The Chi Lin Nunnery and Garden in Diamond Hill
is a quiet oasis in the middle of Kowloon.
Dear Grade 9 SPEX Students,
Spiritual Explorations is all about experiential learning, so we want to give you the opportunity to get out of the classroom and visit religious sites and meet people in Hong Kong’s religious communities. It comes as a surprise to many students that Hong Kong has so many places of worship. In fact, there are apparently 18 Buddhist temples in Causeway Bay alone! Despite its secular, business-friendly appearance, there are still many residents of Hong Kong who deeply value their religious heritage and the spiritual life.
This project asks you to visit one of these worship sites and share what you have learned. The SPEX team has put together a list of choices for you to consider. We urge you to not simply go to the most convenient or familiar site, but to take this opportunity to explore a part of Hong Kong you have never seen and to meet people who genuinely care about the vertical dimension of existence.
We hope you find this experiential project both interesting & fun! You are to work with a partner or in a group of three. (If your worship site needs a Cantonese or Mandarin speaker, please include someone in your group with this ability.) Here are a list of tasks you need to carry out to successfully carry out before and during the visit:
- Choose a worship site from the list below or another one that you would like to visit. Decide when/where you’ll meet and figure out transportation there and back.
- Create a list of questions to ask people (religious leaders or practitioners) at your chosen place of worship. We suggest the following as a starting place, but you should always be prepared to have a follow up question.
- How often do you worship here and why?
- What do you actually do here?
- What specific practices/rituals do you engage in?
- What impact does practicing your religion have on your life?
- How does this sacred place make you feel?
- What role does your faith community play in making the world a better place? What service activities occur?
- What do you think people misunderstand about your faith?
- Create additional question that show that you have an understanding of the distinctive beliefs and practices of this religious group.
- Take pictures of visuals that you observe at the site (architecture, colors, artwork, symbols, special dress, spiritual practice) that often communicate powerfully more about the values of this religion.
- Document your visit with high-quality photos and/or video, some of which include your whole group at the site.
- Take some time to sit, observe, get a “felt sense” for the place.
Project Presentation (5-7 minutes)
- Introduce the religion, the setting of the worship site, and why you chose this place to visit. (Don’t overdo this part, given that you only have 5-7 minutes!)
- Share your visuals: what did the architecture, colors, artwork, symbols, special dress, and/or spiritual practices suggest to you about the values of this religion?
- Who did you talk to and what did you learn?
- Overall, what was/were your takeaway(s) from visiting this place of worship? Did it in some way contribute to your own spiritual growth?
- Reflect on how visiting this actual place of worship made you personally feel.
These are our recommended sites. We have visited these worship places and told the religious leaders about the SPEX course. All of the them are very open to your visits.
Hong Kong Places of Worship
Hindu Centers or Temples
- Raja Yoga Center in Tin Hau
- You can contact Rohini at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to visit the center.
- Vaishala Mata Mandir in Wan Chai (#5 Wood Road)
- The priest Maharaj and his wife Mona (who was born in HK and speaks Cantonese and English) are happy to welcome you at the temple after school. You can contact Mona through Whatsapp (9665-1642) and request a time. You can also come on Saturday between 12-4, or join prayers from 4:30-7 PM, which includes Indian food and singing. You are invited to take pictures.
Another possibility: Hindu temple in Happy Valley
- Khalsa Diwan Sihk Temple in Wan Chai: you can contact Manjinder Singh (5396-5505 or email at email@example.com) or Whatsapp JC (6765-3542) for a visit to the temple.
- Su Bong Zen Monastery (5th Floor, Starlight House, 32 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay)
- HKIS students have gone here for some years. Set up a visit by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. They are happy to show you in very clear practical terms how to breathe, bow, chant, and meditate in their tradition.
- Chi Lin Nunnery and Garden in Diamond Hill, Kowloon.
- You can speak with an HKIS alum, Chuen Sing, who is a nun at Chi Lin. Her email: email@example.com
Another possibility is Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha on Lantau.
