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“Massive Chinese temple complex a glimpse of Asian belief systems”

International Buddhist Society (Buddhist Temple)
Ranked #5 of 113 things to do in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The International Buddhist Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in North America, housing the largest Buddhist statue on the continent and the largest Buddhist mural in the world.
Reviewed 19 January 2018

I've watched this temple grow from a solitary temple building in the 1980s to the massive temple complex it is today. Gives visitors a view of the Mahayana style of Buddhism popular in China, quite different from the Theravada Buddhism found in much of Southeast Asia. Depictions of deities and hellscapes would fascinate those unfamiliar with such themes. There's a vegetarian restaurant on premises

Thank hokenyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"vegetarian restaurant"
in 6 reviews
"incense sticks"
in 3 reviews
"dining hall"
in 2 reviews
"golden buddha"
in 2 reviews
"chinese garden"
in 2 reviews
"tranquil place"
in 3 reviews
"walked around"
in 2 reviews
"definitely worth the trip"
in 2 reviews
"wonderful garden"
in 2 reviews
"peace and tranquility"
in 2 reviews
"nice treat"
in 2 reviews
"closing time"
in 2 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 4 reviews
in 19 reviews
in 24 reviews
in 9 reviews
in 11 reviews

7 - 11 of 161 reviews

Reviewed 14 November 2017

The place has a wonderful garden, where you can sit and admire the building. Entering the yard of the temple, you can see the statues and interesting wall plates, about General Guan, a buddhist hero. Inside the temple, we got explanations about the coming holiday.

Thank Keren O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2017

Decided to come after our visit to Steveston. We came ten minutes after the closing time but the guard was kind enough to let us in for a couple pictures. The temple is a delicate edifice of classical Chinese architectural style. An oddity in Canada, this place is quite similar to temples in Asia. Do come to have a stroll.

Thank Leon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2017

This is a beautiful temple and a peaceful one. I am not a Buddhist, so can't comment on the spiritual and religious aspect. The temple offers meditation on Saturdays (I think), which would be more interesting to me. I guess it's a nice place to be for a religious visit and saying Hello to Buddha and ask for his blessings :) I liked the fact that the temple uses environmentally friendly incense that can be purchased there for $3. Good!

But, PLEASE AVOID THE RESTAURANT. It will spoil your temple visit. Not because of the price, but because of the weird treatment. If you have visited Hindu temples, the usual experience is that food is free and donation depends "on you". Not here, as donations are fixed per food item! Which is perfectly fine. But this is where the weirdness starts. The attendant came to us and described that each entry was $18 and the sides were $6. We said Ok, and ordered some. Then he came again and "re-emphasizes" that the price was that. Sure (we heard it the first time!) Then a third time, when he brings tea, he mentions that a white couple came and left without paying! Ok, good to hear that for the 3rd time. At this point, it was getting creepy (Dear white people, please pay here :) ). When we were leaving, we had 3 waiters ensuring we paid. The food itself was decent, but for $48 for 2, this isn't exactly cheap (although it is advertised as free online, which sets the wrong expectations). And seriously speaking, I would prefer a Chinese restaurant nearby where things are little less awkward. Maybe, they were not expecting non-Chinese folks or perhaps they were having a bad day.

Avoid this restaurant if you can and your temple visit will be more calm and peaceful. Or in case you decide to go, have the right expectations and stay happy!

In retrospect, another weirdness we found was that we were given some chanting devices. However, the lady at the counter took off the battery from the packet. Why? We don't know.

Should I go here again, Sure! For meditation, for visiting Buddha, for enjoying the scenery and just for having a good time in general. Avoid the worldly things like restaurants, free devices, batteries etc. etc. :)

And dear nice white people (and brown people), please read this review when you visit this Buddha's abode! Peace and Happiness to you all!

2  Thank Vegan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 October 2017

- The temple is absolutely beautiful. Walking in, breathing in the fresh air and incense, taking in the beautiful scenery and feeling the peaceful vibes of the Temple was wonderful. We came for this. This is where I wanted to sit and meditate. Some descriptions about Lord Buddha are there to read and for information.
- Parking is plenty and free.
- I believe photography is allowed outside in the garden, but not inside the temple.
- There is a fire to light your incense sticks outside (but you can only buy incense sticks from inside the temple area for $3. They also provided us two different meditation audio "boxes" at no charge).
- Once you go inside, the statues and serenity are calming.

Now the awkward part:

There were many signs stating that the food/meals were by donation. Not a problem, of course donations are needed to run such a beautiful Temple.
We walked to the back of the temple to find a restaurant. Open Wed - Sunday (I believe) until 3 pm. Sat down and this loud up-in-my-face man came to us with a menu and spoke really quickly about what food we can order.
- $18 minimum and the other items on the menu were "free". I think I looked very confused to him, and he repeated it again and ran away to the kitchen.
- Then he was back in a few minutes and asked if we were ready to order. We said yes and then we gave him the information. Now he said "ok just to confirm, what you ordered costs $18 + $18 + $6 + $6." Wait what?? He repeated it AGAIN. Weird and then he made some really odd comment about someone walking out without paying and that's why he was repeating the price.
- It was horribly awkward. Is this a "donation"?
- Food was quite delicious actually. Vegan yumminess, no complaints here!
- But we left the temple not feeling that serenity we initially felt.

In conclusion, I would return to the temple to meditate. I would not come back to the restaurant.

Thank rainyday83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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