The Buddhist Association of the United States ® (BAUS) is a non-denominational organization dedicated to promoting the Buddha’s teachings in the United States. Founded in 1964 by a group of devout Chinese Buddhists living in the greater New York area, BAUS offers a wide range of programs, including weekly Dharma classes, meditation retreats, and traditional religious rituals. Although rooted in the Chinese Buddhist tradition, BAUS does not represent any particular school of Buddhism, nor is it is affiliated with any other Buddhist organization. BAUS adopts a broad perspective on the Buddha’s teachings, and thus hosts programs by qualified teachers from all genuine Buddhist traditions, both Theravada and Mahayana.
BAUS maintains two monastic facilities: an urban temple in New York City, the Temple of Enlightenment, located in the Bronx, and a large monastery, Chuang Yen Monastery, situated on over 200 scenic acres in Putnam County in upstate New York. The monastery is famous for its central Buddha statue, the largest in the Western hemisphere. People from all over the world visit the monastery to enjoy its peaceful atmosphere and to relish the delicious vegetarian meal served at noon on weekends.
The resident monks and nuns at both places perform daily liturgy and conduct ceremonies on Buddhist observance days. BAUS promotes a variety of other religious and cultural activities, including a free book publication program—with books in English, Chinese, and even Spanish—and a bimonthly journal, Wisdom Journal (primarily in Chinese). BAUS also operates a Prisoner Correspondence Course (in English) that has benefited hundreds of prisoners throughout the United States.