Posted in Dharma Books, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Vinaya

Sangha view Buddhist history different than western scholars

Gandhari Mahayana scroll jar many found in a marketplace in Peshwar, buried and located in a dessert from the 1st c. BCE to 3rd c. CE

Whoes Buddhism is the Truest? by Linda Heuman

Tricyle has published another article on the gandhari sutras found in the dessert.  I do believe this tipifies how westerns try to view Buddhism and it’s history:  For some of these ideas are taken as fact when they are only one-sided viewpoints with limited approaches to the idea of valuing what the historical development actually was; well it’s all opinion due to the fact nobody living was there, and nothing we have now gives us the whole picture only fragments of ideas touching the edge of truly what took place.

Many false ideas are here presented in this article from Tricycle as authoritative fact. Starting with this line in the first paragraph.

Ven. Hong Yang

“Every school of Buddhism stakes its authority, and indeed its very identity, on its historical connection to this original first canon. Buddhists of all traditions have imagined that our texts tumble from the First Council into our own hands whole and complete—pristine—unshaped by human agency in their journey through time. This sense of the past is deeply ingrained and compelling. If our texts don’t faithfully preserve the actual words of the Buddha in this way, we might think, how could they be reliable? Isn’t that what we base our faith on?”

Tricycle article writer.

Grossly over-generalized statement in the first line.  Buddha taught use to use our wisdom to analyze his words testing them for ourselves and our ability to walk the path with our own feet, and what we have that is written down and accessible now are known not to be his exact words; how can we base our faith on what’s written and commented on without trying it out ourselves?  We cannot but we do need to study it, recite it, practice it’s lessons. The Sangha have two traditions, the oral one that is never writtten down and comes with actually living, practicing and studying as monastic Sangha for a lifetime and another that is changing, translated, commented on, repeated over and over again orally for private and public study developing into what we know today as the sutras/suttas. The written tradition is usually used the most to teach Buddha dharma for it’s convenience and is an easy method to transmit.

As a new monastic in the Buddhist Sangha nobody every comes up to you and states that the First Council is the one and only source of infallible unchangeable actual words of Buddha as he spoke them, ever and you don’t accept out words for that being the truth then your not really going to be Buddhist nor a Buddhist Sangha member.  Ludricrous, we are actually taught to live in harmony, learn the sutras that are recited in the temple, learn the daily service; carry out our studies concentratively, perform mundane but necessary tasks for health and harmony in the temple and learn how to be monastic in the temple preparing for the higher ordination in a careful step by step manner to be able to transmit buddha dharma in the future as requested.  Buddhist monastic Sangha does not base its identity on anything but the Vinaya which is varied in language, slightly varied in a few word or order of precepts in different traditions and gender and the collection of sutras/suttas is undestood as varied as there are leaves of grass, written, recorded, translated according to the times of the school of the translator’s and in accordance with their striving on the path, study of the sutras, and gender; undestanding of the solemity of the future needs of the readers of the sutras being worked on.  All the sutras/suttas in the first couple of lines are clearly identitfied with some or all of the names of monastic and laity clearly written as scribe, copyist, translator, editing monastic elder and the location and time of the translation.

The idea of the Tripitaka as whole in content and  pristine is a western fabrication, rather a Christianization of Buddhist thinking of a very narrow type. Infallibility of the bible is imported into the Tripitaka with this wholly fabricated viewpoint mostly by Christian or western secularists.

Ven. Hong Yang

“But as we’re about to see, history works otherwise. And having a view more in line with the facts here frees us from chauvinist views and gives us grounds for respecting differences between and within diverse Buddhist schools. As for undermining our basis for faith, not to worry. To get in line with the facts, we’re not going to abandon Manjushri’s sword of wisdom. We’re going to use it.”

Not really facts, just opinions, theories and guesses.  Without even undestanding what Buddhists do and practice, that sword of Manjusri would be impossible to wield by scholars of this view.

