Palelai Buddhist Temple and Monastery: "A Place for Anyone"

240 Greenwich Street

For the past 17 years the Palelai Buddhist Temple and Monastery has sat inconspicuously on a tree-lined block in South Philadelphia. Situated between the Golden Sunrise Fancy Brigade Mummers club and a silkscreen print shop, its existence exemplifies the diversity—and density—that is South Philadelphia.

The temple itself was once a church, its grounds a parking lot. Horn Pa, a young monk and lifelong South Philadelphian, explains that neighbors are still welcome to park their cars in the temple’s space when they are unable to find spots on the street.

Though it is a Cambodian Buddhist temple, its regulars include everyone from Southeast Asian neighbors to Christians, Muslims, and people of other religions who are simply interested in Buddhism. Everyone is welcome.