Urban Dharma Book Launch and Conversation Event
with Kusala Bhikshu, Rebecca Wilson and Kristen Roupenian

Sunday Jul 28, 6:30–7:30pm EDT


This is a free or donation-only event.

“I like to think of compassion as the activity of kindness. 

Compassion changes the world, kindness changes you.” 

—Kusala Bhikshu

Join co-authors Kusala Bhikshu and Rebecca Wilson in a conversation with writer Kristen Roupenian (author of Cat Person and You Know You Want This). They’ll discuss the insights, teachings, and stories from the new book Urban Dharma: 20 Years of Buddhist Stories from an L.A. City Monk. The event will include a short reading from the book and an audience Q&A.

*Kusala Bhikshu will join via Zoom from L.A. for this hybrid Brooklyn event. 

About the Book:

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the path, these stories will deepen your understanding of cultivating inner peace and making a positive impact. Set in the urban din of Los Angeles, American monk Kusala Bhikshu takes readers through practical Buddhism in his wry and humorous memoir. He shares twenty years of volunteer work in unlikely places like juvenile halls, prisons, hospice rooms, and alongside police as a ride-along chaplain. Through poignant anecdotes and reflections, Kusala demonstrates how patience, generosity, compassion, and resilience can thrive in chaos, inspiring readers toward self-discovery and spiritual growth.

Important Note

This is an in-person and online event. Please review our latest Covid-19 policy if you are attending in person. For online, the events will be administered using Zoom*.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link and/or other instructions. If you don’t immediately receive the system email(s) or you have any other questions, please contact us at registration@shantidevanyc.org.

*Zoom is an interactive video-conferencing tool that allows participants to see one another and ask questions. You will need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with the Zoom application to attend. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.


Open donation: free, $5, $10, $20, $30

Your generosity makes it possible for us to share the Dharma and continue working together for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Shantideva Center may publish recorded sessions in the public domain (e.g., on YouTube). By registering for this event, you are agreeing to give your consent to this process. To protect your privacy, we recommend being conscious about any personal information you share during the sessions. To further enhance anonymity, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using abbreviations.

Time zone: US Eastern Daylight Time (GMT/UTC-4)

For questions regarding registration, please email registration@shantidevanyc.org for assistance.


Available soon.

Dana for the Facilitators

Shantideva Center makes offerings to our teachers and facilitators using the funds collected through registration. You can give additional support to the teacher or facilitator and create a stronger karmic connection by offering dana. Please make sure to select the teacher’s or facilitator’s name in the dropdown menu. Dana offered is passed entirely to them, but please note that it is not tax-deductible.

About the Facilitators

Kusala Bhikshu has been the head monk at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Koreatown, Los Angeles, for over 20 years. Ordained in 1994, he has spoken at many public events to a wide range of Buddhist and secular audiences. Kusala’s popularity comes from his candid, often comedic distillation of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. When not teaching, Kusala can usually be found caring for 12-plus homeless cats living at the meditation center.

Rebecca Wilson has over two decades of experience in multi-format content production. She has worked as a staff producer for TED Talks, the Dalai Lama’s Cultural Center in NYC, Dr. Robert Thurman, CHIEF, the Siddhartha School Partnership, and more. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, she shares her home with one and a half plants.

Kristen Roupenian is the author of the viral short story “Cat Person,” which appeared in the New Yorker in 2017. The New York Times Book Review called her debut collection, Cat Person and Other Stories, “exciting, smart, perceptive, weird and dark,” and said that it “comes from one of those brains that feel out-of-this-world-brilliant and also completely askew.” Roupenian also wrote the original story for the A24 smash hit Bodies Bodies Bodies, and has several other film and television projects in development, She is currently at work on a novel.