About Bhante Kassapa Bhikkhu
Bhante Kassapa Bhikkhu came to Buddhism down a long and varied path. After high school in Palm Beach Gardens Florida he entered military service in 1970. After serving in the USAF during the Vietnam War, he entered the Roman Catholic St Mary’s seminary and was associated to a Jesuit parish while attending university. While studying and working with the mainly immigrant Mexican and Hispanic youth and the parishioners of St. Joseph’s parish in Houston Texas. During his tenure he made the Director of Religious Education and taught 6th 7th and 8th grade at the local catholic school. Afterwards Bhante entered a Franciscan monastery in Ohio where he worked with the inner city housing projects in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. He left Catholic religious life in 1989 and accepted a position with the Aviation Authority of Hillsborough County in Tampa Florida where he worked for nearly 17 years.
While working for the Aviation Authority Bhante began his association with Buddhism. In 1991 after studying with the Late Venerable Giac Chan he took refuge in the Buddhist faith. He worked and studied with the abbots of Phat Phap temple in St. Petersburg until his first ordination in October of 2006.
Bhante Kassapa came to Buu Mon Temple in the fall of 2006 after his Samanera ordination to the Vietnamese Sangha. He had been working closely with the late Venerable Giac Chan, Most Venerable Bu Phuong and Venerable Tri Tinh. While at Phat Phap temple he worked to develop a meditation group of mostly non Vietnamese speaking peoples.
Bhante Kassapa began his ministry at Buu Mon temple located in Port Arthur Texas, in the fall of 2006. He works closely with the abbot the Most Venerable Huyen Viet. Since his installation in the temple, Venerable Kassapa has led a vigorous meditation group maintaining approximately 25-30 members. It continues to grow. His groups are eclectic mix consisting of Anglo, Asian, Black, and Hispanic Americans.
Bhante Kassapa fills his days with the youth ministry, retreats, Sunday services, Pali language classes, Buddhism classes and Wednesday night meditation group. He is currently Chaplain to the Buddhist inmates at the federal correction facility in Beaumont Texas, where he conducts meditation and Dharma discussions. He has been asked to speak at Oklahoma City University for the 10th Annual Buddhist Conference, Lamar University, South East Texas World Peace Event for 2007 and 2008, Human Rights Torch Relay Demonstration in Houston Texas.
In his spare time Bhante raises Bonsai trees, give talks and Dharma lectures at area churches and writes poetry and essays on Buddhism which he posts to his website.