The existence of the Burma-America Buddhist Association resulted from the visit to the United States of the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw in 1979 who came to teach Vipasana meditation at the invitation of te Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts. The Mahasi Sayadaw left Sayadaw U Silananda and Sayadaw U Kelatha in California to teach meditation there.
The two monks came to the Washington area after their visitor’s visas expired to seek U Chit Myaings help. Although sponsorship for U Silaanda could be arranged with the help of the Washington Buddhist Vihara, sponsorship for Ashin Kelatha remained problematic. U Chit Myaing arranged to form a new religious organization after consulting with his friends U Tun Wai and U Swe Tin, since only such a body could offer sponsorship to religious personnel.
The trio called a meeting of Burmese Buddhits living in the Washington area on the 21st of March 1980. Altogether 16 people attended, and agreed to form the Burma-America Buddhist Association after approving the draft articles of incorporation and the by-laws.
The Burma-America Buddhist Association (B.A.B.A) formally came into existence of the 24th of March 1980 when it was incorporated in Maryland. It was approved as a 501 C (3) tax-exempt organization on January 27, 1981. the B.A.B.A. purchased a property standing on one acre of land at 1708 Powder Mill Road in Silver Spring, Maryland in March 1982. The Association named the property as Manglarama Vihara. The shed standing behind the monk’s residence was converted into a temporary Dhamma hall when the first meditation retreat was held under the guidance of the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita of the Mahashi Meditaion Center in April 1984.
Membership grew with time and so did regular activities such as fortnightly dhamma talks and meditation retreats. Burmese and Buddhist cultural lessons geared towards a younger generation also take place every other week. The need to have a more spacious Dhamma hall to accommodate a growing number of devotees who come to the monastery was felt towards the end of 1990s. A new two-story Dhamma hall was constructed and is now ready for occupation. Mortgage was completely paid off in 1998.
The idea for the construction of a more modernized prayer hall took in late 1999. the top floor of this hall (capacity of 275, 3800 square feet) was completed and occupancy permit was issued in June 2004.
- 1980: BABA was founded and incorporated.
- 1981: BABA was approved as non-profit tax-exempt organization.
- 1982: Purchased the current property.
- 1984: Temporary Dhamma Hall was built.
- 1998: BABA paid off the remaining mortgage balance
- 1999: The process of building new Dhamma Hall was initiated.
- 2002: Ground breaking of new Dhamma Hall.
- 2004: Use and Occupancy permit for the upper level of Dhamma Hall was approved. “BABA-USA.org” website was officially launched.
- 2007: :Replaced baba-usa.org website with the “mingalarama.org” website