Our temple is a center for Buddhist and those interested in Thai culture to meet and explore.
We offer you a place where your knowledge can grow and you can focus on a way of life and living that leads to greater understanding and achievement along the Lord Buddha's great path.
After a two-year break due to COVID-19, we will be resuming our classes at Wat Sacramento Buddhavanaram this year!
The first day of class, which includes student registration, will be June 5, 2022. Class begins every Sunday at 9:00 AM sharp. We take a lunch break at 11:00 and conclude class by 1:00. This year's school will run through October 9, 2022.
Our class format is very intense, having only about fourteen days in session between June and October to meet for four hours each day. We recommended you enroll and attend all available class dates to get the most from your effort. It is largely your time and attention that are required for you to benefit from these classes, so please be prepared to attend each session.
Our Thai Language and Culture school is free to attend, with no tuition or costs for the materials supplied to students. Monetary donations are accepted and used to offset costs involved in providing this opportunity to study Thai language and culture. Thanks to the generosity of past classes, we have constructed a new pavilion in the main learning area.
Masks & Identification: To accommodate all interested students, we are not requiring masks or proof of vaccination as our classes are held outdoors. Students should contact the instructor by email and remain at home if they have symptoms of any transmissible illness. We will also be verifying student identification on the first day of class to better control access to the school and the temple.
Please note that our class is for adults and older teenagers with some previous exposure to Thai language. We do not have any offerings for younger children.
For those of you who have waited anxiously for our return, "Thank You!" for your patience! Please feel free to share this information with friends and family who may also be interested in attending our classes. Email questions to: School at Watsacramento dot Org
Having quenched the candle's soft flame, and the incense's fragrant ember becomes cold, dawn breaks on the observer of the Uposatha, and the eight precepts, taken during Vesak. What will we bring with us and what will we leave behind as another day begins? The arising of one thing leads to another, like the sun brings new light and the moon new darkness.
Staying near Sāvatthī … “Monks, I will describe & analyze dependent co-arising for you. And what is dependent co-arising?
From ignorance as a requisite condition
From fabrications as a requisite condition
From consciousness as a requisite condition
From name-&-form as a requisite condition
come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition
From contact as a requisite condition
From feeling as a requisite condition
From craving as a requisite condition
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition
From becoming as a requisite condition
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
No flower's scent
goes against the wind —
But the scent of the good
does go against the wind.
The person of integrity
wafts a scent
in every direction.
lotus, & jasmine:
Among these scents,
the scent of virtue
Next to nothing, this scent
— sandalwood, tagara —
while the scent of the virtuous
wafts to the gods,
Wat Sacramento Buddhavanaram continues to move forward with plans to build a new temple in the Thai traditional style. These renderings display the extensive detail and magnitude of this project. Please visit the temple if you would like to make a donation.
Buddhism, like many of the great religions, relies on virtue, or Sila in Pali, to serve as the foundation for developing the insight and compassion needed to achieve the Buddhist goal of enlightenment.
Today, having just completed the Celebration of Songkran, or Thai New Year, that virtue comes to the front in many ways. Families come together from far and wide to recall and strengthen their bonds and thank each other for the support they received throughout the years. Many, both in Thailand and around the world, attend events at Buddhist temples like Wat Sacramento Buddhavanaram to recharge and increase their virtue and become more joyful together as a community.
Part of the Songkran event even includes building and decorating a stupa of sand, created by the community to replace even the small grains of sand each devout Buddhist might have carried away from the temple throughout the year, demonstrating generosity in response to their own unintended taking of a few grains of sand! When you focus on that practice and understand the purpose in returning the sand, imagine how troubling it would be to intentionally come to the temple to steal. Understanding the results of unwholesome Kamma at any level is the beginning of understanding the Buddha’s teaching on Samsara – the cycle of existence – the reality of endless stress and despair for beings.
On April 6th a group of people came to our temple with unvirtuous thoughts in their minds. Their purpose was to deceive the monks and steal from the temple and the community. As much as this might offend any Buddhist, theft and deception have become a way of life for some, even as it was during the Buddha’s time. Our reaction to this must always follow the Lord Buddha’s teaching and, as the Brahma Viharas guide us, we can come to understand all beings have a place, an abiding, within the Viharas, from Mettā to Upekkhā.
While we may be unhappy for a while that someone chose to violate the welcoming and generosity of the monks by stealing from the temple, our budding compassion should take over and spread good will to all beings to prevent our clinging to unwholesome thoughts, speech, and actions.
So let’s carefully consider the benefits of developing our own unbounded compassion and constant virtue for the long-term benefit of all beings, having enjoyed another Songkran with pure open hearts.
Staying near Sāvatthī. “Monks, there once was a time when the Dasārahas had a large drum called ‘Summoner.’ Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasārahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner’s original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained. [The Commentary notes that the drum originally could be heard for twelve leagues, but in its final condition couldn’t be heard even from behind a curtain.]
