This data was last updated on 5 August 2009.
Address: 773 Granite Street, Braintree, MA 02184
History: In recent decades the Asian population of Braintree has grown significantly, resulting in a rise in the number of Buddhist temples in the area. The Bode Buddhist Meditation Center was established in 2001 under the initiative of its sister temple, Dai Dang or the Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Congregation in San Diego, California. Originally housed in a garage, the Bode Buddhist Mediation Center is now an impressive pagoda-style building. It was built over a number of years by resident monks and volunteers from the Vietnamese community of Braintree and greater New England. The center is one of a network of Vietnamese Buddhist temples founded in the United States in recent years by Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu, the abbot of the Truc Lam monastery in Dalat, Central Vietnam. He has helped to establish over 30 Zen monasteries in the United States, Vietnam, Canada, France, and Australia. The Bode Buddhist Meditation Center is currently involved in helping to establish a new temple in West Virginia.
Description: The Bode Buddhist Meditation Center is a red-tiled pagoda-style building located on Granite Avenue in Braintree, a busy street lined with modest homes and a number of commercial venues. Just a few houses down from the Granite Plaza Shopping Center, the center is set back from the bustle of the street by a parking lot and fence. Two white stone lions greet visitors at the gate. The temple’s red-tiled roof, trimmed with yellow detail and winged eaves, is crowned with a dharma wheel at its peak. Upon entrance into the main meditation hall, visitors face an ornate altar upon which sits a six-foot golden Sakyamuni Buddha. Intricately carved dark wood detail frames the altar and a carved relief of a forest scene covers the wall behind the Buddha. All the materials and artwork which make up the altar were shipped from Vietnam. Behind the main meditation hall is a small library and study lined with glass bookcases of Buddhist texts in Vietnamese. The other walls are decorated with Vietnamese artwork and even a large carved stone fountain. The monks’ quarters are located next to the main hall and above the library. Their area includes a small dinning hall and kitchen on the ground floor and four rooms on the second floor. Finally, behind the building is a small shed which serves as a space for solitary retreats.
Demographics: The Bode Buddhist Meditation Center draws members primarily from the Vietnamese community. There is a small minority of Chinese members. Services are held in Vietnamese.
Activities and Schedule: The center holds daily early morning and evening mediation sessions. Sunday services include bowing, chanting, a dharma talk, and a vegetarian lunch. Services are held in Vietnamese. The center also celebrates several annual holidays including the Vietnamese New Year and the Buddha’s birthday.