In the hustle and bustle of the area around Niagara Falls, Ontario lies an expanse of peace – the Cham Shan Buddhist Temple. It is also known as the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sarira Stupa Temple. Developed on 3 acres of land in Niagara Falls, this Mahayana Buddhist structure has seven levels that have been constructed using an Asian style of architecture. The temple has been built to propound Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. It’s a lovely place for those who want to marvel at the art and architecture, to explore a different culture, to pray or to experience peace in the divine surroundings.
Work on the temple began in 1995 and was completed in 2002. There’s a dazzling array of statues and art work both inside and outside the structure. There’s a reason why it is called the temple of the Ten Thousand Buddhas – that’s the number of miniature gold Buddhas located on shelves in the walls across all levels of the structure. If that in itself is astounding, the central attraction is the huge bronze detailed statue of the Buddha. One of the other interesting statues is that of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. One more highlight is the Grand Bell of World Peace which has only been rung once since the structure was built. Besides this, there are statues and paintings of Bodhisattvas and Arhats.
The Cham Shan temple is a functioning temple and has worship services conducted by monks during the day in which devotees and tourists can participate. There are guided tours available for those who wish to have a detailed understanding of the temple and Buddhist beliefs and principles. These tours are conducted on summer weekends by members of the Buddhist community. The people here are quite friendly and willing to answer any question that you may have. A gift store in the premises has artefacts for sale. There’s also some Buddhist literature available to read for free in various languages including Chinese, English and French.
Before entering the main complex, all visitors have to leave their shoes outside as a sign of respect and to maintain sanctity. Photography is not allowed inside the stupa and there are numerous photo opportunities available in the courtyard with some statues, carvings and huge bell gongs. The entry to the temple as well as the tours are free. The Cham Shan temple is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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