He told police who raided his room at the monastery in May that he had bought the discs and downloaded the photos from the Internet to sate his "curiosity and sexual desire," the South China Morning Post reported.
Deputy District Court Judge John Glass said Chow, who was paid for providing counselling services in the monastery, had committed a "very serious" offence and must face prison, it said.
The judge said a substantial amount of the material Chow kept showed children engaging in intercourse or other sex acts.
Police said they arrested Chow after receiving intelligence from Interpol as part of international cooperative efforts that had led to the crackdown last year on a British-based syndicate that sold child porn on its website.
The victims in that case were all girls aged six to 16 and were shown being abused by adult men, the police told the Post.