Quang Minh Temple is a centre for the Vietnamese Buddhist community in Victoria, as well as the office of the United Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation of Victoria. The Temple is situated about twelve kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD, overlooking the gentle Maribyrnong River.
The history of Quang Minh Temple and Vietnamese Buddhism in Victoria can be traced back to 1980 when the first Vietnamese monk, Venerable Thích Tắc Phước, now known as The Most Venerable Thich Phước Huệ, arrived in Australia. Together with a small group of Vietnamese Buddhist, he established what is now known as the United Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation of Victoria. After Venerable Thich Huyen Ton arrived in Melbourne in 1981, the Melbourne Vietnamese Buddhist Community rented a property at 17 Hoddle Street, Richmond to establish a temporary centre for the Melbourne Vietnamese community. Within the same year, a property at 8 Prince Street, Footscray, was purchased. The name of the Temple at the time, given by Venerable Thích Huyền Tôn, was Đại Bi Quan Âm Temple.
Venerable Thích Huyền Tôn left Đai Bi Quan Âm Temple in 1985 and Venerable Thích Phước Nhơn replaced him as the new abbot. The Temple was then moved to 112 Pilgrim Street, Footscray, and its name shortened to Quang Âm Temple. In 1986, the Temple again relocated to Morris Street, Sunshine. After consultation with The Most Venerable Thích Phước Huệ and members of the Melbourne Vietnamese Buddhist community, the name of the Temple changed to Quang Minh, which means ‘bright light’. Quang Minh Temple finally moved to its current site on Burke Street in 1989 and the main hall was built in 1994.
Since its inception, a succession of abbots has been appointed to lead Quang Minh Temple’s congregation. These include Venerable Thích Phước Hựu, Venerable Thích Tâm Phương, Venerable Thích Nguyên Lưu, Venerable Thích Như Định and Venerable Thích Minh Trí. On Vesak Day in May 1997, Venerable Thich Phước Tấn was officially appointed as the abbot of Quang Minh Temple.
Since the making of human images of the Buddha was considered sacrilegious for a long time, Buddhist visual art has produced an elaborate vocabulary of symbolic and iconic forms of expressions. A great variety of Buddhist symbols is found in temples and in Buddhist visual art and literature. The following eight figures are among the more common ones. The lotus, the wheel, and the stupa can be seen in almost every Buddhist temple. One may understand these symbols as visual mantras. Contemplating these figures is an exercise in meditation to establish inner contact with the aspect that is represented.