A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas
Thousands of abandoned statues of deities are taken to this hillside in southern Hong Kong.
At the bottom of the stairs in Waterfall Bay Park in the southern part of the Wah Fu district of Hong Kong is a hillside where people bring household deities they can no longer keep.
Wong Wing-pong looks after this collection of statues, their self-appointed caretaker for nearly two decades in his retirement. The octogenarian was once a butcher, but now every day he comes to the rocky slope full of statues of Buddha and gods from many religions, though mostly Buddhism and Taoism, where he sweeps away leaves and burns incense as an offering.
Wong first came upon this spot on a walk, at a time when it already had around a dozen statues. Since then, he has regularly added to the collection, which has come to be known locally as “a sky full of gods and Buddhas.”
In Hong Kong, it is against the beliefs of most residents to dispose of a statue of Buddha or a deity, even if it is broken, so they leave them by the side of the road for someone else either to take or to worship. Wong picks up discarded statues he finds, fixes them if they need fixing, and brings them to this spot. It has become so well known that he doesn’t have to do that as much anymore because people bring their statues directly to him.
All of the statues look out to sea. People often visit the collection, which now numbers in the thousands, to worship, whether they have statues that have been incorporated into it or not. This is not the only such shrine around Hong Kong, but it is by far the biggest. The only thing the local government asks is that the statues not block footpaths.
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