If you’ve ever driven past the beautifully ornate building known as Guandi Temple at 2089 Milby Street, you might wonder about its history, and who worships there. Though we encourage visitors to see the temple for themselves (it is open and free to the public), we hope these fast facts will help give you a sense of one of our neighborhood’s treasures and connection to the community’s past.
- The temple is named for a man who started out as Chinese general Guan Yu and later became known as Guandi following his death. He was canonized by a Ming dynasty emperor in 1594 as god of war and protector of China, and remains an important figure for Buddhists, Taoists and Confucianists.
- The temple was founded by Charles Ngo, a Vietnamese immigrant who moved to the United States with his wife Carolyn from China in 1978. The idea for the temple occurred following a violent robbery to Ngo’s grocery store, when his life was spared following a prayer to Guandi.
- With the help of the Hainam Association, Ngo created the multi-cultural temple in 1999 that includes Chinese deities and a Thai four-faced Buddha.
- As Houston Lifestyles and Homes wrote, “Texas Guandi Temple reveals a complicated but complementary relationship between Buddhism and Taoism. A visit to the temple can lead to deep philosophical investigation of ancient religious traditions or introduce an amazing experience in sight, sound, smell and most of all welcome.”