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Ru Lai Si 如來寺

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Basic information
147 Wyoming Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA
Sectarian affiliation(s):
  • Mahayana
Cultural, linguistic, ethnic representation:
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
Geographic origins of institution, founder, or network:
  • Information Not Available
Best time to visit:

Open Sundays 9–4, public ceremony around noon.

Date last visited: November 18, 2015
Currently active?: As of the last time it was visited by our research team, this location was open.
Other Basic Information:

Chinese Mahayana temple first est. 1985, now in third location. Three to five monastics in residence. There are two main devotional halls where Buddhist practices and teachings take place. In one of the devotional spaces, there is an altar with three Buddha statues, while in the other space there is an altar with a statue of Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin). The temple holds ceremonies that focus on chanting to the various deities.

Local setting, neighborhood, demographics

The majority of the attendees are Chinese.

Connections with medicine, healing, wellness

According to our interviewees, people often come to the temple to participate in ceremonies where parts of the Diamond Sūtra are recited. The interviewees believe that this practice helps practitioners to forget about their problems, to find peace when an experience or emotion is overwhelming, and to connect with the Buddhist teachings on emptiness. Other temple practice focuses on cultivating compassion, which promotes wellbeing since there is less negativity in one’s environment.

The temple teaches dantian 丹田 breathing meditation (i.e., breathing into the lower abdomen), which is said to be extremely important to a person’s health throughout their life. Through this practice, ultimately, the qi (i.e., the Chinese concept of energy in the body) will be calmed, which will benefit both the mind and the body. The interviewees stated that various illnesses are caused because of unbalanced qi, and that by practicing this type of meditation one can calm and balance it to achieve health and well-being.