Restored ‘Buddha on 9th’ unveiled in Sugar House

SALT LAKE CITY – Months after a shrine to Buddha in Sugar House was vandalized, a restored version was re-dedicated Sunday.

Buddha on 9th is located at 900 East and 1917 South, and at Sunday’s Hana-Matsuri, members of the Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship celebrated Buddha’s birthday and unveiled the renovations to the damaged statue.

Christopher Kakuo Liebow of the Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship said they were upset when they heard about the vandalism.

“The first response I had was compassion to whoever did it,” he said. “Because anybody who would do that, they’re coming from a position of either not understanding or a misperception of what it represents, or even deep suffering in their own lives.”

The local Buddhist community raised funds to replace the statue, and Sunday they held a re-dedication ceremony, which coincides with the celebration of Buddha’s birthday.

Those involved in Sunday’s events say despite the disappointing vandalism, things have worked out.

“It’s one of those situations where a bad thing leads to something that turns out to be better,” statue owner Ben Dieterle said. “Now we have a better statue, there's a lot more awareness about the shrine, and it’s now a landmark in Sugar House."

To help prevent any future problems, Dieterle added a security fence and motion-activated lights at the shrine.