Buddhist Temple Fire

Priest Dead In Fort Smith Buddhist Temple Fire 

Buddhist Temple Fire

Fort Smith, Arkansas: a Buddhist priest has died at the Wat Lao Buddharam temple after a fire broke out overnight.

A Buddhist priest has been found dead inside the Wat Lao Buddharam temple after it burned down in Fort Smith, Arkansas. When firefighters reached the scene, they were unable to enter the temple as it had been fully engulfed in flames. Nearby witnesses alerted firefighters that someone may still be inside.

After the fire, someone was discovered inside. The individual was identified as Souphanh Inthalangsinh. The Buddhist priest was 68-years-old, and had been sleeping in the temple at the time of the fire.

Virapol Sengmanivog, a member of the same congregation stated that Souphanh had been with the temple since 1988. He says “Souphanh was a very mild-mannered person, always willing to give you advice – he was a teacher of the religion so anytime you had questions about the religion, he would take his time to just sit with you and explain the tradition and the teachings of Buddha to you.”

“The spirit is still there to watch us and make sure we make the right decisions,” said Jolyne Wilson, a 13 year-old who has attended the Wat Lao Buddharam temple her whole life.

The fire is still under investigation. The fire department says the cause is still unknown, and it may not ever be determined.

There is currently a GoFundMe page started, attempting to raise $30,000 to rebuild the temple as it once was. Visit their page if you are able to donate, or want to learn more.

The temple destroyed was a part of the association of Lao Buddhist temples. Lao Buddhism is a spiritual belief, and is based on the early teachings of Buddha, focusing on the Four Noble Truths.


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