SERVICES OFFERED BY ABS TEMPLE & MEDITATION CENTER
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center provides many services, led by Venerable Seelawimala with the assistance of several highly educated and well-trained resident monks, to various communities in Northern California. These services include the following:
- Adult Programs
- Children Programs
- Family Services
- Outreach Programs
- Social Welfare Programs
- Religious Services
- Cultural Events
There are several programs focusing on adults to enrich their lives. The programs include the following:
- Meditation/Mindfulness Classes
- Meditation/Mindfulness Practice Sessions
- Meditation/Mindfulness Retreats
- Dharma Classes
- Dharma Discussions
- Public Lectures
Meditation and mindfulness programs conducted by the ABS Temple and Meditation Center have served many people over the years. These programs have led to improvements in cognitive, emotional and social aspects. Our mindfulness programs have benefited many people.
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center provides Dharma classes/Discussion/Public lectures to enrich the lives of the public. They are conducted by highly skilled and well-trained monks and lay teachers. For instance, Ajahn Brahmavamso, a world-renowned public speaker from Australia, visited the Temple and gave a Dharma talk to a large gathering. Once our new temple building is completed, we plan to invite learned monks and Buddhist scholars even more frequently to share Buddhist Wisdom with the community.
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center makes an extra effort in developing programs to assist children, as they are the future of our nation. These programs include the following:
- Weekly Dharma School
- Special Retreats for Children
ABS offers many family services, including the following:
Funeral and Memorial Services
Families often invite the ABS monks to conduct Buddhist funeral services at the time of cremation. The 7th Day and 90th Day memorial services are the most common services held to transfer merit to departed loved ones. These ceremonies are either held at the Temple or home.
Monks at the ABS Temple are often invited to bless new homes before the owners occupy it. This is a common custom shared by Asian cultures.
Newly wedding couples traditionally receive blessings from the monks at the temple or home.
It is customary for monks to bless expecting mothers and newborns.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS
ABS has a range of community outreach programs. These include the following:
- Assisting the UCD Medical Center & CSUS Cardiovascular Wellness Program
- Visiting the Sick
- Distributing Books to US Prisoners on Request
- Visiting Academic Institutions
- Participating in Interfaith Groups
- Collaborating with Other Service Organizations
ABS provides counseling for individuals, couples, groups, and families facing a broad spectrum of challenges and concerns. We assist them in a timely manner to ensure their spiritual, emotional and mental stability, and provide guidance in the face of life’s changes and challenges in order to assist them in moving in a positive direction.
Visiting the Sick
Monks are frequently invited to visit sick family members at home or in the hospital to give comfort and blessings for a fast recovery.
Bhante Seelawimala also serves in the Advisory Committee of the University of California, Davis Medical Center Clinical Pastoral Education Program for training Hospital Chaplains who attend to the needs of the patients and their families.
Distributing Books to US Prisoners on Request
ABS sends books, upon request, to thousands of US prisoners in correctional facilities across the United States who express an interest in cultivating insight and self-reflection through the study of Buddhist meditative practices and philosophy.
Visiting Academic Institutions
Several times a year, ABS Monks receive invitations from high schools, colleges, and universities to deliver lectures and discussions to their students on topics related to self-development and refining their interaction with society as a whole. The monks are also frequently invited to deliver talks in university classes on Buddhism, as well on South and Southeast Asian culture and religion.
Participation in Interfaith Groups
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center is a collaborating partner with a number of interfaith groups, such as the Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento, the United Religions Initiative (URI) and the Spirituality and the Earth Cooperative Circle (which emphasizes religion’s role in ecological responsibility). Interfaith events such as “the Interfaith Symposium on Resilience Through Connectivity” at UC Davis have been greatly aided by ABS participation.
Collaborating with Other Religious Organizations
Monks at the ABS Temple and Meditation Center are often invited by other religious organizations, such as the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Thai temples, etc. to deliver lectures to their community members. ABS Monks also organize various educational and religious events in collaboration with other religious institutions in the area.
SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAMS
ABS offers range of social welfare programs on its own and participates in other programs as well. These include the following:
- Financial Assistance to the Needy
- Disaster Relief
- “Walk to Feed the Hungry”
ABS has always demonstrated its willingness to share the institution’s limited resources with the community when challenging circumstances arise; we have provided funds for emergency medical care, as well as scholarships to support the education of young monks.
ABS also takes a special interest in providing relief to victims of natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. For instance, it raised funds and built houses for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. It also sent donations to the Nepal earthquake victims by collecting funds from the ABS community and well-wishers.
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center actively participates in national charitable events, such as the annual “Walk to Feed the Hungry” to raise funds for the Buddhist Global Relief Organization which provides food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition; it also provides support and education to women in underdeveloped countries who seek an opportunity to start livelihood projects in order to support their families. Recently, the participants of the “Walk to Feed the Hungry” ended their walk at the ABS Temple.
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center offers daily, weekly and monthly religious services that are open to the public. These services are conducted in the Buddha-Meditation Hall.
The ABS Temple and Meditation Center organizes various cultural events, such as New Year celebrations and Food Fairs, to promote understanding among different cultures including American, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, etc.