About the Vihara
The Theravada Dhamma Society of America and the Sitagu Buddha Vihara
were founded in 1994 1996 respectively in Austin, TX by the Venerable
Ashin Nyanissara, aka Sitagu
Sayadaw, of Burma. It also benefited for a number of years from the
residence of the Venerable Ashin Mahosadha Pandita. The history of the Vihara in pictures can be downloaded here (pdf).
The Sitagu Association, the international umbrella organization with which the Vihara is affiliated, was founded in Burma by Ashin Nyanissarain in 1980 to promote Buddhist education and public welfare. Expanding outward from Sitagu monastery in Sagaing Hills in central Burma in now encompasses several monastic universities, many hospitals and other public works. The Sitagu Buddhist Vihara is the center for overseas missionary activities. In America there are two additional Sitagu monasteries, the Sitagu Dhamma Vihara and the Sitagu Sangha Vihara, in Minnesota and Florida respectively.
The mission of Sitagu Buddhist Vihara is to provide a center for the practice of Theravada Buddhist meditation and Dhamma study in the United States, for both laypeople and monastics, for both Westerners and ethnic Asians, in a traditional monastic context. It sits on 16.1 acres in rural Austin, Texas and consists of many private cottages and public facilities. It also supports community and cultural events that are very popular for Burmese and non-Burmese alike.
The Theravada Dhamma Society of America (TDSA) was founded as a lay organization which lends both financial and volunteer support to the efforts of Sitagu Vihara, and provides for the support and well-being of its resident monastics.
For more Information about Sitagu in Burma (Myanmar), please click here.
Fully ordained Buddhist monks are in residence at the Vihara who are
very learned in both the Dhamma and meditation practice and available
for instruction and teaching. The current (09/2011) abbot of the
monastery is Dr. Ashin
Ariyadhamma. Dr. Ashin
Cintita Dinsmore has been resident full-time since November, 2010.
Sometimes nuns are in residence as well.
At present the Vihara is in the inital stages of its growth. The present monastery consists of two mobile homes, a dining facility, reception hall, public lavatories and twenty meditation cottages. Construction has begun on a large Dhamma Hall, a Burmese style stupa (a memorial shrine containing Buddha relics and sacred images), a Monastery Residence, a Dining Facility and a library building. When construction is completeed, Sitagu Vihara will serve as a practice place for many meditators on retreat.