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International Buddhist Meditation Center

The International Buddhist Meditation Center (IBMC) in Los Angeles was founded in 1970 by Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An, a scholar and Zen Master from Vietnam. He came to the United States as a visiting professor at UCLA, and at the urging of his students, founded the center to provide a place for them to practice meditation and Buddhism. Today, under the guidance of the abbot, Ven. Havanpola Shanti, IBMC has monastic and lay teachers of the Theravada and Mahayana traditions who give Dharma talks and facilitate group meditation. Visit the website to learn more.

Metta Forest Monastery

This monastery in California is in the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. Their abbot, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, has written and self-published many books on Buddhism and translations of the Pali Canon as well as Thai Buddhist texts that are offered entirely free. While the monastery does not hold any retreats, people are welcome to stay for extended periods as a guest or resident. Please consider supporting this community if you are able. This is one of the few places where authentic Buddhism can be learned and practiced and the teachings there are invaluable.

Bhavana Society

Bhavana Society in West Virginia was founded in 1983 by Bhante Gunaratana, a Sri Lankan monk in the Theravada tradition. The term “Bhavana” means mental cultivation and is one of the terms for meditation in Theravada Buddhism. Bhavana Society has opportunities for retreats and residency for those looking for extended stays at a monastery.

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple

Hsi Lai Temple in California is a part of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, a Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monastic order belonging to the Linji Chan School. Visiting the temple is free, but there are suggested donations of a couple dollars per person for large groups, nine dollars per person if they also want a vegetarian buffet lunch, which is delicious. Hsi Lai offers religious services, Buddhism classes, and meditation classes in English. The classes require extremely low registration fees, usually $20 for the entire semester (four months or so of weekly instruction).

Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery

This monastery is in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah. Though they have limited accommodations, Abhayagiri welcomes overnight visitors who are expected to participate in the daily activities of the monastery, which leaves ample time everyday for individual meditation and study. They also offer periodic retreats hosted at other centers. Visit their website for more information.

Forest Dhamma Monastery

Located in Lexington, Virginia, this is a Thai Forest tradition Theravada monastery in the lineage of Ajahn Maha Boowa founded by one of his living disciples, Ajahn Dick Silaratano. This is not a retreat center, but guests are welcome to stay and practice in a traditional manner for day visits or prolonged stays.

Online Resources

This is where the collected teachings of Thanissaro Bhikkhu are available online. Here you can find talks, writings, and translations by one of the best teachers of Buddhism in the world.

Urban Dharma

Kusala Bhikshu, IBMC head monk, manages this website filled with Suttas/Sutras, articles, audio Dharma talks, free ebooks, and episodes of the Urban Dharma Podcast.


This is a compendium of Buddhist scripture offered in multiple languages for free. The website also includes offline use for those using Google Chrome.


A worldwide Buddhist education and information network with online study guides, lectures, and ebooks from multiple sources.