In my history book I am learning about Ancient India’s religions, so when we were in Hong Kong, we decided to visit the giant bronze Buddha. We didn’t actually mean to see the Buddha the day we did. We were going to see a museum, so we took a thirty-minute taxi ride all way to the museum only to find that it was closed. So, we jumped on the subway and went to the Buddha instead.
Buddhism is India’s second major religion (the first is Hinduism). There was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama and one day he went into a village and saw poor people who were sick and dying. He realized that he didn’t want to be a prince anymore so he became an ascetic. An ascetic is someone who gives up worldly pleasures, like eating, drinking, anything! Anyway, Siddhartha realized two things: that he was really skinny, and that he didn’t really like being an ascetic. So, he tried to find a middle path. He meditated under a tree for a very long time and finally he reached enlightment, becoming the Buddha.
When we got off the subway there wasn’t a Buddha in sight. We asked somebody and they pointed us to a giant gondola building. It turned out that we had to take a thirty-minute gondola to the Buddha. We paid extra so that we got a glass bottom.
When we got out of the gondola there was huge shopping development. We walked up to it and there were the most ridiculous stores, like the chopstick gallery, or a whole store devoted to paper fans. It was a maze to find the Buddha, but we finally found it.
When we got the top it was really impressive. The Buddha had small symbols that represented stuff. One of the symbols looked like a Nazi sign but the lines were backwards so it meant peace. In a way the Buddha reminded me a lot of the pictures of Santa Claus, a big, jolly, relaxed man.
All the time, my family and I were thinking that the Buddha was built a super long time ago by ancient people. Later we found out that the Buddha was only built in 1993, which was kind of a disappointment.
Since there wasn’t a single sign about the Buddha, we decided to see a movie at the shopping mall about Siddhartha becoming the Buddha.
It was the most disturbing thing ever.
It started out with this twenty-something macho guy racing elephants, then having this really sappy epiphany about two paths in his life. The scariest part was the end, when Siddhartha melted into this 21-century businessman shopping in Hong Kong. Basically, it was like Disney took over the Buddha story and turned it into a fairy tale.
Even though our day trip was a disappointment it was still really interesting seeing the Buddha.
Right now I am actually in Barcelona, and before that I had my 12th birthday in Hong Kong Disneyland. Disneyland was pretty fun, but it was a lot smaller than the Disneyland in California. Even though it was smaller it still had Space Mountain that I went on about 50 times! Hong Kong was great and so is Barcelona. I can’t believe that my trip is almost over, 10 weeks left!