Welcome to Chuang Yen Monastery. The Monastery, as the home of Buddhist Association of the United States, is situated on 225 acres of and 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 and invitation to the public to vies the religious services and festivals held here, and be the place to cultivate awareness to develop wisdom.
In the Mahayana doctrine of the threefold bodies of the Buddha, Vairocana is the cosmic embodiment of the historical Buddha. Of the three bodies, Vairocana is regarded as the highest form, a god of light whose reflection throughout the universe is represented as endless. His wisdom is the wisdom of the Dharmadhatu. The Dharmadhatu is the realm of truth in which all things exist as they really are. Vairocana’s wisdom is also referred to as the all-pervading wisdom of the dharmadhatu, the absolute Buddha-nature.
In paintings, Vairocana is colored in white to symbolize a pure consciousness. As the supreme Buddha, his characteristic gesture is the mudra of the six elements in which the index finger of the left hand is clasped by the five fingers of the right, symbolizing the uniting of the five elements of the material world (earth, water, fire, air and ether) with the spiritual consciousness.
Seven Jewels Lake
The jewels represent the treasures of the Dharma. According to the sutras of the Mahayana Tradition, there are seven types of jewels: gold, silver, colored glaze, crystal, coral, pearl and agate which are regarded as the precious treasure of the mundane world. A swampy area of approximately 5 acres was developed into the beautiful lake. The area around the lake also contains walking paths, perennial flowers, a rock garden, Chinese pavilions and decorative bridges. It’s a great place to relax.
“Bodhi” literally means “awaken.” Thus, Bodhi Path means “Path to Awakening.” It symbolizes the idea that ignorant sentient beings of this mundane world could become fully awakened and attain enlightenment by walking the path, i.e., practicing the teachings of the Buddha.
The Bodhi Path was the result of the efforts of the previous Abbott, Ven. JiRu, and all others who contributed to its construction. It runs directly from the visitor’’ parking lot to the Great Buddha Hall. Walking up the Bodhi Path, one is reminded to follow the eight-fold Path and to be liberated from the sufferings in this world.
Bodhi path contains 18 statues of Arahants, 9 on each side. The 18 Arahants were great disciples of the Buddha.