Hong Kong’s new monastery, funded entirely by tycoon Li Ka-shing, opened to the public on April 15, 2015. The monastery features the world’s second-tallest Guanyin statue–the Goddess of Mercy–and bulletproof VIP rooms.
The monastery is funded entirely by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, who contributed 193 million US dollars from his personal foundation to fund the monastery’s construction.
The newest Tsz Shan monastery is located in the lush hills on the outskirts of Hong Kong. The premises, modelled after Tang dynasty-era architecture, sprawls across a lush, green area of 500,000 square-feet, or roughly 46,452 square-meters.
The monastery features a 76-meter (250 feet) tall Guanyin statue. It overlooks the site and breathtaking view of Hong Kong’s harbor and several islands.
It also features several grand halls, including one which houses three ornate 24-karat gold-plated Buddhist statues, where people can meditate and learn about Buddhism.
But perhaps the most intriguing feature is the monastery’s bulletproof dormitory rooms.
One of the three dormitories that provide housing for visiting monks from all over the world has built-in bulletproof windows to protect “important guests.”
“We installed the bulletproof glass windows because we hope there could be a place to protect our important guests, such as the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, and other top monks,” Walter Ngai Kai-shu, secretary general of the monastery told local media.
The rooms are still empty, and Ngai added that they were not designed for Li or any specific individual.
The monastery can accommodate up to 500 visitors per day, but will not open to tour groups in order to preserve the tranquil atmosphere. Visitors are required to book or register online beforehand.
Visitors aren’t allowed to bring joss sticks, meat, alcohol or other food offerings in order to be environmentally friendly–instead, the monastery will provide water.
Li initiated the project in 2003 to promote Buddhism in the city; construction of the monastery took five years to complete.