At a two hours drive from Montréal, close to Mont Tremblant National Park you will find the lovely Vietnamese Buddhist Monastery Tam Bao Son. The monastic complex covers a huge stretch of land with a temple and, spread around, several devotional sites with statues in every conceivable colour. There are several statues of the female Bodhisattva of compassion Guānyīn (觀音) and a 11 meter high statue of Kṣitigarbha (क्षितिगर्भ). Soon development will begin of an even bigger statue of Guānyīn, made of granite and 17 meters tall.
Guānyīn is the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर – Lord who looks down [with love]). Avalokiteśvara is depicted as male in most Buddhist schools including early Chinese Buddhism (until the 10th century). In later eras in Chinese Buddhism the Boddhisattva had signs of both genders, signifying that Avalokiteśvara transcends gender, but gradually came to be the female Guānyīn.
Statues of the 18 Luóhàn (羅漢) or Arhats (the original disciples of the Buddha who attained nirvāṇa) can be found in two locations in the monastery complex: Once surrounding the statue of the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, and once lining the path towards the entrance of the temple.
The bright statues and the autumn foliage combine into an explosion of colours.