PHOTO GALLERY — Buddhist Temple to celebrate Lotus Festival, Vesak Observance in Port Arthur

Published 12:40 am Thursday, June 8, 2023

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The Buu Mon Buddhist Temple is welcoming all to the annual Lotus Festival and Vesak Observance this weekend.

The two celebrations run together. The festivities for the Lotus Festival are from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Vesak Observance, which commiserates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, is from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Bhante Tri Quang, the spiritual leader of the Temple, said there have been a few changes on the grounds since the previous festivals. Many of the bamboo died during the winter, but there are many attractions to view.

Lotus flowers dot the landscape, and sculptures depicting scenes from Buddha’s life are spread across the property. There are several water features with koi fish.

The Temple members will be selling vegetarian foods as a fundraiser during the two-day event.

Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tammy Kotzur said the Temple is part of the Port Arthur area’s faith trail.

“We always work closely with them so that tourists and locals are able to visit the church and its grounds,” Kotzur said. “They have always been very welcoming of visitors.”

The garden areas are unique and offer views of landscape not usually seen in our area.

Before COVID, the Temple would see busloads of visitors from Houston and Dallas. Kotzur said she hopes these visitors return so the festival continues to grow.

The Buu Mon was established in 1980 in Beaumont then moved to Orange and lastly to Port Arthur in 1986, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The current building was once a Baptist church and later a Vietnamese Catholic Church before becoming a Buddhist temple.

The Temple was dedicated in 1987 and the gardens were established in 1988.

The Temple is located at 2701 Procter St. in Port Arthur.