Buu Mon opens temple this weekend
From left, the Rev. Minh Tri, The Rev. Thich Tri Quang, abot of the Buu Mon Temple in Port Arthur and layman Henry Ha stand in front of lotus blossoms at the Port Arthur Buddhist Temple Wednesday.
Port Arthur’s Buu Mon Temple will offer Southeast Texans a glimpse of Southeast Asia this weekend during the annual Vesak Celebration and Garden Festival.
The two-day observance of Buddha’s birthday is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Bu Mon Temple, 2701 Procter Street.
Saturday events focus more on the temple grounds, which feature four different gardens. Arts and crafts are part of the celebration along with, tea meditation and authentic Vietnamese Cuisine. Bamboo and Lotus is also available for sale.
Saturday activities close with a cultural show from 5 p.m. until late and begin again on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Each year the temple celebrates the lotus blossom — a flower with a legend as engaging as it is beautiful.
The lotus is symbolic for beautifying the mind and mental cultivation, the Rev. Thich Tri Quang, temple abbot, said.
The ancient lotus flower has come to be associated with purity and beauty in the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism and is associated with rebirth.
“The lotus rises from the mud to become something beautiful,” Quang said.
The mud is symbolic of something dirty, he said.
“Based upon the symbol of Lotus, a person can overcome their own evil just like the locus overcomes mud to rise up,” Quang said.
This year marks the second Lotus Festival since the Buu Mon Temple cultivated towering serene gardens to not only offer a tranquil place to meditate, but to also attract people to downtown Port Arthur.
“We hope the temple becomes the cultural center of the city,” Quang said. “We want to bring more tourists to the Gulf Coast area and to help with the revitalization of downtown.”
There, Saffron-robe monks will be on hand to guide visitors through the temple and meditation areas. Several statues highlight the ground including a towering Buddha watching over a reflecting pool.
Anyone is welcome to see the grounds and attend the services.
Each year visitors arrive by the busload to visit the temple grounds and to celebrate the birthday of Buddha.
This year marks the 2640th birthday of Buddha.
On Sunday, the great event known worldwide as the Vesak: the Celebration of the 2640 Birthday, the 2675th Enlightment and the B.e. 2560th Ultimately Peaceful Attainment of Lord Buddha is planned.
Lunch will be served on both Saturday and Sunday.