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Temple of Saint Zonkava

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Basic information
Address:
129 East Courtland Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Sectarian affiliation(s):
  • Vajrayana, Tantric, or Esoteric
Cultural, linguistic, ethnic representation:
  • Mongolian, Central Asian, Kalmyk, etc.
  • Tibetan or Himalayan
Geographic origins of institution, founder, or network:
  • Mongolia, Central Asia, or Russia
  • Tibet or Himalayan Region
Best time to visit:

Sunday 10-12 services, followed by food, music, dancing, and other cultural activities.

Date last visited: April 8, 2018
Currently active?: As of the last time it was visited by our research team, this location was open.
Other Basic Information:

Established in the 1962 by a Kalmyk monk who came to Philadelphia from Russia and one who came from Tibet. Three monks currently in residence.

Local setting, neighborhood, demographics

The temple is shared with between Tibetan and Kalmyk communities. The Tibetan services are held in the morning, while the Kalmyk services are in the afternoon. Attendees include primarily immigrant families, including children.

Connections with medicine, healing, wellness

If a member of the community is suffering any ailment, they can call the monks at the temple to arrange a personal visit. The most popular form of healing is meditation and spiritual guidance by the monks. Another specific healing technique mentioned is traditional massage. The interviewee, who is a practitioner of massage, discussed how Buddhism, massage, and healing are interlinked. He also stated that because of laws regulating massage in PA, the monks cannot perform the same types of massage they had practiced in the home country. The monks consequently do not offer massage, per the law, but may practice a form of "laying on of hands" as part of a ritual healing.

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