Arun of the blog Angry Asian Buddhist points out a disturbing trend this year–what seems to be increased incidents of vandalism and attacks on Buddhist temples around the U.S. and Canada, including in Iowa, Kentucky, and Minnesota. (See map here.)
Not surprisingly, most of these temples are made up of primarily Asian/Asian American members. In March of this year, the sign on the Phuoc Hau Temple in Louisville, KY, was defaced with the words “Budduh’s [sic] in hell.” This was the fifth time the temple had been vandalized in the past five years.
It’s terrible that our Buddhist brothers and sisters are suffering the consequences of our fear-based and xenophobic political climate. What can we do? A few ideas ––
1) Help document these incidents to raise more awareness of them. Arun is compiling these incidents on a Google map; if you know of others, put a comment on this post on his blog.
2) If you live in one of the affected communities, reach out to that Buddhist temple to let them know that you support them, and ask them what they might need for help. Some of the citizens of Rochester, MN, did that this past June for a Cambodian Buddhist temple that had been recently vandalized and whose members had been harassed — read the story here.
3) If you live in a community with an Asian Buddhist temple, get to know your fellow dharma practitioners. Many Thai temples, for example, host sumptuous meals that are open to anyone. (See this Yelp review of Wat Monkgolratanaram in Berkeley, CA.) Come visit, make a donation, and meet some wonderful people — there’s nothing better than building bridges.