“In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won’t listen when discourses that are words of the Tathāgata—deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness—are being recited. They won’t lend ear, won’t set their hearts on knowing them, won’t regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works—the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples—are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.
“In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathāgata—deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness—will come about.
“Thus you should train yourselves: ‘We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathāgata—deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness—are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.”
There are no sons
to give shelter,
for one seized by the Ender,
no shelter among kin.
of this compelling reason,
the wise man, restrained by virtue,
should make the path pure
– right away –
that goes all the way to Unbinding.
— Dhammapada 288-289
Controlled in walking,
controlled in standing,
controlled in sitting,
controlled in lying down,
controlled in flexing & extending his limbs
– above, around, & below,
as far as the worlds extend –
observing the arising & passing away
a monk who dwells thus ardently,
not restlessly, at peace –
training in the mastery
of awareness-tranquillity –
is said to be continually
Dhamma sadhu, kiyam cu dhamme ti?
Apasinave, bahu kayane, daya, dane, sace, socaye.
Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma?
(It includes) little evil, much good, kindness,
generosity, truthfulness and purity.
From The Edicts of King Asoka
The contents of Asoka's edicts make it clear that all the legends about his wise and humane rule are more than justified and qualify him to be ranked as one of the greatest rulers.
When we set our heart to being kind and compassionate to all beings, it is often evaluated by comparing our own effort to others in like situations. This can create an artificial limit that we do not choose to exceed.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
From "The More Loving One" by W.H. Auden
When we hold back, especially concerning those that are not so close as our family and friends, we lose some of the wholesome benefit that developing virtue and practicing loving kindness can create.
If we instead replace that somewhat limited expression of loving kindness with complete, all-encompassing Metta we have certainly entered into a sublime abiding.
The Middle Way realized by the Tathāgata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.
Do you know that the Buddha did not allow monks and novices to accept or keep money?
It seems that life in modern times is inconvenient without money in your hand - even for those gone forth into the homeless life prescribed by the Buddha! When we drop money into the alms bowl or slide an envelope full of cash onto the offering cloth are we simply taking the easy approach to supporting monastics while still hoping for the rewards of supporting that unlimited field of merit.
There are many articles on the internet explaining how these rules concerning money are being ignored or worked around by lay supporters and monastic communities. If you practice Dana this way please read Part 1 of the article, "A Life Free from Money" by Dhamminda Bhikkhu. And if you are already aware of the ways some might try to bypass these rules, go ahead and read the rest of the article. Money, as well as the sensual pleasures it can buy, only leads to the downfall of those gone forth. While it is true the lay community is the monastic community's only support, there are specific ways to do that. This article provides clear information on the topic.
Practicing the Dhamma is difficult for all of us. As a lay Buddhist we might do our best to adhere to the five or eight training precepts, either every day or on those special uposatha days when we commit to more complete practice. Our friends in the Sangha have 227 rules in the Vinaya! Each and every rule is important, each and every day, and a few are even grounds for separation from the monastic order. We owe it to them to not perform pious acts that actually threaten their success, and our own.
The true fruit of the Vinaya is found in the pure, restrained hearts of those who practice accordingly! Having this knowledge will allow the laity to properly support the monastic community and yield greater merit for all.
There are some people who always have something to say! Friendly, light hearted conversation can break the ice and let us get to know someone else. But do we ever look back at what we have said and judge the value of our words?
Imagine the Lord Buddha's compassion when he expressed his teaching to an individual or group, laity and monastics alike. His words were insightful, delivered at the right time, and fully in line with the Dhamma.
We may not be able or likely to fully confine our conversations within the ten rules presented in the Kathāvatthu Sutta, as they were meant for monks - those who had gone forth with purpose, and not every day, run-of-the-mill people.
But imagine the power of these ten points of conversation, as if they were a firm, guiding hand, always in the background influencing our words, guiding both the speaker and the listener along the path, replacing the idle chatter that consumes so much time and offers no lasting fruit. Our words when spoken in light of the Dhamma must be accurate and meaningful, spoken with the supreme goal in mind at all times.
There are these ten topics of (proper) conversation. Which ten?
Talk on modesty,
and the knowledge & vision of release.
These are the ten topics of conversation.
If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful—to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.
paṅke sannova kuñjaro.
Delight in heedfulness!
Guard well your thoughts!
Draw yourself out of this bog of evil,
even as an elephant draws itself out of the mud.
Yo dhammam desesi
The Buddha has pointed out the way:
excellent in the beginning,
excellent in the middle,
and excellent in the end.
These Four Noble Truths — Dukkha, Cause, Cessation, and Path — are the heart of the Dhamma and they are in the heart of every man who cares to see them. From their seeing and understanding comes happiness but by trying to escape them only more misery is born.
The Exalted Buddha has said:
"Whoever sees Dependent Arising, he sees Dhamma;
Whoever sees Dhamma, he sees Dependent Arising."
Anicca vata sankhara
tesam vupasamo sukho.
