Find your Zen by travelling back to China 1,000 years ago without leaving the Hudson Valley
Did you know the largest indoor buddha statue in the western hemisphere is right here in the Hudson Valley?
This week, News 12's Nikita Ramos takes a Road Trip: Close to Home to the Chuang Yen monastery in Putnam County to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Tucked in the Town of Kent-- within hundreds of acres sits the tranquil home of "Buddhist Association of the United States.” It is like travelling back to China 1,000 years ago without leaving the Hudson Valley.
"The mission here is to try to introduce the Buddhist teachings...Buddhist teachings is fully with wisdom and compassion," says Tsu Ku Lee, Vice President, Buddhist Administration of the United States.
Whether you practice or not, you can sign up for a wide range of programs that'll teach you all about Buddhist traditions, meditations and more.
It's all within the walls of ancient architectural styles of the Tang Dynasty. And inside has treasures of its own.
Inside the great Buddha Hall, your eyes will draw directly to a towering statue - 37 feet tall — with 10,000 smaller Buddha statues surrounding it on the lotus terrace.
You'll also notice there aren't any pillars to support the 84-foot-tall building. It opens the space, reflecting the mindset you should bring with you and the spirit of the monastery.
Right next door is Kuan Yin Hall, where you'll see Buddha statues that date back to more than 1,000.
The Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace is where the community lays the ashes of their loved ones to rest.
The serene grounds have so much to offer for your day trip.
Find your Zen down the walking paths and Chinese Pavilion toward Seven Jewel Lake. It’s a place where nature thrives, and peace prevails! "The main purpose is to teach people to learn Buddhist teaching, is the wisdom. If we have wisdom, we're always peaceful," says Lee.
The monastery in Kent is free and open to the public seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 3pm.