Buddhist monks remember founder of Fresno County temple

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of Buddhist monks from around the country, and even Southeast Asia, are in the Valley to remember the founder of a local Buddhist temple. On Saturday, they gathered for a celebration of life at the temple on Orange Avenue near American Avenue in Fresno County.

Thousands are expected to attend traditional services in honor of Dr. Vandi Vongsakhen on Sunday. He was a missionary from Thailand who led the local temple for two decades.

"He's a pioneer to bring Buddhism to this country and preach Buddhism in this land," said Mike Sayaseng, secretary at the local Buddhist temple. "The king of Thailand especially granted this honor to him because he has done so much in Buddhism."

Some Thai government officials are also expected to pay their respects at the temple on Sunday as part of the grand celebration.

Vongsakhen died in January of natural causes at the age of 81.

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