Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chua Giac Hoang Buddhist Temple

Zen in the City

Continuing my Churches of 16th Street series, the Chua Giac Hoang Buddhist Temple is located at 5401 16th Street NW. The only information I could find for this organization was an article from the Washington Post in 1996 about the discovery of a dead body in the basement of the church. Beyond that, I was unable to locate a website with information about this congregation.

Sandwiched between houses on 16th Street is this tranquil Buddhist temple.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential

16 comments:

Virginia said...

tranquil except for the poor bloke that was found in the basement! Colorful temple. My first thought was NOT a church......Kung Pao Chicken!
V

Cyndy said...

I just stumbled upon your blog because of the Churches of 16th Street series caught my eye. When I was growing up my mother always used to tell us, as we were driving down to visit our grandmother, that 16th Street had more churches than any other street in DC.

I've actually been thinking about doing a series of photos of all of the interesting churches on my street. Maybe I'll get around to it eventually. I'm not a real photographer - I just do it to entertain myself.

Your photos are really fantastic!

D.C. Confidential said...

VJ: Yeah, I guess he achieved a whole other level of tranquility, eh? Poor guy. As for Kung Pao Chicken, I would give my right arm for decent Chinese / Japanese / Thai food in this area.


Cyndy: Welcome! I've been doing this series off and on since March 2007. (I suspended it during the summer, but have picked it back up again as I'm not getting out as frequently to photograph things.) I think there are nearly 40 churches on or closely adjacent to 16th Street. It's really quite amazing. What fascinates me right now is, the Mormon Church is trying to build a sanctuary just a little south of Colorado, but the neighbors are opposing it. I find it mildly ironic, given the proliferation and variety of faiths along this street!

As for photographing the churches in your neighborhood, go for it! I'd love to see them.

Bob Crowe said...

Is it maybe a Vietnamese congregation? The name in Roman letters with accent marks suggest that. Might make the back story even more interesting. Nice shots.

D.C. Confidential said...

Bob: As a matter of fact, it is. The other name for it, which I found on a plaque on the side of the building, is Buddhist Congregational Church of America. I don't know if that's separate from this or part of the same... It's all a mystery. Sort of like the Buddha. Or the Eucharist. Or the resurrection.

(Okay, sorry. Bad jokes.)

Maya said...

I guess Buddhist's don't like to advertise. Though that bright yellow is certainly eye catching!

Brian said...

Such vibrancy of color! I visited many Bhuddist places in Japan several years ago, but I don't remember any of them being quite this bright :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Well, I've always thought of Buddhists as austere and non-self-effacing, but perhaps there is an exception here. I think one day I should stop in and see if I can learn more about these bright Buddhists.


Brian: I can imagine you didn't! When I think of Buddhism in Japan and most of Asia, I think of the beautiful, haunting scenes in the movie Baraka. If you haven't seen it, check it out!

Dusty Lens said...

Hindu, Buddhist? Not sure, but the vibrant colors are stunning.

Anonymous said...

That's bright yellow/red structure is a Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation Temple. It's the Theravada branch of Buddhism. Service is held every Sunday at 12:00pm, although it's entirely in VNese.

Anonymous said...

I went here as a kid since I am Vietnamese-American.

Great place although a bit crowded.

It's actually Mahayana, not Therevada.

d.c. confidential said...

Anon: Thanks for the comment. It looks like an interesting congregation. And thanks also for the correction.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

It is a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple (my ethnic background is Vietnamese). I'm not a practicing Buddhist but I hold high regards for this temple because of a recent lost in the family and how they stepped up to help us with the funeral and burial. What they did helped us tremendously with regards to spiritual and financial.

This is the only link that I can fine about the temple.
http://www.oocities.org/vulongdinh22003/index2.htm

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
Here's another link to Chua Giac Hoang Buddhist Temple. Although it does not have much info, however, it does have the newest events post on there. Sadly, all in Vietnamese.
https://sites.google.com/a/giachoangtemple.com/main/home

Patricia said...

There are reasons why the temple is bright. The bright colors are intended to ward off evil. Every color represents something different.

Anonymous said...

It is a Vietnamese Buddhist temple that is bought and funded by the Vietnamese community since 1976, a year after the fall of Saigon. The colors yellow and red are significant buddhist colors and are also the colors of the pre-communist vietnamese flag. It might be the only church in the area that does not charge money for any service. You need the abbot to come and officiate for a funeral or anything, the only thing you have to do is ask. If he does not have scheduling conflict, he will come.