As a charitable, religious, and cultural organization established in 1981, the International Buddhist Society manages the International Buddhist Temple (also known as the Guan-Yin Temple). Until the temple’s opening ceremony in 1983, Buddhists in the Lower Mainland did not have an authentic Chinese temple in which to study and practice Chinese Mahayana Buddhism.
It all began in 1979, when two devout Buddhists from Hong Kong helped found the International Buddhist Society and donated one acre of land in Richmond for the construction of an authentic Chinese Buddhist temple. They also provided CAD$300,000 as the initial building fund. Their goal was to establish an influential voice in North America for introducing and advancing Buddhist philosophy and practices.
The International Buddhist Temple has six founding directors who were actively involved with managing the construction at the temple's current site, which began in 1981. Through the founders’ persistent efforts, the Main Gracious Hall was completed in September, 1983. The temple then officially opened its doors to the public. Two years later, the Thousand Buddha Hall and the Ksitigarbha Hall (or Ancestral Hall) were also completed.
In 1986, the temple was officially inaugurated in a ceremony attended by thousands, including Richmond’s Mayor and Member of Parliament. Throughout the years, the International Buddhist Temple has received tremendous support from the general public, and is recognized for bringing the Buddhist philosophy and Chinese cultural heritage to Canada and the West. This is particularly noteworthy as Canada takes great pride in its cultural and religious diversity.