Cambodian Buddhist Society





Ven. Eang Muon Op



According to the Facebook Page

Monday to Friday: 8 am – 5 pm

Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm

Sunday: noon – 2 pm

No specific requirements 

Student Testimonial



This community was brought here in a larger group by Governor Ray in the late 1970s. This is because Pol Pot believed in a nation of peasants. Pol Pot led a communist government that killed and displaced 1.5-2 million people. The initial members of this community were refugees and came to Iowa from Cambodia as a matter of survival. The members consisted of people living at a very basic level in society. The ANGKOR Wat Friendship Association was incorporated in the 1970s. Monks were brought to this building from Cambodia up until 9/11/2001. This building was ultimately a refugee settlement and cultural continuity instead of a religious organization. Members were using this building as a way to bring over monks but in order to come to the United States under an R1 Visa you needed to be a religious organization so this building eventually closed. The community purchased their new location in 2006 and titled it the Cambodian Buddhist Society. Currently, the Cambodian Buddhist Society and ANGKOR Wat Friendship are contending for control of the building. 

Distinctive Qualities:

Wat Iowaram, the original name of the ANGKOR Wat Friendship Association, was the first Theravada Buddhist temple in Iowa. Also, the city of Des Moines makes a lot of demands on the building which costs money. This makes the members feel as though they are being prosecuted. The roof of the building needs fixing and only one out of three of the bathrooms in the building is functioning properly. 


The community has struggled due to lack of community. There have been 17 different monks come and go since 2007 and the last Tak Bat had less than 30 out of 400 people attend. The community practices Tak Bat once a month and it is held in the monk’s home rather than the temple because the building needs fixing. 


This community practices Theravada Buddhism. 


This community consists of Cambodians. 

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