Ven. Hong Yang

“Religious orthodoxy wants to claim that one’s own tradition is the best. To do that, one needs to point to something unique to make it so. Having the sole true version of a singular truth is just such a foothold. And not only for Buddhists. Elaine Pagels, the scholar of religion who brought to light the Gnostic gospels, told Tricycle in 2005:

The Church father Tertullian said,
Christ taught one single thing, and that’s what we teach, and that is what is in the creed. But he’s writing this in the year 180 in North Africa, and what he says Christ taught would never fit in the mouth of a rabbi, such as Jesus, in first-century Judea. For a historically-based tradition—like Christianity, and as you say, Buddhism—there’s a huge stake in the claim that what it teaches goes back to a specific revelation, person, or event, and there is a strong tendency to deny the reality of constant innovation, choice, and change. “

This is wholly out of place and demonstrates what I often say about these types of people claimiing authority on Buddhism, it’s history and Sangha.  They don’t understand how it’s praticed and often delude themselves with ideas of they know what is Buddhist and what is not. You cannot take a western model based on Christianity and view an Eastern religion like Buddhism.  You must view with Buddhist eyes, a Buddhist heart, and Buddhist practice and study. This way of approaching Buddhism from a western Christian influenced academic approach is very poorly done.
Ven. Hong Yang

“The Buddhist canons as they exist today are the products of historical contingencies. They resound with the many voices that have shaped them through time. But orthodoxy requires the opposite, a wall you can’t put your fist through: singular, unchanging, findable truth. Buddhism’s textual root wasn’t singular, and it wasn’t unchanging. As it turns out, it wasn’t so findable, either.

The Buddhist Tripitakas are culminations of practice, translations, study and unending gathering of sutras/suttas by monastic Sangha who travelled, studied and preserved to the best of their ability what they found, studied, and worked on in translations.  There is no orthodoxy, no one group oversaw this process and pronounced it as correct but some of recorded history survived that scholars have access to wrote down that some councils that were occuring in one or a few countries.  This idea of orthodoxy is not the norm, most of what we have today is the result of concentrated self-sacrificing individuals who tried their best to produce good translations and seek out sutras/suttas stored in other coutries, temples, monasteries, collected by the curious and merchants, etc.

Ven. Hong Yang

“That’s the further step that we’re taking, to dispense with the idea of the original because that is a kind of pipe dream or figment of the imagination,” says Paul Harrison, a professor of religious studies at Stanford University and a member of the editorial board for the Schøyen Collection (another recently discovered collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts). Harrison is also a translator. As such, he gives us a hands-on report of how texts weather the practicalities of translation. To the extent that we are still holding onto that tree model, Harrison is about to pull the last leaves from our hands. Translators used to be guided by the notion, he explains, that if you put enough different versions of a sutra together, kept the overlap, and eliminated all the variance, eventually you could reconstruct the prototype. “According to that model,” he says, “it’ll all narrow to a point. But basically what we are finding is that it doesn’t narrow to a point. The more we know, the more varied and indeterminate it is right at the beginning.” Trying to reconstruct the original version of any early sutra—the one that is unmediated, accurate, and complete— is now generally considered, in principle, futile. Indeed, Harrison asks, “What are you aiming at?” Looking for such an original is ingrained, essentialist thinking, he says.

He points out, “We often say, ‘Tibetan translation, Chinese translation, Sanskrit original. As soon as you say Sanskrit original, you drop back into that sloppy but entirely natural way of thinking, that this is the original so we can throw away the copies. But in fact, that Sanskrit original of whatever sutra is just again another version. So the idea that one of them is the original and all the others are more or less imperfect shadows of it has to be given up. But it is very hard to give it up. It’s almost impossible to give it up.” And the irony is not lost on Harrison, who adds, “This is what the teaching of the Buddha is all about.”

