Buddhist temple

Akron, Ohio community dedicates new Sri Lankan Buddhist temple – Buddhistdoor Global

At beaconjournal.com

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Mahina Samarasinghe, traveled to Akron, Ohio on June 25 to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Sri Lankan Buddhist temple. Known as the Cleveland Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center, the temple will be inhabited by monks of the Theravada tradition. The main teachers are Bhante Pemaranta, Bhante Punna and Bhante Metta.

During the ceremony, the ambassador praised Akron and its reputation for hospitality to immigrants. He also had good things to say about the local Sri Lankan community responsible for opening the center. In his remarks, Samarasinghe said, “They live here, but they haven’t forgotten their heritage.” (Akron Beacon Log)

The head monks of the temple are all born in Sri Lanka and are highly educated. For example, Bhante Pemaranta holds a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Pittsburgh, while Bhante Metta holds a bachelor’s degree with first class honors in the Pali language from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Prior to the construction of the new temple, the monks lived and taught at the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center, where Bhante Pemaranta is the chief abbot.

According to their website, the new temple will host a number of community events, including free meditation classes, public lectures, Buddhist cultural festivals, and youth camps.

Along with remarks from the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States, the inauguration ceremony included a parade, a speech by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, as well as traditional Buddhist ceremonies and ritual offerings.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan with Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Mahina Samarasinghe. At beaconjournal.com

Speaking of the new temple, Horrigan said, “I’m glad — in fact, I’m very glad — that you chose Akron for the location.” (Akron Beacon Log)

Local residents also had great things to say about the new addition to the Akron community. Bob Mileti, a business owner who runs Primo’s Deli, said the monks and the Cleveland Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center were ideal neighbors: “They’re nice, very laid back and sweet, and kind.” (Akron Beacon Log)

The temple, located on an 8,000 square meter plot on Vernon Odom Boulevard, will be open to all and serve the 150 to 200 members of the Sri Lankan community who live in the area. Before the temple was built, residents held ceremonies and events in their homes. Although isolated, the temple is centrally located to many cities and states in northeastern Ohio.

The resident monk Bhante Buddhadattha will live in an existing house on the property. The remaining land, which contains a large wooded area, will be improved to include small huts that monks and lay practitioners can use for meditation and mindfulness practice.

Cleveland Buddhist Vihara Secretary Gamini Samaranayake said one of the reasons the northeast Ohio property was chosen is because it has enough land for growth to be possible. He added, “The site’s lightness and spaciousness provide a setting in keeping with the practice of Buddhist beliefs and teachings. It lends itself to a meditative environment, nine tenths of the property is wooded area.” (Akron Beacon Log)

That said, Samaranayake noted that when Cleveland Buddhist Vihara purchased the property a year ago, it wasn’t 100 percent perfect and needed some repairs. “It was run down,” he said. “We fixed it ourselves.” (Akron Beacon Log)

The temple dedication ceremony was attended by 12 Theravada monks, some of whom hailed from as far away as Pittsburgh.

Sri Lanka is an island nation located near the southern coast of India. Formerly known as Ceylon, it has a population of around 22 million. The main religions are Buddhism and Hinduism, both of which arrived from India. The country gained independence from Britain in 1948. A civil war from 1983 to 2009 led to many waves of emigration, particularly to Britain and the United States. According to 2018 census data, approximately 52,000 people born in Sri Lanka now live in the United States.

See more

Cleveland Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center
Sri Lankan Buddhist community opens temple and meditation center in Akron (Akron Beacon Log)
Sri Lankan History (British Encyclopaedia)
Place of birth of the foreign-born population in the United States (United States Census Bureau)

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