Chuang Yen Monastery:
A Place for Tranquility and Inspiration

Did you know that the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere is located right here in the Hudson Valley?
…and I got to see it! 

It’s true!!!! Chuang Yen Monastery and the Buddhist Association of the United States is located in Putnam County.

In fact, the statue of Buddha and the Buddhist Temple are set on an amazingly scenic property of over 200 acres. All this in the town of Kent & Carmel, NY.

I’ll admit that I didn’t know what to expect as I drove through the front gates. But WOW, it was a game changer for me.

I was in awe of the beauty of this place.  I, consequentially, took even more pictures than I usually do.

And that’s saying A LOT!

This article contains an affiliate link or two. I make a small commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure for more info.

Statue on Lake at Chuang Yen Monastery

What’s so special about Chuang Yen Monastery?

Nestled amidst the rolling hills in Putnam County, the Chuang Yen Monastery stands as a beacon of peace and tranquility. With its stunning architecture, picturesque grounds, and rich spiritual offerings, the monastery has become a beloved destination for both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Whether you’re seeking a respite from the chaos of modern life, a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in Chinese culture, the Chuang Yen Monastery offers a wealth of experiences and opportunities.

I visited Chuang Yen Monastery on a warm Spring afternoon.

The Great Buddha Hall at the Chuang Yen Monastery

Without knowing anything prior to my visit, I took the drive to see what I would find there.

According to their website:

“Chuang Yen means ‘Majestically Adorned’.  The pristine and beautiful grounds of the CYM is inviting to the public and the ideal place to provide inspiration and cultivate awareness to develop wisdom.”

Putnam County NY Sticker

Get your Hudson Valley fix with my collection of products that will inspire your next outing!
Shop now on Etsy.

845 Area Code Hudson Valley NY Tote Bag

Plan a Day to Visit Chuang Yen Monastery: 

Chuang Yen Monastery
220 Route 301, Carmel, NY

I advise you to set aside a few hours for a proper visit to the Monastery. Stop by for a walk, an afternoon of tranquility and/or meditation, a Saturday tour of the grounds (at 1 pm) or for the weekly vegetarian lunch (Sat & Sun) served by volunteers.

In any case, you will not be disappointed.

The Great Buddha Hall is the main attraction at Chuang Yen Monastery. Before arriving at the Great Buddha Hall, you will be mesmerized by Bodhi Path.

The brick-paved Bodhi Path is home to a row of statues on either side and the path leads directly to the Great Buddha Hall. Each statue is set in a different pose. Strangely enough, it seems as if their eyes are welcoming you and offering you some of their wisdom.

Path to Monastery at Chuang Yen Monastery

In my opinion, this is a grand welcome to the grounds of the Monastery.

Several quiet paths lead through the property and around the Seven Jewels Lake.

Here you will find several benches and gazebos that are available for visitors to meditate and relax. This space, ultimately, was my favorite during the visit.

Gazebo at Chuang Yen Monastery

History of Chuang Yen Monastery

The Chuang Yen Monastery was founded in 1975 by the Buddhist Association of the United States, with the aim of creating a center for Buddhist practice, education, and research. The monastery follows the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, which emphasizes the practice of compassion and the attainment of enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

Over the years, the monastery has grown and expanded, with new buildings, gardens, and facilities added to the complex.

Buddha at entrance of Chuang Yen Monastery

The monastery is named after the Buddhist master Zhuangzi (also known as Chuang Tzu), who lived in ancient China during the 4th century BCE. Zhuangzi is known for his philosophical writings, which emphasize the importance of non-dualism, spontaneity, and the freedom of the individual.

The name “Chuang Yen” means “Zhuangzi’s Cliff” in Chinese, and it reflects the monastery’s commitment to the teachings and spirit of this ancient sage. Today, the Chuang Yen Monastery serves as a place of worship, meditation, and education for both monastic and lay practitioners, and it has become one of the largest Buddhist centers in the United States.

50+ Things to do in the Lower Hudson Valley New York Ebook

Plan Your Next Lower Hudson Valley Outing with Ease!

