This data was last updated on 9 July 2019.
Address: 24 Cambridge Street, Lowell, MA 01852
History: Founded in 1989, Glory Buddhist Temple in Lowell's Lower Highlands neighborhood is in the heart of the city's Cambodian community. The temple is within walking distance for many of the 30,000 Khmer residents in the Lowell area, the second largest Cambodian community in the United States next to Long Beach, California. Prior to purchasing this former office building, the members rented a small apartment in the area as a gathering place and to accommodate three monks from Cambodia. In the coming years, the Glory Buddhist Temple hopes to offer Khmer language, culture, and Buddhism classes for children and adults in an effort to preserve Cambodian culture. Ideally, the temple would like to relocate in order to provide these programs to a larger community.
Description: The unassuming brick and aluminum siding of the two-story building offers little indication of the ornate altar within the main temple room. With just an American and small Cambodian Buddhist flags waving in the front entrance, one is almost unprepared for the glamour of the altar within. The altar features a golden Buddha statue surrounded by tiers of colorful lights, flowers, beads, and framed portraits of the Buddha. The ceiling of the temple room is adorned with beaded chandeliers among rows of small Cambodian flags. To the side of the altar, a modestly raised platform has been installed for the resident monks to sit and receive offerings. While the temple is devoted to Theravada Buddhism, which emphasizes the importance of lay offerings and support to the monastic community, members of Glory Buddhist say the temple integrates traditional Khmer folk traditions. The lower level of the temple offers sleeping quarters as well as a large kitchen with seating for community meals.
Demographics: The temple largely attracts Cambodian families living in the Lowell area. Cambodians from throughout New England often attend major, annual celebrations. Services and most conversations among members are in Khmer.
Activities and Schedule: Glory Buddhist Temple is open daily from 7 AM to 6 PM. Temple members make a daily offering of specially prepared food for the monks, followed by chanting, meditation, and lunch between 11 AM and noon. On weekends the temple hosts larger numbers who come to make offerings, meditate and chant. Every full moon the temple offers a two-day weekend meditation retreat. Annually, Glory Buddhist Temple celebrates the Cambodian New Year and Pchum Ben, or the Day of the Dead. Temple members also enjoy attending the annual Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival