“Sabbapapassa akaranam, kusalassa upasampada,
sacitta pariyodapanam etam Buddhanasasanam!”
– “In avoiding all sins, cultivating good deeds and cleansing ones
own mind alone lies the true meaning of the Dispensation of
the Buddhas / Buddhism!” (Dhammapada)
History shows various ways by which migrant civilization re- establish their cultural roots and values in their new lands. Establishment of a temple, almost as soon as they settle down in the new land is a practice evident in Asia by such groups. About two decades ago, in Sri Lanka, this was seen when residents of certain villages were forced to move in to new areas to pave the way for the Mahaveli scheme. Even before they could complete setting up their homes and agricultural plots, they were seen setting up, even in a small way, a place of worship-a temple. The practice of immigrants to USA, especially from Asia, has not been any different. As they settled down in their new country, Indian, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese Middle Eastern and other communities all took to the task of setting up one or more temples of their religious faith. Such projects are motivated by the immigrants groups’ need to continue their traditional religious practices and to provide their children with an environment close to their religious and cultural heritage. This need for the Sri Lankan community in the Los Angeles Area was fulfilled by the establishment in 1973, of the Sri Lanka-America Buddha Dhamma Society.
A few years later, the property for the first temple, popularly known as the “Beachwood or Hollywood temple” was acquired and the temple formally established. This was due to much hard work by several residents of Sri Lankan origin in the Los Angeles area. These original trustees, some of whom are still extremely active, they were instrumental in setting up the temple with two resident monks as the first resident monks of the temple. However being in the infancy they had to go through a lot of growing pains. There was a transition period when few very determined and dedicated committee members who met almost on a weekly basis for a whole year to keep the temple open even when there was no priest on the temple. At that point the committee decided to get the advice from one of the prominent monks in Sri Lanka which was late most venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thera. With the guidance of Late most venerable, the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara became one of the affiliated Centre to Siri Vajiranana Bhikku Training Centre in Maharagama, Sri Lanka. Later in 1978, at their invitation, Most Venerable Ahangama Dhammarama Nayaka thera arrived from Sri Lanka and became the Viharadhipathi of the temple. Although the Sri Lankan community welcomed the opportunity, the temple provided them to engage in traditional religious activities, and flocked to the temple. The temple during the initial years had to undergo a series of difficulties due to the condition of the facility, which needed much improvement. The hard work put in by the youth association towards various improvement projects also deserves recognition.
s the Sri Lankan community in the area grew and became divers, the community saw the opening of several other temples. As time passed, the community was to see these various temples establishing cordial and cooperative relationships, which has immensely benefited the Sri Lankan Buddhist community and there image among various religious groups in the area. In 1999, SLABDS was able to buy a new property, much more suitable for a temple, in Pasadena. Following thirty year long tradition of dhammadana and serving our devotees and the buddhasasana we moved to our present premises in Pasadena on 2000. Since then we have been very successful and productive for our institution both in terms of the propagation of the dhamma and serving the older and the younger generations of devotees, both Sri Lankan and American. During this period we have established ourselves as one of the premier Buddhist and cultural institutions in and around Los Angeles. With the intention of giving you a wide and comprehensive knowledge in Dhamma the teachings of the Buddha closer to your doorstep, we have served lot of Dhamma services and cultural events such as:
We also distribute a well-planned and comprehensive program involving “dana” “seela” and “bhavana” for the whole years. SLABDS & LA Buddhist Vihara have come a long way from its humble beginning in 1973. We, being blessed by the success of the last years and the credits of this success are being shared among all the Buddhist monks at the temple, Board of Trustees and Office-Bearers of LABV and devotees who enormously dedicated their valuable time, energy and other material and spiritual resources for the progress of the temple's religious and social activities.
May the Blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha be with you.