Tung Lin Kok Yuen is situated at No. 15, Shan Kwong Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong, being a Buddhist monastery founded in 1935 by Lady Clara Ho Tung and her husband Sir Robert Ho Tung. The name of the monastery was derived from the couple’s name Sir Robert Ho Tung and Lady Clara (Dharma name Lin Kok).
Lady Clara was a Buddhist and lay patron who had a passionate desire to spread the wisdom and practice of Buddhism as well as to promote the education of women. She founded the Po Kok Free School and the Po Kok Buddhist Institute in Hong Kong in the early 1930s to provide education for women and training for nuns. After Tung Lin Kok Yuen was first built, it housed both the School and the Buddhist Institute. As it is located in the residential area of Happy Valley, Tung Lin Kok Yuen marked the emergence of an urban monastery model in Hong Kong, as contrasted to the traditional monastery setting in the mountains.
With its arrowhead-shaped building plan, Tung Lin Kok Yuen’s appearance resembles a “giant ship” symbolising one of Mahayana Buddhism’s concepts of ferrying all beings to the “other shore”, or in other words enlightenment itself. The architect responsible for the building design was Fung Tsun, and Venerable Shi Ai Ting provided extensive advice for details which embody the Buddhist doctrine. While Tung Lin Kok Yuen adopted Western structural forms, it retained traditional Chinese designs in both its interior and exterior decorations such as flying eaves, brackets and glazed tile roofs. Following the traditional Chinese layout for a Buddhist monastery, it had a Skanda Hall, the Grand Buddha Hall and a Tripitaka Library in designated sequence. On each side of the Grand Buddha Hall were the Dharma Bell and the Dharma Drum. Behind the Grand Buddha Hall there was a courtyard which was redeveloped in 1954 into a three-storied Lin Kok Memorial Building. This was also designed by Fung Tsun to be integrated with the original building in the same style of architecture. The first floor of the Lin Kok Memorial Building now houses the Bhaisajyaguru Buddha Hall.