Buddhism's path leads nomadic group to 'home'


The Mirror

If Buddhism at its heart is about adapting to change — or at least accepting it — Federal Way’s first Buddhist church is on the right path.

When the Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist church first came to Puget Sound in the late 1960s, the congregation was so small that services were held in a member’s house. As the congregation grew, the church moved to a larger home, then into a former recreation center in south Seattle. It stayed there for many years, until its continued growth met with Sound Transit’s plans for light-rail expansion.

Forced to relocate again, church leaders picked a starting point by looking at members’ ZIP codes, ultimately finding a spot in Federal Way. The first of its kind here the Buddhist church seems to be settling comfortably into its new home.

Without the sign above the fence, it’d be easy to miss the Buddhist Learning Center, located in what at first appears to be a pale, two-story office building tucked off Pacific Highway South between South 288th Street and Dash Point Road.

Marvin Cole, a lay instructor and president of the church’s board of governors, said church leaders spotted the building while they were looking at another site nearby. They didn’t think they’d be able to afford it, but they decided to walk through anyway, just to look. They were pleasantly surprised.

The building is three stories high instead of just two, and the balconies on the second and third floors, which run the length of the building, offer panoramic views of Poverty Bay over the treetops.

What’s more, the building was only listed at $1.5 million, which the church negotiated down to $1.2 million.

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