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Chua Giac Lam

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Basic information
131 Nyack Ave, Lansdowne, PA 19050, USA
Sectarian affiliation(s):
  • Mahayana
Cultural, linguistic, ethnic representation:
  • Vietnamese
Geographic origins of institution, founder, or network:
  • Vietnam
Best time to visit:

Ceremonies Sun. 11am, meditation 1:30–3:30pm (Vietnamese language with limited English).

Date last visited: December 13, 2018
Currently active?: As of the last time it was visited by our research team, this location was open.
Other Basic Information:

Vietnamese temple with Mahayana services, established around 1980. One monk in residence.

Local setting, neighborhood, demographics

Located west of the city, the temple mainly attracts people of Vietnamese descent, including many families with young children. The temple holds regular events and activities for kids.

Connections with medicine, healing, wellness

The main temple hall provides typical Mahayana ceremonies for blessings and alleviation of suffering, often centering around Avalokiteśvara (Quan Âm). There is also a meditation group that meets on the grounds of the temple in a separate building. This group is devoted to practicing jhāna meditation. At the time of our interview, the group itself was 100% Vietnamese, and most members had only limited English ability. However, they were following the teachings and meditation system of a noted Caucasian author and teacher of Theravāda meditation.

The meditation group leader described in an interview how jhāna meditation slows down the breath and focuses the mind, which has profound healing effect on the body and mind. He also claimed that whether a person is suffering due to illness or any other trouble, he or she can go beyond it by practicing jhāna meditation to transcend the troublesome situations and not experience suffering.