The Fernwood Hotel and Conference Center in Pennsylvania, USA has been transformed into a Buddhist ‘World Peace Center’. The new owners want this to be a place the community can enjoy again.
The Jinyin Temple will hold its first public prayer ceremony there on Saturday. The new owners hope to spread compassion and kindness while deepening the friendship between Chinese and Americans.
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A shiny new statue of Buddha greets drivers on Milford Road; a sign the Jinyin Temple of Sino Esoteric Buddhism is open.
Inside, you’ll find 20-foot tall statues weighing three tons each. The Prayer Hall is adorned with elaborate statues shipped from overseas.
“Our aim here is to build a temple, I should say, to pray for world peace,” explains Jack Wang, construction officer. The main Jinyin temple is in China, and this is the first location in America.
Temple leaders toured other potential locations, including in California, but ultimately decided to build here because it would be a challenge.
“We always build mandala or our temple in the most undeveloped area. I would say economically undeveloped area,” Wang says.
The property’s main draw, which once served as Fernwood’s event center, burnt down last summer. The new owners lost precious artifacts in the fire, but they vowed to continue on.
“It’s a setback but it’s not going to stop us,” Wang adds.
Later this year they plan to start offering public classes like meditation, yoga, calligraphy and kung fu. This is meant to be a place for different cultures and religions to come together as one.
“We’re open to local people, we also want to learn from them,” Wang smiles.
The master and other disciples traveled from China to be here.
“In a few years this is going to be a magnet for tourism,” Wang envisions.
Saturday’s ceremony starts with sign-in from 1-2 pm. The day continues with art and prayer, then wraps up with dinner from 5:30-6:30 pm.
Priests, volunteers and maintenance crews live on-site in the former hotel rooms.