Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Great Fire

Picture taken on Nov. 29, 2008 shows Tibetan Buddhist monks try to put out a fire during a drill at Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery (monastery or vihara) in Xigaze, southwest China's Tibetan Autonomous Region (Xinhua News Agency/

Rebuilding Burned Buddhist Temple

Diane Smith (

FORT WORTH, Texas — Wat Lao Thepnimith looks like a postcard from Southeast Asia planted in a suburban patch of houses nestled in northwest Fort Worth. The Buddhist campus is the heart of a Lao-American Buddhist community that began resettling in North Texas in the mid-1970s.
  • VIDEO Laotian Buddhist Temple fire

Many of the estimated 11,000 members are refugees of Communism, who fled after the Vietnam War — a conflict in which many Lao were allies of the United States. On Aug. 24, a fire destroyed the campus temple, the Sim Building.

Rebuilding is the only option for a structure described as a labor of love. "We are really so, so sad," monk Ven. Kommana Vongphakdy said. Strangers touched by the story have brought donations. The community is working with Fort Worth to line up blueprints and permits. More>>