This is a laughable viewpoint, there has never been a predominent language in sutra/sutta translations like the one that tries to ascribe first language as recently offered in the west by westerners.  Translation monasteries in the ancient past were few and far between as they required considerable patronage by king/emperorers and time, and most efforts were done mostly in history as they are now word by word, alone and solitary near or absolute hermit/ess of poor economic means. No glory or reward for their work beyond a lucky few who had Buddhist benefactors.

Ven. Hong Yang

One problem with the traditional model of textual transmission, according to Harrison, is that it doesn’t take into account cross-influences—the very real cases of text conflation when scribes or translators might have (for example, when standardizing) copied features from multiple differing versions, thus producing a new version. He continues: “If everything just proceeds in its own vertical line, and there is no crossways influence, that is fine; you know where you are. But once things start flowing horizontally, you get a real mess. Having something old, of course, is valuable because you are more likely to be closer to an earlier form. But notice I’m careful to say now ‘an earlier form’ and not ‘the earliest form.’ A first-century B.C.E. [Gandhari] manuscript is going to give you a better guide to an earlier form than an 18th-century Sri Lankan copy will. But that’s not an absolute guarantee, just a slightly better one.”

Neither can we draw a solid line around different schools. Harrison reports that looking backward in time, already by the first century C.E. boundaries between the Mahayana and non- Mahayana begin to blur. The Gandhari manuscripts probably reflect content of early monastic libraries, and the texts seem to have been intentionally buried. Mahayana and mainstream Buddhist sutras were recovered together and presumably buried together. Harrison believes that the monks who engaged in Mahayana practices were most likely Vinaya-observing; they likely lived in monasteries side by side practitioners of more mainstream Buddhism.

Pure guesses, there has been nothing known about early Buddhism much beyond guesses.  Records of damanged remenents of a few monasteries that have school names are a little more reliable and are the finding of these Mahayana texts, just the last line is a horrible and vague assumption of a sravaka as defined by current schools of Theravada or western view of Theravada history and practices.  Mahayana has always included all schools in it’s collection of sutras. If a school existed that was sravaka nearly like what is the current practice of Theravada most like then it was not unusual to do so then. Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka is inclusive of all available records of sutras from all schools.

Ven. Hong Yang

“These first-century Mahayana texts in the new collections are already highly developed in terms of narrative complexity and Mahayana doctrine. They couldn’t be the first Mahayana sutras, Harrison says. “The earlier stages of the Mahayana go far back. The Mahayana has longer roots and older roots than we thought before.” (Not roots all the way back to the Buddha, though—Harrison agrees with the general scholarly consensus that the Mahayana developed after the Buddha.) Nonetheless, he says, “Probably lying behind these Mahayana texts there are others with much stronger mainstream coloration, where it is not so easy to tell whether it’s Mahayana or Shravakayana.” [Shravakayana means literally ‘the way of the hearers’; those who follow the path with arahantship as its goal.]

Sravaka is a very general term and occurs in Mahayana sutras very often. It’s onlly new to Western scholars and those with curisory knowledge of the richness of variations and commonalitys of all the schools teachings.

Ven. Hong Yang

“During this period of early Buddhism there were many different strands of practice and trends of thought that were not yet linked. “We could have the Perfection of Wisdom strand and a Pure Land strand and a worship of the Buddha strand, and all sorts of things going on,” Harrison remarks. Only later did these threads coalesce into what we now consider “the Mahayana.”

There was no delination into early schools only to teachers who attracted students enough to be able to afford to be in one place and devleop a community.   That is really how it has always been in monastic Sangha commuities.  It’s a fluid situation for many monastics are enroute to seeking a specific teacher they heard about to study a sutra/sutta or a practice that they wish to learn.  This is still how it actually occurs.  All the views for Westerners have been based upon repeated later accounts of schools by the schools themselves after they had reach prominence or in some cases dominance in their geographic area or political situation.  Much later have some of these schools merged into and continues to grow in practice and development of new schools and offshoots as it’s always been. Finally gaining the attention of the Western scholar.

