As the sign states, the above house is the Buddhist Center of Greensboro. It is part of a large complex of buildings and land on Liberty Road, near the intersection with Alamance Church Road. The part of the facility visible from the road looks like just another home in Southeast Greensboro. However, upon closer inspection, you will find that there are many of the elements typical of temples in Southeast Asia. The Center, where the Greensboro Buddhist community gathers, is walled, has a large bell, an altar, a sheltered outdoor space to gather and socialize, gardens, and a residence for monks. It is a home away from home for its members; a place to gather and keep alive the ways of ancestors and to instill 1,200 years of Buddhist values and Cambodian customs in the youngest generation.* It has been a way to heal for the Khmer refugees who have been struggling to keep their identity since their traumatic experiences during the Vietnam War.
The Buddhist Center of Greensboro was established in 1986 and Head Monk, Phramaha Somsak Sambimb has been living in Greensboro since 1988. Here is a little bit about the religion from their website: "The teaching of Buddha guide day to day living through a set of values, ethics, and a moral code. Compassion, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, and respect for elders are all basic Buddhist principles." He has been mentoring Darrell Kitchen, a Kentucky native, on his path to becoming a Buddhist monk for five years now.*
Buddhism is one of many religions represented on Liberty Road. As we toured the area last Sunday, we were impressed that all the faith groups seemed to live in harmony and value the right of people to congregate and worship, regardless of their religion. How wonderful to be a stone's throw away, but not throwing stones.