In 1991, a small group of Buddhists living in St. Louis, MO met in each other’s homes to study the Dharma, soon thereafter forming the St. Louis Buddhist Association. The organization discovered it needed a home for its meetings, so in 1994, the Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA) was established and became an official non-profit organization. Land was purchased in Augusta, MO and a Chinese Buddhist Retreat Center was created. At the group’s invitation, two renowned Chinese monks, Venerable Jan Hai and Venerable Ji Ru, became Chairman and Vice Chairman. Over the next four years, MABA grew under the leadership of these two monks. In 1998, Venerable Jan Hai moved on to another monastery and Venerable Ji Ru became Abbot of MABA. Under Master Ji Ru’s direction, the monastery grew to include a Guan Yin Pavilion, a mausoleum, Dizang Hall, as well as male and female dormitories to accommodate visitors.
Fo Guang Shan Saint Louis Buddhist Center is one of over 200 branch temples of the Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Order founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.
The order’s objectives are to promote Humanistic Buddhism which embraces all traditions and schools, and to bring forth faith, joy, hope, and service for all. We hope to establish a Pure Land on earth and integrate the Buddha’s teachings of kindness, compassion, joyfulness, and equanimity into our daily lives.
Consistent with the Order’s objectives, the Center was established in 1999 to serve as a spiritual and cultural center for anyone interested in learning about the diverse cultures of Buddhism and Chinese traditions. Activities and services have been conducted to uphold the four main principles of the Order:
Cherokee Buddhist Temple known also as Wat Buddhamanee Rattanaram. The temple was founded in the Theravada tradition, and more specifically the Thai Dhammayut branch in 1999. As you will see in this booklet, the chanting in a combination of English and Pali. Pali is a now-dead language that was spoken in India at the time of the Buddha. His teachings were written and preserved in Pali many years after his death.
Our abbot, Phrakhru Vijit has been the spiritual leader of the temple since 2001. He is originally from Thailand, and first ordained in 1978. It has been his goal to share mediation instruction and the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) to members of the English-speaking community for some time. Our volunteers are doing their best to translate his talks and teachings, so please be patient with us while we work to make them available.
The temple is open to everyone from general public, and does not discriminate on religious or any other basis.