Ven. Hong Yang,2

Reply by bhikshunion May 27, 2011, 11:34 pm

The article is interesting.  However, from a translator’s view and a monastic Sangha member myself, a bhikshuni. I would like to offer another opinion.  Don’t use the models to understand the development of the Tripitakas; there are already many versions out there now.  That’s the way it was and it in Sangha history. Think of what you already discussed.  History provides ideas of what we found out that many schools existed starting with Buddha’s inner circle of disciples who had already started teaching forming schools when Buddha was alive.  Buddha mentions this many times in the sutras giving guidelines of dharma teaching and advice on how one is to view dharma.  Upon his death, many disiciples had their schools already and their students had schools actively as well; then some succeeded, failed, merged; and new ones became popular.

What we have now written down is not the same as the Buddha taught, we know that it’s just various popular schools who have set up standards where there were none and some Sangha Councils voted on it, but not all of them…we know that from many scholarly reports already.  Yet only among Sangha we have very few of us who pull it out of our bags to pronounce it as true, really the only version of correct eact words of the Buddha.  Very, very few do this. Because we have been taught in the Vinaya how to appraoch dharma and Dharma teachings of the Buddha.  The article misreports how Sangha deal with this; it’s usually western people who fight over who is right, and some very devout laity in all the traditions do infact do the same.

Vinaya Sangha are respectful of other traditions and are taught to study as much as they can all the schools that they have access to, they do not promote division among Sanghans (monastic) by touting on as superior over another, those that do this are unsual and maybe using it for platform for personal reasons.

Western articles that I’ve read over the years here and elsewhere with comments claiming secularism in tradtional views as negatives, tradtion, superstition, etc; are not fully understanding or embraced all the Buddhist culture and teachings.  Having different versions or partial versions of the Tripitaka does not make the ones we have at the present time wrong nor invalidates them in any way. In all cases, we know that oral tradition which is accessible to residing monastic Sangha is not available to laity or even to scholars, this oral tradition hasn’t died out, it’s protected by ourselves, we also preserve in our various languages and schools has been handed down very well from our honored monastic elders to us monastics now, that’s our privaledge as monastic Sangha to have received and pass along in the next generations.

Gandhari scroll fragments 1st c. BCE Mahayana earliest written sutras/suttas
Posted in Uncategorized

Buddhism as practiced in the west – needs a saint first!

What will it take to establish a truly Western dharma?

It Takes  A Saint comments of the Tai Situ were debated rudely and fiercly by western ppl that claim Buddhism without merit of a Sangha, monastic Sanghas, or even full on Buddhist practice.

After reading this lengthy discussion, I decided to join in an express my support for the Tai Situ’s reponse. I’m from Iowa born and raised there with totally midwestern outlook.   What direction Buddhism takes is not determined by the laity, it is determined by the Sangha. What people in the West no matter their cultural background or language as Buddhist scholars/academics/intellectuals/dabblers/fans versus the real backbone of Buddhism the laity (these ppl having taken 3 refuges and 5 precepts from monastic Sangha, joined an area temple as a regular practitioner and made friends there knowing a sense of community there and outside the temple). Those unfamiliar with monastic Sangha, temples, or met ethnic Buddhists and just lay claims to Buddhism or a fraction of it have to understand that the Sangha practices do not change to accord with the country they are residing in, what changes is the flavor of Buddhism. And perhaps what will not happen here in the USA at least for now is the average joe’s/jane’s understanding or abilty to undertake or willingness to explore Buddhism from a Buddhist laity viewpoint is limited to non-existent.  Until we Sangha have the support of the average person not the academic or intellectual we will not begin to stabilize or define our practice of Buddhism in the USA.

