Cambodian Buddhist Temple Opens in Hampton

July 8, 2007

Author: Jessica Mador

Source: Minnesota Public Radio

Hampton, Minn. — The temple sits on a hilltop surrounded by miles of cornfields and horse farms.

On this day, it's surrounded by cars. Thousands of Cambodian Buddhists from around the world have come to tiny Hampton for the consecration celebration for the temple, called Watt Munisota.

"This kind of celebration, it happens only once, so it is very rare even in the community. That's why it's very important," says Yanat Chhith, the board president of the Minnesota Cambodian Buddhist Society.

He says the ceremony is rare, performed only for the inauguration of a new temple and sometimes the renovation of a very old one. The Sima Boundary Ceremony begins with prayer and chanting. It culminates with marble stones, each weighing more than 400 pounds, being placed in formation around the temple. The stones were brought from Cambodia to mark the holy boundaries of the temple ground.