Buddhist Shrine - Chaplain's Office
The Buddhist Shrine of Yale is located in the Memorial Chapel at the base of Harkness Tower in Branford College. The space is available thanks to the generosity of both the Yale Chaplain’s Office and Branford College.
The Shrine is full of Yale’s history that can be seen throughout the space. First, it is a Memorial Chapel that was dedicated in 1952 to the 36 members of Branford College who died in the line of service between 1941 and 1952. The names of these Branford members are written in gold in the back of the room on the upper side panels to the right and left of the fireplace.
Around the upper wooden panels of the room are carvings of what were - at the time of construction - considered the most important scenes from Yale student life between the founding of the College and 1917. On these panels you can see events such as the founding of the nation’s first literary magazine, the planting of the trees on Hillhouse, among others. Above these panels facing High Street is a stained glass window. Represented on the stained glass panels are major philosophers from a broad range of subjects studied at the College. On the lower right Copernicus can be seen with his plan of the universe in his hand. One last feature of the Memorial Chapel is the beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling - one of few in the United States (another being in the National Cathedral).
The Buddhist Shrine was consecrated as a blessed space in 2012. Within the Shrine are multiple ways for students to practice from many different Buddhist traditions. On the lower left table next to the Shrine are meditation instruments from diverse traditions - there are many different sects of Buddhism and the Shrine tries to serve as many as possible. This is shown within the statues on the shrine.
There are two Buddhas - one in a sitting position and one in a standing position, coming from Southeast Asian and Tibetan traditions. We also have a statue of Guanyin, the Boddhisattva of compassion. It shows the value of women within the Sangha and within Buddhism. Under the statues are places were students can do incense, rice, and water offerings. On the lower right table is a bookshelf where students can access books about dharma, practice, and history. Above the bookshelf is a Thangka of the healing Buddha from the Tibetan tradition - and on the other side of the shrine, another Thangka is present above the Bodhi Tree, the tree where Buddha sat to receive enlightenment.
The Buddhist Shrine is open every Sunday through Thursday from 4 PM to 10 PM during the academic year. The Yale Sangha holds community meditation every Thursday from 7:30 to 8 PM. Every other Tuesday, a Buddhist Teacher holds Dharma Discussions at 7:00 pm in the Shrine, and text studies at 7:30 pm held by the Sangha on Mondays in Breathing Space. The Shrine is a beautiful space - and all are always welcome!