In 1991, a small group of Buddhists living in St. Louis, MO met in each other’s homes to study the Dharma, soon thereafter forming the St. Louis Buddhist Association. The organization discovered it needed a home for its meetings, so in 1994, the Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA) was established and became an official non-profit organization.
Land was purchased in Augusta, MO and a Chinese Buddhist Retreat Center was created. At the group’s invitation, two renowned Chinese monks, Venerable Jan Hai and Venerable Ji Ru, became Chairman and Vice Chairman. Over the next four years, MABA grew under the leadership of these two monks.
In 1998, Venerable Jan Hai moved on to another monastery and Venerable Ji Ru became Abbot of MABA. Under Master Ji Ru’s direction, the monastery grew to include a Guan Yin Pavilion, a mausoleum, Dizang Hall, as well as male and female dormitories to accommodate visitors.