Utah Buddhists divided in legal battle over temple

A legal dispute has arisen between members of the┬áVietnamese-American Unified Buddhist Association of Utah and the Vietnamese-American Unified Buddhist Congress in the United States of America over a temple property in Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood.

Apparently, the Utah group had donated the property to the national congress, though members of the local group say the deed was given without their consent.

Protesters in the local group gathered outside another temple in a Salt Lake City suburb on Saturday, where a national conference of monastics was being held. The protesters chanted the slogan, “Give back our temple. Give back our temple.”

According to the Desert News piece by Jasen Lee, the legal battle over who owns the temple has been the source of much division within the Salt Lake City Buddhist community (with a potential burglary tie-in, to boot). Utah Senator Luz Robles, who represents the district in which the temple is located, showed up Saturday to lend her support to both sides.

The local group was evicted from the temple a year ago, after the monk who received the deed for the building prevented all but a few local congregants from using the building; this article explains more of the history of the dispute.

(Photo by Robert and Cathy via Flickr, using a CC-BY license.)