Buddha's birthday celebrated at Carmel monastery
It's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and News 12 is highlighting a Buddhist monastery in the Hudson Valley.
People from around the world gathered at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel to celebrate Vesak, one of the biggest Buddhist festivals that celebrates Buddha’s birthday.
The temple is home to the biggest indoor statue of a Buddha in the Western Hemisphere. Volunteers say the statue stands over 30 feet high.
Thuku Lee has been a volunteer at the site for 44 years, since before the non-denominational Buddhist Association of the United States broke ground on the monastery in 1989. He says the statue was built first and then the building was created around it.
Traditionally, monasteries were places for religious services and secular community centers. Chuang Yen volunteers say they're proud to carry that tradition on not just on Buddha's birthday, but every day.