I woke today to find this thoughtless act of vandalism perpetrated on the Goddess of Mercy Temple across from my house.
The World Peace and Health Organization made its presence known in Amsterdam, New York in 2010 when the Buddhist Order bought a number of abandoned properties including two former Catholic Churches.
The former St Michael’s Church was painstakingly restored by the order after the Catholic Diocese hired a private firm to strip the church of anything of value including stained glass windows, altars and pews doing much damage to the interior.
The newly restored building was named The Goddess of Mercy Temple and the WPHO did a wonderful job building new altars and importing valuable statues from China that symbolize their faith. They celebrated the newly restored temple in June 2010..
There has been much controversy surrounding the “occupation” of Amsterdam by the WPHO, some of it can be attributed to Xenophobia while the rest may be an issue of faith. Although they live in a restored Jesuit dormitory in Auriesville, they maintain a presence in Amsterdam by holding classes in the former Lithuanian Catholic Church on East Main Street (Five Buddha Temple) and services in The Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street.
Several documented instances of vandalism to the properties owned by the WPHO over the past year and a half with two break-ins occurring this summer to the rectory building adjacent to the Goddess of Mercy Temple, have strained relations with the City of Amsterdam The WPHO take these break-in personally, as an affront to their presence in the City which in turn (they claim) caused financial backers to withdraw from their ambitious project to transform Amsterdam into a city of peace and health. This plan was revealed through several press conferences held in 2010.
The World Peace and Health Organizations continues its mission of wellness through a health dharma (Guang Huan Mi Zong) taught by their leader Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi
The WPHO owns 48 City properties and several other properties in surrounding communities. They continue to move forward with their mission, often at the cost of property maintenance and oversight. This winter the majority of the group will be traveling back to China where they continue their mission of recruitment and finance, leaving only a skeleton crew to maintain the properties.