The Hue Quang temple opened in April 2003, and is the only Buddhist temple in this area. To understand the history of Hue Quang, and Buddhism in Richmond in general, one must begin with the Ekoji Buddhist Sangha. Founded by Rev. Kenryu Takashi Tsuji in 1987, the Ekoji Buddhist
Sangha became the first Buddhist organization in Richmond. The group initially met and is currently located in a house in the Fan District on Grove Avenue. Tsuji taught mostly Japanese followers but also invited the Vietnamese community to worship on the upper floor of the house. Eventually the Vietnamese community grew, as did their funding, and the community was able to buy a house in Glen Allen in which to hold its own ceremonies. Additions were made to the house so that it would emulate a Buddhist temple. Along with decorated fountains and ornate statues, the temple’s radiant design truly does set a tranquil, relaxed mood.
Formal weekly services are held Sunday mornings. The typical service consists of prayer/meditation, chanting and song, all of which take place in Vietnamese. The resident monk immediately follows
this with a group discussion on life and how to be a better human being. Guests are then moved from the main room into a different area to pray for people who have recently passed away. A vegetarian lunch is served following the service. The majority of the 60-70 people who attend the weekly service are female. The females usually situate themselves on the right side of the room and the males occupy the left even though there is no official rule requiring them to do so. There are several other informal services offered throughout the week and at various times during the month. Meditation/prayer services are offered evenings on several days of the week. Sacred Buddhist text studies (the equivalent to Christian Bible studies) are offered once each month.
There is a special eight hour class offered every month where one can learn how to find peace within. Also, special forgiveness focused services commemorating the new moon and the full moon are held every two weeks, correlating with the Theravada Buddhist calendar. Other special holidays celebrated at the Hue Quang temple include Nirvana Day (February – the death of Buddha), the Chinese New Year (February), Wesak (April/May – Buddha’s birthday), Khao Pansa (July – Buddhist lent), Bodhi Day (November/December – the day that Buddha reached enlightment), and various other Vietnamese holidays. Since the temple follows a luni-solar calendar, there is no official date for these holidays. Celebrations usually correspond to the cycles of the moon and can draw up to 300 guests in attendance.
Worshipers consist primarily of Vietnamese/Chinese-Americans, with occasional Europeans or Americans stopping in for a visit. There currently are no community clubs or projects in which the temple is involved, but they do hold fundraisers at the temple every first Sunday of the month. Freshly cooked vegan and vegetarian food is sold to raise funds for a reception hall that they will be adding to the building as their community continues to grow.
Hue Quang Temple
8535 Hungary Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Hue Quang Temple volunteer
Profile prepared by Veronica Bason