Buddist monk Thich Dang Phap
8 Images

Buddhist Meditation Center rising up in the desert

Buddhist monk Thich Dang “Tom” Phap takes care of the fledgling Buddhist Meditation Center in the high desert community of Adelanto. Behind him is the 24-foot-tall statue of the Buddhist saint Quan yin, who is said to have miraculous powers. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Monk Phap has big dreams for the center, where crews are putting the final touches on a 465-foot-long concrete walkway leading to the Quan yin statue and on a reflecting pool beneath her feet. Phap hopes construction of a 6,000-square-foot meditation hall can begin next month. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Phap spends much of his time praying in a trailer at the center that is filled with religious statues, scriptures, votive candles, vases of daisies and lilies, and tables laden with offerings of oranges and apples. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times))
The 60-ton white marble statue of Quan yin can be seen for miles around. In the Buddhist faith’s pantheon of bodhisattvas, or enlightened persons, Quan yin is among the most popular, and powerful. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Wellar and William Van pray at the meditation center, which is funded by donations. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Phap walks among some of the statues at the Buddhist Meditation Center. He entered Dai Dang Monastery and meditation center in San Diego about seven years ago. After his ordination, following tradition, he left his worldly belongings behind to practice and teach Buddhism. Now, even his children refer to him as “venerable monk.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Phap said he searched far and wide for a suitable site on which to place the Quan yin statue, which was donated by a wealthy businessman in Malaysia. He bought the 15-acre lot in Adelanto about four years ago. “It was suitably tranquil,” he said. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
“She has a thousand eyes with which to see those who suffer,” Phap said of Quan yin, “and a thousand arms to reach out and help them.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)