May 3, 2007
Amidst the fog, we traversed the trail through the woods to get to the Wisdom Path. The Wisdom Path sat beautifully on a grassy hill where 38 wooden pillars were erected and arranged to form an infinity figure ∞. Each pillar, save for one, has an inscription of Chinese characters. The calligraphy spoke about the Heart Sutra or the Prajna-paramita Heart Sutra wherein Prajna-paramita was derived from Sanskrit which means "perfection of wisdom". It is called "Heart" because it includes the very essence of the perfection of wisdom of Buddha. Overall, the Sutra teaches the doctrine of "emptiness", which explains the relativity of all views and thereby realizing that everything is constantly changing. With this doctrine, one will be free from material attachments, yet treasures all things and events because they are just temporary, and enable one to have perfect freedom and harmony. The teachings of the Heart Sutra are revered by Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, three major religions in China.
The Wisdom Path with the teachings of the Heart Sutra was an idea of Professor Jao Tsung-I who was inspired by the Buddhist stone inscriptions he saw in Shandong. He wrote the Heart Sutra calligraphy and presented the writings to Hong Kong in June 2002. These were then placed on large slabs of wood reminiscent of bamboo tiles, as how writings were done in ancient times, and were designed for outdoor environment. The Wisdom Path was completed in 2005. The height and position of each wood corresponds to the topography of the landscape. At the highest part of the hill, one wood has no inscription to stress the concept of emptiness, the key theme in the Heart Sutra. To get to the Wisdom Path, you go through the Po Lin Monastery by bus or cable car then follow the sign to the Tea Garden. You will find the sign leading you to the Wisdom Path. It’s a 10-15 minute hike from the Po Lin Monastery. With the cold weather and our slow-paced walk, getting to the Wisdom Path was no feat. The majestic view of the towering woods and the serene landscape were both humbling and breathtaking. We sat on one of the rocks in the center of the columns and just gazed at the wonderful beauty before our eyes.
From journal Holy Week in Hong Kong