Sunday, May 15 was an auspicious day for members of Huong Dao, a Buddhist temple in Fort Worth, Texas. They laid the foundation stone for a 5.7 hectare extension that is expected to cost US$100 million. The new construction will include 840 stupas which will house various Buddhist teachings.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by high-ranking local officials, including Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, District 5 Councilmember Gyna Bivens, and Haltom City Mayor An Truong.
Mayor An Truong has been a member of the temple for over 20 years. A Vietnam War veteran, he served as a narcotics police officer for more than three decades before moving to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. During this time he was an investigator for the Gang and Homicide Prosecution Unit. As a member of the early Buddhist temple, Mayor An Truog helped build one of the first small temples used by monks in Huong Dao.
The expansion project was named “The Ancient Sacred Buddhist Scripture Stupas” project in honor of the many stupas that will be built.
All the stupas will be constructed of granite and steel, and they will store the teachings of Tipitakathe “Triple Basket” of the Pali Canon, which consists of a collection of the discourses of the Buddha, the monastic code of conduct (Vinaya), and the Abhidhammaa collection of canonical texts.
The teachings will be translated into the languages of six countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, and engraved on stone and bronze slabs.
Some of the stupas will rise up to 40 meters, making them visible far from the temple. According to the temple’s website:
The construction project of the 840 large and small Stupas is symbolic of the 84,000 Dhammas (Dhammakkhandhas or Khandhas), which are the teachings of the Great Enlightened One. They are the deep, pure and practical truth, the message of Compassion, Wisdom and Liberation that had, is and will send [sic] to all sentient beings for more than 25 centuries. They will continue to be passed on to our posterity, priceless and eternal treasures of the Dhamma for generations to come.
(Chua Huong Dao)
A monk at the temple, Tue Nhan Bhikkhu, known to devotees as Reverend Nguyen, described the project: “During history, only Asian kings were usually able to raise funds to build a large sacred Buddhist site. All Buddhists around the world are invited to participate. The site will be an anchor for our rich culture and ancient architecture representing Asian Buddhist countries. (Fort Worth Report)
Huong Dao has been a cornerstone of the Fort Worth community for 25 years. It provides worship services to a congregation of approximately 1,000 people and contains a 1,115 square meter worship hall.
The temple performs various community functions. It is the site of health fairs throughout the year and offers devotees a variety of traditional Buddhist services, including weddings, funerals and meditation retreats. It is also a major food distribution point for starving families in the Fort Worth area.
Unfortunately, the temple and its members have not always been welcome in the area. Fort Worth council member Gina Bivens had this to say about the early days of the temple: “In the early days when the temple first came, people were harassed or assaulted. We rely on our teachings and meditation to help suppress violence in this area. (Fort Worth Report)
The Huong Dao Buddhist Temple is located at 4717 E. East Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76105, north of the Stop Six Choice neighborhood.
Chùa Hương Đạo
Photo Gallery: Buddhist devotees celebrate Vesak 2022 with $100 million temple expansion (Fort Worth Report)
The temple lays the ‘foundation stone’ for the sacred stupas of the Buddhist scriptures during the sixth stage on May 15 (Fort Worth Report)
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