conveniently placed rock at the base of the formation, you should be able to make out the number 8. “8” to the Chinese has always been regarded lucky, as phonetically it sounds like the Chinese word “to prosper”. In feng shui we are also currently in the Period of Eight, when the number 8 takes on extra potency and luck. This new Walk thus bodes extremely well for Hong Kong, whether looked at from a feng shui or spiritual perspective.