31st Anniversary Celebration of Wat Greensboro Buddhist Center

We celebrated the 31st Anniversary Celebration of Wat Greensboro Buddhist Center in Greensboro, North Carolina last Sunday, March 19, 2017.  Back in the 80s, we had a very small Buddhist community in this area. We fled from our war-torn countries, some immigrated from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. The Thai community was small in the 80s. We couldn’t speak each other’s languages but what we have in common is the belief of the Buddhist teachings. The original founders rented a house for 2 years, then purchased this place 31 years ago. We are fortunate to have Ven. Phramaha Somsak Sambimb as the temple abbot that fluently speaks Khmer, Thai and English. Wat  Greensboro welcomes members, visitors, and educators that seek to practice and learn more about the Buddhist teachings.

We have generous members that donated to the temple building fund. We recently had a new roof installed last year, a new carport for the holiday events’ vendors installed this year, the paving is a work in progress.

We have completed the men and women’s bathrooms project on January 1, 2017.

We have volunteers that help make these projects possible and also help cleaning up the temple ground on the weekends. The temple sits on a 10 arcs lot and during the clean up the crew members found an old Spirit house that has been hidden from view of the overgrown bamboo trees. We are thankful for all the work that they have done for the temple and their dedications to make Wat Greensboro great again.

The 31st Anniversary service was held in the Buddha’s room.

Alms-giving

The foods prepared for the monks.

Money offering to the temple and monks.

Ven. Phramaha Somsak Sambimb giving the sermon.

Pouring water merit making ceremony.

Offering foods to the monks.

We have young dancers practicing for the upcoming Songkran event in April, looking forward to seeing them perform.

Thank you for your interest in reading this post.

Evening Temple, Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival

One of the most memorable events I attended was attending Wat Lang or evening temple and Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong Festival at our local temple Wat Greensboro. I used to think that Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival were the same event, and that Lai Heur Fai Nam is a festival celebrated in Laos and Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated in Thailand. The event is similar but definitely not the same. Lai Heur Fai Nam is celebrated in Laos, and takes place right after Ok Punsa or the End of Buddhist Lent, which is in October and Loy Krathong is celebrated in Thailand, and takes place during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month and this year started on November 7th. Our local temple held a Loy Krathong event early since it was expected to be too cold in November.  The event was held on a Saturday October 18th, and since it fell right after Ok Punsa I considered this to be a Lai Heur Fai Nam event.

I got up early that Saturday morning to make my own Heur Fai Nam or Krathong, and got most of the items from my garden.

I used to make the Krathong when I was little living in Thailand, but that’s been a while back and thank goodness there’s Youtube videos of how to make the Krathong.

My first one didn’t look too bad, I had the white candle but didn’t have the incense sticks at home.

This one I made for Lee, and I had made 4 Krathongs total.

This was our first time attending Wat Lang or evening temple. The atmosphere was different, being on the temple ground at night ghost was definitely on my mind but no luck and no ghost encounter, so no ghost story to share with you all.

I was busy with taking pictures that Bo took care of the Krathong for me. I don’t think he realized the meaning of Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong. As I had mentioned in my previous Loy Krathong post that when I was little living in Thailand, I was told that Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai way of life.  It is widely believed that these are offerings made to Mae Khongkha (mother of waters) either to please her in an expression of gratitude for providing life-sustaining water throughout the year, and to ask her for forgiveness for man’s carelessness in polluting the water that nourishes all life. Many also believe that by setting adrift the krathong, one symbolically casts away one’s grief, misery, and ill fortunes. Coins are also placed in the krathong as offerings. As for the romantic at heart and young couples, Loy Krathong is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love.

I didn’t get a chance to cast away my grief, misery, and ill fortunes but deep down inside I knew it floated away with my Heur Fai Nam.

I’m glad our temple held Loy Krathong event this year, and hope that I will get a chance to attend the event in Laos or Thailand someday.