Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships, Translation Resources, Vinaya

Build Iowa’s First Nunnery

 

Build the first Iowa Buddhist nunnery

Build the first Iowa Buddhist nunnery. The need to train in English is what has been missing for 160 years of Buddhist history in the United States.  This place will meet the needs of residents of this state interested in Buddhist study. The nunnery monastics will provide traditional services, cultural, educational, and practical training for those interested in Buddhism.

To understand Buddhism in the USA you need Sangha that speak English.  To train you need to be able to ask detailed or receive detailed instructions in order to progress or you are the perpetual visitor with no real depth.  You are limited by language or can’t access masters of higher levels to grow.  Even you may never know who the Elders are that are talented, capable dharma masters famous in their temples for being teachers but they live in obscurity to most in the USA.  Personal contact with robed Sangha is lacking for most interested in Buddhism and greatly needed.  Temples in the East coast or West coast have some limited English programs but all are ethnic funded and full training is better in their own language, clearer, higher level of instructions and attainments by laity is very possible but not if you don’t know their language.  This is a significant obstacle to your practice in Buddhism.

The first Bhikshuni fully trained and ordained has arrived in Iowa.  This is a good first step for Iowa.  Ven. Hong Yang is an Iowan and a woman fully ordained in the Dharmagupta lineage of the Bhikshuni Sangha in Taiwan.

A cool history this Iowan.  She was tonsured at Xi Fang Temple, Brookyn, NY. She left home resolved on 9/11/2001.  She decided to stay in XFT helping in NYC, many needed to recover their spirits.  She working with and trained as a sramaneri alongside the other temple’s masters.  She is a 11 year English-Chinese translator of the Taishio Tripitaka which is in Chinese. She has published 5 books, 3 volumes translating the standardized daily recitations in the Chinese Buddhist temples into English and one rare translation of the Bao Hua Mountain monk Ven. JiXian De Qing.  The translation project will continue in the nunnery.  She and others will offer training to those interested in becoming translators.  Also she is in charge of a historical documentary film  of Buddhism in the USA is currently underway digitizing material from actual Buddhist monks and nuns who reside in the USA as they offer it documenting what has never been documented called “Sangha Walks”.  See more about this on www.sanghawalks.org

Iowans are savvy to Buddhist trends but lack access to reliable dharma masters in traditional Buddhism.  Due to the increased awareness of Buddhism and most often one of its famous methods is meditation a decision has been made to create a stable place right here to learn about Buddhism. We need a stable place so many dharma teachers can come and teach about Buddhism.  A variety of masters offering training in different schools will improve access to higher level reputable traditional teachers.  The teachers invited to come here are from the Vinaya Sangha; they must hold full precepts and be properly trained.  In order to attract them to our place, it needs to be set up first properly.  If prayers alone can motivate the Dalai Lama to come to Iowa like he did last year then it’s quite the timely to fulfill his instructions to us residing monks and nuns to become leaders of Buddhism in Iowa.  A broad base and open respectful minds will be the cornerstone of the visiting public to this new nunnery.

Iowans are proud of their history.  The historical significance to note here is of being the first nunnery that is Buddhist, second to that is the protected training environment for women and thirdly that English be the primary spoken and service language.  So that the members of the public that asks for, learns well, practices and brings back benefits to their community by enjoying traditional services, counseling, mental health services, meditation, classes, cultural events art and cultural events.

Iowans are by their very nature generous and curious.  Donate if you want to make your historical mark right now!  Be proud to be sponsor and make  your mark in Iowa history and add to Buddhist US history in our Sangha Walks project that will also flourish in a permanent collection online and media.  Care about yourself enough to create merit and virtue, benefit all aspects of your life and reduce the karmic cause and effect of negative seeds sprouting in their due time when you contribute selflessly.

