A Cambodian community in South Carolina is ready to celebrate a stupa to honor the ancient Khmer king Jayavarman VII.
Monks at the Sao Sokh San temple in Wellford, S.C.—home to about 300 Cambodian families—say they hope thousands of Cambodian-Americans will join in the ceremony to open the pagoda starting Tuesday.
“We want to show the four virtues of the great Bayon temple,” said venerable monk Sao Khon, head of the temple. “All these virtues that King Jayavarman VII spread to all human beings and religions in that period to protect the country.”
The stupa, which includes a Buddha relic on the third tier, took three years to build with money from Cambodian communities across the US.
“All the money came from Khmer people in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina,” Sao Khon said.
Men Meya, a volunteer fundraiser from Rhode Island, said she spent 15 hours driving to the pagoda to help.
“It’s the first time that we built the stupa for Jayavarman VII in the States,” she said. “It’s a benefit to the Khmer society and people.”
Prom Samrit, another supporters of the stupa, said even though he’d spent money and energy on the stupa, he was glad it had been erected.
“King Jayavarman VII said the suffering of all people was also his suffering,” he said.