Leighton Township Tells Buddhist Monk He Needs Permit for Meetings

June 23, 2008

Author: Jim Harger

Source: The Grand Rapids Press


When Buddhist monk Thomas Nguyen moved into a brick ranch house on a 5-acre lot outside this Allegan County village last year, it seemed an ideal place to host Buddhist meditations and celebrations.

Nguyen, known as "Thai Tue" to his followers, converted the two-stall garage into a meditation room and invited followers to his "Great Wisdom Meditation Center" for Saturday and Sunday gatherings.

He did not count on a visit from Leighton Township Supervisor Spencer Moore, who charged Nguyen with a zoning violation earlier this month.

Moore, who also enforces the township's zoning code, ordered Nguyen to stop hosting large gatherings until he gets a special-use permit to operate a church.