About Avatamsaka Vihara

History of Avatamsaka Vihara

Avatamsaka Vihara is conveniently located in Potomac, Maryland in the Washington Metropolitan area. It is the only branch of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association located on the east coast . Avatamsaka Vihara has relocated to this current location since January of 2003. The temple occupies two acres of land, which provides ample parking spaces, a spacious worshiphall and a library for cultivators to study and practice together.

Avatamsaka Vihara was established in 1989. The Venerable Master Husan Hua was invited by President George Bush to attend the presidential inauguration in 1989. During that trip to Washington DC, he did not stay in any luxury guest hotels, but stayed in a small simple house belonging to a local Buddhist association, where he gave some lectures to the disciples. Later on, he was invited by the Washington Metropolitan area's disciples to propagate Buddha Dharma two times. Due to the disciples' eagerness of learning Buddha Dharma, and the difficulties of encountering a true good teacher, the disciples requested that Venerable Master Husan Hua establish a branch in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Later in 1989, Venerable Master Husan Hua was finally moved by the sincerity of the disciples, and started looking for a suitable place in the metropolitan area. He found a three level residential house, situated in a very quiet area surrounded by trees, and embraced by a little running stream in Potomac. Venerable Master Husan Hua thought it a perfect place for cultivation so he used it for solitary cultivation for three years, and opened it to the public afterwards. That house was Avatamsaka Vihara's original location.

Around the year 2000, due to the increase in the number of disciples, and the large number of visitors, it disturbed the quietness of the neighborhood, and aroused the neighbors' complaints. The disciples, under the leadership of the Dharma Masters, started planning a move to a more suitable place. After a series of searches, they found the Bethesda Post Office. Under Venerable Master Husan Hua's principles of "Making the best use of everything, No waste, No luxury", remodeling of the temple was based on the original structural design of the Post Office. The remodeling was completed in January, inaugurated on June 15, 2003, and then followed immediately by a full one week ceremony of Emperor Liang's Jewel Repentance.

Besides the scheduled weekly Dharma Assemblies and activities, Avatamsaka Vihara holds big celebrations on special dates like Buddha's Birthday, Buddha's Entering Nirvana date etc. Every year, there is a Seven-Day Amitabha recitation retreat during the week of Thanksgiving, and Three-Day Amitabha recitation retreats during long weekends. The Temple also offers free classes for youth ages five to eighteen. These classes teach traditional Chinese morality and ethics of filial piety, meditation, and the basic principles of Buddhism.  

The teaching of the Avatamsaka Vihara inspires people like a stream of clear water. It purifies people's mind from this turbid world. Nourished by the Buddha Dharma, rain disciples can gain peace and wisdom. Let's work together and vow that the righteous Dharma lasts forever and penetrates into every sentient being.

Avatamsaka Vihara 華嚴精舍
9601 Seven Locks Road Bethesda, MD 20817 (301) 469-8300