Visiting Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY

The Monastery, as the home of Buddhist Association of the United States, is situated on 225 acres of land in the Town of Kent, Putnam County, New York State. In November 1975, BAUS leased 125 acres of land in Putnam County, NY from Dr. C.T. Shen for the future development of CYM. The lease was for 99 years with an annual payment of one dollar. As suggested by the local government, Dr. Shen donated the land to BAUS in 1989. The ground-breaking ceremony for the monastery was held on May 23, 1981.

The name of the Monastery “Chuang Yen”, means “Majestically Adorned”. The “Adornment” refers to the adornment of the Buddha’s teachings. Traditionally, Buddhist Monasteries not only served as a focus for religious services and festivals, they were also community centers of learning and activities — both religious and secular. Carrying on that tradition, Chuang Yen Monastery extends an invitation to the public to view the religious services and festivals held here, and be the place to cultivate awareness to develop wisdom.

The Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace is a service Chuang Yen Monastery provides. Twice a year, in the spring and autumn, there are ceremonies during which the ashes of the deceased are placed in the Thousand Lotus Memorial Terraces. In Mahayana Buddhism, being grateful to all sentient beings is strongly emphasized, especially to our parents. According to one of the Mahayana Sutras, we should be grateful to our parents, and also to sentient beings, the king or minister of the Triple Gems. They are our providers who also protect and guide us in every aspect of life. These memorial terraces, therefore, enable us to express our love for and gratitude to our parents, and to teach or show our next generation how to be grateful to their elders.

There are two Thousand-Lotus Memorial Terraces situated on the northwestern slope of Chuang Yen Monastery. They face southeast and are built with granite. The half circle design and the statue of Amitabha Buddha which overlooks the terrace and symbolizes the Western Paradise in Pure Land Buddhism.

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by Reviewer