We finally made it to the monastery upstate….

24 05 2007

Chuang Yen Monastery…and we were lucky to be able to go, together, as a family yesterday. The grounds were really quiet and pretty. There weren’t many people around. So in a few halls we had the place to ourselves. Our first stop was in the “Great Hall” which houses the largest statue of the Buddha in the Western hemisphere. Inside I was impressed that there were a ton of books available free! Of course, you can make a donation, but if you really don’t have the money, the books are still there for you. I felt like I was in a place where I could leave my purse in the middle of the floor, come back in a few hours and find it untouched.

I wasn’t really sure what to do in front of the statue. I just kind of admired it. The few people who did pop in and out gave our family a fair amount of attention. All I really ended up doing was standing there, praying in my usual Catholic way….the only way I really know how to pray. I figured that was probably good enough. Next time I have to remember to bring socks. I had to borrow socks from CV.

Explorer thought she could run around like a maniac. I tried to keep her under control, but there was no way that was going to happen. We let her have fun outside, skipping around and picking “wishes”. We also ended up going into Kuan Yin Hall…she’s the buddha of mercy (that’s what they told us in China). I love Kuan Yin. I think of her as Mary or the Goddess. I enjoyed praying to her and found standing in front of her to be a moving experience.

We didn’t really get a chance to see much of the rest of the grounds at this visit. I’d like to go back again. They have some events and maybe we can think about going when the kiddos are old enough to sit still and when I know what the heck I’m supposed to do. I wish the place wasn’t more than an hour away.

Someone told me that twice a year ashes are interred in a nearby mountainside for all of the members of the monastery that have died recently. Apparently, for only three thousand dollar you can inter two people in urns. For the first time, I thought to myself that I might know where I want to be buried. It’s something to think about. Plus, I can’t resist a bargain. To be buried in our local cemetery or above ground mausoleum costs a fortune.




2 responses

26 05 2007

Hi Margaret,
I have been to this monastery a number of times. There is a vegetarian lunch served on the weekends (dining hall) and there is also a retreat for older children during the summer.
Our favorite part is the garden and the lake. We have taken a lunch and eaten it there, but be sure that your lunch is vegetarian, there are signs posted about not eating meat.
There is also a library, it’s on the way in on the left. You can find the garden path from there or from the top near the temple. My children love this place. Last time we were there we saw a wedding. It was cool.

27 05 2007

Cool that you’ve been to the same place! We didn’t get a chance to get to the lake, but we certainly will next time. I’d also love to try to attend that lunch. I hope a lot of people go. It was so quiet and so beautiful when we were there, but I hope they have lots of members and lots of support.

I’m still kind of trying to figure out what kinds of events go on there and where we’d all fit in.

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