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The Controversy at The Khemara Buddikarum in West L.B, Explained

Infighting over the allocation of donations at Long Beach’s largest Cambodian Buddhist temple has led to a rift between monks and worshipers versus the board of governors.


Screengrab From Google Maps


What's Happening:

The year-long skirmish focuses on the appropriation of donations that the Khemara Buddhikarama Temple’s, a. k. a Wat Willow, the board of governors set aside to develop a new temple and the head monk, the Venerable Thet Sim, who pulled back his support for the project, when much-needed improvements for the present temple was going unaddressed and the board becoming less straightforward with their plans.


What's Been Reported:

  • L.A Times Reported: The Head Monk, the Venerable Thet Sim felt his withdrawing of support for the project, plus his refusal to illicit new donations meant for the construction of the new temple led to retaliation by the board

  • L.B Post Reported: The board dismissed Sim from a committee overseeing the construction, not re-elected as chairman, and subsequently sued to evict Sim and another monk. Sim would lose the case in September and is appealing the verdict

  • After winning the case, the board arrived at the temple, escorted by LA County Sheriffs to clear and closed the temple for the next 10 days.

  • Since being evicted, the monks have been sleeping in cars parked outside of the temple and worshipers have pitched up tents near the monks, bring food, water and protecting them.

  • In an interview w/ the L.A Times: A Wat Willow worshiper said the monks “are at the core of this community,” and that the eviction of monks “does not make sense for them to leave.”


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