Whether or not we name it, we all seek a balance among the moving parts of our lives. We strive for agreement between our physical and spiritual worlds. Yet too often we find ourselves incapable of summoning this state of being. Why?
There is a place whose people have been on a never-ending quest to achieve a concord between life’s jagged puzzle pieces. And some believe they have found its secrets.
Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong: three pearls in one exquisite setting. Each is distinct yet they are bound together by a cultural veneration of harmony. According to Richard, “Just as a wick needs a flame, some of us can’t live without exploring our existence, and I inevitably find myself turning to the East and the wisdom of the Ancients.” So once again, Richard is pulled back to China and the Pearl River Delta in search of the roots of the human desire for harmony.
Harmony implies balance and the ability to integrate different elements into a pleasing unity. It incorporates the Chinese concept of Yin/Yang—opposite forces that come together to form a whole.
Chinese philosophers and religious leaders have long honored harmony as an ideal. Confucius, the great Chinese thinker, spoke of "harmony without uniformity." He taught that the world is full of differences and contradictions, but that righteous people should try to balance them to achieve a vital equilibrium.
Taoists believe that by following practices that achieve balance in daily life, they gain harmony with the universe. And the Buddha said that for the enlightened one, harmony is his joy, his delight and his love.
Today we see this fundamental value represented in so many different ways. In this trilogy of spaces Richard looks at how the people of the Pearl River Delta seek harmony in this age.
In Hong Kong we’ll discover how the rounded shoulders of tradition find poise and meaning with the new and modern. In Macau we’ll explore how western sensibilities integrate with eastern aesthetics. And in Guangdong we’ll look at how some today are rediscovering ancient attitudes about integrating human workings with the natural world.
Our quest begins in Hong Kong, Asia’s world city. At its most authentic, Hong Kong projects an energetic duality—what Richard calls, "An ambition of opposites in concert, the special ingredients of harmony."
A mere 40 miles from Hong Kong by ferry, Macau shares the shores of the Pearl River delta but seems half-a-world away. Our quest takes us to historic Old Town, Senado Square, the ruins of St. Paul’s Church, Colane Island and the Cotai Strip to learn what role harmony plays in Macau’s success.
To complete our journey we travel on to Guangdong Provence. How does Guangdong balance its bursting commerce and industry with the serenity and integrity of its original landscape? To find out, Richard explores Nan Hau Buddhist Temple, ancient Zuhji Lane, the village of Bebei Yao Fastness and Guangdong’s Grand Canyon. But the highlight of his journey is Guangdong’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, a ‘great sculpture garden of scenic wonders’ clustered around Danxia Mountain.
Partial support provided by Cathay Pacific Airways
Hong Kong Tourism