Chuang Yen Monastery (Great Buddha, 莊嚴寺)
in Carmel, New York State in Autumn Season
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A view of the Great Buddha Hall (大佛殿) in Chuang Yen Monastery (莊嚴寺) at: 2020 Route 301,
Carmel, New York State 10512-3426, Phone: (845) 225-1819. It is about 1.6 miles east of Junction of
Route 301 and Taconic State Parkway. "Chuang Yen Monastery" literally means "solemn monastery".
The 225-acre monastery is a beautiful and quiet place of tranquility (景緻幽美的佛寺和山水.) The land
was donated by Dr. Chia Theng Shen (沈家桢居士, 博士). Chuang Yen Monastery was designed by the
well known Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘) using Tang Dynasty architecture (盛唐風

Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Chuang Yen Monastery

The 37-foot statue of Great Buddha on lotus petals in the Great Buddha Hall is the largest statue of
Buddha in the Western Hemisphere. Encircling the large statue are 10,000 small statues of the Buddha
on a lotus terrace (蓮花看台上有萬尊小佛環繞著大佛) . Professor C. G. Chen (杭州美術學院陳長庚教
授), well known sculpture artist from China, spent 2 years to construct this huge statue of Buddha.
The little Buddhas were also designed and fabricated by Professor C.G. Chen. 大佛像的塑造,出自中国

A close up view of the 10,000 small statues of the Buddha on the lotus terrace can be seen at the
following website:


It took us about two and half hour of driving on October 19, 2008 to go from mid-New Jersey to reach
Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York State.
七寶湖 的 湖畔風光, 非凡镜界。

The extensive grounds invite walking, with pathways leading to this beautiful Seven Jewels Lake .

Map: Click here to see a detailed map in this Monastery
Autumn foliage in the backyard of the monastery
The view and the Bodhi Avenue (菩提大道) in front of the Great Buddha Hall. The white elephants here
symbolize perfect wisdom and royal power
A view of the Seven Jewels Lake
菩提大道及大道旁的十八尊羅漢, 這象徵著眾生從無明到覺悟到成佛

The Bodhi Avenue from the parking lot to the Great Buddha Hall, symbolizes the path towards tranquility and
enlightenment. It is guarded by 18 Lohans (Arhats) and two lions as the protectors of the sacred buildings, thus
maintaining peace and tranquility within the sanctuary.
Autumn foliage in the monastery
A delicious vegetarian lunch for $5 is served at noon in this cafeteria style vegetarian dining hall (齋堂) for

Foliage near the dining hall
Foliage near Seven Jewels Lake
Another view of Seven Jewels Lake
There are many fish (carps or Koi) in Seven Jewels Lake. "Koi" is Japanese word for “carp”. In Buddhist
religion and in Asian culture, fish symbolizes auspiciousness ( 好運的象徵), well-being, happiness and freedom.
It symbolizes living in a state of fearlessness without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and of
freedom to migrate from place to place freely and spontaneously (猶如在大海裡遨遊 ).

In China and Japan, there is a cherished legend of the "Carp Jumping Over the Dragon Gate
門』". Chinese and Japanese people admire the healthy and powerful carp that jumped over the very
high and challenging Dragon-Gate Waterfalls to become a dragon (傳說以前有條很優秀的鯉魚跳龍門成
光光成為龍). In Asian culture, dragon is a highly revered symbol of emperor,  potent and auspicious
powers, strength, and good luck. Such superior carp symbolizes health, strength, brave and great
success in life (健康成長,朝氣蓬勃,奮發有為, 認為鯉魚是力量和勇氣的象徵 ).

I took a movie clip of many fish (carps or Koi) swimming in the Seven Jewels Lake and uploaded the movie clip
to YouTube website at:

Foliage near parking lot in the monastery
Autumn foliage along Lake Sebago on Seven Lake Parkway in Harriman State Park, New York. On our return
trip from Chuang Yen Monastery back to New Jersey in the late afternoon of October 19, 2008, we drove
through Bear Mountain Bridge, Bear Mountain State Park and Harriman State Park in New York State to enjoy
the beautiful autumn foliage along highways and lakes.

Lake Welch along Seven Lake Parkway in Harriman State Park
Lake Welch along Seven Lake Parkway in Harriman State Park

Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Lake Welch
Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain State Park
Kuan-Yin Hall (觀音殿, Hall of Kuan-Yin) on the left side in Chuang Yen Monastery. The Kuan-Yin Hall has a
very special thousand year old wood carving statue of Kuan-Yin (大慈大悲的觀世音菩薩) that was originally
constructed in the Tang Dynasty. A picture of this special statue of Kuan-Yin and the associated stories can
be seen at the following  websites in Chinese language:


Kuan-Yin or Guanyin is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists,
usually as a female and is also known as Goddess of Mercy. 觀音 means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of
the World or perceives the world's lamentations".
Lake Sebago along Seven Lake Parkway
Autumn foliage viewed from State-Line Lookout along Palisades Interstate Parkway overlooking Hudson River
with 2 vultures in flight. We also saw a hawk and a falcon near this Lookout when we were driving in the
morning from mid-New Jersey to Chuang Yen Monastery in New York State.

Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of State-Line-Lookout along Palisades Parkway
Autumn foliage along highways on our way to Chuang Yen Monastery in New York State in the morning of
October 19, 2008.
Another view of the Great Buddha Hall in Chuang Yen Monastery.

沈家楨 (Chia Theng Shen) 居士博士出生在美麗的杭州城. 畢業于上海交通大學電機工程系,1952年,他定居美
部分投入于佛教,廣行佈施,無私奉獻,兩人決定將他們紐約州博南郡(Putnam County)所有的大片土地,撥

It is constructed without internal pillars supporting the ceiling. This results in a spacious, unobstructed interior
that reflects the spirit of Chuang Yen Monastery. 大佛殿內無柱分隔,寬敞清淨,象徵著佛法浩瀚,與佛教慈悲
林間漫步, 享受色彩繽紛的秋天的美景。

Visitors on quiet walk path in the monastery
Quiet walk path near Seven Jewels Lake (湖畔曲徑幽雅)
A statue of Goddess of Mercy at the Seven Jewels Lake. 湖畔有一尊高約十餘尺的白衣觀音
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The website of Chuang Yen Monastery is at:


The information (such as phone numbers, address, etc.) to contact Chuang Yen Monastery is at this web

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