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Is it (in a strict view) possible to go to inside a temple/pagoda sanctum with a wheelchair or should it be placed outside? and/or orthotics? Ihave spina bifida and sit mostly in a wheelchair. I can walk a few steps with help but need orthotics to support my ankles (without them its werry difficult to walk because i will stand on my toes.)

I ask cause my friend is buddhist (i write from his account)

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Is it (in a strict view) possible to go to inside a temple/pagoda sanctum with a wheelchair or should it be placed outside?

Where do you live or where is the temple you want to go to?

A good idea is to either visit, write or call (if possible) the Temple and ask about their options. Some remote temples might not be accessible via wheelchair due to infrastructure or lack there of.

A list with a couple of places to visit temples:

  • There is a temple in Canada that is wheelchair-accessible from the backside.

  • There is also a temple in Thailand.

  • Wheelchair-accessible Tanah Lot Temple in Bali.

  • Wheelchair-accessible Sensoji Buddhist Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo.

  • Recommended Temples to visit in Tokyo with wheelchair-access.

  • Here is a link to New Kadampa Festival for wheelchair-users.

  • A great post about a wheelchair-user who visited temples in both Cambodia and Thailand. She mentions that she was able to visit even temples in the remote countryside.

and/or orthotics?

Regarding the use of orthotics inside Temples is difficult to answer. Many temples require one to remove shoes when entering as a sign of respect. Other temples might give out cloth to wrap over e.g. a shoe or orthotic. There are many ways to show respect. It would be a good idea to also ask about this topic when contacting a temple. Some temples are very strict while others are more relaxed.

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In the present day, many countries in the world, specially the governments of the western countries are committed to giving equal access to all people for all public buildings. It is specially so for Assembly buildings such as churches and temples. They have developed accessibility standards under Accessibility for People with Disabilities Acts, and no changes can be made to existing places of worship, or when building new ones, without providing universal accessibility.

New amendments have updated requirements for accessible seating spaces provided in public assembly buildings like churches and temples, enabling people with disabilities to equitably and independently access such and have equal rights to all worship opportunities. In addition, new requirements address adaptable seating spaces suitable for a side transfer from a wheelchair, as well as storage spaces for wheelchairs and other mobility assistive devices. Accessible and adaptable seating spaces are also required to be distributed throughout viewing areas.

Even if such facilities are not provided older temples, there is no way that a Buddhist Temple would knowingly mistreat a handicapped person. It is because of our understanding that one is born handicapped due to a strong kammā seed that was generated in a previous birth, and that they are not to be looked down upon, as we too have been this way in this samsara.

No one can avoid such vipāka, and when one is born handicapped, one will have to live the whole life that way. It is the kamma vipāka, why some people are born handicapped; some have healthy bodies, beautiful bodies, ugly bodies, and a healthy person may die suddenly too; the varieties are endless. These include those having low IQ, those who are blind or deaf at birth.

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