The Mahayana Buddhist Temple - Day Trippin' in Greene County - Part IV

Sunday, August 5, 2018
If I could realistically and honestly choose, I might say I saved the best for last, but if I were honest I would't be able to choose a favorite in my Greene County series.  I will say I saved the most serene for last because I'd be hard-pressed to find a place quite as serene as the Mahayana Buddhist Temple in South Cairo, NY.

Built in 1970 and taking one and one half years to complete, the Mahayana Temple is the retreat of the Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America whose downtown branch is located in New York City.  We stumbled upon the temple accidentally, as frequently is the case, when traveling for other purposes....this time when we were bear hunting in Cairo.  On that particular day, the grounds were quite deserted except for the one lone deer who we had a rather close encounter with.
We first saw him (her?) as we drove into the complex strolling along the road.  Attempting to avoid us, she ducked into a row of vegetation.  As I walked down the path to this pagoda....

 I looked to my right and this is what I saw staring back at me...

What was even scarier was later when I went to take another photo, this image was staring at me from inside the camera.  Silly me, for a moment forgetting I'd forgotten to return the camera from its playback setting, I thought I was having another close encounter.  Ha ha!  Since we were the only humans wandering the grounds that day, we left pretty quickly worried we might be trespassing.  I later researched and found that the public is welcome on the grounds, so last weekend we made another trip to Cairo specifically to explore this really beautiful retreat.
One doesn't have to be Buddhist to visit and appreciate the serene and very spiritual aura that exists throughout these temple grounds.  Having said that, it's not difficult to tell the non-Buddhist visitors from the Buddhists as all the temples had at least a few Buddhists posed in deep prayer, without cameras and definitely looking quite at home in their place of worship.  I did my best to not overdue the photography inside the temples and one, the first photo in this post, specifies no photography.  I'm not sure why that one is different from the rest, (since almost nothing is written in English) but I respected their request.  As you drive to the temple you are greeted by this welcoming gate...
It would seem that the tranquility and lack of crowds must be appealing to the local wildlife.  Again on this trip we were greeted by some four-legged friends, at least two, perhaps three this time.  It's obvious they consider the grounds their home and are not intimidated by visitors.  This gal and her friend were right alongside the car, totally oblivious that anyone might consider them to be wild game.

There are two lakes on the grounds, Linglong E. Lake and Linglong W. Lake.

The Ying's Family Cemetery is in the area with the monument in the background of this photo above.  Story of the Ying family, who built this and the NYC temple can be found on the wall placque photo later in this post.





The next building we entered was labeled 500 Arhats on the map.  An Arhat is someone far advanced along the path of enlightenment, but who may not have achieved Buddhahood.  Inside this building appropriately sits 500 Arhats. 

Gold and red seem to be a recurring theme at the Buddhist retreat.  Also note that at each prayer station, you'll see a slot for donations. This fella seems quite happy, but we discovered that's not the case with all Buddhas.







 Wait till you see the inside of this little building...............



 And along the path leading to this building, visitors are greeted by these ..... gentlemen, monks maybe?

Quite interesting, right.   Group tours are available for groups of at least 5 people. Reservations must be made a week in advance. The staff we met on our visit spoke very little English.   I think it would be fascinating to have some narration and explanation of this really beautiful, holy place. 
In the one building, a vegetarian lunch was being served and visitors were welcome to partake.  I'm not sure of the details because we didn't partake, but the website says lunch costs $5.00   Restrooms are available.  Paths were mostly paved and easy walking, but many of the temples had steps leading to them.  If you love communing with nature, enjoy visiting places of worship, or are just in the mood to explore, I highly recommend you visit the Mahayana Temple in  South Cairo, NY.  I've been told it is quite beautiful in the fall too.  The Temple is located at 710 Ira Vail Road, Leeds NY (that's the mailing address).  The only website I found was for the NYC temple, but that has information on the South Cairo location too:  http://en.mahayana.us/  There is no 'official' Facebook page, just this 'unofficial' page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-York-Mahayana-Temple/113867315368362
Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Don't forget to share this post with your friends and if you've missed my previous posts about the beautiful Greene County, just keep scrolling or visit my blog Directory!

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