A visit to Hong Kong is incomplete without the 268 step climb to Tian Tan sitting Buddha statue at Ngong Ping in Lantau Island. Erected in 1993 across one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums ‘The Po Lin Monastery’, the 111 feet tall 'Big Buddha' as it is called, took twelve years to build and is one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions; more so due to the efficient Ngong Ping Cable Car cable car ride to the top which offers breath-taking views of the mountains and the ocean.
What intrigued me at Ngong Ping was the swastika embedded on Big Buddha’s chest and also on Buddha within Po Lin Monastery. Swastika originates from the Sanskrit word 'svasti' meaning good fortune, luck and well being and is commonplace in Hinduism since the symbol originally represented the revolving sun, fire or the circle of life. In Buddhism too, not surprisingly, the swastika symbolizes auspiciousness and good fortune.
Due to the usage of the counter clockwise version of the swastika in the Nazis' flag, it has became a symbol of hate and anti-Semitism in the western world. Interestingly though in Hinduism this counter-clockwise version of swastika with the arms bent to the left called sauvastika or sathio, symbolizes night, magic, or purity, and also the destructive powers of goddess Kali. In Hinduism the swastika or sathio is used to mark the good opening or beginning of anything important; account books of merchants or entry doors to households etc.
The swastika symbol was even used by the Navajo Native Americans; who sadly discontinued its use after its Nazi association.
Christopher Columbus was perhaps not too far off when he mistook Native Americans as Indians; given the similarities in their spiritual roots. There is more to that association than meets the eye.