Won Buddhist Meditation Center of Richmond

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 20 April 2018.

Phone: 804-778-4779
Email: richmond-rva@wonbuddhism.org
Website: http://richmond-va.wonbuddhism.org/
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History

Won Buddhist Meditation Center of Richmond is the only representative of this tradition in Virginia. It was founded in 1999 by Rev. Cindy Chang, who moved in July 2002. The temple was vacant for six months, until the current abbot, Rev. Insun Park, was assigned to it. Won Buddhism is a Buddhist New Religious Movement derived from traditional Korean Buddhism in 1916, with a growing following in the United States.

Activities and Schedule

The Won temple holds weekly meetings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Tuesday and Thursday gatherings begin at 7:00 p.m. with fifteen minutes of yoga. This is followed by thirty minutes of meditation practice and a sermon that lasts about fifteen minutes. The meetings conclude with another thirty minutes of yoga.
Sunday Dharma talks begin at 10:30 a.m., but follow a different format. Participants begin with four bows toward the altar, followed by five minutes of chanting “Namo Amitabha” (Sanskrit for “Homage to the Buddha of Infinite Light”). Next comes ten minutes of meditation and then liturgy, which takes about ten minutes. It is composed of the Vow to Ir-Won-Sang (usually performed in Korean, but occasionally in English), the Heart Sutra (most often performed in English), and chanting the Yong-ju and Chongjonju seven times (in Korean). Rev. Park offers a brief prayer, and then there is a reading from the Scripture of Won Buddhism. This is followed by a sermon in English that lasts twenty to thirty minutes and often includes discussion. The service ends by singing hymns, readings the Essentials of Daily Practice, and announcements.
The temple also holds festival days on important holidays.

Demographics

There are about fifteen members of the Won Buddhist Meditation Center—Richmond, with services usually drawing two to five participants. About a third are Korean-American, with the rest being European- and African-Americans. The gender distribution is about even and all ages are represented, though the Korean members on average tend to be older than the non-Asians.