Tai Situ is right. Sangha members here in the USA are the pioneers and consider the USA and the Americas the edge of Dharma borders (temples and monasteries are the monastic borders for dharma practice and study thus are havens for Buddhists worldwide) or borderlands much like the wild west was with the same terms of being lawless (without dharma, morality, ethics), the trailblazers for the future generations that will come after us. We are the sand, water, and clay to form the bricks and mortor.  In fact, Buddhism has only been here for less than 200 years and came with the Chinese and YES there were monastic Sangha who gave dharma talks, conducted services in the early temples. It has not had time to stabilize yet in the USA or the rest of the Americas. We are patient, it’s on ‘monastic time’ which views this happening as generations of people existing, practicing, and supporting Buddhism.

Posted in Uncategorized

vita of Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian bishop and saint, whose claim to honour was… his extreme charity

Defei Wu 巫德霏

‎:>  Very interesting.  It’s a blessed awkwardness to be a holy fool; we all get to do that dance now and then.  Apropos of the post, I recall the vita of Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian bishop and saint, whose claim to honour was… his extreme charity.  A paraphrasis, if my memory serves and if I may be bold enough:  While parading with his students in the street one day, the sage was approached by a beggar.  Clement gave him a sack of silver and blessed him.  A few minutes later a beggar approached him and was given a sack of silver.  The young priest recognized that it was the same beggar who had been seen some time back.  “Master, that man cheated you.  He already came forward to beg sometime back.”  Clement replied, “Yes, I know,” and they walked on.  Again, the same beggar came forward.  When the young priest objected and rose up to send him away, Clement held the student back.  He gave the beggar a fine purse of gold.  The student inquired: “Master, why did you give the man such treasure when you knew he was cheating you?”  Clement replied that, “Even he may be Christ here to test me, to give me the opportunity to give more fully, thus to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Almost none of us can be like this Christian sage, and to be that foolish for the holy is a very hard path sometimes.  Certainly there is a kind way to say “no,” which may sometimes be the best gift to give.  But just like we know we should try to be less consequential in our giving and volunteering, we can forgive others their own lapses into passion…  Even priests, pastors, monks, and nuns put their foot in it.  :>  All shall be well.
Defei Wu 巫德霏

Please do use the example, by all means; I’m pretty sure the parable went thus, but you might look up Clement of Alexandria’s vita to double check.  Granted: you have a real point about the need for religious to be ethically clear on this, …especially in regards to people in crisis.  But personally, I’m still not sure about my own stance, which is why Clement’s parable comes back to me whenever someone begs for money or help.  Do we give absolutely, even dangerously?  Do we make logistical judgments about how and who to give to?  Do we nuance giving as including the need to give “no”?  There are holy ways, I challenge, to walk all these paths, which is why I don’t think we can easily “correct ourselves” on this.  Clement was a saint because he was called to radical charity in Christ.  But I’ve heard principled clergy, of various religions, council prudence to not enable bad behaviour as well as protect ourselves.  My point is that we are all fools in this and can only muddle forward from situation to situation.  It’s a big issue which deserves interfaith and intrafaith discussion.  And yes, always trying to avoid fault seeking and lust for argument, but also forgiving when others and ourselves fall to passion.
Posted in On the Path, Precepts Holders

nonBuddhist receiving our help – advice for Buddhists

Helping people when we are asked means we help them with our real world skills and meet them on their own level with out compromising our own moral and ethical values and our sheerly powerful common sense, keeping our precepts, keeping our own skills not lowering ourselves or copying their behavior or supporting immoral acts.

If a nonBuddhists ask for help and you as a Buddhist can help, then do it. What ever skills you have but do not preach Buddhism while you do it for it won’t be heard with a willing heart.  In fact, it’s cooercive if you do that and Buddha has forbidden coercion.

Your practice should be strong enough to support yourself, that is fine! Just don’t try to change another in the way your trying to change yourself, it never works well for the person trying to be converted.

It’s ok to work with their belief system if you know it really well, but if you don’t just don’t pretend to gain their trust by presenting yourself as knowledgable.  Work with where you are right now is perfectly fine, not where you will be in a few lifetimes from now!