These Lower Hudson Valley Digital Resources Will:

  1. Give you a Quick & Easy way to research places in the Lower Hudson Valley
  2. Be your Go-To Resource when you run out of ideas for places to go
  3. Help you Save Money while on your outing
  4. Help you Discover Places that may be right in your community & that you may not have thought of

Use coupon code: WELCOME60 for 60% off

Art and Architecture at Chuang Yen Monastery

The Chuang Yen Monastery is renowned for its traditional Chinese architecture and art, which reflect the rich cultural heritage of Buddhism in China. The monastery complex features sweeping eaves, colorful tiles, and intricate carvings, all of which create a sense of harmony and beauty that is both soothing and uplifting.

One of the most striking features of the monastery is the indoor Buddha statue, which stands at 37 feet tall and weighs over 200 tons. This statue is the largest indoor Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere, and it is a breathtaking sight to behold.

The statue is made of bronze and gold leaf, and it is adorned with thousands of intricate details and symbols, each of which has its own meaning and significance.

Indoor Buddha at Chuang Yen Monastery
Close up of Indoor Buddha at Chuang Yen Monastery

In addition to the Buddha statue, the monastery also features a beautiful lotus pond and garden, which are important symbols in Buddhist art and literature. The lotus flower is said to represent purity, enlightenment, and the emergence of beauty from the mud of samsara (the cycle of birth and death).

The lotus pond at the Chuang Yen Monastery is a tranquil and serene space, with lotus flowers in various stages of bloom floating on the water’s surface. The garden around the pond is also a place of peace and beauty, with carefully arranged rocks, plants, and pathways that create a sense of harmony and balance.

Together, the art and architecture of the Chuang Yen Monastery create an atmosphere of serenity and spiritual elevation, inviting visitors to experience the richness and depth of Buddhist culture.

Things to do in Putnam County

What to see at Chuang Yen Monastery:

Just look at some of the beauty I was able to capture.

You can see for yourself why Chuang Yen Monastery is so special. The scenery alone makes you feel like your thousands of miles away from the Hudson Valley.

Jackie from Hudson Valley Explored at Chuang Yen Monastery

– Bodhi Path to the Great Buddha Hall

The Bodhi Path at Chuang Yen Monastery is a special path that encircles the monastery’s main temple and the 37-foot-tall indoor Buddha statue. The path is made of smooth stones and is designed to provide a quiet and peaceful space for meditation and reflection.

“Bodhi” is a Sanskrit word that means “enlightenment,” and the Bodhi Path is named after the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Path to Great Buddha Hall at Chuang Yen Monastery

The path is an important feature of the monastery’s spiritual offerings, and it is open to visitors of all faiths and backgrounds. Walking the Bodhi Path can be a meditative and calming experience, with the sound of gravel underfoot and the gentle rustling of trees overhead.

The Bodhi Path is also used for special events and ceremonies, such as full moon meditations, prayer walks, and circumambulations (circles of the Buddha statue while chanting or reciting prayers). These events provide opportunities for visitors to deepen their spiritual practice, connect with others, and participate in the rich traditions of Buddhist culture.

Drum tower at the end of Bodhi Path at Chuang Yen Monastery

– Seven Jewels Lake

Seven Jewels Lake is a beautiful man-made lake located on the grounds of the Chuang Yen Monastery. The lake is a centerpiece of the monastery’s landscape, and it is an important symbol in Buddhist art and literature.

The name “Seven Jewels” comes from a Buddhist scripture, which describes seven precious gems that have the power to grant wishes and bring happiness to those who possess them.

Wooden Path to Seven Jewels Lake at Chuang Yen Monastery
Path to Seven Jewels Lake

The lake itself is surrounded by lush forests and hills, which create a sense of peace and tranquility. Visitors can walk along the lake’s edge and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, or they can sit on one of the benches and meditate while listening to the sound of the water lapping against the shore.

Seven Jewels Lake is an important part of the Chuang Yen Monastery’s mission to promote peace, harmony, and understanding between different cultures and religions. The lake and its surroundings provide a space for visitors to connect with nature, reflect on the teachings of Buddhism, and experience the beauty of the world around them.

