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Buddhist Temple to throw neighborhood celebration Jan. 8

By Rachel Luna,SGV Tribune, Jan 3, 2011

HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA (USA) -- For more than 20 years, the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple has invited local residents to the temple's annual Neighborhood Celebration.

The party celebrates the start of Chinese New Year and welcomes the community to the temple to join in the festivities, said Temple Director Miao Hsi.

Residents will get to experience cultural workshops that include meditation, Chinese calligraphy, origami, Chinese drums and more.

A crowd of 300 to 400 people is expected to attend this year's Neighborhood Celebration from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday at 3456 S. Glenmark Drive.

The free annual outreach event is geared toward the community as a gesture of good will and friendship, Hsi said.

"We want residents to know that we are very community-oriented and want to get to know our neighbors and community surrounding us," she said, adding that the temple wants to thank residents for their support.

Being one of the largest Buddhist temples in the United States, the Hsi Lai Temple has been on shaky ground with its immediate neighbors who have been less than supportive with their past expansion proposals.

In 2002, the Temple made an attempt to add on to its property with a 120,000-square-foot cultural center.

They then proposed in 2006 to build a smaller, 40,000-square-foot facility, which was also rejected by community members.

Hacienda Heights residents feared that any expansion of the temple would cause more traffic congestion and environmental impacts in the area.

The Temple does not have plans to expand at this time, Hsi said.

Despite the failed attempts to expand, the Buddhist Temple has nevertheless welcomed residents to experience the temple grounds.

Many residents appreciate the Temple's attempt to reach out to the community.

"Yeah, sometimes it's an inconvenience when the temple has their `feast days,' or when some big event comes up, but so what?" said Jerry Tello, who has lived down the street from the temple for 24 years. "People are going there to worship and that's a beautiful thing."

The event is open only to residents living in the 91745 zip code.

Reservations by Thursday are required to attend.

For more information, call 626-961-9697 or e-mail info@hsilai.org, rachel.luna@sgvn.com, 626-962-8811, ext. 2104



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