FORT WORTH -- The Huong Dao Temple, featuring a 9-foot-tall Buddha made of Burmese marble, rises three levels high in east Fort Worth.The Rev. Ratanaguna Buu Duc, the Vietnamese-born abbot of the temple and monastery, said many people were skeptical when the group bought the property at 4717 E. Rosedale St. in 1996.It's in a low-income, high-crime area and many thought people wouldn't come to services, he said.But Duc said it's appropriate that a temple is there, because it can make the area a more peaceful place."In Buddha's time, he went from house to house, not just to the richest people but to all the people," Duc said. "The main teachings of Buddhism are not to do any bad things and to do good things."Construction on the $900,000 temple, partly built with volunteer labor, started with fundraising drives in 2008 and 2009 and was completed in stages as money became available, Duc said.Its grand opening was in October. Work on the grounds continues, and money is being raised for new residences for monks.Duc became a monk in 1972 and migrated to the United States in 1992. He said the temple has more than 100 members, mostly from Vietnam and Sri Lanka. About 75 percent of Vietnamese people are Buddhist, he said.The Rev. Pannakara Tue Nhan, a monk and student of Duc's, said interest in Buddhism is growing in the U.S. Many non-Buddhists come to the temple to meditate and find a restful place, he said."I think now a lot of Americans are looking for inner peace," Nhan said. "In a busy society, Buddhism can become a comfort to people. Many come here just for meditation and don't care so much about religion."There are also Buddhist temples in Keller, Rendon, Arlington, Irving and Grand Prairie.Hundreds of Buddhists are expected to visit the temple Aug. 25 to celebrate Ullambana, a holy day for showing gratitude to parents and ancestors."We expect more than 1,000," said Phuong Ung, a lay member who leads youth groups at the temple. Ullambana is held near the time of the full moon each August.Duc said that the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, who lived about 26 centuries ago and became known as the Buddha, taught the importance of gratitude toward parents.One analogy used in Buddhism is that if men and women carried their parents on their shoulders all their lives, it would not be enough to repay their mothers and fathers for giving them life.
If you go
Ullambana, an all-day gathering Aug. 25 at the Huong Dao Temple, 4717 E. Rosedale St.
Opens at 10:30 a.m. with food offerings to monks and nuns.
At 3:30 p.m., the main ceremony begins in the shrine hall before the figure of Buddha. It includes singing, gift offerings to parents and chanting for the deceased.
At 6:45 p.m., a vegetarian dinner will be served, followed by music and entertainment in the temple.
All activities are open to the public.