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The Buddhist Council of the Midwest promotes the spread of the Dharma by fostering the learning and practice of Buddhism in America, inclusive of all three Buddhist traditions. Its mission is to be a vehicle of
mutual aid and fellowship for Buddhist organizations throughout the Midwest, to celebrate the diversity of Buddhist philosophy and culture, and to represent and advocate for the Buddhist community in the public realm, confronting misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the Dharma and engaging in inter-religious dialogue.

The Buddhist Council of the Midwest (BCM) is an organization for all Buddhist groups in Chicago and the Midwest area. The BCM became a reality when it was officially incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization by the State of Illinois on October 21, 1987. The founding purposes as stated in the Articles of Incorporation are: to foster the learning and practice of Buddhism; to represent the Midwest Buddhist community in matters affecting its membership; to pool resources and coordinate efforts by its membership to create an atmosphere of fellowship and cooperation.


President Asayo Horibe Pres@BuddhistCouncilMidwest.org

Vice President Stephanie Arena VP@BuddhistCouncilMidwest.org

Secretary Patrick Lathitham


Treasurer Barbara McBee Treas@BuddhistCouncilMidwest.org



The BCM had its origin back in the spring of 1984. At an American Buddhist Association meeting, Rev. Sunnan Kubose mentioned the desirability of getting all local Buddhists together in fellowship. One of the attendees at this meeting was a Wayne Jones who mentioned this idea to Phra Sunthorn Plamintr, a monk at the Thai Buddhist Temple. This led to the first informal meeting which was held at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago on July 26, 1984.

Those in attendance were: Rev. Sunnan Kubose (Buddhist Temple of Chicago); Rev. Bunsei Ito (Nichiren Buddhist Temple); Wally Muszynski (Chicago Zen Center); Phra Sunthorn Plamintr (Thai Buddhist Temple); Rev. Hong-Sun Oh (Korean Buddhist Temple); Rev. Shunjo Takahashi (Chicago Jodo-shu Buddhist Temple); Achan Sobin S. Namto and Dhananjay Joshi (Chicago Meditation Center); Rev. Thich Thien Quany and Bang Nguyen (Vietnamese Buddhist Association); Ray Kayano and Ted Miyata (Midwest Buddhist Temple); and Lilly Gleich and Jeanine Wieder (Dharmadhatu).

This initial meeting was followed by further meetings and with the initiative of Dr. Sunthorn, all groups were invited to participate in an International Visakha '85 Celebration held at the Thai Temple. Since Gautama Buddha's birthday is a major holiday common to all Buddhist traditions, this celebration was decided to be an annual unifying event. The second annual Visakha was sponsored by the Buddhist Temple of Chicago and was held at Northeastern Illinois University on May 17, 1986. The third annual Visakha was a joint organizational effort by all the participating groups and was held at Truman College on May 30, 1987.

In the past few years, similar regional councils have been formed in California and in New York. A national organization (American Buddhist Congress) has also been established.

Suggestions or Questions? Please send e-mail to info@buddhistcouncilmidwest.org
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