Taking Shelter in Holy Houses

I was on my own again today. No worries – I’m getting pretty good at getting around and knowing the neighborhoods I know. I was ready.
After breakfast I headed out to the Midlevels via taxi to visit the oldest synagogue in Hong Kong – Ohel Leah. That’s Hebrew for Leah’s Tent.
The synagogue has very high security, which I thought was sad. I had to show my passport and essentially provide my Jewish creds. The guard was friendly, but he was also very serious. I guess my creds were good enough, because he let me in.
The synagogue is down from the street level, so you actually enter from one building and go down a few levels to go out into the courtyard that surrounds the actual synagogue building. It was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century by Sephardic Jews, but now its membership is mostly Ashkenazi. It is Orthodox. It’s also quite lovely, and as Shabbat hadn’t started yet, I was able to take some photos inside.
As I came out again it began to rain and I was forced to take shelter under the eaves. It gave me time to reflect on the state of things.
It is a very lovely campus in the middle of an urban landscape.
After the synagogue, I took a taxi to the IFC mall, in part, because I know my way to places from there. I stopped in at the tea shop (TWC) and got some smoky Earl Grey, and then had a pot of Alexandria and a couple of cookies. Yum.
Then I decided to brave the MRT(the subway) by myself and head out to the New Territories and the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas (T10KB). It required that I change trains twice.
Oh, and in the New Territories, there are decidedly fewer tourists. Much less English signage. Nearly everyone on the train was Chinese. Still, I found my way.
So, this monastery and temple complex. Wow! I promise pictures will follow when I return to the states. There is a long path going up to the temples that is lined with Buddhas. I think it has 10,000 steps. At least it felt that way. Water is essential. I could hear wild monkeys in the trees , and I knew that someone had just been scratched, but I didn’t end up seeing any.
At the lower top level, there is a small vegetarian restaurant. I had tea and lunch there. Then I walked out to see the temples.
Inside the main hall the walls are lined with small Buddha statues. Is truly awesome. I was moved to tears – I felt the power of God in this place. There are incense pots everywhere.
There is a second level, and for the second time in one day, while I was up top at the second level, I got caught in the rain and was forced to take refuge in a Holy house.
Up top there is a hillside covered in Buddhas riding donkeys. There is a big Buddha by a waterfall, and a spectacular view.
The rain forced me to pause twice today. Interesting that I was at religious house.
There is so much to this temple complex, but I really can’t explain. I made my way back and had a short time to rest before treating my cousins to a fantastic dinner at a Greek restaurant. As I’m now nodding off, it’s time to sign off. That’s my mite.

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