, Port Arthur, Texas

May 14, 2014

Statue of Buddha coming to Buu Mon

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The Buu Mon Buddhist Temple on Procter Street is one of Port Arthur’s hidden gems, where people of all creeds and ethnicities come to seek tranquility and understanding.

The temple is forever looking for ways to enhance that experience, and the Rev. Tri Quang hopes that a statue of Gautama Buddha, who founded the religion between the 4th and 6th centuries, is the first step in doing so.

“We want to renew the gardens and make the landscape look better for the city,” Quang, the abbot of the temple, said.

Built in Sri Lanka, the fiberglass statue will stand 15 feet, nearly even with the trees in the temple’s bamboo garden. The foundation already stands ready.

Quang also hopes that the statue will inspire more passersby to seek the knowledge Buddhism has to offer.

“Maybe people didn’t know about the history,” Quang said. “Maybe they see the statue and see we’re here, and it opens their mind up to Buddha’s teachings.”

The basic teachings of Buddha, Quang said, are simple — do good, and refrain from doing bad. More specific are the five fundamental principles of Buddha — avoid killing; avoid theft; refrain from sexual misconduct and remain faithful to your partner; be truthful; and do not fall victim to alcohol, drugs or gambling. Those things, Quang said, destroy the mind.

“It doesn’t matter if you live here or if you live in Vietnam — if you live your life based on these principles, you can surely live blissfully,” Quang said.

The temple also aims to achieve one simple goal with the statue — beautify the city of Port Arthur.

“We want to introduce the teachings of Buddha to our society so they can understand more,” Quang said. “And when we conduct this statue, it will make the landscape better for the city.”

The purchase of the statue was made possible by donations, Quang said. He added that the temple hopes to unveil it in time for its 16th annual Vesak celebration (which commemorates the birth of Buddha and Garden Festival, which will be held Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8.


Twitter: @ErinnPA