Buddhists Retreating to Houston’s Far Northwest

Many of the buildings on the campus were completed last August, but this weekend marked the official grand opening of “one of the largest Buddhist developments in the nation,” just northeast of Hempstead. The American Bodhi Center, a new retreat on 515 acres off FM 2979 in Waller County, was created by the Texas Buddhist Association — in part to relieve crowding at the 1,500-family-strong Jade Buddha Temple in Alief.

Among the new buildings: the Memorial Hall pictured above. There’s also a new Meditation Hall:


Plus a Dining Hall:

. . . and dormitories:

There’ll be more building to come, reports the Chronicle‘s Zen T.C. Zheng:

The developed area takes some 30 of the 515 acres, including a dining hall, an enclosed pavilion for tea and meetings, 40-bed gender-specific dormitories, log houses for family retreats, and a memorial hall to house the ashes of up to 2,000 people. Long, covered corridors connect some of the buildings to allow access in all weather.

The site also features camping grounds, a children’s playground and an outdoor basketball court. The bulk of the property is kept as a nature reserve.

Within three to five years, [Jade Buddha Temple abbot Rev.] Hung I said, a grand hall for ceremonies and lectures, a conference complex and a Zen garden should be built, and a Zen forest would be developed. Plans also call for bird-watching sites and an expanded system of walking trails, and, in the long run, a Buddhist college.

Photos: Flickr user MeteorPlum (top); American Bodhi Center (all others)

One Comment

  • This reminds me of the Catholic retreat centers I used go to as part of class trips back in parochial elementary and high school.

    Switch out the Buddha’s with Jesus and throw a couple of crosses up and you really can’t tell the difference.

    P.S. I hope no-one makes cult reference to the fact the place has bunks.