What We Need & What You Get

We are open to a house, or commercial building or land purchase.  We recognize it requires more money for remodel or building on the space.  We wish to keep it minimal but safe.  Green but efficient use of space, growing fruits and vegetables, but technology embraced in media.  We are wishing to create a healthy and secure environment for you and your family to enjoy your studies and classes at our nunnery:

We need at least $40,000 total funding.  We at least need a down payment of $3000 plus 6 months operating expenses of $18,000.  We may need remodeling funds including the purchase of new appliances or major repairs up to $20,000.  Basic utilities run about $200 a month, food needs around $300 per month.   Core living costs are covered also we need liability insurance of $5,000 to cover public events to meet legal requirements and codes.

The rewards for Indiegogo:  There are very traditional Buddhist rewards offered.  The malas and the Jade were brought from Taiwan from very traditional Buddhist family store.   Most temples sell them for basic food or medicine needs. The ones offered here are the personal purchase made by Ven. Hong Yang during her training and ordination.  This means the good karma of her training and ordination has a ripple effect that is passed on in good intentions to anyone who buys or donates or receives on of these!  See the rewards for details.

All funds raised in excess of this project if not needed must be dispersed as the Vinaya guides us. The basic 4 requisites of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine are all that Buddhist monks and nuns require.  Woman have the hardest time in Buddhism to receive even the 4 requisites after they become nuns so this funding source is also greatly needed and appreciated so priority will go to this group out of compassion for the need is great. May your good karma of your generous act increase and grow 10-fold throughout your life and those of your family’s.

The Impact in Iowa and the Mid-West

Stability is made when a place to practice is also available that is basic in comfort and accessible to all who study Buddhism from traditional teachers known as the Sangha, the robed ones.  Mind training is an individual effort but training is offered in a group setting that also can give one the advantage of feeling and being emotionally and socially supported.

Build Iowa’s First Nunnery

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Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, Dharma Talks, On the Path

Buddhism and mental Health

Buddhism is not meant for mental health applications. There are simply not enough numbers throughout it’s history of over 2,555 years to warrant any claims that it does.

What gets focused on recently is that fact that benefits of Buddhist practice if one is totally embracing all that they can of Buddhist life and culture can be seen as benefiting those with mental health problems.

Buddhism is for well people.

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chan - authentic Masters words, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Translation Resources

Indiegogo Build Iowa’s First Buddhist Nunnery

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Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chinese culture

Dharma Teaching in the West – dying and loss

Teaching dharma in the West needs to be redefined. It is seen clearly that the Buddha had different ways to approach teaching others to learn to stop their suffering themselves.

The mustard seed story

A very sad story about a mother’s grief over her dead child. She was so distraught she would carry the child’s dead body around and beg anyone she thought that could help her resurrect her child to do so. Town people where so upset and probably so tired of seeing her with her dead child around town that it caused her further problems.

She still grieved and did not accept her child’s death.

I have seen people make their dead child’s bedrooms into shrines, even those mothers who could not even accept their children growing up. They wast their lives grieving while the child grows and marries and has their own family! If a child is lost the grief is always there, but it lessens in time.

The Buddha was approached by the frantic woman and offered her a chance to learn for herself what the impact of death has on everyone. He said he would help her if she would collect a mustard seed from anyone who did not experience death in their family. So off she went knocking on doors, and then found the truth.

Was she cured? I do hope so. The lesson Buddha wanted her to learn is that death comes to everyone, it is best to sympathize with others therefore practicing compassion than to wallow in grief so disastrously great that it becomes your life focus.

I am blunt with friends and family who grieve too much. It’s because I’ve seen so much mental imbalance when that grief is held on so tightly that one cannot function in normal society anymore. I tell them outright, do you want to choose to grieve so much that your mind becomes imbalanced and mentally ill? Or do you want to be compassionate and care about more people who may need your help in their grieve time.

I relate my own story with loss, my recent one was dad. It’s always bad when you lose a parent, and then when you lose the remaining parent. That grief I have yet to experience.

Well how to prepare people to accept death and release from the loss they deeply experience? You give it time. You listen as often as they wish to connect with you and encourage them each time to look forward to their days and not live in the memories of the past.