Theravada Dhamma Society hosts celebration

T-R PHOTO BY SUSANNA MEYER — This huge 18-foot tall, 12-square-foot-wide image of Buddha was completed last year at the Theravada Dhamma Society of Iowa, a Buddhist temple just outside of Marshalltown, and to commemorate one year since its completion, they hosted a celebration on Sunday.

A gathering commemorating one year since the completion of a massive 18-foot-tall and 12-square-foot wide statue of the Buddha was held on Sunday at the Theravada Dhamma Society of Iowa, and about 1,000 people came from all over the country to celebrate.

The Theravada Dhamma Society is a Buddhist temple in Marshalltown, and they completed one of the largest images of Buddha in the United States in August 2021. They hosted a gathering last year to celebrate the statue, and organized another event Sunday to pray, mingle and remember the work put into the statue. Visitors from all over the country made the trip to attend the celebration, including 45 Buddhist monks from nearly all 50 states.

The Sunday festivities were kicked off with a religious session in the morning, and later, after a brief rain, singers and dancers representing the different ethnic groups within the society entertained the gathered crowd.

Theravada Dhamma Society of Iowa liaison Tay Tun said this was an important aspect of the celebration because it showed younger generations their cultural history, so they will eventually be able to carry it on when they are older. Tun said the celebration will likely become an annual event because it offers their community an opportunity to come together.

“We are a minority here in this country, and somehow, we ended up together in this little town,” Tun said. “It is also one of the times that we gather from all around the states. We have a lot of friends and family that we haven’t met in five, 10 years, (and they) came over just to gather and worship what we believe in.”

Over 1,000 people visited the Theravada Dhamma Society on Sunday to celebrate and mingle.

The event was also open to the public, allowing people from the Marshalltown community to attend and experience a different culture and to get to know the Theravada Dhamma Society.

“That’s the main reason that we opened it to the public. To show that ‘Hey, this is who we are and this is our culture and this is what we believe in,’ you know, to show our heritage,” Tun said.

Tun said it was wonderful to have the support of the Marshalltown community, especially from companies like JBS, who Tun called one of their “biggest community supporters.” Many JBS employees are a part of the Theravada Dhamma Society, so the company makes a point to support them in any way they can. JBS even helped the Theravada Dhamma Society organize the celebration on Sunday.

Tun felt the Sunday celebration was a definite success and he is looking forward to seeing the event and the temple grow as the years go on.

Anyone who wants to visit the image of Buddha on the Theravada Dhamma Society property is welcome to, and can see it at 2942 240th St. anytime.


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or smeyer@timesrepublican.com.


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