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Attacks on North American Buddhist Temples

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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.


About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Attacks on North American Buddhist Temples « The Jizo Chronicles --

  2. Phuoc Hau temple is not a place representing as a good Buddhist temple. The organization does not have the correct rules to follow. The people who represent for the temple are not honest to what they promised to do for the organization. We don’t have any Monks/Nuns at the temple at all because they don’t want any. The reason they want none is because they don’t want to be under control of any Monks/Nuns/ministers. They want to be the highest people to operate the organization instead letting Monks/Nuns/minsters/masters to run the temple as it should be. This is completely wrong on what they are thinking and doing ever since they got our votes to represent the whole organization. As of right now, we still don’t have any Monks/Nuns/minsters/masters staying permanently at our temple because they don’t want to let Monks/Nuns/minsters/masters to take over their powers. Those people always want to keep their powers and want to control the Monks/Nuns/minsters if there is one. We don’t have any Sanga. Because of this, I don’t think this place should be considered as a formal Buddhist temple. The Phuoc Hau organization also should not be qualified from tax –exempt from the City of Milwaukee because people don’t do right things that they supposed to benefit all of the people in the community. If you tell people (passing the information on what you know about the people who represent the organization) about what they didn’t do right then they don’t want you to stay so that you can-not prevent what they are doing to the organization. I am sharing all of my honest because I know them very well from heart. Please come there for couple years to observe, review, check, realize, recognize, and feel on what I am sharing about how those people who operate the organization. My comment, I don’t grade this organization representing a good and correct to the name of Buddhist temple. I stopped going there anymore after realizing the way they act and operate the organization. I am so disappointed about those people and the way they operate the organization after going and seeing true things. They don’t try to work on behalf of the organization but they work on behalf of themselves who want to keep the organization as their possession. The organization does not belong to them but they are acting like this is their so they control by not letting any Monks/Nuns/ministers/masters to take over and run the organization as a Temple. They want to run and operate the organization without the needs of the Monks/Nuns/ministers. The way they run it doesn’t look like a Buddhist temple on a daily basis. Without any Monks/Nuns/ministers running the organization, it should not be considered as the “Buddhist temple”. They also said that they will to suit you if you give or share the bad comments that you have experiences with to all people about what and how they are doing or operating the organization. Do you think it is funny and very disappointed to hear that from them? What kind of a good temple or good people is it? They don’t try to take your comments to think back and change it for better but acting bad to you because of your true comments to the organization. I am not happy to write the truths about the organization because I always wish it is a good organization that I am lucky to attend. However, I am not lucky; the temple I attended is a not good organization with a good operation or structure. I am sharing the truths so people can keep an eye on how those people operate the temple and not allowing Monks/Nuns/ministers staying permanently to run the organization. There is no-one staying at the temple permanently. The temple is vacant during the day and all people gather together on the Sunday of each week to do the mass then go home. Once in a while, they will invite Monks/Nuns/Minsters from somewhere to come to this organization to give us speeches for either 1 Sunday or up to 4 Sundays. This is telling me they are running and controlling the whole organization not the Monks/Nuns/ministers running it because there are no Monks/Nuns staying permanently.


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