Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lao Buddhist Temple Fire in Colorado

This year, on December 5th, the Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado caught fire and burned to the ground. Wat Lao Sida Ounnaram has played a vital role to the Lao community resettled in Colorado for almost three decades.

The Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado was established in 1988 and served over 200 Lao households in Colorado. Like many wat Lao across the US, they also offered many different services and educational programs that were available for everyone.

In addition, they served as the primary festival grounds for traditional Lao celebrations such as the Lao New Year, and also as a meditation space and a space for community forums and outreach.

The founders viewed Wat Lao Sida Onnaram as a public place for everyone to come and enjoy Lao culture and to grow as a community.

It is located at 10685 Dover Street in Broomfield, Colorado. The lead monk is the Venerable Ounkham Veunnasack Thammavaro, who has been with the wat for 23 years. Their website is currently undergoing maintenance, but they do offer ways to support and help the reconstruction efforts.

I was fortunate to have the chance to visit Wat Lao Sida Ounnaram in June this year while traveling and I was deeply impressed by the beauty there and the hospitality of the monks. For many reasons, much of the art at this wat Lao was very unique even among other wat Lao across the United States, and it is a significant and considerable loss.

I would strongly encourage anyone  to assist to donate to them as the community comes together to rebuild.

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