The Making of the Mexican Vihara
by U Nandisena

THANKS to your generous support and that of a committed group of Mexicans, soon we will be seeing a functioning Theravada Vihara on the soil of Mexico. During the past months, there have been many positive developments towards this goal. Right now, people are working hard in the existing house to make it available to accommodate people. We expect that house to be ready as early as the end of August 1998. We still need your help and support to build a meditation hall, cabins for monks and meditators, and to buy a truck. We are planning to have a grand opening ceremony with the assistance of Theravada monks and lay people on Saturday January 30, 1999. And you are mostcordially invited to attend. Please read on for a little of history and a detailed account of the latest developments.

The Mexican Center of Theravada Buddhism (CMBT) was founded on May 2, 1997 in the City of Veracruz, Mexico, by a group of Mexicans interested on bringing the practice and study of Theravada Buddhism to their country. They had the vision of bringing the ageless wisdom of Buddhism to their own country in spite of the great difficulties that project would pose. They saw that the interest in meditation and Buddhism was slowly but steadily growing and people were having to travel or to bring teachers from abroad to impart the teaching of the Buddha.

The founders, a small group of meditators led by Dr. Alejandro Córdova and Rosa María Martínez, had already met Venerable U Silananda on several occasions. Some of them had also spent some time practicing meditation and studying Buddhism in Taungpulu Monastery, in Boulder Creek, California. So when the time came to found the association, they approached Venerable U Silananda and asked for his advice and spiritual guidance. Venerable U Silananda made two trips to Mexico to meet with the group in October 1996 and February 1997. During those meetings Venerable U Silananda had the opportunity to hear the details of the plan and
also visit the proposed site of the Mexican Vihara. At that time, as one of the group members recently wrote, the project of having a Vihara in Mexico was just ‘a most precious dream’ - just a dream!

A noble dream indeed to bring the teachings of the Buddha to Mexico, but ahead awaited the task of legally forming the association, the financial expense of buying the property, and the enormous effort of building a Vihara in a remote area in the mountains of eastern Mexico. It was a warm night on February 1997 in the City of
Veracruz and there sat Venerable U Silananda, myself, and the group discussing about how to accomplish these goals.

Today, little more than 15 months have elapsed since that meeting, but we are pleased to report that a non-profit association was legally formed in Mexico and 22 acres of land was purchased – no debt remains. Without your help and support, this would not have been possible. When we wrote in the previous newsletters about the Mexican Vihara, we asked for your support because we knew that the Mexican people alone did not have the financial capacity to undertake this
project. And your timely response in the way of donations really made possible the buying of the property.

We are being informed by the Board of Directors of CMBT that already 182 lots have been donated making a total of $30,600. There are still 218 lots available
for donation. Also now the association has 71 members up from the 19 founding members. What remains now is the building of the Vihara. On the property there is only a small house with two rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. The access road to the property, about four miles of gravel road, has recently been repaired. Electricity is now available in the small house. Still there is no telephone.

Right now there are an architect and construction workers adding an extension and doing repairs to the existing house so that it can accommodate people as soon as the end of August 1998. When this project is finished, we expect that at least one lay person will be living on the property. Soon after that, they will start building a
dwelling place for monks and later a meditation hall and other structures.

We plan to hold a grand opening ceremony on Saturday January 30, 1999. Venerable U Silananda has already agreed with that date. To this ceremony we are inviting other Theravada monks to consecrate a Sima to create a place where ordinations and other acts of Sangha can be performed. Lay people are most cordially invited. Anybody who would like to attend is urged to contact me.

We hope it will not take too long to complete all that is needed and soon having a functioning Mexican Vihara with monks, a meditation hall, quarters for meditators, etc. The Mexican Vihara will be a refuge of peace and a excellent place where to practice the Dhamma.

All what has been done until today has been possible because of your generous support and that support is still needed to complete the noble dream of bringing the Dhamma to Mexico.

In this newsletter you will find a letter from the new CMBT president, Dr. Hilda Díaz Marroquín, with a brief report and a pledge for support. There are still many lots available for donation. Also they are requesting donations in order to buy a pick-up truck. Buying a truck will considerably reduce the total cost of construction by making them less dependent on hired transportation and will also provide transportation to the members and visitors to and from the property. If you are interested on participating in the making of the Mexican Vihara you may contact me or Venerable U Silananda at (650) 726-7604 (e-mail: tbsa@tbsa.org).