Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, On the Path

Bowing in Buddhism – why do we?
Good article written by Rev. Heng Sure from the City of 10,000 Buddhas in California. Urbandharma is Buddhist website by Ven. Kusula a bhikshu from IBMC in Los Angeles

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships

Crimes against Nuns recent reports

A nun is gangraped by a bus driver and his busload of men who drag her off the bus to commit the deed.  What were they thinking, a robed nun! Whats wrong with those men! What’s wrong with that society! Nepal is the birth place of the Buddha! where is the justice!

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A 21-year-old Buddhist nun was gangraped by five men inside a bus in eastern Nepal, media reports said Monday.  The victim, a resident of Bhojpur district in eastern Nepal, was travelling by bus when she was attacked by the group, which also included the driver of the bus.,10274,0,0,1,0

CHINATOWN — A Buddhist nun giving out prayer beads on Canal Street to raise  money to rebuild her burned down temple was arrested and detained for several  hours without an interpreter, she told DNAinfo.

Police charged Baojing Li, 48, with  acting as an unlicensed vendor, a misdemeanor. They claim she hawked costume  jewelry at the corner of Canal and Mott Streets on June 2 without a license from  the state Department of Consumer Affairs.

But the religious woman, who wears a traditional Buddhist robe and has a  shaven head, says she was not selling the 50-cent strands of prayer beads, but  handing them out to generous people who dropped donations in her collection  tin.

Read more:

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Theravada culture

Buddhist ‘police’ formed vigalante group

Buddhist groups seek help from vigilantes to disrobe ring members

By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 30, 2011

MALACCA, Malaysia —  Several Buddhist
groups in Kuala Lumpur and Penang have sought the help of the “monk police” here to help eradicate bogus monks in their areas.

budddhist police holding their pamphets

<< Don’t be conned: Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre chairman Seek Kai Lun (centre), Seek Lee Terk (right)
and Seck Kwan Si (left) showing posters that will be displayed in Malacca to
warn the public against bogus monks.

The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre, which set up the “monk police”, is now  preparing to send over a team of five volunteers to carry out surveillance in  both these states.

“We have been receiving calls from other Buddhist organisations in the country to aid them in thwarting the activities of such monks.

“A plan of action is being prepared to disrobe these bogus monks preying on innocent devotees,” centre vice-chairman Ronald Gan Yong Hoe told The Star yesterday.


Gan said the team had been trained to identify and disrobe these bogus monks who would then
be deported back to their native countries.

“We are ready to provide our expertise,” he said, adding that the team would also be reinforced with another unit should the need arise or if there was a setback.

The centre had set up its own 10-man vigilante group on the belief that an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked around in saffron robes in the city here and took advantage of the public’s generosity.

These “monks” would hand out amulets which they claimed have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health on those making donations.

A preliminary investigation conducted by the centre found that the bogus monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.

One bogus monk nabbed by the centre confessed that his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here.

Gan said the centre was also anticipating more calls from Buddhist groups in other states.

“We are in the midst of recruiting more members to join our vigilante group in an all-out war to stop these monks,” he said.

The centre also distributed pamphlets to create awareness among the public to be wary of these monks.,10284,0,0,1,0

Buddhist vigilantes to ‘disrobe’ bogus monks who fleece the public

By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 21, 2011

MALACCA, Malaysia — A Buddhist group here has set up its own vigilante corp to stop those portraying themselves as monks from soliciting money from the public.

vigilante disrobing a monk in public

<<Ticking off: Gan (left) reprimanding a bogus monk and
‘disrobing’ him for soliciting funds at a busy street in Malacca.

The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre (SSPC) said its “monk police” believed an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked in saffron robes through the populated streets of Malacca and preyed on the generosity of the public.

These foreigners hand out amulets which they claim have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health to those who make donations.

SSPC vice-chairman Ronald Gan Ying Hoe said its 10-man vigilante group would go out to stop the syndicate, which is known to have fleeced hundreds of people of their money and personal belongings.

“They use scare tactics to solicit donations, especially at hospitals where they target family members of warded patients,” he told The Star.

“Genuine monks do not wear watches or shoes.

“Indeed, they have no earthly asset of any sort,” said Gan, adding that the centre’s monk police would be spreading public awareness about the scam and also paste posters around the city to warn prospective victims.

“Monks are strictly forbidden to roam the streets, cheating people of their money or solicit donations and are not supposed to sell items like talismans,” he said.

“We are going to disrobe’ these rogues by going to areas that have become popular haunts of these con artists,” he said.

