Buddhayana Monastery or Wat Lao Buddharam

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 24 October 2006.

Phone: 248-544-9026
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Research conducted by the University of Michigan - Dearborn Pluralism Project.
The Buddhayahn monastery (closed in the spring of 2001) in Hazel Park was founded in 1994 by Venerable Tahn Pra Vinai (Winai), a Thai Buddhist monk who first moved to the United States in 1991. A woman from the local Thai community found the house, formerly a private residence, for Venerable Vinai when he decided to move to the Detroit area to start his own monastery. He had previously been at several other Buddhist centers in the United States, including temples in San Antonio, Washington D.C., Wichita, and Las Vegas. Venerable Pra Winai's original temple in Thailand arranged for the procurement of the house.

Description and Demographics

The monastery is in a house on a residential street in Hazel Park, a working-class suburb in Oakland County, north of Detroit. The front rooms (former living and dining rooms) of the house serve as a Buddha room. In addition there is a kitchen and a bedroom for the monk. While the center claims to have about 300 supporters, only about 15 people come to the center on a regular basis at least once a week. Attendance at ceremonies generally varies between 10-30 people, but can reach 70 or more. The overwhelming majority of those who come to the center are Thai immigrants to the United States. Individuals from Laos and Cambodia, who have begun to attend more recently, make up the rest of the core members. Other individuals, however, from Vietnam, China, India, Sri Lanka, as well as a small number of white Americans attend the center. Ceremonies are conducted using Pali and Sanskrit, while informal conversation tends to be in Thai.

Activities and Schedule

Daily meditation begins at 11:00 a.m. Special ceremonies during the year celebrate the birthday and enlightenment of the Buddha, Maghapuja Day, Pavana and the End of Three-Month Annual Rains Retreat, Wan Sart Festival, Asalha Pucha and the First Day of Vassa, as well as the birthday of the King of Thailand. Venerable Pra Winai is available for counseling, but there are no special programs at the center.


This center cooperates with Buddhist students at Wayne State University in Detroit and with the Midwest Meditation Center of Warren, Michigan in teaching classes in meditation at Iona College in Windsor, Canada.


In the spring of 2001, the Buddhayahn monastery ceased operation and Venerable Pra Winai moved to the Wat Loa Buddharam in southwest Detroit, where there are presently four other monks. Some individuals who were affiliated with the Buddhayahn monastery have followed Venerable Pra Winai to this religious center.