Vietnamese Buddhists Form Congregation In Manatee

February 28, 2009

Author: James A. Jones Jr.

Source: The Buddhist Channel/Bradenton Herald,7831,0,0,1,0

Wearing the brown robe of a Buddhist monk, the gentle man with a shaved head stood out when he ventured out into the community.

When other Vietnamese-Americans saw him, they would always ask about the possibility of opening a temple.

“Not yet,” was the Rev. Thich Phap Hue’s reply. The tiny minority community lacked the resources and wherewithal for such an ambitious undertaking.

Thich Nu Dieu Thanh is a nun who serves the Dieu Phap Tu Buddhist congregation in Bradenton.

It was his constant prayer that maybe someday, someway, local Vietnamese Buddhists could find a way to gather under one roof to worship in their native language.

Last year those prayers were answered. Through the efforts of several Vietnamese-Americans, they found and bought a rundown house in foreclosure, sitting on three acres south of Bradenton.

With lots of volunteer effort, by people who are all too familiar with life-and-death struggle, the Dieu Phap Tu congregation cleaned and spruced up the house and made it a center of religious and social life.