Wat Buddhavas of Houston
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|Location||6007 Spindle Dr., Houston, TX 77086-3930|
|Completed||April 5, 1982|
Leader/Title: Most Venerable Sunthorn
Ethnic Composition: Mostly Thai and Laos, with a growing non-Thai/Laos population
Resident Monks: Most Venerable Sunthorn (Abbot), Phra Ajahn Ken Kamalo (reverend), Phramaha Nuan Rommai, Phramaha Lekh, Phramaha Chanchai, Phramaha Apinan, Praseangdao and Samanera Michael (Novice Monk)
Activities and schedule
The temple holds regular services in Thai and English at 11 a.m. on Sundays. The monks pray every morning at 8 a.m. and every evening at 8 p.m. The monks pray by chanting in Pali. Also, there is a meditation class every Sunday at 1 p.m. led by Phra Ajahn Ken Kamalo. There are many festivals held throughout the year, including the very popular Loy Krathong Lotus Flower Festival and Songkran (Thai New Year), which is also part of the Thai celebration.
Every year towards the end of May, Visakha Puja is celebrated to honor when the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and achieved parinirvana, which according to tradition all occurred on the same days. Laypeople come to the temple in the morning offering food and monetary donations to the monks and temple. Laypeople place rice in the alms bowls of monks as they walk by. In Thai/Lao tradition, this is a way of 'tom boon' (gaining good merit or good karma). Towards the end of the celebration, the monks temporarily ordain nuns and laypeople around the temple 3 times in order to commemorate the 3 significant events in the Buddha's life: Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana.
The congregation consists of Thai and Lao immigrants and their children, but has gained a following from non-Thai/Lao Americans. Since the meditation classes have started in 2007, a medium-sized group of non-Thai/Lao Americans have started attending regularly.
Wat Buddhavas has a Sunday school in which children that attend learn how to read, write, and speak Thai. Children learn Thai history and culture. The children are also taught Buddhism and learn about the Buddha's life. Other classes offered are Thai classical dance and the fighting style Muay Thai.