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Kai Yuan Si 开元寺

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Basic information
1811 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA
Sectarian affiliation(s):
  • Mahayana
Cultural, linguistic, ethnic representation:
  • Chinese (other or unspecified)
  • Taiwanese
  • Vietnamese
Geographic origins of institution, founder, or network:
  • Information Not Available
Best time to visit:

From 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM on weekdays. From 10:00 AM - 12PM on weekends.

Date last visited: April 21, 2018
Currently active?: As of the last time it was visited by our research team, this location was open.
Other Basic Information:

Est. 2008 on Devereaux Ave., moved to current location in 2014. Two monks in residence. Affiliated with a temple in New York City. Offer a free language school for children.

Local setting, neighborhood, demographics

The temple mainly attracts first-generation Asian Americans of Chinese descent, many from China, specifically from Fujian province, but also from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

Connections with medicine, healing, wellness

The practices at the temple focusing on health include rituals, chants, and prayer. The monks lead sessions that involve incense offerings and worship of the Buddha to promote good health, longevity, and happiness. They also lead sūtra chants, where a particular sūtra is chosen for one’s particular situation, including for healing illness. Practitioners utilize scriptures such as Great Compassion Mantra 大悲咒, the Heart Sūtra 心經, the "Chapter on Deliverance" from the Lotus Sūtra 法華經, and the Flower Ornament Sūtra 華嚴經. We are told that sickness is sometimes caused by spirits or ghosts of the deceased who have not moved onto the afterlife. After the sessions, practitioners will often stay for a vegetarian meal, which is said to have a cleansing effect on one’s health and karma.