Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 24 August 2004.Phone: 804-730-3946
HistoryVenerable Cang Kim, the current head monk of the Cambodian Buddhist Association of Richmond, was ordained in a refugee camp in South Vietnam at the age of 18. In 1988 he moved to Virginia, where he founded the temple in downtown Richmond. The following year, he moved to the Richmond suburb of Mechanicsville to be closer to his primary sponsor, where he purchased the house that serves as the present-day temple.
Activities and ScheduleThe Cambodian Buddhist Association of Richmond does not have a formal weekly schedule. Instead, the monks travel frequently to provide services as the homes of laypeople all over Virginia. Laypeople also come to the temple at all times of the week to pray and speak with the monks. Weekends are particularly busy, because young people often drop their older relatives off at the temple to spend a couple of days in religious practice. During these sessions the participants (almost all elderly ladies) perform a number of practices. They worship the Buddha, the teaching, and the monastic community three times a day, chanting their devotion in Pali and prostrating before the altar. Throughout the weekend they also meditate, discuss Buddhism, and make offerings to the monks. There are also seasonal holidays observed by the temple which attract significant crowds, such as Wesak, the celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death. The only regularly scheduled activities are the monks' daily prayers at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day.
The monks of the temple also visit other temples in the area regularly. They have attended the Richmond Buddhist Association, Vien Giac, and Ekoji. When called upon, they sometimes travel as far afield as North Carolina, New York, and even Oklahoma to assist with major ceremonies. At other times, they open the temple up to traveling visitors such as Tibetan monastic choirs on tour.
DemographicsTemples in Cambodia do not have a formal membership, a pattern which the Richmond temple replicates. Instead, between 100 and 200 families are loosely associated with the temple, calling on the monks for instruction and when they wish them to perform ceremonies. Many are in the greater Richmond area, but others are found in Chesterfield, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Petersburg, Roanoke, and Newport News. These families are nearly all Cambodian-American.
The temple has three permanent residents. The head monk is Venerable Cang Kim, a naturalized American citizen. The other two monks are more recent arrivals. One is Cambodian, the other is Thai.
DescriptionThe Cambodian Buddhist Association of Richmond is a long, white, single-story house that has been renovated for temple use. The temple has an ample front and back yard bounded by a low wooden fence. Outside they display two Buddhist flags and an American flag, and several white cement lotus markers dot the grounds. The neighborhood is a quiet residential suburb, full of large houses with nice lawns. Most residents are Caucasian.
Inside, most of the walls have been removed to form a large open space that houses the altar. There is also a kitchen and rooms for the monks to sleep in.