A bench at Seven Jewels Lake

– Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace

The Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace is a unique feature of the Chuang Yen Monastery in New York, and it is one of the largest Buddhist memorial terraces in the Western Hemisphere. The terrace is designed to provide a peaceful and beautiful space for visitors to remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away.

The terrace is made up of thousands of individual lotus petals, each one inscribed with the name of a deceased loved one. Visitors can purchase a lotus petal and have it inscribed with the name of their loved one, and then place it on the terrace as a symbol of remembrance and gratitude.

Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace at Chuang Yen Monastery

The Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace is also used for special events and ceremonies, such as memorial services, meditation sessions, and prayer circles. These events provide opportunities for visitors to connect with others who have experienced loss, and to find comfort and support in the shared experience of grief.

Overall, the Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace is a beautiful and meaningful space that invites visitors to honor their loved ones, reflect on the impermanence of life, and find solace in the enduring beauty of nature.

Gazebo at Chuang Yen Monastery

What to expect during a visit to Chaung Yen Monastery:

A visit to the Chuang Yen Monastery offers a unique and immersive experience in Buddhist culture and spirituality.
Here are some things to expect during a visit:

  1. Quiet and peaceful surroundings: The monastery is located in a quiet, rural area of New York, surrounded by forests and hills. The grounds are designed to create a sense of peace and tranquility, with gardens, ponds, and walking paths that invite visitors to slow down and connect with nature.
  2. Traditional Chinese architecture and art: The monastery’s buildings and interior spaces are adorned with intricate carvings, colorful tiles, and beautiful artwork that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Buddhism in China. Visitors can admire the beauty of the indoor Buddha statue, the lotus pond, and the Bodhi Path, among other features.
  3. Spiritual practices and teachings: The monastery offers a variety of programs and events that focus on Buddhist teachings and practices, including meditation sessions, Dharma talks, and chanting ceremonies. Visitors can participate in these activities, or simply observe and learn from the experienced practitioners.
  4. Opportunities for personal reflection: The monastery’s peaceful surroundings and spiritual atmosphere provide visitors with a space for personal reflection and contemplation. Visitors can take a quiet walk, sit by the pond, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
  5. Cultural exchange: The Chuang Yen Monastery is open to visitors of all backgrounds and faiths, and it provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and dialogue. Visitors can learn about the rich traditions of Buddhism and Chinese culture, and engage in meaningful conversations with practitioners and fellow visitors.

Overall, a visit to the Chuang Yen Monastery is a memorable and enriching experience, offering a unique opportunity to learn, reflect, and connect with others in a peaceful and spiritual setting.

Statue at Chuang Yen Monastery
Jackie from Hudson Valley Explored at Chuang Yen Monastery

A Few Things to Know before Visiting Chuang Yen Monastery: 

  • This place/event is perfect for: Couples, friends and a mature crowd. Because visitors are often reflecting and meditating, this is not ideal for children.
  • Cost: Chuang Yen Monastery is Free to visit
  • Days/Hours: The Monastery is open daily. Check their website for hours of operation.
  • Parking: Parking is free on the premises
  • Seasonal info: The Monastery is closed during the Winter, beginning 1/2 – 3/31; They open only for Chinese New Year (9 am – 5 pm)

Click below to see some items you should have during your Hudson Valley Outings
and you will be guaranteed a successful outing:

  • If you’re going to be out all day exploring, you never REALLY know what the weather will be like. Even if you think you do know, it can start raining at any time, so this small life-saver is an essential item. This is another great buy on Amazon for under $15.

More Things To Do In Putnam County NY:





Until the Next Adventure…

Signature for Jackie at Hudson Valley Explored
best brunch in the Hudson Valley

Find discounted meals & discounted activities from
my friends at Local Flavor & Groupon!

Jackie with Hudson Valley Apparel on

Check out My Etsy Shop
where you will find deals on Tees, Totes & More.

Jackie from Hudson Valley Explored sitting with Magazines
Scroll to Top