About

Our History and Mission

Karuna Buddhist Society was established and registered in September 20, 2002 as a nonprofit Buddhist organization to practice and promote Buddhism. After years of dedication, in 2008 we bought a 663 sf house in a half acre land in Golondrina Drive to expand our mission. But the house was very congested and can’t accommodate the devotees in indoor activities. Due to various obstacles, and struggles, we waited more than another decade to purchase a sufficient property which is the present one in Pacific Street.


In 1990s, several Chakma Buddhist families migrated to US for the first time via DV visa. And then more came in 2000s. Chakma is an ethnic minority native to India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Due to their racial and religious identity, most of the time they become subjects of religious and ethnic discrimination. Most of the migrated Chakma families in California are from Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and several families are from Northeast India. After migrating to US with new hopes and dreams, they had to struggle like any other immigrants to settle down in the land of opportunities and freedom.

As an indigenous ethnic minority, we too concerned about preservation of our language, script, belief, culture and tradition. Being a Buddhist community, we strongly felt the need of a Buddhist temple with Chakma monks. Due to language barrier for seniors and juniors, we struggled to practice Buddhism in other temple. We a tiny community in US, and took us almost 3 decades to purchase a property and establish a temple. It required a lot of dedication and sacrifice by the devotees. Karuna Buddhist Society was established in September 20, 2002 and purchased a 663 sf house in a half acre land in 2008. At that we had no monks except our senior and respected monk Ven. Bimal Bhante of Bodhicariya, Kolkata who used to visit and bless us time by time from India. He is the one who motivated and encouraged us to establish a Buddhist center in San Bernardino. We needed Chakma monks who would preach Dhamma in Chakma language for elders who do not know English and English for our new generation and English speakers.

Thus, our present abbot Ven. Upagupta Bhante introduced by Ven. Bimal Bhante was invited from Hong kong University in 2011. After his arrival, he served in that tiny 663 sf house for almost a decade until we purchased another property with sufficient accommodation for all devotees and residential monks. After 2018, other Chakma monks joined to the monastic team to expand and extend religious services for Karuna Buddhist Society. All the monks are multilinguals and fluent in English, making it more convenience and effective for religious services and other humanitarian activities for the community.

Our Mission:
From the very beginning, our sole mission is to propagate Buddha’s wise teachings and promote individual happiness, mindfulness, lovingkindness, compassion and worldly wellbeing. We welcome all the faiths, traditions, LGBTs and anyone who is seeking for happiness, Buddhism, Meditation technique, and an ethical way of living with Buddhist principles. As Buddha taught, “come and see” is an open invitation for all who are seeking for Dhamma, for Truth with pure intention. Let’s join us and accumulate good Karma with good practices together for own happiness and for other’s wellbeing.

Meanwhile, we also engage in various charitable and humanitarian activities as per our capacities. As we mentioned before, we may live in US, a prosperous country but there are thousands of people we left behind who have no proper education, life skill and sometime face racial and religious discrimination in our native countries. The Covid Pandemic worstly worsened those vulnerable families including our relatives, friends and many people we know. This is why, we also individually or collectively sponsor scholarship for those students who can’t afford, specially in Bangladesh and India. We have distributed relief rations for the Covid affected families for several times during this ongoing pandemic. You may visit our donation page and select the donation option if you wish to be participated in such educational and charitable programs.

Meet Our Monastic Team

Our monastic team is fully committed to provide all the religious and spiritual needs for the diverse comOur monastic team is fully committed to provide all the religious and spiritual needs for the diverse community. Monastics provide various kind of religious and other cultural ceremonies held by Karuna Buddhist Society. They overlook and organize most of the religious events with devotees.

VEN UPAGUPTA THERO
Abbot and Vice President
KARUNA BUDDHIST SOCIETY
Kitti Bhante
Dhamma Deva bhante

Executive Body

Every 2 year, the executive body is elected in the present of monks and general members of Karuna Buddhist Society. As fundamental respect, abbot and residential Buddhist monks always overlook all the activities and executive body and general members always make monks informed and aware of any kind general decision. There are no paid positions but all of the elected bodies and subscribed members are volunteers and working for the Karuna Buddhist Society for spiritual development and cultural harmony and peace. Even though we may have official body but all the members have the right to speak up and share ideas for the benefits and development of the organization. Each member including executive body and general members subscribe monthly donation for the Karuna Buddhist Society and its religious and charity activities.

ROBIN DEWAN
President (2022-present)

DEVASHISH CHAKMA
General Secretary (2022-present)

SAMU TALUKDER
Financial Secretary (2022-present)

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