The Buddha’s remains in Med City in time for local Buddhist temple’s 20th anniversary
(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Buddhist Support Society hosted a celebration Saturday of the Cambodian New Year and the 20th anniversary of their temple’s construction.
They also welcomed a very important relic within the Buddhist religion to Rochester.
While the Med City may be one of the last places people would guess where Buddha’s remains could be found, this is the spot where they are as members of the Support Society took a pilgrimage to Sir Lanka to bring the remains back to the United States.
Chief monk Buncheat Ung, was beyond delighted to have it brought into Rochester.
“I’m very happy, us as a Cambodian community are very happy that we’re able to bring the relic back and worship it here in Rochester,” said Ung through Cynthia Neth, secretary and translator for the Buddhist Support Society.
While the relic is a large part of Saturday’s celebrations, it is not the only focus as the festivities included dancing, prayers honoring their ancestors, and plenty of food to go around.
“As far as what we’re doing today we’ve got the traditional Cambodian dancing, which is something we do a part of the New Year as well,” said monk Ben Smalley. “Cambodian New Year is in April, so this is the last big ceremony of the year aside from Pa’chum Bun in September.”
“Yeah, from now until two months from now in September we’ll be celebrating the Pa’chum Bun ceremony,” added monk Keo Savoeun.
Savoeun joined the temple in Rochester five years ago and came from Camboida, for him, these celebrations are a great reminder of home.
“We perform here like in Cambodia and especially we have chant to show every culture that’s in Cambodia,” Savoeun said.
Even the dancers took pride in their performances for the day with Neth, the organizer of the dancing group, beaming with excitement all afternoon.
“It was really hard for them to know the gesture of the movement and everything. So I’m really, really proud. This is our dance group and I’m really proud of them,” said Neth.
This community still has more to do though as they are hoping to construct a new temple for the monks to worship in over the next few years. The day also served to gather donations for the temple’s construction.
“It’s a sacred shrine hall where all of the monks would actually do and meditate, it’s a really conservative building and it’s really beautiful, so that’s our next project,” said Neth.