He added that a probe by the centre found that the rogue monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.

“One bogus monk we nabbed recently confessed his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here,” he said.

Gan said in recent months, the centre’s monk police had caught four rogue monks who solicited donations at busy streets and private hospitals in the city.

“In one case, a bogus monk in his late 40s was forced to return to his native country with the help of the authorities,” said Gan.

He added that these conmen could damage the sanctity of the Buddhist faith if drastic steps were not taken to stop them from cheating people.

Gan said he would work closely with the relevant enforcement agencies to stop these bogus monks.,10262,0,0,1,0

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture

What level is your precepts now?

Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Dharma Books, On the Path

News! Dharma material about to be published!

I have just finished proofing my first dharma translation project to make it ready for publication. It’s the re-translation of the Buddhist Liturgy and reformatted with English and hanyu pinyin and later it will be out in digital form. It was unexpectedly long project due to the publisher requirements and will be submitted this week! After speaking with the original translator and editor Ven. Master Lok Tok of the Enlightenment Temple in the Bronx, NY  of this dharma text, I was inspired to keep going on it. Amituofo! May many people benefit from this work!

Posted in Conflicts in Buddhist Life, On the Path, Vinaya

Sexuality talks with monastic Sangha some guidelines

Study in contrasting movemetns

Here are some guidelines about the Sangha of the 2 part bhkshu and bhikshuni who cannot discuss sexuality, sex, sexual confusion, sexual orientation, transgender issues, relationships or act as matchmakers for anyone due to our Vinaya vows we are unable to allow suffering people to discuss personal struggles in this most intimate aspect of a householder’s life.

The UN passed resolutions upholding Gay rights, and that is good! It will spur progress in protections justice, human dignity, and of rights to marriage, inheritance, child rearing and community awareness and acceptance.  We can hold our privates views regarding rights and politics.

However for us the intimate details of householder’s life of sexuality, preferences, and orientation which are popular to discuss on talk shows and among concerned parties is not proper among monastic Sangha nor is it proper to expect us to discuss the matters.  The reason being while we are caring sensitive adults, mature or experienced in our lay life with this topic we cannot with any degree of depth worthy to the suffering needs of some counsel on it.

Tormented people in crisis we are used to helping and coping we can address but not able to listen to relationship issues or a detailed description of biological functions or engage in decisions or recommendations regarding acts of , changing a body part, or psychological or social conflicts possible, we care deeply about people sufferings, but are not matchmakers or sexually active ourselves due to our precepts.

I want to address this issue so the reader is more informed about us and our responses concerning this matter, the Buddhist culture in regards to this topic, and your effect in encounters with us.  People trying to bring up this topic with a monastic Sangha member can get their feelings hurt and feel upset or angry with us by not understanding the effect upon us or the unexpected response usually unfriendly seeming like silence or the monk or nun having to get up and walk away without comments; but from our perspective we have to protect our reputation and our exposure to people wanting to discuss sex or sexuality or relationship issues with us.

Sangha in the real monastic sense are celibate (no sex) in mind or actions. Our Vinaya vows have guided us since Buddha set them forth, the most serious ones are called parajikas or defeat rules.  No sex is a parajika rule.

This means if a parajika rule is broken at the moment of the act, confessed to in a pratimoksa one is expelled immediately without benefit of being a sangha member or the right to wear robes or conduct services. Buddha set forth strict rules to determine if an rule is considered broken and it varies on levels according to the temple rules set forth by common unified decisions of the monastics themselves.

Who is confessed to is the discipline master in charge not laity or members of the public or media.  This matter is entirely among the offender between bhikshu or bhikshuni Sangha and not open to public discussion or viewing. It is a private matter.

In light of this privacy and the rules set forth in the Vinaya.  It is absolutely ridiculous to insist we have a view on sexuality, transgenderism, sexual orientation just so you get to side with a monastic or with a Buddhist community with one over another!

In Buddhism the rules for the monastic Sangha are the Vinaya part of the Tripitaka, it does not allow us address these concerns of lay people. You should remember that it is not a dharma matter for us appropriate to discuss. Seek a good support group outside the Sangha and monasteries for this is a householder matter not suitable for Sangha to engage in discussion or mediation.

Sexuality is important enough of an issue that you get to decide for yourself and you reap the rewards and consequences both good and bad according to your reactions to it and because of it.

GLBT members demanding separate groups of like-minded Sangha communities are so ridiculous it’s beyond comprehension as to why you constantly need to separate yourselves over sex and orientation when all you need to do is focus on Nirvana!

