Sitagu Buddha Vihara is multifaceted: We support festivals and ceremonies, offer opportunities for meditation and retreat, maintain a large library for research or casual reading, engage in charitable work. We also stand out as a resource for Buddhist education and scholarship; all of our monks are quite knowledgeable and almost all have earned PhDs. I would like to describe here our English language programs that we have neglected to report in previous news segments.
Our English-language programs target the many non-Burmese who come to our center. Although these programs aim to faithfully represent the teachings of the Buddha, they are taught in a different mode from the Burmese programs because of the linguistic and cultural peculiarities of the West. Sometimes Buddhist concepts simply have to be explained in more detail or differently to a Westerner than to a Burmese. In fact, we would like actively to encourage members of the younger generation of Burmese to join these programs and all those who have acquired a Western outlook; this might prove invaluable to your understanding of Buddhism. Ashin Cintita of California has been actively teaching here for seven years. We are also delighted that Ashin Ananda of Venezuela has recently joined our Sangha, after having led the English Language Group at Jade Buddha Temple in Houston. U Ananda’s English is great, but native language is Spanish and he is already influencing the demographics of SBV accordingly. Our Burmese monks all speak English and should not be overlooked as very knowledgeable one-on-one resources for Buddhist education.
All of our weekly and periodic programs can be found on the Web on our schedule page. Further information is available on our Meetup page, our primary means of advertising our English programs in Austin. Highlights of this program are:
- Buddhist Life/Buddhist Path. Ashin Cintita has been teaching this periodic twelve-week introduction to Buddhism for a number of years on Sunday afternoons. The next course begins November 5.
- Meditation and Discussion. This meets Saturday mornings 9-11 and provides instruction along with an opportunity to meditate with others.
- Sekha Group. This is newly formed, a community of committed Buddhist practitioners that meets Sunday morning.
- Buddhist Movie Night. We will initiate this on Friday evening October 20 with a showing of Travelers and Magicians, a wonderful story filmed in Bhutan. Thereafter we hope to show one movie a month.
Please join us in these programs and encourage friends and family to do likewise. Above all, please encourage younger or otherwise Americanized Burmese to join us on the Buddha’s path.