It looks like something you’d see in a National Geographic magazine! Take a look at the opening-day ceremonies …
In the center of the neatly-manicured grounds stands the temple, soon to be dedicated and put into use.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it covers a couple of acres, the newly completed Buddhist temple compound which officially opened in Southeast Portland at 8318 SE Harney Street isn’t easy to see from SE 82nd Avenue of Roses.
But, seeing so many vehicles parked on area streets for blocks around signaled that a major event was taking place here, just inside the southern border of the City of Portland.
Buddhist monks and dignitaries, some from as far away as California and Canada, came to attend the dedication ceremony.
We can’t tell you much of what was said during the ceremony on September 23; almost all of the formal proceedings were conducted in Vietnamese.
An interpreter told us that monks were bringing greetings from their temples from points in North America and around the world. They wished peace and long lives for the monks who are staying in the newly-completed monastery.
As the proceedings continued, the scent of a fresh vegetarian banquet being prepared filled the air.
Portland Mayor Tom Potter addresses the group, estimated at 1,500, during the formal dedication ceremony.
Portland’s mayor speaks
We did clearly understand, however, when Portland Mayor Tom Potter took the stage and addressed the gathering.
“This is a very special inauguration,” began Potter. “It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to participate today. I thank the honorable Buddhist monk, Myhn Tin, and the other monks, and the Oregon Vietnamese Community Association, for including me in today’s celebration.
“On behalf of the City of Portland, the City of Roses, I want to congratulate the Buddhist community on this magnificent accomplishment. It never ceases to amaze me what can be built through the hard work and support of individuals and organizations in our community.
“This temple is truly a grand example of what can be accomplished when people come together. Events like this are important in promoting and facilitating the understanding of the rich and diverse cultures of this region.
“Oregon’s Vietnamese community is nearly 30,000 strong, with a significant number having chosen to make Portland their home. The Vietnamese community continues to make significant contributions to the culture, and the religious, political, and business life of the City of Portland. And, we are richer for it. You are a valuable part of our community. As your mayor, I’m privileged to celebrate with you today. Congratulations, and peace.”
The dedication, in pictures
Dancers begin the Lion Dance and Dragon Dance at the end of the formal ceremony, leading guests to the temple steps.
At the temple’s entrance, the crowd of celebrants pack tightly together, each trying to catch of glimpse of the ribbon cutting. Mayor Tom Potter can be seen in the distance.
Strings of firecrackers – thousands of firecrackers – are lit, as is their tradition, to frighten away malicious spirits.
A view inside the grand temple.
© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service