Driving around the Valley this weekend, Maria, Evan and I stumbled across the Wat Thai temple, the largest That Theravada Buddhist Temple in the United States.
Located near the intersection of Roscoe and Coldwater Canyon, the temple draws a large crowd on the weekends to sample cheap (but delicious) Thai fare at several food stands. And of course, the temple itself is quite a sight.
According to the Wat Thai website:
The monks at Wat Thai are members of the Theravada section of Buddhism, a section that adheres closely to the pure teachings of Buddha. They are very reserved and hold strictly of what Buddha taught and they have changed no teachings laid down by Buddha. Theravada has flourished in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Laos, Burma, Sri Lanka etc., while Mahayana sect of Buddhism, the developed form, has been maintained in China, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, Vietnam etc.
The LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold reviewed the scene a few years ago:
On weekend afternoons and during festivals, the air around the temple almost throbs with the smells of Thai cooking: meat grilling at satay stands, the wheat pancakes called roti sizzling on massive griddles, pungent, briny salt crabs being pounded for the ultraspicy green-papaya salad. This spread may be more or less the equivalent of the smothered chicken and collard greens eaten after services at some African-American churches, and it feels just as homely; the inexpensive Thai feast is open to everyone who cares to come.
Having just come from dim sum with the family, we weren't too hungry -- but we still bought a few chicken satays (at just $1 a pop!) to go. Quite a bargain -- and quite delicious.