Chuang Yen Monastery (Chinese: 庄严寺), 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. It takes only about one-hour-drive from New York City, thus easily accessible if you live in tri-state area. Please keep in mind that it does get cooler in the temple due to its location in the mountain. We suggest  that you bring more clothes to keep warm. Moreover, the incense to pay respect for Buddha is for free and there’s no need to bring your own incense. flowers and fruits offerings could also be good choices for you.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Buddha

The idea of building Chuang Yen Monastery was initiated by C.T. Chen couple dating back to 1975.  After seeing a majestically adorned temple in a dream, they decided to donate their land in Kent, Putnam County, New York, to Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS) for the construction of Chuang Yen Monastery. The first hall – Kuan Yin Hall’s construction took about 10 years and was finished in 1985,. Then it took another 10 years to build a road from the temple down off the mountain. The last hall – Great Buddha Hall, was completed in 1997, which marked the completion of Chuang Yen Monastery.

Chuang Yen Monastery is fenceless, and it’s free to visit. Next to the parking lot, you can find a bluestone walkway, along which there are eighteen arhats on both sides. Walk till the end of the walkway, you will see the main hall – Great Buddha Hall is in front of you.

The structure of the great Buddha hall adopts the style inherited from Tang Dynasty. In the middle of the hall, a  45-foot-tall Vairocana Buddha, also known as Sakyamuni Buddha, is seated. Outside the hall, incense burner and free incense are offered.

The Kuan Yin Hall is located right next to the Great Buddha Hall. The Kuan Yin Hall was designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, a famous Chinese architect. It also adopts the style of Tang Dynasty and appears to be elegant with classic glamour. In the middle of the hall, a painted porcelain statue of Kuan Yin from Ming Dynasty is presented, which is the largest one of such kind around the world at present. On the left side of the statue is a woodcarving statue of Kuan Yin from the late Tang Dynasty, which has a history of more than one thousand years.

The Dining Hall is on the west side of Kuan Yin Hall, delicious vegetarian meals are served at noon during weekends. After exiting the Dining Hall, you can walk along a trail down the hill, then you will reach to the Seven Jewel Lake. There is an 18-foot high Kuan Yin statue standing by the lake.

Passing by Seven Jewel Lake, you will find the Woo Ju Memorial Library. The library has a collection of over 70,000 books, and is open to public during weekends.

Chuang Yen Monastery is closed to public during winter time due to snow. .  It’s open to public from April 1 to December 31, 9 am to 5 pm every day.  However, on Chinese New Year’s Day it’s open to public for interfaith prayers.