Many thanks to Dan who posted a link to Making the Invisible Visible in the comments from the Angry Asian Buddhist post. (Another worthwhile article is Stories We Have Yet to Hear: The Path to Healing Racism in American Sanghas by Mushim Ikeda-Nash.) I still have a little bundled up stress from the last post, but reading this booklet was a real weight off my shoulders. You hear this all the time, but I have to say it again: It’s good knowing that I’m not alone.
My Angry Asian post was about how I felt a core demographic of the Buddhist community was being ignored. This core demographic is the next generation of Asian American Buddhists.
Many thanks to Oz, I finally found a Vietnamese Theravada temple in Southern California. On top of that, when searching for the temple address, I found a list of all Vietnamese Theravada temples on Binh Anson’s website.
The Vietnamese word for Theravada is Nguyên thủy, which means something along the lines of “original” or “primitive”, as in xã hội nguyên thủy (primitive society), so if you click on Binh Anson’s link, look for the term chùa Nguyên thủy ‘Theravada temple’.
Below I’ve copied the list of Vietnamese Theravada temples outside of Vietnam. Enjoy!
- Chùa Pháp Vân, Pomona, California
- Thích Ca Thiền Viện, Riverside, California
- Như Lai Thiền Viện, San Jose, California
- Chùa Phật Pháp, St Petersburg, Florida
- Pháp Đăng Thiền Viện, Spring Hill, Florida
- Chùa Pháp Luân, Houston, Texas
- Chùa Đạo Quang, Garland, Texas
- Chùa Hương Đạo, Fort Worth, Texas
- Chùa Liên Hoa, Irving, Texas
- Chùa Bửu Môn, Port Arthur, Texas
- Chùa Kỳ Viên, Washington DC
- Bát Nhã Thiền Viện, Montréal, Québec
- Chùa Kỳ Viên, Paris, France
- Chùa Phật Bảo, Paris, France
Again, follow the link above to get addresses and contact information, although there are some typos. For example, “3 rue de Broca, Savigny-sur-Orges” should be “3 rue Brocca, Savigny-sur-Orge”.
For the community minded Buddhist in Southern California, May is a time of much bustling about. The region is blessed with a vibrant Buddhist community or laypersons and monastics of all different traditions. We also do Vesak up right, again and again and again.
It is not uncommon for each temple or center to offer their own celebration while also participating in one or two larger non-sectarian pan-temple ceremonies. Throwing in things like Tzu Chi, student groups, and other organizations, May can be a time of great celebration, and a time where a great number of brown cardboard boxes need moving.
Still, my favorite Buddha Day of all time, was two years ago when no one came. Read more
Recently, I was cleaning up the list of Theravada Buddhist monks on Wikipedia. Sometimes names get accidentally sorted by their honorific. For example, Ṭhanissaro Bhikkhu should be sorted by ‘T’, and not ‘B’, since bhikkhu is a title, not a last name. I was making sure each name was sorted right. It’s fun because you have to visit each page, and then you get to learn about monks you’ve never heard of before.
One such monk was Bhante Kassapa.
He’s described as the “first non-Vietnamese Monk in the Vietnamese Theravada Sangha in America”. I didn’t read on because I was still hung on the first question that popped into my mind. There’s a Vietnamese Theravada Sangha in America?
See, I regularly attend a Vietnamese temple, but my practice is more in line with what I’ve learned from my Theravada teachers. For me this means that I could actually merge my temple and my personal practice! Anyway, I did a search, and found an article by Binh Anson all about the history of the Theravada Sangha in Vietnam (also here). I’d previously thought that all Theravada Buddhists in Vietnam were Khmer Krom, but Vietnamese in fact have their own recently conceived Theravada sangha. How cool.
Now all I have to do is find a Vietnamese Theravada temple in Southern California.