Buddhist Assembly Seeks Bigger Temple

January 7, 2009

Author: David Bracken

Source: The News & Observer


When a small group of Vietnamese Buddhists bought property on Forestville Road in 1987, few could imagine the world they would end up creating in northeast Raleigh.

Through hard work and diligent fundraising, the congregation has turned a rural six-acre site into a sanctuary for Buddhist worshippers.

Life-size statues imported from Vietnam dot the property, and four outdoor platforms depict key points in the Buddha's life -- his birth, his decision to take on the life of a monk, his first sermon and his passing.

"My job is stressful, so I come here to ease my mind," said Phanhoa Tran, 56, a nurse at Rex Hospital who prays at the temple three or four times a week.

In September, the congregation asked the city to rezone a portion of its property so that it can build a new indoor temple to accommodate its growing flock. The new temple would be twice the size of its existing worship hall.

The congregation is asking the city to rezone its property from a conservation management district to residential.

The request is scheduled to be discussed at a Jan. 20 joint public hearing of Raleigh's City Council and Planning Commission.