Cambridge Buddhist Association

This profile was last updated in 2014


Dr. Shinichi Hisamatsu, D. T. Suzuki, Stewart Holmes, and John and Elsie Mitchell founded the Cambridge Buddhist Association in 1957 as a non-denominational group for Buddhists in the Boston area. With a number of the original founders as professors at Harvard University, the Cambridge Buddhist Association (CBA) first served as a meeting point between practice and scholarship. The Association purchased the current location on Sparks Street in 1980. Prior to this, the group met in private homes. CBA’s house on Sparks Street is open for use by Buddhist groups in the Boston area. All groups wishing to use the space must be approved by and make arrangements with the board of trustees. Throughout the years, a number of Buddhist groups have met at the Cambridge Buddhist Association: Tibetan groups, a Sri Lankan TheravadaTheravada, literally “the way of the elders,” was one of the eighteen earliest sub-schools of Buddhism. Today, the term designates the various traditions of Buddhism most prominent in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Although these traditions differ in i... group, Zen groups, The Sakya InstituteBuddhist Peace Fellowship and Boston Old Path Sangha in the tradition of Thich Nhat Han among others.


In a quiet, residential area of Cambridge, the large house provides a space for Buddhist groups to meet. Beyond the front entrance of the three-story house, there is a small room to the right of the hallway for visitors to leave their shoes, and a bulletin board with pamphlets and schedules of the groups who meet at CBA. To the left of the front hallway is the main meditationMeditation is the disciplined practice of quieting and focusing the mind or cultivating the heart’s attention. Different meditation practices commend focusing attention on a word, a prayer, a form, or the breath as a way of practice. Meditation is commo... hall. Sparsely decorated with a small altarAn altar is a raised platform or stand which bears the central symbols of a religious tradition—whether in a temple, church, shrine, or home—and at which offerings are made, worship is offered, or prayers are said. in front of a fireplace, meditation cushions line each side of the room. A room connected to the back of the meditation hall and front hallway allows one to practice walking meditation through both rooms. While the back porch and kitchen on the first floor are less utilized on a regular basis, during non-residential retreats they provide more space for contemplation and refreshments. From the back porch, one finds the fenced-in backyard of the house. The staircase from the front hallway leads up to a number of smaller, carpeted rooms on the second floor. There is a small room used for personal interviews, a room with cushions for small groups to meet and an extensive library room. Since Buddhist scholar/practitioners founded CBA, the library houses an impressive collection of books on Buddhist traditions and practices. The third floor of the house is not open to the public, and is the residence of the caretaker of the building.

TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... Leadership

A board of directors comprised of three to four members manages the Cambridge Buddhist Association. The spiritual director and primary point of contact is Kyôon Dokurô Osho, founder and abbotAn abbot or abbess is the title of the superior of a monastery or convent. Some scholars and practitioners have used these titles to apply to the ranking monk or nun of a Buddhist monastic community as well. of the DharmaDharma means religion, religious duty, religious teaching. The word dharma comes from a Sanskrit root meaning “to uphold, support, bear,” thus dharma is that order of things which informs the whole world, from the laws of nature to the inner workings ... Cloud Hermitage—a Zen group that meets at the Cambridge Buddhist Association.

Activities and Schedule

The Cambridge Buddhist Association offers a wide variety of activities dependent on the groups meeting at Sparks Street. From regular weekly Zen meetings directed by the Dharma Cloud Hermitage, to monthly non-residential retreats, CBA provides space for a number of Buddhist groups to practice in a quiet setting. CBA also offers special private ceremonies including weddings, memorial services, chanting services and child dedications.