29 November 2017

Grand Descent from Lantau Peak down to Big Buddha

The path towards west side of the mountain was shorter by the numbers, but even steeper than the eastern trail, and harder switchbacks moreso. The trails were mostly made up of stone ladders and unfortunately, these are not the exact things I wanted for my knees, thus, a bit of a challenge for me right there. At that point in time, I already ran out of water, which was not a good thing either. The intensely steep stair-trail down continued and the Big Buddha (Ngong Ping; 昂平) seemed to be within reach.

Not long after, the Wisdom Path (心經簡林) known to be the largest outdoor wood carving in the world, an installation of 38 steles which forms a lemniscate (the infinity sign) that represents verses from the Heart Sutra which is a Confucianism thing I believe, finally presented itself from afar.

There is actually an interesting tale about the Wisdom Path imposing a 2D calligraphy in a 3D architecture. The columns were apparently arranged in such a manner that corresponds to the topography of the landscape, that when you extend the line segments across these timbers, these actually points to specific points with significance to the mountain. The column at the highest part of the hill is also left blank to signify Sunyata or the concept of emptiness which is a key theme in Heart Sutra (心經). Surely, high respects to those people who did such work to put Geometry, Art, and Faith into a perfect combo.

A little over an hour more and we reached the level ground which marked the end of the Lantau Trail Section 3, based on the signages I took photos of. We then had to walk a rough 30 minutes more to get to the Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. Climbing a little less than 270 steps from where we were, then the Big Bronze Buddha, the 2nd largest of its kind in the world, was closer to me more than ever before. 

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