Building a Chinese Buddhist Shrine in Nairobi

The Chinese community in Kenya is rapidly growing. Among them, there are many Buddhists. Many Chinese Buddhist traditions are different from our Theravada Buddhist Traditions.

Dr. Zhao Weijie and several Chinese Buddhists approached me in January of 2014 and asked about the possibility of bringing some Chinese Bodhisatva statues so that they can do their offerings according to their customs when they visit the temple.

The Nairobi Buddhist Temple is a Therevada Buddhist temple and we are not used to some of the Chinese Buddhist rituals and deities. I decided to accommodate their need and the request anyway by letting them bring some statues.

A simple idea became much bigger and we ended up building a new Chinese shrine in the premises of our Temple.

When the statues arrived at the temple from China, I realized that we needed to build a separate shrine for them. After having several discussions with Mr. H. Dawda, the Chairman of Manjee Biscuts in Kenya and also a main supporter of the temple, he agreed to sponsor construction of a new shrine. He appointed his son Maneesh Dawda to manage the project. Maneesh, an architect, a contractor, and I sat down and discussed the details of how the building should look. Within a short period, construction work was started with proper architectural designs.

During the construction, Maneesh always consulted me to make sure that everything was done right. Paying attention to all the details and fulfilling all the requirements, he completed the shrine beautifully.

As we celebrated Vesak in May of 2014, we held a special celebration to place the statues on the shrine. Many Chinese Buddhists participated in the event and rejoiced in having a new spiritual home for them to come and practice their religion.

I share my blessings with Mr. Dawda and his family for their generosity. It is truly a noble deed that will bring peace and healing to the minds of those who come and worship at this shrine for many years to come.