Construction of a Buddhist temple sparks controversy in San Jose, California

- through Henry Oudin

Published on


The Khmer community in the Evergreen neighborhood of San Jose, California is trying to build a Buddhist temple. However, the proposed plans have drawn the ire of some local residents, who believe the 1 square meter structure, which will sit on 300 hectares of land, will cause unwanted noise and traffic congestion in the area.

The problem came to a head in February when the San Jose Planning Commission approved the construction project. The site proposal is now in the hands of the city council, which is responsible for approving the construction of the temple and rezoning the property for public use. A vote on the matter is due to take place on March 28.

People opposed to the project show their displeasure in several ways. An individual who owns property along nearby Ruby Avenue has refused to sell his land, which sits in the middle of the construction site, to developers. Thus, the temple will wrap around their property on three sides.

Another local resident, Murali Pabbisetty, expressed concern that the temple would make it harder for residents to walk safely in the area and that cars from temple visitors would block the entrance to his cul-de-sac. -bag.

In contrast, members of the local Khmer community are excited about the prospect of building a new temple to serve their community.

“We want a good place to worship. said Victor Thach, a 63-year-old San Jose resident who arrived in the United States in 1986 after leaving Vietnam. “I don't want the next generation to look down on us and see that we haven't done anything for three decades. » (news from mercury)

Thach, along with other members of the congregation, currently attends services in a single-family home that was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 1990s. However, the congregation has outgrown the space and some members have stopped attending services due to overcrowding.


With the help of Lyna Lam, who heads the Khmer Buddhist Foundation, worshipers hope to build a new temple that will provide more space and add to the architectural beauty of the Evergreen community. The planned temple will provide religious services and support to the region's ethnic Cambodian community, many of whom came to San Jose after escaping war and bloodshed in places like Vietnam and Cambodia.

Lam described the importance of space saying, “A temple is really the center of the community for Cambodians. It's not just a religion for us, we go there to support each other. (4 crowns)

The planned temple will be located at 2 Ruby Avenue and will provide a home for eight monks, who will live full-time, and will include a temple sanctuary and community center, which will contain many traditional Buddhist elements. The buildings would accommodate a maximum of 740 visitors at a time. However, the developers said they expect worship services during the week to have 300 attendees, while weekend services will likely have around 20 attendees.

In order to address some of the concerns expressed by local residents, the project planners adjusted the plans for the proposed temple. Buildings were reduced in size by 25% and surface parking was added to the design.

The developers also offered residents some perspective, noting that there are other multi-ethnic places of worship in the area, including the Evergreen Islamic Center and a Sikh temple.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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