Study widely Buddhist teachings on charity, generousity, dana, and rendering assistance to learn how to behave properly. In the end it’s what your nature really is that counts to the one receiving your help, even better if they move on without realizing you helped them thus not feeding your ego.

Mahayana Sutras in English:

Buddha Speaks the Sutra about Karma

The Lotus Sutra

Ksitigarbha Sutra

Samyutta Nikya

Dana the Practice of Giving (

Handbook for the Relief of Suffering (

The Skill of Release (

Posted in Uncategorized

Teaching the Paster who Regrets It

Dear Pastor

You invited peer comments when you put the email into mass email system and  everyone saw it, that’s why my reply was also mass emailed by the MINISTERS ASSOC Secretary too, for I have no mass email access to MINISTERS ASSOC or the interest or time to acquire one.  I send reply directly to MINSITERS ASSOC Secretary who decided to mass email to the rest of us.  I’m sorry your emails were brief and not clear about details. You published a woman’s complete home address not involved in the matter other than  to receive a call from that kid using your cell phone after he called her.  How safe is she now you send a mass email exposing her privacy? That’s upsetting all by itself.

When all you had to do is to report to the police and send a little vague notice to the churches in your area.  Instead you emailed us. And you did it over 2 months with 2 emails reporting to us each incident.

My personal giving habits may help you to understand yourself a little better.  When I give to people in need  I do so without regret nor would I ever take revenge on them later when they would come for help.  You should not regret giving money away, nor care about it’s use by people in need, that’s entirely their right to decide, lying is their karma, not for you to sit in judgement or monitor how they use your money.

It’s not possible to open that young man’s heart now becuase you banned him from your church and you made it publically known what he was like to you and possibly risked his very safety by doing so; when he had an opportunity to reform himself.  You could have asked they guy to work off the money you gave him at least soft sell volunteering around your church admiring his energy and working up his confidence in you.  That would have given him a chance to learn something more and reform himself by being in a holy place like a church and
join in helpful activities.  You actions as you wrote them in 2 other emails are questionable and you published them for all of us to see.  So now you have gotten my feedback, that’s all it is.

Maybe it will benefit you to learn how I give: I give 1/3  to 1/2 of my own home food budget to the needy and feed 5 families with it; it means I hardly eat fresh because it’s expensive. But I still do give with a happy heart.  I gave half my kitcheware to 3 different needy families that I was using to homeless just getting apartments, my bed (I sleep on the floor) and bedding, anything they would need I try to find from my home, my family or on freecycle through a yahoo group. I’m barely making it myself but I am happy to help. I use my cast iron skillet and one pot most of the time anyway.

I actually wrote ‘tightwad’ to refer to the type of trendism in ministers or clergy who do not want to help people in need personally, I’ve witnessed countless efforts by those fundraising to save a family or two from the streets get absolutely nothing but stares from paid clergy/priests? when most all of you ministers are working for salaries. We have many charitable people here in town many caring pastors and priests in our churches, many private citizens who are
also hosting needy and meeting places are supplying homeless families with temporary shelters in their basements or meeting halls and they have to move from church to church periodically due to high demand since our one homeless shelter was torn down by the city.  It’s a lot of work for them to do this! But they do becuase the city is not doing anything.

Here is what I wrote:

You lost two good souls at once by taking revenge on and banning that boy and his grandfather who no longer have trust in Christians, you, nor do they think Church or pasters are good people and you disturbed the minds of your peers, I am so sorry for you Pastor Johnson you lack empathy and compassion for the poorest people we have in this state, such bad karma. So shameful!

Unfortunely I’ve seen a lot of this same type of tightwads among you ministers who are salaried but never have I heard of one regretting his charity and then taking revenge on the needy like that! Absolutely disgusting!

