Monk’s displaced congregation opens new home in Jackson, Mississippi

Minh Cong Nguyen has found a home for his displaced Buddhist congregation – this time outside of Rankin County.

Nguyen opened a Zen Center last month on Terry Road, just south of U.S. 80, which will house meditation classes and worship services.

He holds worship services on Sunday for Buddhists as well as meditation classes for everyone.

“Westerners are invited,” the monk said of the free classes he will start holding on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The first is Saturday.

Americans live a stressed-out lifestyle, and these two-hour sessions give people a mental break, he said.

“Our minds are like a computer,” he said. “You keep putting too much information in it. Meditation is the delete key.”

Nguyen’s quiet little studio, behind Kim’s Seafood, is a break to the busy roads around it. Each class will have 12 people.

Interested people may e-mail him.

“I came here to open my doors for everyone,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen came to the Jackson area from Biloxi last year to set up a Buddhist temple. He chose a site north of Pelahatchie in rural Rankin County.

“They didn’t have a temple here,” he said.

Neighbors filed complaints, and the plans to expand the temple, located in a spruced up mobile home, were halted when a stop-work order was placed on the facility.

Officials denied a request for a building permit in September, citing public safety as the chief issue.

Located on a small feeder road to Mississippi 43, the church did not have the best transportation access, the board cited.

District 4 Supervisor Walter Johnson said he has heard an “outpouring of concern” from nearby residents about traffic, related to use and parking along the quiet lane, which was among the reasons supervisors cited for denying the request.

Nguyen said he does not plan to return to Rankin County. It wasn’t a good fit, he said.

Nguyen estimates there are 500-1,000 Buddhists in the metro area, saying a meeting he hosted at a Rankin school last summer drew 400 people.

Before coming to Jackson, Nguyen started a temple in Biloxi. He even rode out Hurricane Katrina, giving shelter to as many people as could fit in the building’s attic.

The water rose to an inch below the ceiling of the first floor, he said. They stayed calm through meditating, he said.

“A lot of Westerners came to my temple,” he said, a trend he hopes picks up at this new temple in Jackson. “When you meditate, it helps you reach peace.”

This article was originally published in the Clarion-Ledger.


20 Comments. Leave new

  • […] We can add to that list a homeless Vietnamese Zen group, led by Minh Cong Nguyen, which faced planning objections in Pelahatchie, Mississippi. […]

  • […] Homeless Vietnamese Zen group (Jackson, Miss) ~ Wildmind Blog […]

  • Johnny Henderson
    May 22, 2011 2:43 am

    Hello, I was googling information about meditation instructors in the Jackson,MS area and I found your website. I’d really like to learn to meditate. I’d like to speak with you in person if at all possible in the near future.

    Johnny Henderson

    • Sure. If you opted to receive an email notification of replies to your comment you can reply to that email.

  • Barbara Ishee
    July 1, 2011 1:32 pm

    I was saddened by Pelahatchie’s decision on the temple placement…as a resident of Pelahatchie it would have been so close to home…ignorance is a choice. Hope to visit soon.
    Barbara Ishee

  • Steve Honeycutt
    January 31, 2012 8:38 am

    Glad to have found this article. Also, I’m disappointed to learn that Pelahatchie denied Minh’s request.

    At any rate, I’m a relatively new student of Eastern/Western Philosophies/Religions [Buddhism and Hinduism]. Minh’s new Zen Center, figuratively, is a little more than a stones throw from me. We will seek him out. If we could get an email address too, we’d be grateful.

    Steve Honeycutt

    • Hi, Steve.

      Unfortunately I don’t have any contact details, and I’d only be able to do what you’ve presumably already done, which is to try Google.

      Good luck!

  • Steve Honeycutt
    January 31, 2012 9:23 am

    Thank you, Bodhipaksa

    Your presumption would be correct, Sir. Time permitting, I’ll go by at lunch to see if they’re still there.


  • Steve Honeycutt
    January 31, 2012 9:47 am

    One must be diverse, creative and intuitive! I’ve also found another Zen Center in Jackson, as well as several Hindu Temples very close by. Releasing of Dogma’s in full swing. :c)

    Have a great day, Bodhipaksa

  • Defecio Stoglin
    March 17, 2012 12:49 am

    I would love to take Meditation classes. How do I get in contact with him?

  • If anyone knows if the zen master Minh Cong Nguyen is still in Jackson area or how I could reach him?
    Please let me know. Thank you!

  • How can I email him? I just moved here from Idaho and I’d love to go to the Buddhist temple.

    • I’m afraid we have no contact details. It’s worth noting that the article is also two years old, and the teacher may have moved on.

  • His zen center moved to Pearl, eldorado road. The people and government there harassed him again, so he is keeping a low profile.

  • His email address is

  • Richard Tramel
    November 5, 2014 1:24 am

    I am new to Buddhism and want to learn how to meditate and find a teacher to help me learn more. But, I live in downtown Jackson at the Admiral Retirement Center and I don’t have a car to get to the temple. I could take the bus during the day M – F, but am limited otherwise. Can you help me and will you be my teacher, Sir?

    • Hi, Richard.

      I don’t know exactly what you have in mind in asking me to be your teacher. I just teach, and if you want to take on board anything I teach you’re most welcome to do so. There are a ton of resources on this site (I’d suggest starting with the mindfulness of breathing and lovingkindness meditations), I also have a community on Google Plus, and I’ll also be running a number of events online next year as part of our Year of Going Deeper. The schedule for this hasn’t been published yet, but if you subscribe to our newsletter then you can find out about these events when the information is available.

  • Hi Everybody,
    The buddhist monk will set up a special retreat in Mobile-Alabama in April 26th at Bellingrath garden. It takes a whole day for retreat with Vietnamese and Westerner. You very welcome and please contact this email for the informations: or
    Have a peaceful day!


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