Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

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Hiker
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Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby Hiker » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:53 am

I have a strong interest in Theravadan Buddhism. Over the last couple of years I've read an entire bookshelf of Buddhist books, listened to hours of podcasts, developed a disciplined meditation practice, but have only attended one formal Buddhist meeting; Against the Stream in Santa Monica. I can't make the excuse that there are no opportunities to take part in a sangha--since I do live in Southern California.

As a matter of fact just about a mile from my house is Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA, a Thai Buddhist temple. I pass by it often and have visited their web page, but it's entirely written in Thai. The pictures show no Westerners. Moreover it seems to have more of the feel of a Thai cultural center that a spiritual center, which is alright, but . . .

Is there anyone here who is familiar with Wat Padhammachart? It would be good to talk to someone about the place who's been there before I visit. Or failing that just some general advice on visiting the temple and inquiring about classes.

Thanks

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cooran
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Re: Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby cooran » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:27 am

Bump
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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farmer
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Re: Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby farmer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:39 am

Hi Hiker,

I can't help with Wat Padhammachart, but I thought I'd mention that Metta Forest Monastery is a great resource and is about 1:40 by car from La Puente.

dsaly1969
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Re: Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby dsaly1969 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:45 am

Hi Hiker!

I live up in Tehachapi and work in Lancaster, but I get down to the Long Beach / Los Angeles with my wife and kids about one weekend per month to visit the parents and in-laws (they live around the corner from each other). We will be down for MLK Day weekend this month.

I have not been to that Wat yet. I just found out that they are building a Thai Buddhist Wat up in my area in Tehachapi. Not sure how often it will be open as many groups use this area for occasional retreats. I'm hoping to walk down there and introduce myself or talk to the folks who run the two different Thai restaurants in town to see if they know them (I know they are Buddhist as I've seen their altars in the restaurants). I also frequent a local Vietnamese restaurant and they quickly figured out I was Buddhist (easy to do in a small town with a conservative Christian majority). There is also a Korean Son Buddhist retreat center on the other side of town which I visit but no one there speaks English.

When I was practicing in the Mahayana traditions, I only went to "ethnic" Buddhist temples, generally Chinese (especially Hsi Lai in Hacienda Heights which is beautiful) and Japanese, and not the "Western" centers. I came to Buddhism through a more "ethnic" tradition. I never had a problem. Of course befriending monks always helps. Occasionally I got the curious looks, but generally they were thrilled to see a white man come with his kids who all showed proper respect to the monks and the Buddha images, offered joss sticks, etc.

Maybe we could meet somewhere sometime as I am always looking for someone interested in "temple hopping".

Dave

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Hiker
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Re: Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby Hiker » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:59 am

Thanks dsaly1969, your experience gives me some confidence.

I just imagine showing up and everything being in Thai. By you mentioning that you know how to show, "proper respect to the monks and the Buddha images, offered joss sticks, etc." demonstrates that you have a basic knowledge of the culture that I lack.

Obviously I just need to show up respectfully dressed and see for myself how it is. What's the worse that can happen really?

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Re: Visiting Wat Padhammachart in La Puente, CA

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:33 am

You may well find the senior monks not very conversant in english, but you should find younger monks who speak english fairly well, though if you have trouble understanding foreign accents you may not have much luck. Any services are probably going to be prayers in pali and talking in native language, in this case Thai. After prayers you may be able to interview the monks and someone at the temple might be able to act as translator for you.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John


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