Buddhist Monk Brings Meditation to Chicago's Suburbia

November 30, 2003

Source: Chicago Tribune


On November 30, 2003 the Chicago Tribune published a profile on Sujatha Peradeniye, a Buddhist monk studying psychology at McHenry County College near Chicago in the hopes of understanding how Americans think. According to the article, "Peradeniye's circuitous journey two years ago to McHenry County was navigated by an inner calling to blend Buddhist teachings into American culture, a feat he appears to have accomplished personally. He has made an impression on his new community. His Buddhism meditation group has grown to roughly 40 suburbanites between the ages of 13 and 70. They represent a slice of America--computer programmers, writers, parents and business executives--gathering at the Congregational Unitarian Church in Woodstock for meditation, teaching and chanting. Six months ago, Peradeniye incorporated the Blue Lotus Temple as a religious nonprofit organization with the state, making it the first Buddhist temple in McHenry County. About four months ago, a second monk joined the community. And although there are no formal plans, the temple's community hopes to someday construct a building where members can practice their beliefs. 'American people really like Buddhism, but out here they do not have a place to go,' Peradeniye said. There are about 140,000 practicing Buddhists scattered throughout the Chicago area. That number has grown at least 25 percent in the last five years, said Asayo Horibe, president of the Buddhist Council of the Midwest."