Members of the Buddhist Huong Dao Temple, 4717 E. Rosedale St., placed the first stones of the newest 14-acre expansion to the sacred site on May 15.

The $100 million expansion consists of 840 stupas, or Buddhist commemorative monuments, that will house the sacred teachings of the Buddha. The texts are the Classical Buddhist Sutras, or the sayings of the Buddha carried down orally after he died and were compiled into collections called sutras.

The 840 stupas will serve as places of meditation and store the teachings of the Buddha and the Holy Disciples kept at Pali Tipitaka, the compilation of Buddhist teachings. 

The Tipitaka will be engraved on stone slabs in Pali Roman and English. The teachings in Sri Lankan, Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese will be engraved on copper, gold and stainless steel.

Construction began May 15 at the stone laying ceremony. The ceremony kicked off Vesak — the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar. On Vesak, May 16, the Buddha was born, reached enlightenment and died.

Traditionally, worshippers spend an entire day at Buddhist temples on Vesak.

Huong Dao Temple, 4717 E. Rosedale St., opened in east Fort Worth 26 years ago in the Stop Six Neighborhood. Worshippers were met with violence.

“In the early days when the temple first arrived, people were harassed or assaulted,” Fort Worth Councilmember Gyna Bivens said. “We look to your teachings and meditation to help quell the violence in this area.”

Bivens hopes to see the temple become more involved with local schools.

“You will not be alone in this area. When you look around now, it doesn’t look very nice. But I promise you, beautification is on the way,” Bivens said to the crowd of nearly 1,000 worshippers.

Bivens asked for one thing: A Vietnamese grocery store in the Stop Six Neighborhood.

Haltom City Mayor An Truong has been a member of the temple for over two decades.

Truong served as a police officer in Fort Worth for 32 years after his time fighting in the Vietnam War. He served in the narcotics department and later worked for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office as an investigator for the Gang and Homicide Prosecution Unit.

The temple was surrounded by low-income housing and drug dealers when Truong worked as an undercover narcotic officer, Truong said.

“Now, this area is changing rapidly. In 2000, I was one of the people to construct the first small Huong Dao Temple,” Truong said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.