Vietnamese Mahayana temple, affiliated with a temple in Albany NY. Est. 2008.
The temple is located in the exurbs northwest of Philadelphia. The temple attendees are mostly of South Vietnamese descent. Sessions include, on average, thirty-five to fifty people.
Weekly ceremonies on Sunday include mostly prayers and the practice of chanting. Chanting is performed before the main altar where there are statues of Śakyamuni Buddha, Avalokiteśvara, Amitābha Buddha, Bhaiṣajyaguru, and the founder of the temple’s tradition.
Additionally, whenever a member or a member’s loved one is ill, the member writes down his or her name or the name of the ill person on a piece of paper and places it on the altar. Along with this, the individual lights incense, which is a common worship object. Through this practice, the devotee honors the Three Jewels and asks to be healed by the Buddhas. This activity is followed by the practice of prayer carried out by the monks, who pray to the Buddhas for the ill person’s well-being.
Each year, at the beginning the new year according to the Sino-Vietnamese calendar, a large special ceremony dedicated to Bhaiṣajyaguru (the Medicine Buddha) takes place. The purpose, according to our informant (a senior member) is to pray for wellbeing, health, and deliverance from misfortune for the whole world. The ceremony consists of chanting of the Bhaiṣajyaguru Sūtra and a number of other mantras, as well as a lengthy Dharma talk. Following the formal ceremony, monks distribute $2 bills in red envelopes to the participants, in order to offer a blessing for health and prosperity in the year to come. This is followed by a communal vegetarian meal.
Sun. 11am to lunchtime.