Buddhist monks placed an ornamental “hti”—the Burmese word for the distinctive ornament placed at the apex of almost all Burmese pagodas—atop the spire of their new pagoda in Akron, Ohio. The golden crown completed the two-year Akron Mon Community Temple building project.
The Mon are an ethnic group native to a region in Myanmar near its southern border with Thailand. One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Indochina and were a major source of influence on the culture of Myanmar. In the Burmese language, the term “Mon” means noble.
The pagoda is a traditional shrine in the Theravada Buddhist cultures of South and Southeast Asia. The Akron pagoda is designated a “dhatu cetiya,” a shrine that contains an authentic relic of Buddha, which was brought to America from Sri Lanka.
The Mon community of Akron is comprised of Theravada Buddhists who emigrated from Southeast Asia, some as political refugees from Myanmar. The Temple has an active group where the monks share their knowledge of Buddhism with anyone wishing to learn more.
According to Pew Research Center, 1 percent of those surveyed in Ohio in the Center’s 2014 Religions Landscape Study were Buddhist.
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