Like a Prayer–The Yuen Yuen Institute

One thing I love about Hong Kong is how they approach religion. Incense burns in little shrines in the most unlikely places and ancient temples stand next to modern office buildings. Traditional Chinese religions all coexist peacefully. Add all the expats and you have Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu and almost every other world religion all stuffed onto a tiny island without anybody getting too worked up about it.

The Yuen Yuen Institute, at the edge of the New Territories, is a sprawling sanctuary devoted to promoting Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Without clear boundaries among them, folk religions incorporate elements of each in a sort of theological cafeteria. Urban skyscrapers loom just beyond the colorful barrel tiled roofs and traditional Chinese architecture. Visitors bring offerings and burn incense in worship. In the main building, a replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, large statues of generals representing segments of the Chinese calendar stare down upon the faithful. Temples, monasteries  and beautiful gardens with ponds and statues of deities make it a very tranquil place.


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Holy Smokes. A traditional  incense pot at the gate to the institute stands in contrast with modern skyscrapers.
Holy Smoke. A traditional incense pot at the gate to the institute stands in contrast with a sea of  modern skyscrapers.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy Brandt says:

    Fabulous pictures…makes me feel like I just visited myself. Loved the incense pot in front of the skyscrapers.

  2. Kate says:

    Wow! The photos are spectacular! Really great article.

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