The Fordham Ram

Finding Peace on a Seasonal Walk

Development+of+the+Buddhist+Chuang+Yen+Monastery%2C+located+in+Kent%2C+New+York%2C+began+in+1975.+%28Lisa+Marie+Vona%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29
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Finding Peace on a Seasonal Walk

Development of the Buddhist Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Kent, New York, began in 1975. (Lisa Marie Vona/The Fordham Ram)

Development of the Buddhist Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Kent, New York, began in 1975. (Lisa Marie Vona/The Fordham Ram)

Development of the Buddhist Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Kent, New York, began in 1975. (Lisa Marie Vona/The Fordham Ram)

Development of the Buddhist Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Kent, New York, began in 1975. (Lisa Marie Vona/The Fordham Ram)


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By Lisa Marie Vona

I don’t have to tell you that, for many of us, this has been a very stressful time in American history.  Even worse, midterms and finals can really get under our skin.  I know from my own life that the saying, “work hard, play hard,” resonates with keeping mental, physical and spiritual balance.

Hiking can cure many ills, whether one goes solo or with friends. While I have some hiking locations, I recently found spiritual connection while walking on acres belonging to a religious organization. While I am Catholic and a practicing Christian, I have practiced different forms of Buddhism throughout my life.  That is to say, I have gotten around spiritually.

Whether Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish or non-practicing, everyone can appreciate nature and beautiful architecture dedicated to the betterment of our world.

If you are looking to get a good hike in, try getting upstate right now through mid-November to get a full experience of the fall foliage decorating our New York State landscape. The last week of October through the second week of November belongs to New York City, and you should make it to Central Park for as many days as you can.

You should also take a beautiful, serene trip to the Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent, New York.  You can take a train to Garrison and split an Uber with friends (it will run you about twenty dollars each way). The Buddhist monastery sits on 225 tranquil acres that includes steep cliffs, lakes with holy statues and the main temple that holds weekly Buddhist services.

Buddhist Americans of the United States (BAUS) leased just over 125 acres in 1975.  The acreage eventually doubled. By 1981, China’s Tang Dynasty styled buildings grew to include a recreation center and a library.  The Dalai Lama has visited the temple to hold special ceremonies. Moreover, there are outreach programs for the neighboring communities to learn about Buddhism.

The monks that live on the grounds provide classes for a small donation.  That is to say — if you haven’t been tired out by walking all 225 acres. They even have vegan food available also for a small donation, as well as a gift shop.  I was there a few weeks ago and will definitely be returning.  You may not make it before the leaves fall, but the views and snowy landscape should not deter you from visiting over winter break.

You don’t have to engage in any of the activities offered.  In fact, I often see people with their pets walking around the lake just taking in the breathtaking views.

This place has everything, and no matter who you are, I can attest to the peace and relaxation you will feel.

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Finding Peace on a Seasonal Walk