“House temples”: Suburban Buddhist temples in Cabramatta and El Monte

A “house temple” in Cabramatta, near Sydney. Photo by Anna.

Anna’s post on I Heart Cabramatta about Vietnamese “house temples” in her Sydney suburb caught my attention:

“House temples” a phrase that I have coined to describe these numerous temples that have popped up in the residential parts of Cabramatta. At first you do a double take, then you ask yourself “Is that a typical 1960′s red brick house with a big white Buddhist statue in the front yard?”. Answer : “Yes it is!”.

These Vietnamese “house temples” exist in my hometown of El Monte, California, as well! Take, for instance, this temple on Lashbrook Avenue, this other one on Cogswell Road, and yet another one on Musgrove Avenue. (I found all of these addresses on The Buddha Garden.) In addition to these small temples tucked away among houses, there are also larger temples in El Monte, such as Phuoc Hue Dao Trang on Lower Azusa Road, right down the street from my high school.

I suppose these temples serve a real need in the community, and that renting or buying a house is cheaper than acquiring a commercial property for the temple. I can only imagine the parking and noise headaches this must cause for neighbors, though. Perhaps Anna is right in that these temples would rather maintain a low profile, out of sight of local zoning authorities.

Have you been to one of these house temples? Would you have any insight into why they open up in such odd places?

  1. Random Reader

    Another one in Rosemead: Del Mar and Garvey, across the street from Jade Garden Restaurant and behind coin laundry.

  2. I went to a house temple for Vietnamese school. We had classes in the backyard. The garage was turned into a prayer area. They prepare our meals in the kitchen and live the house. Last time I heard about it, they bought out the house next door and plan to expand.

  1. 1 Temple conflicts in suburbia « The Plaid Bag Connection

    [...] Earlier this year I wrote about what Anna from I Heart Cabramatta calls “house temples,” suburban residences turned into places of worship for Vietnamese Buddhists. Today’s Los Angeles Times has a story on the issues that these house temples are raising in their communities. Neighbors say they are primarily concerned with the amount of traffic that these temples bring, but there is also more than a small amount of xenophobia in the air. [...]

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