Kwun Yam Shrine

Kwun Yam Shrine entranceway

Thumbnail: Guan Yin Statue
Thumbnail: Tin Hau statue
Thumbnail: Longevity Bridge
Thumbnail: Longevity Bridge plaque
Thumbnail: Buddha of Wealth
Thumbnail: Dragon scholar
Thumbnail: Alleyway
Thumbnail: Pillar
Thumbnail: Seal script
Thumbnail: Small Statues
Thumbnail: Statue pedestals
Thumbnail: Three celestial rams
Thumbnail: Yue Lao strings

The Kwun Yam Shrine is a Buddhist shrine off Repulse Bay (named so after the British fleet repulsed pirates based there who would ter­ror­ize Chinese mer­chants). Unlike oth­er Buddhist shrines, this one was­n’t off-lim­its to pho­tog­ra­phy. It was quite inter­est­ing, as there are so many dif­fer­ent and colour­ful stat­ues, large and small.

Each stat­ue rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent fig­ure in Chinese mythol­o­gy, and it’s said that if you per­form a cer­tain action to a stat­ue, some­thing pos­i­tive will hap­pen. For exam­ple, there was the stat­ue of a fish god there, and if you throw a coin into it’s mouth, it’s said you’ll have good for­tune. There’s also the Longevity Bridge; a plaque pro­claims that every time you cross the bridge, you’ll have three days added to your life. The two biggest stat­ues at the entrance — Guan Yin and Tin Hau — were wor­shiped as god­dess­es of the mer­cy and the sea, par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant if you’re a fish­er­man.

At one point, I came to a stat­ue of a rock with writ­ing engraved on it, and red rib­bons around the base. My dad said, “Jeff, you need to take a lot of rib­bons and tie it around the rock”. “Why?” “Because this is the god of mar­riage. This way you’ll meet a lot of girls.” Funny, dad.


  1. Wow I’ve nev­er been to this one; real­ly car­toon col­ored!. And thanks for nam­ing Tin Hau, I could­n’t remem­ber that name at all, but remem­bered the fish­er­men part. (I also recall won­der­ing why it was called Repulse Bay — my Chinese friend did­n’t explain it. Thanks!) very fun to see.

    • Yeah, this shrine real­ly stood out because of the colours. I also did­n’t notice any fruit for sac­ri­fice.

  2. heh, that’s cute. next step of joke, arrange a date with a whole cheer­lead­ing squad and leave books lying around on the idiot’s guide to polygamy. that’s out already, isn’t it?

    • The thing is, my dad was­n’t jok­ing! He just wants me to increase my chances. Not sure if it’s so that he can say that his son is mar­ried, or if he wants grand­kids.

  3. Jeff, let us know how the rib­bons work for you! lol
    Seeing this and hav­ing stud­ied Buddhism for sev­er­al years at uni­ver­si­ty I am always astound­ed at how much the reli­gion changed when it came from Indian to China via the Silk Road. Were the Buddha alive today I think a tem­ple, beau­ti­ful as it is in its own way, like this one would per­plex him…he would have no clue what that it was in some way con­nect­ed to him!

    p.s. hur­ry and come back to tai­ji! :-)

    • To be hon­est, I only know the most super­fi­cial parts of Buddhism. I did­n’t real­ize that there was a trans­for­ma­tion along the way from India, although the fact that there are so many dif­fer­ent types of Buddhism should have giv­en me a clue. There also seem to be so many dieties and names and what­not involved, that it’s con­fus­es me to no end!

      I’ll be back to Tai Chi next week. Hopefully the sore­ness in my joints and mus­cles (from run­ning around the air­ports with all my cam­era gear and lap­top strapped to my back) will be gone by then.

      • I’ll help you relax!! >:-)

      • With my most super­fi­cial knowl­edge of Buddhism, I think there is more in com­mon between Buddhism and philo­soph­i­cal Taoism, than between reli­gious Taoism and philo­soph­i­cal Taoism.

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