Whether you’re a beginner seeking an introductory meditation session, or an experienced practitioner with an extended residential retreat in mind, the Buddhist monasteries and meditation centres in Hong Kong can offer guidance on how to unplug, find clarity and cultivate inner peace. Here are five of the best.
Kadampa Meditation Centre
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Welcoming Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, the Kadampa Meditation Centre is an oasis of peace in the middle of hectic Causeway Bay. A range of meditation techniques and breathing exercises to reduce stress and achieve alertness are taught here in English and Cantonese. For complete beginners, we recommend the introductory “Learn to Meditate” course. More experienced students can sign up for in-depth meditation sessions, and the most serious minded of practitioners should consider the six month study program, which includes the study of Buddhist texts.
This monastic village is a branch of the renowned Plum Village Meditation Centre in southwest France, Europe’s largest Buddhist monastery. Set against the scenic mountains of Lantau Island, the Lotus Pond Temple provides a simple, distraction free space for you to master the art of mindfulness. Retreats lasting four to five days are held throughout the year, including special programs tailored for families and youths. For those who looking for a more casual commitment, the organization also hosts monthly Friday night mindfulness sessions in the Far East Consortium Building in Central.
Take comfort in the remote, sweeping mountains and fresh air at Fa Hong Monastery, nestled in the hillside of Lantau. This secluded spot is the perfect place to learn the ancient technique of Vipassana meditation. Choose between guided meditation sessions, one day retreats, a 10 day meditation course or an eight week mindfulness course. For residential guests, a typical day involves waking at five for a walking meditation, followed by chanting and breakfast. The menu is strictly vegetarian, as per Buddhist custom. As long as you’re there, be sure to observe the monastery’s rules, which prohibits smoking, alcohol, non-emergency phone calls, or wearing prohibitive clothing or makeup.
The Vipassana Meditation Centre offers an intensive, 10 day introductory course for those who are truly serious about meditation as a spiritual practice. The retreat is held at two locations: the Dhamma Muttā on Lantau Island and the Sheung Shui Hang Tau Centre in the New Territories. Days begin with a 4am wakeup call and last until 9pm. Adhering to the principle of simplicity, there are few amenities at the meditation centres except for the most basic facilities for sleeping and eating. Once you’ve completed the intensive 10 day course, you may then return for the one to three day courses for intermediate students, which are held regularly. The program is run by volunteers and completely free of charge.
The Su Bong Zen Monastery runs a zen centre in Causeway Bay, which offers introductory meditation classes, as well as the Gak Su Temple International Zen Center in Lantau, a secluded retreat for those looking to get away from the modern world and live close to nature. A mixture of weekly meditation sessions, one day silent retreats and multi day residential retreats are available. Serious practitioners with previous meditation experience should consider a one or three month commitment.