Our mission is to promote inner peace and compassion for all beings.
FROM SRI LANKA
The monastics of Blue Lotus Buddhist Meditation Center are ordained in the Sri Lankan Theravada Classical Buddhist tradition.
As adolescents in Sri Lanka, they chose to join the monastery with the required permission from their parents. Their time in the monastery was spent learning the teachings of Gautama Buddha from the Pali Canon. This included memorizing and chanting as part of their spiritual practice. While living communally, they also had significant time for meditation and temple duties. When the formal studies were completed, they passed rigorous testing before being ordained to teach others.
In Sri Lanka the lay community completely supports monastics. The bhantes have no money or property of their own but live communally at the monastery. Wearing their colored robes, the monks walk daily into the community during alms rounds to accept food donations. While they are well fed, they eat only what is given and this one meal must conclude by noon. They also go into the community to teach, hold meditation sessions, and provide support as needed.
ROOTS OF BLUE LOTUS-FLORIDA
The most venerable Bhante Sujatha of the Blue Lotus International Temple in Woodstock, Illinois, invites Sri Lankan monks to the United States to help share Buddhist teachings with the Western world. Our monastics were included in his invitations.
As immigrants, the monks quickly adapted to Western ways, just as the Buddha had advised monks to adapt to the local culture so the teachings could more easily be heard. The monks studied English, applied for work permits, found work, learned how to drive, and how to manage a center.
The monks of Blue Lotus-Florida are “working monks.” They are financially self-supporting in their chosen professions and freely give their time to the community to teach the Buddhist way of life.
After traveling the Florida SunCoast for several years with their teachings, the monks purchased the Venice Holistic Community Center and renamed it the Blue Lotus Buddhist Meditation Center (BLBMC). They expected to add Buddhist classes to the curriculum that included yoga, tai chi, and reiki for the communities of Englewood, Venice, and Sarasota.
Unfortunately, this building in Venice, Florida, was destroyed by heavy winds in 2021. Since that time, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice has opened its doors so that Buddhist meditations and teachings could continue. Monks and lay teachers continue to provide free weekly meditation sessions, book studies, guest speakers, and fellowship lunches.
There are additional special events that focus on fundraising for a new building. BLBMC currently does not have the space to support holistic classes or other services important to the community. The fundraising goal is to be able to provide offerings that meet the mental, spiritual, physical, and social needs of the communities served.
The vision of the Blue Lotus Buddhist Meditation Center is to promote
Peace within individuals
Compassion for all beings
An ethical way of life based on Buddhist principles
2023-2024 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bhante Chan, Executive Director
Marla Kennedy, President
Monk San, Vice President
Susan Lenviel, Secretary
Kathy King, Treasurer
DIRECTORS AT LARGE
Jim Piekarski, Community Outreach
Donna Schafer, Venue Liaison
Most Venerable Sujatha Peradeniye - Founder of Blue Lotus International
Jillaurie Crane, Former Owner of Venice Holistic Community Center