Buddhist temple

New Theravada Buddhist Temple Opens Near Los Angeles – Buddhistdoor Global

From theacorn.com

The Camarillo Buddhist Center, a Theravada center run by Bhante Tapovanaye Sutadhara, announced its opening earlier this year, offering offerings in Sinhalese and English. The center is located in an unused Christian church in a residential area of ​​the town of Camarillo, some 84 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles. In addition to Dhamma lectures, chanting and retreats, the center offers mindfulness meditation and tai chi.

The Camarillo Buddhist Center officially opened on January 1, but held a few events in the months leading up to the opening. In November last year, Bhante Sutadhara organized a one-day retreat on the Eight Precepts for lay Sinhalese Buddhists. At the time, the center was sparsely decorated, with the original pews from the church removed and a simple 1.2 meter white Buddha statue on an altar.

Bhante Sutadhara was born in Sri Lanka in 1957 and began studying to become a Buddhist monk at an early age. In the 1980s he traveled to Hawaii to study linguistics. It was then that he became familiar with English. In 2005 he moved to Ventura, California to teach at the Ventura Buddhist Center, which had a predominantly Vietnamese sangha and held Dhamma lectures in Vietnamese. His teachings in English slowly grew in popularity, eventually so much that he needed a space of his own.

After seeking donations and taking out personal loans, Bhante Sutadhara was able to raise funds to buy the church property for $870,000 in July last year. He and other monks live in a small house next to the church which needs complete renovation. The church, too, will need a lot of work to reach its full potential as a Buddhist center.

Bhante Sutadhara during an Eight Precepts retreat in November 2021
for Sri Lankan lay Buddhists. At facebook.com
At facebook.com

Pat Tallman, a volunteer teacher at the center, first met Bhante Sutadhara at the Ventura Buddhist Center in 2007. Most teachings there were in Vietnamese, but Bhante Sutadhara regularly gave teachings in English. When Bhante Sutadhara opened the temple, Tallman offered to lead the Friday evening meditations.

“I’m so happy,” Tallman said. “It’s a perfect place for Bhante to open his temple. I think Camarillo will be very supportive of that. It’s still new so it’s not too full yet, but over time I think more people will come.The Acorn)

In his Friday night meditation teachings, Tallman offers practices of loving kindness. The practice can be especially helpful in times of stress as it seeks to turn the mind towards the positive people and forces in one’s life. “It helps them to have a technique to keep their mind on the object of meditation,” he said. (The Acorn)

“It seems like people often come here when there’s a hard time in their lives,” Tallman said. “I think people are looking for something. They discover that this endless search for material things, in search of things that stimulate their senses, ultimately seems empty. I think they feel a bit lost.

He added: “I hope this helps you understand why you may be suffering in your life in general and try to do something about it to improve your situation.” (The Acorn)

Bhante Sutadhara said everyone is welcome at the Camarillo Buddhist Center.

“We never ask you whether you are a Buddhist or not. This question is a very strange question for us. How do you show that you are a Buddhist? Just living like this. But to learn Buddhist principles, you have to have a place to learn,” he said. “If someone is generous, someone helps, someone does no harm to anyone, including oneself, then the person is on the Buddhist path.” (The Acorn)

The center plans to launch a website soon, but currently more information can be found onsite and on the Ventura Buddhist Center An Lac Mission Facebook page.

See more

Buddhists find a home for meditation in an old church (The Acorn)
Ventura Buddhist Center A Lake Mission (Facebook)

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