This profile was last updated in 2001
The beautiful Wat Dhammabucha Buddhist Temple is an unexpected treasure in San Antonio, with the state flag of Texas and a flag representing Buddhism flying over its gated entrance. The stunning Thai Buddhist monastery is located on 12 acres of lush hill country and is frequented by immigrants from Thailand and Laos. The ornate Buddhist statues, the meditation paths that pass lotus leaves, and the kind welcome of the Center’s resident monks all contribute to sense that Wat Dhammabucha is a peaceful haven hidden in one of America’s largest cities.
Built in 1983 on only 3.8 acres of land, the Dhammayutti sect of the Theravada tradition, originating in Thailand. It follows the forest tradition of Ajahn Mun.
Visitors come to the temple via a long driveway, located just off of Sawyer Road, a remote spot that makes of the city of San Antonio feel like a world away. The main building houses five resident monks; the abbot lives in a separate residence. In the first main prayer hall, four large statues of the Buddha greet visitors, the details of each showing Chinese influence. One of these statues is more than 1,000 years old. The central and largest Buddha, was created for the temple. Thai visitors from San Antonio and beyond often come here to meditate and to give offerings of food and fruit to the Buddha. In a second, smaller prayer hall, visitors can meditate before the remains of their former teachers, which are kept at the front of the temple. In the same room, photo albums tell the story of the Temple, from its founding to the recent birthday of the abbot, a celebration that attracted Buddhists from America and Thailand. There is an adjacent library and a kitchen for preparing communal meals. Beyond the prayer halls, beautiful paths wind past a garden and lotus leaves that grow near the abbot’s residence. A smaller residence is also maintained for visiting nuns. The path through the property is called the “meditation path” and is meant to provide solitude for those visitors seeking out the path towards mindfulness.
Activities and Schedule
The temple website offers a daily schedule of activities:
5 am Morning Chanting in main temple hall
5:30-6:30 am morning group meditation with bikkhus (monks)
10:30 am offerings of meal for bikkhus (monks)
8 pm Evening Chanting Service
8:30-9 pm Evening group meditation
Every day, lunch is held at the temple for visitors, with a larger lunch on Sunday, when most locals come to visit. On Sunday afternoons, classes in Thai are held from 12:00-2:00 pm.