Kusala Bhikshu (www.Kusala.info) is an American born Bhikshu (monk) ordained in the Zen Tradition of Vietnam. In 1980 he became interested in Meditation, and found his way to the International Buddhist Meditation Center. In 1981 he took refuge, and accepted the five precepts of a lay Buddhist, and was given the name Kusala (skillful). In 1983 with a growing interest in Early Buddhism, he began his studies with Ven. H. Ratanasara at the College of Buddhist Studies, Los Angeles.

In 1994 Kusala took novice vows, and was given the Dharma name Kusala Ratana Karuna (skillful jewel of compassion). In 1996 he received full ordination as a Bhikshu, and was given the name Thich Tam-Thien (heavenly heart mind) with the Ven. Dr. H. Ratanasara, and the Ven. Karuna Dharma as two of his ordaining masters. Along with Kusala's Bhikshu ordination he received a B.A. in Buddhist Studies, from the College of Buddhist Studies.

Kusala now lives and works at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in the Korea town section of Los Angeles. He cares for the grounds with the Vice Abbot Shanti Bhikkhu, and facilitates meditation, and discussion groups. He continues to give presentations at local schools, and colleges, and speaks in local churches on Buddhism, and social action. Kusala is the web-master for the International Buddhist Meditation Center, as well as his own site www.UrbanDharma.org.

Kusala Bhikshu is a member of the Buddhist- Roman Catholic Dialogue of Los Angeles, the Wilshire Center Parish Association of Los Angeles, and the Interfaith Council of Garden Grove, Stanton, and Westminster. Kusala is Buddhist Chaplain for the University Religious Conference at U.C.L.A and director of the University Buddhist Association at UCLA... In 2000 Kusala was invited to join the UCLA Medical Center Chaplains "Spiritual Care Committee," and the Juvenile Justice Committee of Faith Communities for Families and Children.

In addition to his other duties Kusala Bhikshu gave presentations in the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall on Buddhism, and meditation for four years, and for a year taught Blues Harmonica at a juvenile probation camp in Malibu, CA. Before his work in juvenile hall, and the probation camp, he spent one year as a volunteer at the Los Angeles County State Prison for men. In December of 1998 Kusala was given the “Good Samaritan of the Year” award for his work in juvenile hall by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

In March of 2000 Kusala ended his volunteer work at Central Juvenile Hall, and accepted an invitation from the Garden Grove Police Department to become a police chaplain. Meditation, and yoga are still being taught at Central Juvenile hall thanks to the dedicated effort of various Buddhist volunteers and yoga teachers.

November of 2000 marked the beginning of his new position as the first Buddhist ride-along volunteer police chaplain in Garden Grove. On November 16, 2001 Kusala received a certificate of recognition from the California State Assembly, and a certificate of special congressional recognition from the United States Congress for his work with the Garden Grove Police Department. In January of 2002 the Mayor, and City Council of Garden Grove honored the police chaplains with a Certificate of Appreciation.

March of 2003 found Kusala Bhikshu in Los Angeles as a guest speaker at; "A Spirituality and End-of-Life Care Conference," sponsored by Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center's Palliative Care and Spiritual Care Departments, and in Indianapolis, Indiana as a guest presenter at the "Spirituality & Healing in Medicine: A Multi-Cultural Approach" conference, sponsored by Harvard Medical School and The George Washington University.

Kusala Bhikshu
International Buddhist Meditation Center
928 S. New Hampshire Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Dharma Talks
...by Kusala Bhikshu

How I Became a Buddhist

Do Buddhists Go to Heaven

Do Buddhists Believe in God

The Problem with Sex in Buddhism

Buddhist Enlightenment vs Nirvana


Kusala's Audio Dharma Talks in MP3 / www.DharmaTalks.info


Suggested Reading

Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience
by Donald W. Mitchell

Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience focuses on the depth of Buddhist experience as expressed in the teachings and practices of a wide array of its religious and philosophical traditions. Taking a broad and inclusive approach, this unique work spans over 2,500 years, featuring chapters on Buddhism's origins in India; Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism; and Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan. It also includes an extensive discussion of modern, socially engaged Buddhism and a concluding chapter on the spread of Buddhism to the West. Mitchell provides substantial selections of primary text material throughout that illustrate a great variety of moral, psychological, meditative, and spiritual Buddhist experiences.


The Gethsemani Encounter
Don Mitchell and James Wiseman, OSB

The Gethsemani Encounter... In July 1996, Buddhist and Christian monks met at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, and held a five-day conference to discuss aspects of their spirituality and worship. Donald W. Mitchell (philosophy, Purdue) and James Wiseman, (O.S.B., chair of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue) have done a masterful job of distilling from this conference a remarkably rich document, encompassing vast areas of Christian/Buddhist monastic concerns.

Part 1 offers presentations on ultimate reality and spirituality, prayer and meditation, spiritual growth and development, community and spiritual guidance.

Part 2, the real treasure, contains dialog between Buddhist and Christian monks, including the Dalai Lama, on subjects from mind and virtue to grace, the nature of tragedy and violence, and the importance of social action.

This book is directed more toward the scholar in comparative religions, but any informed lay reader will also greatly gain from reading it. Recommended for all libraries, especially academic ones.