Birds set free to bring good luck for temple

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2000, 12:00am

A group of Buddhists gathered yesterday for a bird releasing ceremony and to pray for the future of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin.

Engineers fear the next rainy season could trigger landslides and threaten the safety of residents and visitors to the popular religious shrine. Nearby slopes are also in need of repair.

The birds were set free to bring good luck and believers hope to raise funds to restore the four slopes.

Temple supervisors have appealed for public donations of up to $6 million for the slope stability works, which are required by law. The temple, built in 1957, houses more than 12,000 statues and is a major tourist attraction.

An elderly woman was killed in a landslide near the temple in 1997.

Engineer Rick Cheng Kwong-yip, a member of the Quality Building Management Association, which has been retained by the monastery to monitor repair work, said on Saturday that the area was still dangerous.

'Nothing has been done to the two major slopes since the landslide, and they pose the biggest threat to the temple and the residents in the squatter area nearby as the rainy season approaches,' he said.