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.

Goddess of Mercy Temple

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..

Goddess of Mercy Temple Interior

Goddess of Mercy Statuary

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.

WHPHO Headquarters in Auriesville, NY

Five BuddhaTemple

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.

WPHO Press Conference

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

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.

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Vandalism

  1. Robert Purtell

    As always your photos are well done. I would say though that alot of thoughts go through my mind while looking at them, the first thought is that they were not installed well to begin with as the connections into the concrete were not deep and it looks like it may have been attached improperly. Keep in mind that I am only looking at the photos to make my opinoin. I guess my point is that the railings did not take much to make them fail. I would assume that if someone had intentions of doing damage, they could have done alot more damage ( maybe I am missing some other damage) but the trespassers could have leaned on the railings, or fallen in a drunken stooper and done the damage.
    I hope that there was no malice against the owners involved, they feel threatened already.

  2. The railing was originally removed by the company hired to strip the church to allow for a ramp that facilitated moving. It was reinstalled with the concrete base that held it firm. The constant barrage of skateboarders doing jumps off the railing loosened it and eventually caused the repair to break.

    Normally I chase them away but did not hear them last night. It is an ongoing problem with many neighborhoods, verified by the Amsterdam Police Officer who responded this morning. The wheels of the skateboards also wreak havoc on the stone steps, chipping away at the edges. A skatepark could help. One was actually recommended in Amsterdam’s Comprehensive Plan. That is a project that the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency could take on. According to NYS law their purpose is not limited to businesses but also to develop recreational facilities. What have they done for us lately?

  3. You characterizations of the organization while true are only part of the story. There are 2 circles, international monks and local students. While monks can also be local, and students can also be international, it tends to be international monks (who want to travel after being local students) and local students.

    In addition to the religious side that you describe, there is the slowly growing student population that has American English as a first language that are looking to a living Buddha for advice. There is the religion that my friends from overseas are part of and there is a second circle that begs the individuals involved to hold on to their own interpretation of the divine. The methods taught stimulate a deeper understanding of one’s own beliefs by focusing one on contemplation in regular intervals. To do a 5 minute meditation to see if you have an affinity goto (we are still seeking a web developer and a web animator, but under “more info” there is the 5 minute Affinity check meditation).

    In closing, “Holy Master Zi Guang Shan Shi” is more readily understood as Namo Golden Purple Buddha Light to those with American English as their first language; Namo is Sanskrit for the awakening change agent, roughly. A sign of respect for a fully realized Buddha. To further understand this golden purple light look to sunrises, sunsets, and fires at night.

    On the vandalism, looks like the railing was not very sturdy. Definitely not designed for sx8 rail slides. More work needs to be done to the Goddess of Mercy Temple and with many other things. And I am sure the works will continue to strengthen and beautify the building and other things as a sign of respect the the Buddhas when more of us that understand the living Buddha as Namo Golden Purple Buddha Light become aware of the practice.

    At the moment there appears to be a gap in understanding. As I can produce more in American English, web, conferences, etc. then the understanding of Namo Golden Purple Buddha Light as the Infinite Light, Long Life Buddha creating 5 centers of health and peace worldwide will grow from the presence of Cosmic Halo as the 2nd of the 5 centers. Cosmic Halo is and will remain a fully member controlled local organization. Membership is evaluated on a case by case basis and at the full discretion of the fully realized Buddha, Namo Golden Purple Buddha Light. Members would first have to trust the fully living Buddha. If you have ever worked with him I am willing to bet you would realize that my monk friend Lucas is really easy to trust. Its rare to find a 70 year old man that will work happily for 16 hours a day. It appears to me that his devotion to creating a welcoming space “for the westerners” drives his happiness.

    Please contact with any questions or concerns through or http;// about the Namo Golden Purple Buddha Light student elements of the organization. Also be aware that Cosmi-Halo is currently seeking competent volunteers that find they have an Affinity through meditation to form an advisory council for for the International graduate/post-graduate school of Business, Diplomacy, and Spirituality as a core way to administer the (1 of 5) western center of operations.

    Be well…

    -Just Sumhow Victory (AKA Mark T)

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: