Literally meaning ‘Ten Thousand Buddhas’, the Cham Shan is a Buddhist temple built on a three-acre property on the northern end of Canadian Niagara Falls. Its main feature is a seven-storey building in the Chinese style, making it a striking and unique addition to the township. Its architecture alone makes it a major photo opportunity.
This main building also hosts a wealth of art and artefacts fashioned in devotion to Buddha. Ten thousand miniature gold Buddhas adorn the complex, and the main feature of the main stupa is a five-storey stone statue of Buddha. There is also the centre of the complex, where an altar is built before an additional statue, this one of a ‘Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara’ – an embodiment of boundless compassion.
The Cham Shan is a fully functioning temple with a community of monks leading prayer three times a day. Visitors are guests – they will be asked to swap their shoes for slippers upon entering, and the temple community is welcoming to all newcomers and happy to have a chat.
Devotees to Buddhist principles are always welcome to use the grounds for their own contemplation and visitors are permitted to take photos with permission from the resident monks. The temple is open to visitors daily throughout the year, but tours only operate on weekends from June through until October. A gift shop operates on the grounds, and the temple also provides books and reading material for free to anyone wanting to know more about Buddhism or meditation.
Aside from its Buddhist mission of spreading knowledge of the religion and its values, this is not a site that actively peruses tourist attention, and yet it’s become an attractive place to visit for both the locals and for well-informed tourists to Niagara Falls. The opportunity of a peaceful and friendly haven makes this temple something all visitors to the region should know about, should the need arise.
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