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THE
HONG KONG TEMPLE PROJECT

 

PROSPECTUS

The HKTP: A Statement of Purpose
What is the HKTP?
How will the HKTP serve the public?
Who will create the HKTP?
How can you get involved in the HKTP?
Appendices
Contact Information

 

The HKTP: A Statement of Purpose

The heritage of Hong Kong's temples is a gift to the world.

To make that gift accessible, the Hong Kong Temple Project will:

  • Locate and list all Chinese temples within the Hong Kong S.A.R.
  • Record the layout and describe the images in each temple
  • Disseminate this information to the public through the Internet and through English-language information available at each temple
  • Write articles, books, and pamphlets promoting understanding of these temples
  • Serve as a resource for temple information in English

The Hong Kong Temple Project will provide these services without pay, as a public benefit, relying on donations to cover expenses.


What is the HKTP?

Hong Kong's Chinese temples--whether Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, or undifferentiated "folk" in emphasis--remind visitors of the deep resonance that religion has had for the Chinese for millennia. It is woven into the very fabric of daily life.

But this valuable reminder is under threat by economic and political developments which may devastate traditional life-ways. Hong Kong's precious heritage must be preserved through education of both the global community and local visitors.

The scheduled opening of Disneyland on Lantau Island in 2006 will bring more visitors than ever seeking out everything this unique region has to offer. The time is right for a thorough survey of Hong Kong's Chinese temples.

The Hong Kong Temple Project will survey every temple in Hong Kong. Information on the temples' locations, images, history, and practices will be made available to the global community via the internet, and to local visitors through English-language materials to be made available at each temple.


How will the HKTP serve the public?

The Hong Kong Tourist Bureau anticipates over 20.5 million visitor arrivals in 2004; in the January-through-April, before the start of the "tourist season," there had already been 6.67 million arrivals. Many of these visitors will seek out "the temple experience" for themselves, but may be frustrated by a lack of available information in English. Aside from the well-known tourist destinations, there are hundreds of smaller temples, so that a visitor staying in almost any hotel can have an authentic experience of traditional China, often within walking distance.

In addition to temporary visitors, some sources calculate Hong Kong's non-Chinese population at over 350,000. It is easy to imagine the army of expats walking to work or the MTR station past neighborhood temples every morning. The more curious may stop and stick their heads in the door--but generally have no idea what they are looking at.

For all these potential temple visitors, as well as for the online global community (and even the travel professionals), the HKTP will provide information in abundance. Where are the temples? Who are the figures inside? How was the temple founded, and what do the local people do there?

A richly-illustrated, well-designed website will describe each temple, including a floor plan, with links to a list of the deities and other figures seen in each temple. Visitors to the website may also choose to look up the deities first, and then find a list of temples in which they can be found.

Locally, in-person visitors to temples will be able to access the same basic information on the temple and its figures by simply picking up a flyer. These will be produced by the HKTP, and a master copy given to each temple, so that copies can be made available to temple visitors.

After the main survey has been "completed," the materials gathered may be used to generate articles, books, and pamphlets. These will serve to heighten the public's awareness and understanding of the temples and their significance. The most recent guidebook to the temples of Hong Kong was published in 1977; an updated book would be useful for those who want to see more of Hong Kong than what Disney has to offer.


Who will create the HKTP?

The Hong Kong Temple Project is the brainchild of one man, "The Temple Guy" James Baquet. While James knows that there will be many hearts and hands involved before the Project is completed (and many have helped already), he will perform the greater part of the work himself.

His experience has ideally suited him for this task. His undergraduate and graduate degrees include the fields of English, philosophy, and education.  And, as evidenced by these pages, he has skills in the areas of writing, photography, and web design.

But beyond that, he has had a life-long interest in things of the spirit. He is "The Temple Guy." During nearly five years living and working in Japan, he spent many weekends and vacations on "temple tromps." In the process he completed four major pilgrimages:

  • The 33 Kannon Temple (Guan Yin) Pilgrimage of Saigoku (Kansai)

  • The 33 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage of Bando (Kanto)

  • The 34 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage of Chichibu (near Tokyo), and

  • The 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku, dedicated to Kobo Daishi (Kukai)

In August of 2004 he returned to Tokyo, where he completed several small  local pilgrimages, including:

  • The 33 Kannon Pilgrimage of Edo (Tokyo)

  • The Edo Three Enma Pilgrimage

  • The Edo Six Amida Pilgrimage

  • The Edo Goshiki Fudo Pilgrimage

  • The Edo Six  Jizo Pilgrimage, and the

  • The Tokyo Ten Shinto Shrine

All of these experiences will be chronicled elsewhere on "The Temple Guy" homepage.

After returning to the U.S. from Japan in 2001, James completed the course work for a PhD in comparative religion at Hsi Lai University (now called The University of the West), where his studies centered around Asian religions. This gave him an opportunity to integrate his first-hand experiences into an academic framework.

He will use all of this in creating the Hong Kong Temple Project.

Because this is a personal endeavor, there is no "legal structure" covering James' activities. Thus there is no tax-exempt status for donations.

 


How can you get involved in the HKTP?

There are numerous ways that you can help the Hong Kong Temple Project.

Translation: Perhaps you can read and write Chinese; James often needs to have materials translated.

Information: If you live in Hong Kong, you may have information that could be helpful, such as the location of temples that have been omitted, or some knowledge regarding the history of a particular temple.

Feedback: Another way anyone can help, even with no special knowledge of the subject, is to read and critique these pages. Is a description unclear? An image unattributed? Are there typographical errors? Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Donations: Finally, there's money. James' Aki Meguri in the Autumn of 2001, a 10-week journey through Japan, was funded largely by nearly $5,000 US in donations large and small, from friends and readers.

The needs of the HKTP will be much greater, and the Project is expected to take approximately two years. As with the Aki Meguri, James is taking no salary for himself, but does hope to have his expenses covered through the generosity of like-minded people. In estimating the costs, James has included:

  • Transportation: James will be crossing the border from his home in Shenzhen, China, by bus or train; then taking local transportation (trains or buses) to the temples.
  • Research and Translation: Purchasing books at the temples, and having the Chinese portions of them translated, will ensure that information obtained from oral sources is accurate. Also, background materials (such as forms to be filled in by temple staff) must be translated before the Project is launched.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Hong Kong was recently listed as the world's fifth-most expensive city. While James does not expect donors to pay for meals and other perosonal needs, he will subsidize such purchases with Project funds to create parity with prices in Shenzhen.

The final figure is expected to be over $25,000 US, or over $200,000 in Hong Kong dollars.

While all donations will be gratefully accepted, James is hoping to streamline the process by finding eight people--likely eight Hong Kong business people--to form a "Circle of Eight," each member contributing $25,000 HKD. Circle of Eight members will receive special reports on the Project, and have their names listed in all promotional materials. See below for contact information.

All donations will be posted on-line (anonymously if requested), and an accounting of expenditures will be made public on a regular basis.


Appendices

In the future, two appendices will be posted on this site:

  • Appendix I: Personal Resume
  • Appendix II: The Shenzhen Temple Project
    • A Model Site based on the temples in Shenzhen

In addition, sample pages for several temples will be on-line soon.


Contact Information

People wishing to help with the Project, or who have questions or feedback, are welcome to write to James at

hktp@thetempleguy.com

Those interested in joining the Circle of Eight encouraged to call James at

+136 5231 9985 when James is in Shenzhen

+852 6504 4294 when James is in Hong Kong


 

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