Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mahayana Buddist Temple

Today we decided to take a driving tour in Greene County, NY.  One of there brochures has three routes that all begin at the Visitor's Center in Leeds, NY.  We stopped at the Visitor Center to  pick up more information on the area and then started the drive.

Our first stop on the drive was the Mahayana Buddist Temple in Cairo, New York.  This temple is the oldest Chinese Buddhist Temple on the East Coast.  It was founded by Mrs. Annie Ying and funded by her husband Mr. James Ying.  The Mahayana Temple Main Hall in south Cairo was completed and the dedication ceremony took place on September 25th, 1971.  Since then there have been several building and land additions.  The Mahayana campus is now about 166.5 acres.

When you first pull into the area of the temple, you'll see this lovely scene.

We followed a long forested path to the Temple.  The grounds are all well manicured and it is a lovely place to visit.

Map of the Grounds

We don't know too much about Buddhism but wondered about all the different figures of Buddhas we were seeing as we thought there was just one Buddha.  We found out that there are 28 Buddhas who have appeared in this world during various periods. The Buddhist scriptures record the names of these Buddhas. Buddhists pay their homage in veneration to all these Buddhas. In essence, all these Buddhas are exactly the same as the Buddha of this world cycle. They have all realized the same Universal Truth (Dhamma) that Sakyamuni Buddha had realized and they have all His qualities.

The Bell Tower, Jialan Hall and the Drum Tower

The side walk that strolls past all the miniature Buddhas and past the the Bell and Drum Towers and  Jialan Hall.  

These symbols were in the Sidewalk

The figure above and the figure below are in Jialan Hall.  They have some fresh fruit in front of them and also some incense burning.

Dizang Hall - The Temple

There were signs that told us that we couldn't take pictures in the temple but we were allowed in.  It was, of course, the most ornate of the buildings that we visited.

We saw this strange bug, at least strange to us.  I'll have to look him up to see what he is.

The White-spotted Sawyer

Grand Hall

The Grand Hall is where Visitors are welcomed.  It also is the one that contains a Gift Shop.  A little woman who didn't speak much English made sure that we made it to the Gift Shop.  There is no charge for being on the premises but they do ask for donations in several of the buildings.

500 Arhat Hall

We were not sure what Arhats were so I looked it up.  Arhats are people that have reached Nirvana and will no longer be reborn.  I suppose, as a former Catholic, I would relate that to being a saint. 

Kwun Yam Hall (under renovation)

The main altar in this building was still intact but there was clutter all about the room.  Still, however, the figures on the main altar had their fresh fruit and incense burning.

Lovely setting

Ying's Family Cemetery

Canadian Geese - this pair only had one gosling so we wondered if someone took the rest of the eggs.  It may be the only way to keep these prolific birds from taking over every pond and waterway!

Seven Storied Jade Pagoda - Yufo Tower

Vegetable Gardens near the exit/entrance

When we left the Buddist Temple we wondered if we would have enough time to finish this drive today.  The tour of this complex took a lot longer than we thought.  Of course, now all we were thinking about was our stomachs as it was way past time for lunch.

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