Necessary renovations to the Kunzang Palyul Choling Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Poolesville, MD—open since 1985—have severely limited activities in the building and have brought its classes, activities and gift shop almost to a standstill, according to a temple news release.
The "[extensive] renovations are necessary to meet compliance requirements with Montgomery County's Building Use and Occupancy Code," and the temple could be completely closed if the necessary renovations are not completed within a reasonable time frame, the news release stated.
For now, the grounds surrounding the temple and Peace Park are open to the public, and the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a week prayer vigil—unbroken for 28 years—continues. The vigil "will be maintained privately by the site’s resident monks and nuns, with the help of a small group of friends, thereby continuing the unbroken stream of prayers. People may still request prayers for loved ones, at www.tara.org," the news release stated.
And, the temple is providing teachings online and hosting outdoor events—including weekly Sunday barbecues—while the renovations take place. Visitors are welcome to visit the seven-acre grounds and 65-acre Peace Park—which contains walking trails, stupas (ancient forms of Buddhist architecture considered to embody the enlightened mind), prayer wheels and meditation benches—during daylight hours, the statement added.
"We’ve kept the doors open for twenty-eight years," founder and Spiritual Director Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo—who created the 24-hour prayer vigil—said.
"So many people, both local and far away, let me know how much they have been helped in times of difficulty by finding a place to come and be at peace at all hours of day and night," Lhamo added.
Claire Waggoner, president of the temple, added that the temple "has been a source of refuge for those needing sanctuary, and we are committed to fully reopening with the help of the community near and far who value this place."
The temple's renovation "goal is to begin the mandatory building renovations and comprehensive interior upgrades as soon as possible, including fire separation, electrical and plumbing work, storm water management throughout the grounds, the installation of extensive sprinkler systems throughout the building and fire truck access. The initial estimate for this exceeds $1,000,000," the statement added.
To fundraise for the renovations, a webathon will be held at www.tara.org on Sunday, May 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. Also, Razoo, a crowd-fundraising platform, is generating funds for the temple at www.razoo.com.
On April 22 through 25, the temple will host revered Buddhist master Venerable Yangthang Tulku, 90, who is "widely recognized for his compassion, the quality and depth of his realization and the purity of his transmissions. His teachings will take place in a tent on the front lawn" of the temple, the release stated.