Monks, county reach agreement in civil suit

By LORELL FLEMINGNorth County Times, July 28, 2005

Bonsall, CA (USA) -- A handful of Buddhist monks can resume religious activities at their temple and meditation center on Camino del Rey in Bonsall while they pursue a required county permit for the site, attorneys said Thursday.

<< Illustration of the proposed temple complex in Bonsall, California

The activities are allowed under a settlement reached recently in a lawsuit the monks had filed against the county, according to attorneys for both sides. In light of the agreement, the county's counsel has requested dismissal of the federal suit the monks filed June 3 in U.S. District Court against the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use and the department's director, Gary Pryor.

In the suit, the monks sought relief from a cease-and-desist order issued April 4 by the county. The order prohibited them from assembling or practicing organized meditation at the site, 6326 Camino del Rey, which is designated for agricultural uses.

Also in their suit, the monks contended the county had allowed services at the Camino del Rey site in the past, and that the cease-and-desist order would "severely harm religious exercise."

Tom Bunton, senior deputy county counsel, said the order was issued because the group had fallen behind in submitting reports needed for the permit application. The permit is required to use agriculturally designated land for other purposes.

In the past, Sunday morning activities at the site had drawn protesters who voiced concerns about noise and traffic that the temple generated in the residential neighborhood.

"I think it was a good solution," Bunton said Thursday. "It protects the neighbors regarding traffic and sanitation issues, and we are also able to protect those interested in engaging in religious activities."

The suit listed the nonprofit group, Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Congregation Inc., as the plaintiff. The monks who live in the single-family building on the 10-acre Camino del Rey property are the founders of the nonprofit group. They were represented by attorney William Fischbeck of La Mesa.

"We're happy," Fischbeck said Thursday. "It puts us back where we were before the county issued the cease-and-desist order."

The agreement also calls for the monks to continue to have parking attendants, encourage guests to car pool or take shuttle buses provided by the center during events that attract large crowds, and provide portable toilets for guests.

The monks also agreed not to use the stable on the property as a sleeping area, and not to use one of the rooms in the building as a kitchen. That room was not approved by county officials for use as a kitchen because it did not meet health standards, Fischbeck said. Instead, the monks will use a patio barbecue area.

Unveiled last year, the plan calls for a temple complex with a 6,196-square-foot main hall, a 7,664-square-foot meditation hall, an 8,936-square-foot dormitory for the monks, and parking for 72 vehicles. It also includes an expansion of the septic system.

Final say on the permit application rests with the county Board of Supervisors. The board takes into consideration the recommendations from the county Planning Department, the county Planning Commission, and the Bonsall Community Sponsor Group.

The monks' application is expected to go before the Planning Commission early next year, Fischbeck said.

The sponsor group rejected the preliminary plans for the project in April, but is awaiting more information before issuing a final recommendation. At its meeting Tuesday, the sponsor group will get an update, though no vote is expected. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Bonsall Community Center.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: