Construction kicks off on southwest Fresno's Lao Dhamma Sacca Temple

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the next several months, construction work will be taking over Southwest Fresno's Lao Dhamma Sacca Temple.

The first Fresno stupa, or shrine, will be added to the Buddhist worship space.

It is something Senior Advisor of the Lao Dhamma Sacca Temple, Dr. Boulnlath Souksavong, has been looking forward to, for decades.

"Of course we are excited. Well, we will have something big in Fresno that belongs to the Laos community."

A 10,000 square-foot social and worship hall will be built once the stupa is complete.

The hall will fit more than 400 people.

Sacca temple Architect, Scott Vincent, is leading the construction.

"We are trying to convert it into an actual temple. They have been using school classrooms and such for doing their functions here. Now, it is time to build the equivalent of a church."

Once the temple is complete, it is expected to be one of the largest in the United States.

"The stupa is going to be a 65-foot tall shrine and it is interesting that it is more or less a modern-day pyramid," says Vincent.

The entire project will cost about $4 to $5 million -- all made possible by donations.

Visa Sayavath, Advisor of Lao Dhamma Sacca Temple, says "For us, especially the elderly, the first generation, it is like a piece of art, the masterpiece that we tried for decades."

There are over 10,000 Lao people in the Fresno area but the temple will be a place for all Buddhist to worship.

Dr. Boulnlath Souksavong mentions, "The Laos, the Khmer, the Thai, the Burmese, they will come to join us to praise. It will be the place where Buddhists can come together, pray to Buddha and keep the religion alive for the new generation."
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