This South American city has long been prized for its Belle Epoque architecture, narrow streets, numerous bookstores—more per person in 2013 than any other city in the world—and coffee shop culture. And though you wouldn’t mistake it for Bodhgaya, Buenos Aires has seen a sizeable increase in Buddhist residents from Asian countries since the 1980s. Today, the city is home to about 5,000 immigrant Buddhists and 25,000 converts. The renowned writer Jorge Luis Borges, a Buenos Aires native, was one of many Argentinians who have been drawn to the dharma. If you find yourself in the city of Porteños (as the residents of this port city are known), here is our guide for the Buddhist traveler.
1| Tzong Kuan Temple
Though Argentina’s only Chinatown spans but a few city streets in the upscale Belgrano neighborhood, you can’t miss its giant red-roofed archway. Barrio Chino is home to more than 100 businesses, and the neighborhood can see 15,000 visitors a weekend. Be sure to look up the Templo Budista Tzong Kuan, which is home to a large gold Buddha and a robust congregation of 500. Montañeses 2175
This recreation of an ancient Japanese temple sits in one of Buenos Aires’s oldest homes, complete with Zen gardens on the grounds. Furaibo offers acupuncture and other traditional health treatments, holds classic tea ceremonies, and is home to a cozy, vegan-friendly restaurant.
Adolfo Alsina 429
3| Soka Gakkai Internacionale de la Argentina
The Nichiren organization‘s chapter here features an auditorium designed by the renowned Italian-Argentine architect Clorindo Testa.
4| Templo Budista Fo Guang Shan
Established in 1992 to serve local Chinese and Taiwanese Buddhists, Fo Guang Shan later expanded—especially after the temple’s current master, Bhikshuni Chueh Kae, translated religious texts into Spanish and began offering courses in meditation, martial arts, and yoga. FGS is also a popular option for vegetarian cuisine (contact them 24 hours in advance to book a spot for their prix fixe lunch) and hosts vegetarian cooking workshops on a regular basis.
5| Jardín Japonés
This tranquil public park run by the Japanese Argentine Cultural Foundation boasts one of the largest Japanese gardens outside of Japan, as well as many smaller gardens, koi ponds, and a teahouse. You can also attend courses here in Japanese arts and talks on topics such as nutrition and hand reflexology.
Av. Casares 2966
6| Vipassana Buenos Aires – Anumodana Argentina
Founded by Buenos Aires native Eduardo Torres Astigueta, this meditation community holds intimate weekly practices in Palermo and Flores, close to tourist hotspots.
Aranguren 2314 and Arévalo y Niceto Vega
7| Zen Deshimaru Buddhist Association
Visit this Buenos Aires dojo for sitting meditation (twice a day Tuesday through Friday, in the mornings Saturday and Sunday). They also teach hatha yoga and Japanese calligraphy.
8| Kagyu Tekchen Chöling Institute
Established in 1983, this is the first Tibetan Buddhist center in all of Latin America. You can practice walking meditation under the watchful eye of its stupa from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Av. Melian 2338
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