Tin Hau Temple in Stanley
- Contact Mr. Lee at 2813-0418 (from 10-1 PM everyday) or Ms. Amy Ng (1-6 PM). They both speak some English and welcome visitors.
- If possible, avoid peak times, such as the beginning/end of the Chinese lunar months.
- Other well-known temples are in Tin Hau, Central (the Man Mo temple), and Wong Tai Sin in Kowloon (this one is unusually active), but we don’t have English-speaking contacts who could welcome you at these sites.
- Chai Wan Mosque (or Masjid)
- Contact Imam Tufail (9238-9764 or 2838-9417). He is very welcoming of student visitors. Please call him to set up a time.
- He has more time Monday – Thursday than Friday – Sunday.
- It’s a bit challenging to find. Talk to Mr. Schmidt for more details.
- Stanley Mosque
- Request a visit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org The mosque is beyond a checkpoint near the PLA barracks, so special permission is required.
- You can also contact Imam Afzal (96743474), but write the email first.
- Central Mosque: request a visit to the Jamai Mosque by emailing email@example.com. They will then contact the friendly Imam Zaman (9716-4542), who is glad to arrange a visit. Any time between 1 and 8 PM is good. This mosque is off the left side of the Central escalator above Hollywood Road.
- Wan Chai Mosque: You may contact Imam Osman-yung (9884-6864), who he is Chinese, and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin as well as some English. In terms of language, it is easier for you to talk to Ibraheem (to my left), who speaks fluent English since he did his university studies in England. You can ask Imam Osman if Ibraheem can show you the mosque and talk with you.
- Anne’s Church (Stanley)
- Father John Cuff is very glad to welcome students during weekdays or weekends. Just email him to set up a time: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Church of All Nations at HKIS Lower Primary. You may contact Pastor Joel Scheiwe at email@example.com
- The Vine Church in Wan Chai
- Sunday churches at 9:15, 11:00, 2:00 and 4:00 PM.
- Their youth group meets during the 11:00 PM service, and 2:00 and 4:00 PM has more young people.
- You can contact to arrange to have someone introduce you to the church before or after the service.
Other possibilities: St. John’s Cathedral (Central), St. Andrew’s Church (TST), Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Mid-levels), Island Evangelical Community Church (Quarry Bay)
St. John’s Church of England (Episcopalian) Cathedral in Central at festive Christmas time.
- We were not able to find a synagogue that has easy access, but if you have Jewish friends that go to a synagogue, we encourage you to go. The Ohel Leah synagogue in the Mid-Levels (pictured below) is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Hong Kong.
Assessment: This is a collaborative group project and everybody must contribute as equally as possible. Your presentation is your final product, but you’ll be assessed individually on what you contributed to your group according to teacher observation, peer-assessment, and self-assessment. Communicate and work well together, follow the process outlined above and have fun! We look forward to seeing what you create. (See rubric below the suggested choices.)
Spiritual Place of Worship Visit & Presentation – Assessment Rubric
|Standards Assessed / Criteria||Credit (Exemplifying or Meeting the Standard)||No Credit (Approaching the Standard)
Explain how religious experiences, as seen in a place of worship may lead to belief in a deity.
|Presentation responds directly to the visual(s) & explanation of why it was significant (architecture, colors, artwork, symbols, special dress, spiritual practice)
|Visual and/or explanation of them are not addressed or are lacking depth|
Reflect on the experience of being physically present in a variety of sacred places.
|Presentation explicitly explains the take aways from people you spoke to with their answers to your interview questions.
Presentation clearly articulates your honest personal reflection on what you learned.
|Presentation lacks either interview responses and/or honest personal reflection|
- 1.a.1.HS. Explain how religious experiences, as seen in the numinous, conversion, miracles and prayer may lead to belief in a deity.
- 4.HS. Reflect on the experience of being physically present in a variety of sacred places or in spiritual practices such as prayer or meditation.