I’m not salaried, my Vows prohibit receiving a wage.  I admire the power being paid has for helping people becuase I feel I could be doing so much more if I had a salary too and I would but I can’t and that’s my reality.  But also try my best to help people I hosted needy children and later their families who have no homes periodically and feel honored to do so. My connection came through high school kids needing a home and my daughter who was in high school paying attention trying to find homes and couches for these kids.  Unfortunately right
now I have no space to house them.

You cannot be clergy comfortably with out being judged it’s just too public of a profession! Please, I know so I’m been a nun for 10 years already. And besides, you sat in judgment on the young homeless man on the first moment you regretted giving him your $50 and wrote it in an email!  So how can you not expect others to have an opinion over your public actions in emails.  I’m a peer who received these unwelcome emails.

My reccomendations are this:

I think you really need to reflect on your behavior as a pastor in that situation or future ones, I do think you have responsibility to yourself to do so. Talk to your superiors for help.  You can also refrain from mass emails so you don’t fear from cricism for not everyone shares your values or acts the way you did.

Some of your information is interesting but just learning about your church from your recent email is ok but not the point. Another idea for you to try to avoid distress:  Perhaps you can find volunteers to screen homeless people or people in need of food for you so you can limit your contact with these people you find distressing to you.  Unfortunately the econmics not
improving in our central iowa means more of the same type of people need help and need it quick.  Pool your resources with other churches so you avoid repeating programs or charitable services.

You owe yourself something better that creates a better feeling for you in your future interactions with needy people whether you perceive them as tricksters or not.  You unfortunately  made this public, and the result is further upset to yourself.  I’m sorry you did it.  Homeless people are used to being rejected forcefully like you did for the very same reasons, so they won’t trust you either.

Feeling like you can’t trust anybody from one encounter over you’re feeling tricked over $50 which is such small sum to set a life course or a mindset.  That lack of trust you feel needs to be addressed properly, get some help or seek out other peer advice so that in the future you won’t have to face giving your personal money away then regretting it.  Perhaps you can help others in personal ways that would make you feel better like volunteering time or teaching, that would not cost you more than time.

Go with your strenghts and accept this type of situation you reported with the young man and later with his grandad upsets you and avoid it until you take some classes or retreats on skillbuiling or  how to work with homeless persons and meet their needs.  In fact, there are already ministers in the area that offer similar programs perhaps some will speak up here to help you if you like them too. Or as as wrote above pool your resources with your local church
neighbors or charities.

I hope some of my suggestions are helpful to you, I encourage you to reach out for help.  I’m adding you to my prayers, and I am hoping for your peace and well-being to return quickly.

I consider this matter closed and will not respond to any further emails. I am
entitled to respond with opinions and advice and did so, that’s the end of this
mass email issue of a private matter between a needy young man and regretful
pastor.  The rest is up to the minister to seek training or further support in
improving his church charitible policies if he or they feel the need, that’s
their issue fron now on.

Palms Together

Ven. Hong Yang Bhikshuni

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Subject: Re: A reply to letter

Date: Fri,
13 May 2011 15:21:52 -0500

To: ME

REVs Cell Phone
I am offended by your harsh judgment about me. It was very clear this young
man was lying! On the first visit he claimed his mother lives in Montana and
pretended to call her there. On the second visit, when I asked him where his
mother lived he said she lived in Des Moines. That’s what I had already found
out when I had checked the phone number he dialed. On this second encounter he
vehemently denied that he had been in church on April 10 and insisted that I had
never given him any money. For you to suggest that there is no evidence that he
is lying is absurd.
My problem with this kind of thing is that it will make me more reluctant
to help someone who is in need in the future. Since you characterize me as a
“tightwad,” a judgement you have no basis to make, you need to know that I have
given away more than $2,000 of my own money to people in need in the last
You also criticize churches for spending money on themselves. You need to
know that our congregation is very generous in supporting many organizations
that help the needy both with money included in our annual budget and special
offerings as well as countless volunteer hours on the part of our members.
Whenever we spend money on our building for capital improvements we raise an
additional amount equal to 25% of our project and give it away to special
causes. That is in addition to our regular giving beyond our building. A couple
years ago we gave away an extra $88,500 to meet special needs over and above our
regular giving to such causes.
We do not serve this young man or help his soul by enabling him to continue
to get money from churches or pastors by lying.
Please apologize for your harsh and unwarranted judgment of me.
Grace and Peace!
On May 13, 2011, at 12:08 PM, MINISTERs ASSOC Secretary wrote:

