The Buddhist Association of the United States was established by the efforts of Venerable Lok To (樂渡長老, 1923 ~), the late Upasika Yu-Tsing Hwang (姜黃玉靖居士), and the support of Upasaka C.T. Shen (沈家楨博士, 1913 ~ 2007). They had the vision that the ever-new wisdom embodied in the principles of Buddhism would be able to bring peace and happiness to a suffering and troubled world.
With other ardent Buddhists, they set up a place for Dharma practice in an apartment in the Bronx, New York, in early 1964. On October 21, 1964, a charter of non-profit incorporation was granted to the Buddhist Association of the United States (abbreviated as BAUS hereafter) by the State of New York.
In 1966, Lay devotee Buddhists Dr. C.T. Shen and his wife, Woo Ju Shen, purchased an abandoned building (the now Temple of Enlightenment) and leased it to BAUS (before the tax exempt status was approved). After diligent efforts putted together from the monastic and lay devotees, this ruin finally turned into a solemn temple. After the tax exempt was granted in
1969.4.11 to BAUS, Mrs. Woo Ju Shen then officially donated the building to BAUS, thus here become the first temple of BAUS.
As more people are interested to learn Buddhism. Later on, in November of 1975, The Buddhist Association of the United States (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.
Chuang Yen Monastery (CYM), situated on 225 acres in the Town of Kent, Putnam County, New York State, is home to the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the western hemisphere. The vision of the founders has gradually taken its shape.