Conditions truly they are transient
With the nature to arise and cease
Having arisen, then they pass away
Their calming, cessation is happiness.
Discipline is for the sake of restraint,
restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse,
freedom from remorse for the sake of joy,
joy for the sake of rapture,
rapture for the sake of tranquillity,
tranquillity for the sake of pleasure,
pleasure for the sake of concentration,
concentration for the sake of knowledge
and vision of things as they are,
knowledge and vision of things as they are
for the sake of disenchantment,
disenchantment for the sake of release,
release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release,
knowledge and vision of release
for the sake of total unbinding without clinging.
We all go about day-to-day behaving in our own way. With our refuge in the Triple Gem, we also try to improve, demonstrating proper respect for the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, as well as all other beings. As all are heir to their kamma, we should not be rude or disrespectful at any time. But we also should take the time to demonstrate respect beyond simple greetings when it is appropriate.
We who are his followers should follow in his footsteps and live with reverence for those three aspects of Enlightenment: Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
The gestures used for this are mainly two: respectful salutation with the hands (añjalikamma), and the five-limb prostration (pañc'anga-vandana).
The first of these, which may be remembered as "añjali" as there is no satisfactory English equivalent, is made by bringing the palms of the hands together, and raising them to the region of the heart or higher, according to circumstances. For instance, in the shrine room after kneeling down in front of the Buddha image, one makes añjali before offering flowers, lights and incense. And as the Teacher was the highest in the world and one to go beyond the world, so one respects him by placing one's hand in añjali to the forehead. But while chanting, the hands are held in añjali at heart level. This action and others described here, should be done with mindfulness and therefore gracefully. And one should be careful to see that exaggerated and impetuous movements are avoided. As we remarked before, the Dhamma does not encourage unrestrained expressions of emotion, rather with its aid one endeavors to calm one's heart.
He from whom a person learns the Dhamma should be venerated, as the devas venerate Inda, their Lord. He, (a teacher) of great learning, thus venerated, will explain the Dhamma, being well-disposed towards one. Having paid attention and considered it, a wise man, practicing according to Dhamma, becomes learned, intelligent and accomplished by associating himself diligently with such a teacher.
But by following an inferior and foolish teacher who has not gained (fine) understanding of the Dhamma and is envious of others, one will approach death without comprehending the Dhamma and unrelieved of doubt.
If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current — how can he help others across?
Even so, he who has not comprehended the Dhamma, has not paid attention to the meaning as expounded by the learned, being himself without knowledge and unrelieved of doubt — how can he make others understand?
But if (the man at the river) knows the method and is skilled and wise, by boarding a strong boat equipped with oars and a rudder, he can, with its help, set others across. Even so, he who is experienced and has a well-trained mind, who is learned and dependable, clearly knowing, he can help others to understand who are willing to listen and ready to receive.
Surely, therefore, one should associate with a good man who is wise and learned. By understanding the meaning of what one has learned and practicing accordingly one who has Dhamma-experience attains (supreme) happiness.
Monks, when a monk becomes entirely dispassionate towards one thing, when his lust for it entirely fades away, when he is entirely liberated from it, when he sees the complete ending of it, then he is one who, after fully comprehending the Goal, makes an end of suffering here and now.
What one thing? "All beings subsist by nutriment." When a monk becomes entirely dispassionate towards this one thing (nutriment), when his lust for it entirely fades away, when he is entirely liberated from it, and when he sees the complete ending of it, then, O monks, he is one who, after fully comprehending the Goal, makes an end of suffering here and now.
Anguttara Nikaya 10.27
Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.
They go to many a refuge,
to mountains, forests,
parks, trees, and shrines:
people threatened with danger.
That’s not the secure refuge,
that’s not the supreme refuge,
that’s not the refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering and stress.
But when, having gone for refuge
to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha,
you see with right discernment
the four noble truths—
the cause of stress,
the transcending of stress,
and the noble eightfold path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
That’s the secure refuge,
that, the supreme refuge,
that is the refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering and stress.
• To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas. [Dhp 183]
• Not despising, not harming, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline, moderation in food, dwelling in solitude, devotion to meditation — this is the teaching of the Buddhas. [Dhp 185]
If each and every day you are able to consider every one of these principles, your strength as a Buddhist warrior and your prosperity will continue to grow!
Nibbaana sacchikiriya ca etammangalamuttamam
Endeavoring for the realization of Nibbaana is the highest blessing
Abiding. Taking note of how we are and what we experience, just as it is, as we follow this Noble Path.
Be aware of each moment. Commit to being aware. Don't just expect awareness to happen.
With awareness, there will be reaction. This is where we are right now. We are connected to our experiences - we have yet to let go. Wrap your reaction according to its proper place.
Everything has a place within the sublime attitudes: immeasurable goodwill, immeasurable compassion, immeasurable appreciation, and immeasurable equanimity. Prepare to do battle with the unwholesome alternatives to this Sublime Abiding.The Sublime Attitudes