Chua Phap Bao

Submitted by Pierce Salguero on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 00:45
7501 Oak Lane Rd, Elkins Park, PA 19027

40.0563541, -75.1206511

Geographic Origin(s) of Institution
Date Last Visited
Main Cultural/Linguistic/Ethnic Affiliation(s) of Members or Participants
Major Sectarian Affiliation(s)
Other Basic Information

Vietnamese Mahayana (Pure Land) temple. Affiliated with a temple of the same name in Vietnam. Two monks in residence, and a third regularly visits.

Local Setting, Neighborhood, Demographics

The temple is located in suburban Elkins Park. The temple can expect about a hundred attendees for service, with a wide age range. The majority are Vietnamese, and the language of the service is Vietnamese. The temple is a converted Christian church building that has a Quan Âm statue outside the main entrance. Inside there are many different rooms, each with their own purpose. There is the main temple space for chanting that has an altar with a range of deities, a room for honoring the dead with incense, a hallway full of Buddhist texts, and a basement fitted for community lunches and recreational activities for the youth. 

Connections with Healing

The temple offers meditation to clear the mind of troubles and inconveniences, as well as “cau sieu” chants to free the deceased from the physical world and help them move onto the afterlife. Healing prayers focus on the bodhisattva Quan Âm (Avalokiteśvara), who can heals the sick and injured, and aids people with all troubles. In order to for the chant to be successful, one must believe in her abilities and authority. The temple is also socially active in the aid they provide to the poor. The Mahayana principle of bringing the benefits of Buddhism to the people are very prevalent here. 

Traditional Vietnamese herbal medicine (thuoc nam) is utilized for those who are suffering from various diseases (in the interview, apoplexy, a series of strokes, and cerebral hemorrhages resulting in unconsciousness and dizziness, were specifically mentioned). The body might be scraped with a nickel coin (cao gio) to release illness. The temple also emphasizes vegetarianism for health and ethical reasons. A vegetarian diet helps digest easier and prevents meat-related illnesses.


Best Time to Visit

Every evening 8:30–10pm, Sundays 11–2.