Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc.
13800 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904
Voice & Fax: 301-622-6544
The Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc. was organized in 1976 and incorporated in the State of Maryland in 1978. The headquarters of the society, called the Cambodian Buddhist Temple (Vatt Buddhikarama), was located first in Oxon Hill, MD, then in New Carrollton, MD, and finally was moved to Silver Spring, MD in 1987.
The Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc. is governed by a Board of Directors of 15 members. Except for the Buddhist monks on the Board, all members of the Board are elected biannually.
The four objectives of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc., are:
|to conserve the Cambodian Buddhist religion|
|to conserve the Cambodian culture|
|to provide training|
|to provide human assistance|
Vatt Buddhikarama plays a crucial role in Cambodian life in Cambodia and especially in America. There are 6 Buddhist Monks at the Temple. These monks serve as Dhamma teachers and counselors, and preside over various ceremonies. They perform religious and traditional ceremonies at the Temple and at peoples' homes upon invitation. These ceremonies include birthdays, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and house warmings, to name just a few. Cambodians invite Buddhist Monks to give them blessings.
Every Sunday, the Temple conducts classes on the Cambodian language, Cambodian classical and folklore dance, Cambodian music, and chanting. Also, every Saturday, the Temple provides citizenship training for people, especially the elderly, who want to become citizens of the United States. At the same time, English lessons are given to the elderly.
The Vihara (Buddha Hall)
The Buddha Hall is a genuine Cambodian Shrine which has all the characteristics of a typical Cambodian Vihara in Cambodia. On the outside, the Shrine is decorated with all the Cambodian art works reserved for a Buddhist temple. Inside on the main floor, a giant Buddha Image imposingly sits on the altar surrounded by smaller images. Large oil paintings depicting the life of the Buddha decorate the wall, and two large crystal chandeliers along with ceiling spot-lights provide lighting for the Shrine. The building was completed at the end of 1992 and was consecrated in July 1993. The total cost of the project was about $1.7 million dollars. Because of this distinctive and artful Vihara, the Cambodian Buddhist Temple is a point of interest for tourists visiting the Washington DC area. The main instigator of the shrine was Ven. Oung Mean Candavanno, former abbot of the Cambodian Buddhist Temple.
Ven. Preah Sumedhavansa Oung Mean Candavanno
Ven. Preah Sumedhavansa Oung Mean Candavanno was born on March 13, 1927 near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He became a novice monk at the age of 14, and remained ordained as a Buddhist monk after the novice service. He studied religion, Pali, and Sanskrit in Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India, and England. He was fluent in Khmer (Cambodian), Hindi, French, English, Pali, Sanskrit, Thai, and Burmese. He served in several positions in the Cambodian Buddhist hierarchy and in delegations to several countries.
In 1974, Ven. Candavanno pursued his doctorate program at Manchester University, England. His study was cut short by the events in Cambodia in 1975; and he migrated to the United States in January, 1978. At the Cambodian Buddhist Temple (Vatt Buddhikarama), Ven Candavanno immediately expanded the activities of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc. He was so popular that he was able to raise more than one million dollars in one year to complete the Vihara (Buddha Hall).
Ven. Preah Sumedhavansa Oung Mean Candavanno passed away on Tuesday March 16, 1993 at the age of 66.