Buddhist monk killed by car in Central Fresno remembered

A Buddhist monk has died after being hit by a car in Central Fresno while leaving a funeral on Thursday night.
January 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A Buddhist monk has died after being hit by a car in Central Fresno while leaving a funeral on Thursday night.

A shrine with offerings to Buddha and a picture of Bounchanh Khaosaath sat in the place many come to pray and give gifts to the monks. Many say Khaosaath died while serving others, something he dedicated his life to for the past 10 years as a monk.

"That's the day that they had a funeral day too, he was there actually to do the praying you know for the person that passed away," said Sandra Khaosaat, the monk's niece.

Bounchanh Khaosaath died when he was crossing the street in Central Fresno. Fresno Police say the monk was leaving a home, where he spent several hours praying for the spirit of a young man who had just died. As he went to get into a car, and head back to the temple, he was struck and killed.

Family members say Khaosaath was with several other monks, all who made it across the street in time. Police say the group was crossing from the south side of Dakota to the north side of the street, and it was dark outside. In addition, there are not many lights in the area.

Officers say it's still unclear who was at fault, but speed does not appear to be a factor. "It appears that the driver was traveling at a speed safe for the conditions and it was just an unfortunate incident and he was unable to see the pedestrian as he crossed the roadway," said Anthony DeWall, Fresno Police Department.

On Monday Khaosaath was prayed for and remembered at the Fresno County temple where he has lived for the past three years after emigrating from Laos.

Although quiet, many loved ones say Khaosaath always gave good advice to those who sought his counsel. In addition to praying for them, his family says he followed up to make sure local Buddhists took extra steps to improve their health or life.

His family said no matter what the police investigation reveals, they have accepted what happened and have no bad feelings for the driver who hit him.

Loved ones are planning a funeral starting on February 2nd. Khaosaath was 67 years old.

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