This profile was last updated in 2003
The Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center occupies a structure that had been built as a home in the 1970s in Warren, Michigan, a Macomb County suburb of Detroit. Its location is between a car wash and another private residence, the owner of which has complained about the number of cars that have to be parked around the center, especially on special occasions. The only action taken by the Warren City Hall has been to suggest that the center buy the home when it comes up for sale and use the land for parking. The center is also close to shopping malls and office buildings. Some minor renovations were made to the structure, including converting the garage into a multi-purpose hall used for Sunday school for children and retreats through the year. The front room is the Buddha hall. In addition, there is an office, meeting room, and kitchen. Upstairs are bedrooms for the resident monks and a meditation room.
Demographics and Activities
The Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center has approximately 50 regularly attending members and another 50 who attend less regularly. It was started for people from Thailand coming into the area seeking employment, but had no place for meditation. Therefore, approximately seventy-five percent of those attending the center are Thai immigrants to metropolitan Detroit. Many are professionals, including physicians and engineers. The other twenty-five percent is made up of mostly white Americans, but there are other Asians, including Cambodians and Vietnamese. In terms of changing participation at the center, more Americans and Canadians have been becoming involved over the past few years. Daily practice includes morning chanting and meditation from 6:00-7:00 a.m. and evening chanting and meditation from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Thai is most commonly used language in the center for both services and informal conversation, however on Fridays and Sundays, there is chanting and meditation practice from 7:00-9:00 p.m. for speakers of English Special services and events at the center include the celebration of the Buddha’s Enlightenment in May and bimonthly weekend retreats for discussion and meditation.
In the Community
Under the leadership of Venerable Dr. Achahn Chuen Pangcham, the Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center has become involved in a number of local activities. The center has assisted the Birmingham, Michigan Board of Education curriculum committee to plan and coordinate the study of Buddhist teachings and Eastern culture in the Birmingham high schools. Dr. Achahn Chuen Pangcham has lectured on Buddhism and Eastern culture at local colleges and universities . He has given Dharma talks and meditation instruction regularly at the Indiana State prison in Michigan City, Indiana and the Michigan State Prison in Adrian, Michigan. The center has participated in interfaith activities sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice and the World Sabbath.