Watt Munisotaram

Authored by Will Yetvin, Jonah Hudson-Erdman, and Hannah Comstock-Gay

Edited by Shana Sippy

Watt Munisotaram Main Campus
Watt Munisotaram Main Campus
Watt Munisotaram Main Campus

In the foreground on the right is the new, two-story temple. Under construction in the center of the photo behind the temple is the stupa that will contain Buddha relics and is also used as a place of meditation. 

Watt Munisotaram Upper Sanctuary
Watt Munisotaram Upper Sanctuary
Watt Munisotaram Upper Sanctuary

The upper sanctuary of the main temple with paintings of Buddha’s life stages on the walls. 

Lower Sanctuary
Lower Sanctuary
Lower Sanctuary

The view when first entering the main part of the lower sanctuary. In the foreground, a group of volunteers works on Khmer New Year decorations and in the background, a group of women practice chanting in Khmer.

Monk Residential Buildings and Old Temple
Monk Residential Buildings and Old Temple
Monk Residential Buildings and Old Temple

 These buldings house monks and the old temple where monks still occasionally pray and meditate.

Watt Munisotaram Monks and Worshippers
Watt Munisotaram Monks and Worshippers
Watt Munisotaram Monks and Worshippers

Monks and worshippers from the Watt pray in the upper level of the main temple.

The Watt Munisotaram is a Cambodian Buddhist temple in Hampton, Minnesota, about thirty minutes south of the Twin Cities. The community and the corresponding organization, the Minnesota Cambodian Buddhist Society, was established in 1982. But it was not until 2007 that they consecreated a much larger temple on their 40 acres of land. The consecration ceremony welcomed thousands, a signal of this temple’s importance to both Cambodian and non-Cambodian Theravada Buddhists in Minnesota, the Midwest, and the entire United States.

The 40-acre campus includes the old temple (two-story clapboard house), which now serves as the residences of the monks and priests who live year-round at the temple; an outdoor shrine; a stupa (a place of meditation where small relics of the Buddha and two of his disciples are housed); and the main temple structure with gathering and meditation halls. 

A written statement hung on the wall of the lower sanctuary, signed by Venerable Iddhimuni Moeng Sang, the Abbot of Watt Munisotaram, states “the construction of this beautiful Buddhist temple, the living proof of the Cambodian culture and civilization”, serves as “a place for the celebration of Buddhist religious festivals and community traditional events, and the practice of the Buddha’s teaching for the development of virtue, loving-kindness through meditation and wisdom."

The construction of this beautiful Buddhist temple, the living proof of the Cambodian culture and civilization, serves as a place for the celebration of Buddhist religious festivals and traditional events, and the practice of the Buddha’s teaching for the development of virtue through meditation and wisdom. —Venerable Iddhimuni Moeng Sang