Our history

From humble beginnings

In 1988, Phenpuck Anukul began inviting friends and community members to her home to meditate together. As the community grew and the meetups became more regular, she officially opened her home as the “Dhammakaya Meditation Center” on January 29, 1992 as a center for members of Wat Phra Dhammakaya in California. The congregation grew rapidly and by the end of the year, the home could no longer accommodate the number of devotees.

The Maywood Temple

Later that year, Luang Por Dattajeevo, Vice President of Dhammakaya Foundation, traveled to the United States to attend the International Buddhist Conference held at the Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California. Luang Por Dattajeevo met with Fo Guang Shan’s Master Hsing Yun, who was inspired by the community’s commitment to the teachings of the Buddha and offered his church in Maywood to the Dhammakaya community. Moving from Anukul’s home, the Dhammakaya International Society of California (DISC) was established in Maywood as a Thai Buddhist temple on May 9, 1993.

Finding home in Azusa

Just a few years later, the temple in Maywood again reached capacity and the community began looking for a new gathering place. In 1997, the congregation moved to its current home, a peaceful sanctuary nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The tranquil atmosphere provides the perfect ambiance for the full moon candlelight ceremonies, meditation retreats, and various weekly Buddhist services held here.

Preserving Azusa's cultural heritage

The MacNeil House is a beautiful historic landmark built in 1932 by Louise Slauson MacNeil, the daughter of Azusa founder Jonathan Sayre Slauson. From this home, Slauson operated the Azusa Foothill Ranch, a citrus farm that was a key regional orange producer from 1910 to 1946. The building is designed in the Italian Renaissance style with ornate roof balustrades on the upper roof. Quoins on the edge of the building’s adjacent wings mimic stone building techniques that were used in ancient Rome. The multi-paned grille windows in the middle of the mansion are designed in the Colonial Revival style popular in 1932.

In 1947, the Jesuit Order of the Society of Jesus took ownership of the estate and established the Manresa Retreat center on the grounds.

Since 1997, Dhammakaya International Meditation Center has been honored to play a role in preserving this cultural and historical landmark of Azusa, California.