Posted in Buddhist community activities, On the Path, Vinaya

Xi Fang Temple – Chinese New Year 2011 stay

It’s an important time of year for all Chinese people who value traditional new years.  And to temples it’s very, very busy.  Almost every holiday we have in here in the USA and lunar events with services and birthdays of Buddha and bodhisattvas are very busy times plus the regular 1st and 15th of the lunar calandars AND sunday services AND any regular programs like chinese school or social services.

What has meant the most to me during this time is the interaction and pleasant visits between myself and the master who is my tonsure master and the residing nuns. There is an air of stability and peace from them during this extremely busy time. Many happy chats in our moments together which were brief due to tirednes. And the fun moments of play and jokes with the 3 tom cats rescued by them.

Next is the laity who offered me bits of welcomes and conversations, something that I lacked in the past when a new to the temple years ago. Overwhelming it was then to memorize Chinese texts and daily services. Much study was needed and very little talking or relationships were established.  These last 4 years spent as a hermitess, I found a striking contrast that left me to deeply appreciate the 2 laywomen who visited with me in Iowa. There were only a few visits but they offered to bow to me and did so each time on the floor even. Very respectful. Rare for me here in Iowa. So when I returned to Xi Fang Temple it was only to renew my relationship with my master. And visit with the residing nuns to establish relationships with them as well.

No, laity bowed in respect to me, they did another thing. They often greeted me palms together with smiles saying their welcomes and offering red envelopes. I was never so generously given with red envelopes before that time.. Their willingness to connect with me by talking to me and then offering me red envelopes helped me feel less isolated and more welcomed by Xi Fang Temple’s disciples and visitors. I never had that sense of welcome before this time, except by my cherished friends from the early days of Xi Fang Temple; these friends who are like rare jewels to me, so often rarely seen but deeply treasured.

So, thank you! A-Hua, Bao Ying, Bai Taitai and so many others in our Brooklyn neighbor hood who I know by face but not by name who took time out from their busy days to say Amituofo! and held their palms together in respect to me. I loved seeing you all! Sorry I couldn’t catch all the time to spend with you but I hope you know how deeply your kindness restored my faith in laity, for I had forgotten what it felt like to be shown respect and how much I needed it!

Master, that offer you made me to return is so very welcome, thank you. I trust that you will not be impatient for me to prepare the time here is overwhelming right now, too many things to do! Too much unexpected stuff this day and this week. It’s going to be hard to raise money to come back since unexpected regular monies did not arriver at the first of the month. I must rely on the red enevelop money until I can figure out what to do next, travel maybe delayed a bit. But I will return as soon as I can.

I want to underscore my appreciation of the masters with the story of what Xi Fang Temple masters really did for me. I had my hip go out due to inflamation of a muscle connected the hip to spine, it swelled so big I couldn’t step on it, and walking was neary impossible, so when it obviously wasnt better, they decided to ask a nearby doctor of Chinese massage and accupunctue to treat me.

Those two nuns had to nearly walk with lifting me up with force because it hurt so much to step on the right leg at all! It was slow and struggle for me and more for them as I am pretty fat right now. The doctor adjusted massage methods because it hurt so bad. Then when he could he got the muscle swelling down. It agnozied me to walk with lots of help back to the temple and he said one day in bed. I did get better but not all the way. But it was due to their kindness and effort that I could bear it better and got on the plane to return to Iowa.

I am preparing to move back to Xi Fang Temple, asap. I’d like to do it in 3 weeks. Should be interesting to see if that happens like we all want or not. I hope the weather is better by then. It’s been really super cold and a high of 9 degrees F here.

And get on for their messanger service is so much fun!  Check google for english website! The temple uses it exclusively to communicate with people who visit them at the temple and the rest of the Buddhists in the area. It’s fun. They suprised me with so muc technology and aptitude, they really know their computers and other stuff so very well! Wonderful!



I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.

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