Vietnamese Buddhist Community Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday

I’ve often passed this Vietnamese Temple, but never have the opportunity to go inside until this past Sunday.

Vietnamese Temple

I was on my way back from visiting my dad, and saw cars parked in front, I made a U turn and came back to the temple, not sure at the time if I‘d be welcome.

This is a Vietnamese Buddhist temple, and on Sunday they were celebrating Buddha’s Birthday. The celebration came a bit early because they’ve several temples, and there will be another celebration at their big temple in South Carolina this coming weekend. I was invited to eat lunch with them, but it was around 3 PM, and I knew that they were done eating and told them thank you, and that I had already eaten at my dad’s.

The inside is real nice, I paid my respect the Laotian Buddhist way, knelled on the floor and Wai (hands in upside down Y) 3 times and said my prayers. After I finished, one of the men that was there gave me an incense stick, and I lit it and said my prayers again, still knelling on the floor. Then I saw a Vietnamese lady, she appears to be in her 60s and stood next to me and bowed 3 times. I smiled, a bit embarrassed, so that is how it’s done, I’ll remember next time.

This is their Big Buddha, the characters in the background appear to be Chinese characters.

Vietnamese Temple

Vietnamese Temple

Vietnamese Temple

There are several statues that I’m not familiar with.

Vietnamese Temple

Vietnamese Temple

This I recognized, she is Jao Mae Guan Im (also known as Guanyin (or spelled Kuan Yin) by the Chinese, she is also known as the Chinese Bodhisattva of Compassion).

Vietnamese Temple

Her statue is also in front of the temple.

Jao Mae Guan Im

I met the monk, his robe seems a bit dark, he explained that this is to wear around the temple, but when he performs the Buddhist ceremony, he’d wear the yellow monk robes.

Vietnamese Monk

And he is the ground keeper, that’s what he called himself.

Ground keeper

I’m glad that I stop by, it’s a nice temple and the people are very friendly.

Vietnamese Temple

One lady even gave me an orange from this fruit tray, the fruits and flowers were for worshiping.

Fruit tray for worshipping

This special day is celebrated by Buddhist communities all over the world, Buddha’s Birthday is recognized on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. If you’re interested in joining the celebration, check you local temple for the exact date, but I think most temples will hold this festive event this weekend.