ABS Building Initiative

We are constructing meditation center in the heart of West Sacramento.

Please support our efforts and help our community thrive.

ABS Temple


Resident Monks

Temple Administration


The mission of the American Buddhist Seminary (ABS) is to develop and enhance the spiritual growth of the rapidly expanding Theravada Buddhist community of North America.


American Buddhist seminary was founded by the Venerable Madawala Seelawimala (known as Bhante Seelawimala) in 1992 with the help of a small group of committed Buddhists in the San Francisco Bay Area and several senior Buddhist monks living in the United States. With his unique experience in training clergy members for various religious denominations he discovered the urgent need for training Theravada monks and lay teachers for the growing number of Theravada centers in America.

Most of the monks who are currently serving at these Theravada centers have come from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Thailand. These monks are unfortunately not well versed in English. In many cases immigrant parents who are members of these communities have difficulty guiding their children in the Buddhist path without the support of monks who are religious leaders of the community. The monks lack sufficient background in developing communication skills with these immigrant children who are growing up in America. The monks themselves are not fully capable in assisting the parents, mainly due to the language and cultural gaps between the monks and the younger generation of Buddhists whose main language is English. It is common in these ethnic Buddhist communities that these children are gradually drifting away from Buddhism, Buddhist culture and the Temple. The basic trend is that after the first generation of immigrant Buddhists has passed on, within the second generation there will be much fewer active Buddhist followers in these immigrant families.

Earlier Buddhist immigrants, such as the Japanese and Chinese, who came to America about a century ago, found the same dilemma that Theravada immigrant Buddhists are facing today. A half a century later the early immigrants remedied this situation by establishing educational centers for training their clergy in this land itself to be effective teachers among the second generation Buddhists. ABS was established with the purpose of creating such an educational center to prepare monks/nuns and lay teachers for the Theravada Buddhist immigrants who have been arriving for about the last forty years. So far this urgent need for a training center for Theravada clergy in North America has not been fully understood by the Theravada communities in the west. Therefore, the main goal of ABS has yet to be realized.

Main Objective

Our main objective is to provide religious, academic, and vocational training needed by the monastic and secular Buddhist teachers to achieve our mission.


Other Objectives

  • Help establish temples and Buddhist practice groups in North America, where needed
  • Provide classes on Buddhist Religion, Buddhist Philosophy, and Buddhist Meditation
  • Promote cultivation of Mindfulness
  • Promote peace and harmony of all religious traditions and communities
  • Make the teachings of the Buddha available through well-written Dhamma books
  • Promote the practice of sharing and generosity (Dana) locally, nationally and internationally
  • Acquire land and structures, as necessary, to reach our objectives
  • Use conventional methods of raising funds for various projects

Your Title Goes Here

Venerable Madawala Seelawimala Mahathera (Bhante Seelawimala), was ordained as a novice monk in Sri Lanka when he was ten years old. He was ordained by the Most Venerable Dhamma Master Hendiyagala Sri Seelaratanabhidhana Nayaka Maha Thera of Ancient Cave Temple in Kurunegala District Sri Lanka, who was one of the most revered Dharma teachers in Sri Lanka at the time. At age eleven he entered Maliyadeva Boys’ College became the only young monk who went through secular education in Sri Lanka. During this period he grew up under the supervision of Venerable Dr. Dickwela Piyananda who started the Washington Buddhist Vihara, the first Theravada Vihara in North America, with the collaboration of Sasana Sevaka Society of Sri Lanka. He received his higher ordination at age twenty in 1968. He received his bachelor’s degree in Buddhist Philosophy 1971 from University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya. In 1974 he received his Masters Degree at the same university.

By the invitation of late Reverend Tsuji, the Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America, the largest Buddhist organization in America, Bhante came to the United States to teach Theravada Buddhism at the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) in Berkeley, California in 1976. Since then Bhante has been teaching at IBS and the Graduate Theological Union affiliated with the University of California Berkeley.

With his master, Venerable Dickwela Piyananda, he helped establish the Toronto Buddhist Vihara in Canada in 1982; he was instrumental in managing that Temple for first five years since the beginning. Subsequently he established Buddhist Vihara in British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He assisted in establishing the Buddhist Vihara in San Jose, California. In 1996 he established the ABS Temple at Sacramento. Currently he is assisting Buddhist groups in Arizona and Edmonton, Canada towards setting up centers. Bhante travels widely throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia to give lectures, Dhamma talks, and retreats.

Project Breakdown
$ 2.0 – 2.5 million $ 250/square foot (Include Commercial construction, Fire requirements, and Parking lot etc.)
Funds Raised: $161,000 Expenses: $27,522 Available Funds: $133,478
$250/ square foot For 10 sq. feet, total tonation would be: $2,500.00 over 3 year period Donation per day: $2.28 (For comparison Starbucks coffee is around $2.50) All the donations are federal & State tax deductible
  • Donate your expertise, time & energy
  • Organize fundraising events (food fair, garage sale, cultural show, raffles etc.)
  • Help organizers in fundraising activities
  • Contact your family and friends to collect donations
  • Help finding major donors
  • Find matching funds donors
  • 2018 $250,000
  • 2019 $1,500,000
  • 2020 $2,250,000
  • 2021 $2,500,00
  • 2022 Opening Ceremony

Fundraising Goals

In order to complete this project in a timely manner, we hope to match this timeline for raising funds as much as possible.

In this section I will embed a Google Spreadsheet

Transparency is important when raising funds. The spreadsheet will contain information about all of the donors. Others can view the document, but only you will be able to edit it.