LeapZipBlog: freemexy's blog: Leesburg gives tentative OK to Buddhist center

Leesburg gives tentative OK to Buddhist center

June 24, 2019 by freemexy  

Vietnam is a long way from Lake County, but its culture and its religion will become more familiar to residents, thanks in part to the city Planning and Zoning Commission's approval of a meditation and worship center on U.S. Highway 27 near Plantation at Leesburg.To get more buddhist culture, you can visit shine news official website.

A lot of construction has already taken place on the 21-acre site owned by the Vietnamese American Buddhist Association.The rezoning request is tentatively scheduled to go before the City Commission on April 22 for first reading. Because it is larger than 10 acres, the land use must also be approved by the state. That usually only takes about 30 days, Miller said. Once that takes place it goes back to city commissioners for second and final reading.

County commissioners approved rezoning the site from agricultural use in 2014. The center backs up to some mobile homes, but there is a fence separating them.

"Our center started construction about three years ago, said Bhikkhu Punno, a monk at the center. "We plan to complete the Holy Garden in the outer land lots together with the Gallery Hall within next year. The meditation center on an island is a big project. We anticipate getting it partially completed, hopefully, within a couple of years for all international meditators to use."So far, everyone has been very nice," he added, including nearby residents of Plantation at Leesburg, "who embrace us as neighbors."

"Other than the headquarters in Washington, D.C, we have one other branch in Riverside, California, which our teacher, Venerable Sayadaw Khippapanno, also heads," Punno said.

Buddhism began with the teachings of Guatama Buddha in the sixth century B.C. in northern India, according to religious scholars. Translated, Buddha means "enlightened one."He is generally considered not to be a god but an esteemed teacher. Buddhists believe in karma, reincarnation and rebirth.

"There are two main traditions in Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada," according to Punno. "We belong to the Theravada Tradition. We are not Zen, which is probably in the group of Mahayana.

"Vipassana (insight meditation), also known as mindfulness meditation, is our main practice. Our path to liberation consists of morality, (restrain from unwholesome bodily and verbal actions); concentration (restraint of unwholesome thoughts); and wisdom (understanding the true nature of all conditioned phenomenon)."

"When completed, our center is intended to be opened to Buddhists and people of all religions and backgrounds who would like to learn and practice Vipassana meditation," Punno said.

A large number of Vietnamese fled their country in 1975 when the South fell to the communists at the end of the Vietnam War. Many came to Orlando, where they established a community with shops and restaurants on Colonial Avenue. They also established a worship and cultural center, but the Leesburg temple is not affiliated with that organization.

Buddhists are expected to grow in number between 2010 and 2030, from 488 million to 511 million, but the numbers will decrease after that, according to Pew Research Center. The reason is that their birth rates will not keep up with the global population, because many are older.

Most live in Asia-Pacific, but the number is expected to grow in North America, from 0.8 percent in 2010 to 1.2 percent in 2050.

Christians remain in the largest religious group, at 31 percent of the world's 7.3 billion people, according to Pew, but are declining in Europe. Globally, Muslims make up the second largest group with 1.8 billion followers, or 24 percent of the world's population, followed by "nones," Hindus, 15 percent, and Buddhists 7 percent. The rest are smaller groups, including Jews, according to Pew.