Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple & Khmer Buddhist Humanitarian Association: "Not Just for Religion" — An Interview with Muni Ratana
This Buddhist temple occupies two buildings across the street from one another at the corner of 6th and Ritner Streets in South Philadelphia. In existence since 2003, the temple has grown physically and in membership throughout the last nine years.
The main temple, which once housed a church, is on the south side of Ritner Street, while the building opposite, now used for offices and funerals, still has a relief of the Ten Commandments over the doorway, a remnant from its days as a synagogue.
Preah Buddha Rangsey is the largest Buddhist temple in the city, boasting a congregation of over 3,500. It serves as a temple for many of the 20,000 Cambodians in Philadelphia, as well as many other Asian community members. The temple also welcomes visitors from other religions and cultures.
In addition to being a spiritual center, the temple is home to the Khmer Buddhist Humanitarian Association, an organization that provides temporal services to community members. In the time since the temple has been built, Muni Ratana, chief monk, has seen a distinct change for the better in the neighborhood. He avows that there is a decrease in violence, and a general growing respect for the neighborhood.