TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A religious organization reportedly based in Taiwan is planning to open a new Buddhist temple in the U.S. State of Connecticut, in the unlikely location of a former Masonic lodge.
A local Connecticut paper called “My Record Journal,” reports that a non-profit corporation called the Tien Yuan Foundation, has purchased the former headquarters of the a local freemason chapter, the Meriden Lodge 77 in Meriden, CT.
The former Masonic temple has been used for hosting meetings of the Meriden Lodge 77, the Center Lodge 97 as well as the Knights Templar, according to reports.
A spokesperson for the new ownership, a man named George Tan, who is reportedly a resident of Stamford, CT, says that the building will be renovated to host meetings of the Tien Yuan Foundation’s Buddhist Temple.
However, it seems that the Tien Yuan Foundation is not exclusively a Buddhist organization. The Tien Yuan Foundation is registered as a non-profit corporation at an address in Queens, New York.
The organization’s address in Flushing, Queens, NY is the location of a religious organization known as “The Mission of Tao-Confucianism,” which also seems to have a branch in Alhambra, California.
Online information about the U.S. activities of the Tien Yuan Foundation, as well as the “Mission of Tao-Confucianism,” is scant, although they may be connected to a Taoist religious organization based in Tainan, Taiwan (禮義聖道院).
The Tien Yuan Foundation which was identified as Taiwanese in origin reportedly purchased the neo-classical structure for US$425,000 earlier in 2018, according to local media
The high cost of annual upkeep was approximately US$120,000 a year, and is reportedly the reason that the Meriden Masonic Lodge decided to sell their temple.
George Tan is quoted as saying “This building is pretty unique. We like the architecture, it fits our needs.”