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Chua Quan Âm

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Basic information
1239 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123, USA
Sectarian affiliation(s):
  • Mahayana
Cultural, linguistic, ethnic representation:
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Vietnamese
Geographic origins of institution, founder, or network:
  • Vietnam
Date last visited: November 8, 2015
Currently active?: As of the last time it was visited by our research team, this location was open.
Other Basic Information:

Vietnamese Mahayana monastery, with 2 monks in residence. Est. 1992.

Local setting, neighborhood, demographics

The temple is located in North Philadelphia. The temple attendees are diverse and include people of Vietnamese, and Chinese descent.

Connections with medicine, healing, wellness

Blessing ceremonies take place in the main altar where the central figure is the statue of Avalokiteśvara (Quan Âm). The monk we interviewed here reported that people often ask for a blessing ceremony when they are feeling sick or when they believe that they are having bad luck because a ghost is following them (see video). The blessing ceremony is performed to help individuals push away bad luck, cure ailments, and get rid of ghosts. Often, the “Great Compassion Mantra" or “Mahākaruṇā Dhāraṇī” is used as the basis of the ritual. The ritual starts when the monk covers the individual’s head with a red cloth and rings a bell over the top of his head. The monk then takes the cloth off of the person’s head, and uses it to wipe the individual’s head in a downward motion while quietly reciting parts of the mantra. The monk sprays the individual’s hands with perfumed water, and instructs him to wipe the top of his head in a backward motion three times. The ceremony ends with the individual bowing three times to Avalokiteśvara.