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County Supervisor Dianne Jacob Explains "No" Vote on Plans for Bonsall Buddhist Center Bordering Avocado Orchards

"I wasn't kidding about tamping down the intensity."


NOWHERE NEAR ENLIGHTENMENT, BONSALL - Yesterday, the County Board of Supervisors approved the construction of 8,900-square-foot residence, 7,600-square-foot meditation hall and 6,200-square-foot worship hall on the site of the Vietnamese Buddhist Dai Dang Meditation Center Compound in Bonsall, despite the vehement objections of the Bonsall Community Sponsor Group, which had petitioned for an overturn of the approval granted by the County Planning Commission. The lone "no" vote was cast by Dianne Jacob, a longtime advocate for agricultural interests in San DIego County. Notably, she argued for a compromise on the project, one that would involve less "intensity."

"Buddhists tap into forces that you and I cannot possibly comprehend," said Jacob in an interview after the vote. "I don't wish to be graphic, but if the average Joe set himself on fire in protest the way young Buddhist monks have been doing in Tibet, he'd be screaming for mercy within about a second and a half. These monks? They sit still and quietly burn to death. That should tell you something."

"Three, maybe four monks engaging in meditation each day? The surrounding avocado groves could probably withstand that. But this proposal calls for no less than 30 monks in residence, plus visitors. Buddhists strive to move past the illusory world of sense experience and the particular, permanent, individual 'self.' But avocados are all about sense experience, and farmers work very hard to produce particular, permanent, individual avocados. With rising water costs and pressure from cheap Mexican imports, I don't want to see San Diego County's avocado farmers have to engage in a metaphysical struggle on top of everything else."

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