Dharma Bum Temple

4144 Campus Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Website: thedharmabums.org

Description of Organization

Dharma Bum Temple opened its doors on December 31, 2006 at 541 2nd Avenue in the Old Chinatown section of Downtown San Diego, California. Throughout 2007 DBT hosted many Dharma teachers, all with their own style and presentation of Buddhism. The goal was simply a way for westerners to feel comfortable learning about Buddhism. It was in English, taking place in essentially a cool downtown location, and there was no pressure to bow, chant, light incense, or wear robes. DBT was built to be culturally accessible and approachable to all, but especially relatable for the western population. DBT does not adhere to any one school of Buddhism. It offers a wide spectrum of teachings through visiting teachers, Sanghas and regular classes. The organization’s goal is to be a home for all to access the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. Their mission is to help people focus on the practices of generosity, morality, patience, diligence, concentration and wisdom in their daily lives. They believe it is the cultivation and integration of these guiding principles (the “Six Perfections”) that leads one to a more happy and healthy life. To facilitate this mission, they provide an accepting and tolerant home to people from all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, religions and cultures for the study and practice of Buddhism. The mostly peer‐to‐peer programming is relatable and helps provide real life examples, support and experience for people to learn how to make change within their own life and be of benefit to others.

Main Hall
Homeless Hats Project
Retreat at Metta Forest Monestary

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhism grant of $17,000 was awarded to create a Women’s Buddhist Leadership Training Program. This is an 8–10-week training program meeting twice a week with up to 10 women who will learn to lead meditation, give dharma talks and guide Buddhist classes. The objective is to lead weekly classes at the Dharma Bum Temple as well as lead via a variety of outreach programs–prison, rehab facilities, community centers. This program will be offered 3-4 times a year, bringing 30-40 women into leadership positions. Core training will be focused on facilitating group meditation; choosing, preparing and conveying a Buddhist topic for a class; and conducting a discussion and Q & A with the group. The academic side of the program will offer a basic study of the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Six Paramitas, Karma, Dependent Origination and Five Precepts. Various Buddhist women leaders will help guide this program. It is envisioned that a formal women’s leadership counsel will eventually drive this program.

In 2022, a grant in the amount of $17,000 was awarded to create an Engaged Buddhist Training Program, an 8-week program that will run continuously throughout the year–four to five programs per year. 10-20 practitioners per cohort will meet twice per week. One weekly gathering will occur at the Dharma Bum Temple for meditation, Dharma talks, trainings, discussions, and a book study. The other weekly gathering located somewhere in the community will cultivate the Bodhisattva practice while being of service to others in the broader community.

Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Engaged Buddhism is just Buddhism.” Dharma Bum Temple will share the teachings of the Buddha with each cohort and then begin to put the teachings into practice. Utilizing existing relationships in the community and building new ones, together we will create opportunities for the practitioners to engage in the following:

  1. Prison Outreach Program
  2. Homeless Outreach Program
  3. Leading meditation and Dharma talks at Marine Corps Recruit Depot
  4. Lead weekly meditation for local LGBTQ nonprofits
  5. Lead weekly meditation for local BIPOC nonprofits
  6. Train and volunteer with Buddhist animal rights nonprofit Dharma Voices for Animals
  7. Volunteer with Animal Shelters
  8. Volunteer and lead meditation with Victims of Domestic Violence
  9. Volunteer at Meals on Wheels – Meals for Seniors and Veterans

In 2021, a special COVID-19 Operational Grant of $3,000 was awarded to The Dharma Bums to support their general programming.  The COVID-19 Impact:  The Dharma Bums closed their physical temple building.  Despite the physical location closure, their programs continued including hosting silent retreats, guest teachers and a COVID-19-adjusted residential program. Because many of their programs are not only streamed but also recorded, The Dharma Bums has experienced an increase in participation both in the United States and abroad.

In 2019, a grant in the amount of $20,000 was awarded to Dharma Bum Temple to be used towards DBT’s general programming.