Buddhists Take Relaxed Posture Toward Growing Interest

January 21, 2007

Author: Debra Duncan

Source: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The small white house along Route 908 in Harrison Township, Allegheny County, looks like any other home in the area except for the pure white Buddha statue standing against a bright red curtain visible through the front picture window.

This is the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center, which opened in September.

Resident Monk Nehinne Ariyagnana, a Sri Lankan native, greets a visitor at the front door in a traditional long orange robe. He is addressed as Bhante, a title of respect given a chief monk.

Ananda Gunawardena, of Wexford, Allegheny County, who is also from Sri Lanka, translates for Bhante, who is still learning to speak English. An associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Gunawardena and his wife moved to Pittsburgh eight years ago from Houston.

Buddhism is the world of peace and quiet.

Bhante said he believes Buddhism is growing among Americans, who are drawn by the power of meditation to counter stressful lifestyles. It is estimated that there are 3 million Buddhists in the U.S.