Hsi Lai Temple serves as a spiritual and information center for those interested in learning about Buddhism and Chinese culture. It is located near Los Angeles in Hacienda Heights, CA.
The two main areas of the temple are the Bodhisattva Hall and the Main Shrine. The Bodhisattva Hall is dedicated to enlightened sages who vowed to selflessly serves others with loving-kindness and compassion and are committed to liberating all being from suffering. In the Bodhisattva hall you will find alters dedicated to Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (symbol of great practice, discipline), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (renowned for commitment to save suffering beings), Maitreya Bodhisattva (Happy Buddha), Avalokitesvars (Kuan Yin) Bodhisattva (compassion and loving-kindness), and Manjusri Bodhisattva (wisdom).
The Main Shrine, at the opposite end of the courtyard, contains alters dedicated to Buddha, Amitabha Buddha and Medicine Buddha.
I personally felt the need to pray and connect with the Goddess Kuan Yin (Guan Yin). It is said that she can see and hear all the suffering in the world, and will come to the aid of anyone who invokes her name sincerely and mindfully. From the vase in her hand flows limitless compassion which aids all those who are suffering.
Rituals like going to a temple to pray and offer incense may seem simplistic. Because our ancestors have been doing it for eons, there is something very powerful in the doing of it. As long as your heart is sincere and respectful, this is simple ritual of going to a temple to pray when suffering can benefit you. I personally find it more comforting and soothing than just praying to Kuan Yin at home. Seeing her beautiful alter, where so many come to pay respect to Kaun Yin, and being able to feel a part of that is wonderful to experience.