Sitagu Buddha Vihara Buddhist Temple
The Theravada Dhamma Society of America and the Sitagu Buddha Vihara were founded in 1994 and 1996 respectively in Austin, TX by the Venerable AshinNyanissara, aka SitaguSayadaw, of Burma. It also benefited for a number of years from the leadership and residence of the Venerable AshinMahosadha Pandita.
Sitagu Association, the international umbrella organization with which the Vihara is affiliated, was founded in Burma by AshinNyanissarain in 1980 to promote Buddhist education and public welfare. Expanding outward from Sitagu monastery in Sagaing Hills in central Burma, it now encompasses several monastic universities, many hospitals, and other public works. The Sitagu Buddhist Vihara is the center for overseas missionary activities. In America, there are two additional Sitagu monasteries, the Sitagu Dhamma Vihara and the Sitagu Sangha Vihara, in Minnesota and Florida respectively.
The mission of Sitagu Buddhist Vihara is to provide a center for the practice of Theravada Buddhist meditation and Dhamma study in the United States, for both laypeople and monastics, for both Westerners and ethnic Asians, in a traditional monastic context. It sits on 16.1 acres in rural Austin, Texas and consists of many private cottages as well as public facilities. It also supports community and cultural events that are very popular for Burmese and non-Burmese alike.
The Theravada Dhamma Society of America (TDSA) was founded as a lay organization which lends both financial and volunteer support to the efforts of Sitagu Vihara, and provides for the support and well-being of its resident monks.
Fully ordained Buddhist monks are usually in residence at the Vihara who are very learned in both the Dhamma and meditation practice and available for instruction and teaching. The current (09/2011) abbot of the monastery is Dr. AshinAriyadhamma. Dr. AshinCintita Dinsmore has been resident full-time since November 2010. Sometimes nuns are also present at the monastery during their stay.
- Sitagu Buddhist Vihara has several purposes:
- We are first and foremost a monastery, providing a place to live (vihara) for a small group of monks, and occasionally nuns.
- We are also a meditation and practice center, offering lay people the same opportunities for practice that monastics have every day.
- We are a school, with classes in meditation instruction, formal Dhamma study, and one-on-one instructor sessions as well as access to our Dhamma library.
- We are also a community center, hosting festivals and other events and offering chances to get involved through volunteering or outreach programs.
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