Kusala Bhikshu (Thich Tam-Thien) is an American born Bhikshu
(monk) ordained in the Zen Tradition of Vietnam.
In 1979 Kusala 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
began his studies with the Ven. Dr. H. Ratanasara at the College of Buddhist
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 in Los Angeles.
Rev. Kusala lives and works at the International Buddhist Meditation
Center in the Korea town section
of Los Angeles. He cares for the grounds, feeds the cats and Koi fish,
and facilitates meditation and discussion
groups. He continues to give presentations at local high schools, colleges,
and local churches on
Buddhism and social action. Kusala is the web-master for International
Buddhist Meditation Center, as well as his own site UrbanDharma.org
In addition to his other duties Kusala Bhikshu has given presentations in
the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall on Buddhism and meditation, and taught blues
harmonica at a juvenile probation camp in Malibu, CA. 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. Before his work in juvenile hall and the probation
camp, he was a volunteer at the Los Angeles County State
Prison for men.
Kusala is a member of the Buddhist- Roman Catholic Dialogue of Los Angeles,and was Buddhist
Chaplain for the University Religious Conference at U.C.L.A and director
of the University Buddhist Association at U.C.L.A. from 2000 to September of 2011. Ven. Kusala is the Buddhist advisor and member of the UCLA and Santa Monica Medical Centers Spiritual Care Committee and has been since 2000.
Kusala was featured in several Los Angeles Times articles: "Zen,
USA" (2/18/1997), "Soul Searching" (6/2/1998), "Biding our Time" (11/15/2001), and "Monks Get
the Joke Too" (4/29/2003). In December of 1997 Kusala and his motorcycle
were on the cover of the U.C.L.A. publication, Pacific Ties. In June
of 1998 he appeared on the television show "Vibe" with Sinbad
(UPN network), and spoke about his work in Juvenile Hall. In 1999, 2001,
and May 2002 he was a guest on the show "Life and Times" (KCET...
public television). In April of 2000 Kusala was featured in a report
on "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" (KCET...
public television) entitled... "Teaching Religion in Schools." The UCLA Bruin in Jauuary,
2003 featured Kusala in "Students Resurrect Campus Buddhism."
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 August of 2010 Ven. Kusala was featured on Public Radio and in July of 2011 on "Voice of America."
"Suffering is not found in the world, only in the way we experience the world."
International Buddhist Meditation Center
928 S. New Hampshire Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
*Buddhist Temples and Centers in the Los Angeles Area - Click Here