See below:


———- Forwarded message ——–>–
From: Ven. Hong Yang Shi
Thu, May 12, 2011 at 9:25 PM
Subject: RE: Warning about a young man looking
for money.
Dear all Salaried Clergy in Central Iowa:I am appalled at this story but not for the same reasons as the pastor. How shameful for a clergyman to regret giving to someone in need.  It is not clear if the young man was lying or not. His home is probably in MT for work is plenty out there, I know many
young people work over that way for buidling crews are very busy in these past 6 months.  So it’s plausible, so what he lives in a homeless shelter and so what if he called somebody in Des Moines. That’s no proof he is lying.And whats worse he probably came back knowing that he could trust that church and pastor to help when they are asked to and better he brought his granpa.  What horrible things they must think of that paster and that church! How uncharitable!Churches used to be refuge places, often they gave small
money helps like for gas for a car, or rental assistence but sadly that’s long gone with their budgets mainly salaries, benefits, and for fancy buildings, expanding spaces buying up and tearing down, remodling for vanity and prestige, shameful!You lost two good souls at once by taking revenge on and banning that boy and his grandfather who no longer have trust in hristians,
you, nor do they think Church or pasters are good people and you disturbed the minds of your peers, I am so sorry for you Pastor REGRETs It  you lack empathy and compassion for the poorest people we have in this state, such bad karma. So
shameful!Unfortunely I’ve seen a lot of this same type of tightwads among you ministers who are salaried but never have I heard of one regretting his charity and then taking revenge on the needy like that!  Absolutely disgusting!

Palms Together

Ven. Hong Yang Bhikshuni

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Sangha terms part 4 – FACEBOOK Ayya Tathaaloka’s information on Bhaddha and Amma

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni
In one of the precepts i’ve been writing about recently, the arahant theri Bhadda Kapilani — one of the foremost woman disciples of the Buddha — addresses her fellow bhikkhunis as “Amma” – in that case meaning “Dear Ones”. I was touched by this and wrote to Ven Thanasanti calling her this :-).

Btw, “Bhadda” is the feminine form of “Bhadanta” or “Bhante”. “Bhadda” is what the Buddha himself called three of the greatest ladies in his Sasana: his former wife Yasodhara was called Bhadda Kaccana, Maha Kassapa Thera’s former wife was called Bhadda Kapilani, and the bhikkhuni Foremost in Speed to Gain Enlightenment was called Bhadda Kundalakesi. “Bhadda” means “fortunate, honored, revered, venerable, auspicious, blessed, beloved.”

In the Bhikkhuni Vinaya of the Pali texts, the bhikkhunis mostly use “Ayya” to address both each other and to address the bhikkhus, so all of our Pali formulas us “Ayya”. 2nd century inscriptions still showed “Ayya So and So Bhikkhu” as well as its use for bhikkhunis. I first encountered “Ayya” in this lifetime with Ayya Khema, whose Dhamma teaching and courage i greatly admire.

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Sangha terms part 3 – more information!

bhavin (p. 203) [ bhâv-in ] a. being, becoming, wont to be (gnly. –°ree;); future, imminent (often= fut. of &root;bhû); inevitable; possessed of (–°ree;); manifesting, showing; –°ree;, furthering, bless ing; worshipping; m. every vowel except &abrevcirc;: -î, f. handsome woman, noble lady.