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Header image: Courtesy Prof. Rohan Jayasekara, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo (2011 - 2014).
Sisira Ranasinghe and wife found Buddhist temple in Fort Wayne, Indiana
wife found Buddhist temple
During most of the 38 years Dr. Sisira
Ranasinghe and his wife Sarogini (or “Gini”) have lived in Fort Wayne, they’ve had no formal place to worship
Buddhism, their religion.
The Ranasinghes struggled to expose their
two children to their native religion; in fact, Sisira and Gini invited a monk
from Washington, D.C., to their home several times. The
family created a Buddhist altar in their home so they had a place to worship,
but they always wanted more.
They were motivated to establish a formal
temple in Fort Wayne
after Gini’s Mother
became acquainted with two Sri Lankan monks living in California.
The Ranasinghes founded the IndianaBuddhistTemple
in 2003, with those same two monks relocating to provide spiritual guidance. Originally
located on Webster Street
in Fort Wayne,
it is now located in a two-story house on a large lot at 7528 Thompson Road, Hoagland. It is the
only Sri Lankan Buddhist Institute in Indiana.
(Theravada Buddhist temples vary according to language and ethnicity; other
Buddhist temples in Fort Wayne
are associated with Laotians, Burmese, and Mon natives).
The temple offers free meditation classes
that are open to anyone interested. It also offers many Buddhist activities and
cultural events throughout the year, such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year
Festival last April. About 200 devotees from Indiana and neighboring states attended the
celebration and participated in the Avurudu activities, according to the
temple’s web site. “The temple draws a lot of visitors,” Sisira said.
After years of having no one and no place
for sharing their religion, now the Ranasinghes spend the greatest amount of
their free time at the temple, nurturing the monks and others. “The monks are
extremely happy,” Sisira said. And so are the Ranasinghes.