None these groups concerned with such intimate part of householder life should be in a temple, a dharma center or a monastery with the purpose of setting themselves separately from the rest of the community nor should they discuss sexual matters on any part of the sangha land or properties.

The path to Nirvana is not sex.

Sangha if you had struggles with this in the past and it’s cropping up while you are a monk or nun, seek professional help, do not bring your issues into the temples or communities to force them to deal with it. It is a parajika for us to engage in sex and you know it.  If you are a Sangha monk or nun and can’t its better to disrobe for awhile to assess your future in the Sangha at all then rejoin us.

Sexuality is so personal of a nature that you need to figure it out for yourselves as grownups. If you are kids then you need your parents help, then carefully choose your friends so you are supported by them.

If your family member is suffering or yourself from this conflict then professional help along with a good solid support group is what you need to look into, some people seem to have to slog it out on their own but really with what our society does have in terms of resources they can be happily supported.

We care about you deeply and this is only a guideline.  If you feel the absolute need to talk find the same gender Sangha who is capable, but please note that not everyone is and not everyone is willing to deal with this very sensitive topic. If the Sangha member is silent, closed off, says it’s not appropriate, or walks away then accept that it’s only because of our strict Vinaya rules concerning sexuality.

Amituofo, take care and be well.

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Conflicts in Buddhist Life

Experiences of ‘Other’ the desperate finding meaning through the wrong use of drugs, or other harmful means

There was a substrand of query in Secular Buddhism on Sugato’s blog so I sent this reply.

Here is a few links to DMT but I wondered if it has anything to do with secular buddhism? Is altered states with drugs a method it proposes? or was it a pattern or a part of their lifestyle?

It is highly dubious that this would be useful to Buddhists at all; and might only interest those who do spend the time learning with a guru or as a part of their traditions’ practice and need to visualize devas and buddhas for their practice-not meaning that they want to pursue it but rather the chemical studies indicate that this is a physical effected type of perception so that means they might be inducing the same state after some time and affecting their body chemistry; the altered states in this way require no guru, no skills, and no need to be a Buddhist it is just a drug that is smoked, injected, and eaten. Within 45 secs this one goes right to the brain…shocking isn’t it?

I do not approve of this type of artificial means to altered states and it is not a part of Buddhist practices, growing up in the 60s I saw my fair share of adults and teens (not my parents who were ok with their buds on the weekends) tripping and their minds were then and are even now when their clean long after as they age, addicted.  Their habits, their life focus is spent trying to fight that memory and experience of addiction.  It’s hard for them and their families.

I’ve seen adults coming in loaded by that I mean high and/or drunk to join a service in a temple, join meditation classes having heard to their talk and expressed anticipation for the expected ‘trip’ (hey some don’t hide that fact and tell anyone or in one case one pulled out his loaded med box and grabbed handfuls in glee, giggling…his family was called and they put him in the hospital again…he was an adult).

DMT a slew of studies happened on this drug that is now a schedule 1 class drug in the USA. Derived from a plant in South America, there have been studies done on near death experiences and drug induced altered states.  See this wiki article for along chemical analysis and pharmacology and the latter half has the information about the research efforts and the various studies of it.

A review in the American Journal of Psychiatry:

DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research Into the Biology
of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences

By Rick Strassman, M.D. Rochester, Vt., Park Street Press, 2001, 358 pp.,
$16.95 (paper).

 Just a word about encounters with people in temples, nearly all the people attracted to coming to temples need to be there for various reasons, we can’t know what; the most difficult times for those who encounter people there is when the hurting ones come in they are in the greatest need of peace, a temple is a safe place for all levels of people to be in to study Buddhism.  For this reason we tolerate almost any type of suffering person, as long as they are not hurting someone, not committing a crime or involved in some kind of mental or medical crisis they are welcome.  This means its a quite a degree of latitude of allowable behavior that many are not used to seeing; we feel that by allowing them to remain they receive some benefit, a measure of safety and comfort.
That is why in my earlier post I recommended the Mental Health First Aid.  There is a stigma many people have about mental health, the name for one, the other is fear of that perceived stigma in their own minds.  This fear spans all cultures and countries.  They also fear the label, becoming mentally ill, misperceiving the difference between crisis coping and a long-term challenge of the mental kind or developmental or sociological kind.  Not enough study in Buddhism is usually the problem in perceiving their own state of being, or obstacles within their own state of being.  The reasonable answer is widespread diligent study of Buddhist sutras/suttas plus the commentaries of various traditions masters that are legitimately monks and nuns.