Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, Dharma Talks, Precepts Holders

Answering questions in Messenger: A Modern Sangha Western Chinese Bhikshuni

Buddhist Laity: Can you tell me why chanting is good to do?

Master: It helps you to balance your emotions. Then you can correct your thinking.

Buddhist Laity: Yes, I felt really calm with chanting today. So why do we dedicate the merit?

Master: So we keep our perspective and open opportunity for real assistance when needed.

We (You) give the assistance. Btw in those dedications in Chinese there is no “we”; it’s in command form implied “I”. Western translations that use “we or ours” are misinterpreting the original intent. It’s from the Christian perspective to use “we”; a common style in Christian liturgy.

Buddhist Laity: I’ve always dedicated merit but never asked why. Weird eh?
Master: Hardly anyone asks and very few have an answer for that question.
The whole service in temples is in command form “I” implied in non-English languages like Sanskrit, Pali, and Chinese. In English bits and pieces use plural and distorts the meaning.

Buddhist Laity: That’s interesting.

Master: Yep, that’s from my experience as translator.

Buddhist Laity: So it is an individual accountability rather than the collective?

Master: No. It’s individual practice with a group. Self-growth is most important focus and not accountability to a group or a leader. Group is for mutual support. So you don’t feel alone.

Some laity get their 5 precept robes in a knot when you can’t keep up or you are late but really that’s their issue not yours.

Chanting the sutras in the services links us to the ancient practice of “chanting sutras” that Sangha has done since Buddha passed. Sangha (meaning Bhikshuni, Bhikshu) still chant sutras.

Buddhist Laity: Thank you very much. I need to write this in a notebook. I think I need to start reviewing.

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Posted in Buddhist Culture, Dharma Talks, On the Path, Sangha Relationships

Sangha Write & Speak with Certainty

If Sangha write or speak like they don’t have a perspective then how are they to show they have an understanding of Buddha dharma?

I write and speak definitely with a very clear view because I know if I do not then present generations will not be heard in the future as well.

If we all parrot famous masters then we all will not pass on the great teachings of Buddha as we live them, as they are taught in sutras and by the great masters who lived, live, and to come.

I’ve translated enough commentaries to know the style sutras are written is perceived by Western elites as complex, poetic, commanding, authoritative with some references given by famous great masters in the past who were ancient or contemporaries of theirs.

We are the the masters of our time, we must write or speak Dharma with certainty.

Academics limit content, paraphrase, interject their non-Buddhist ideologies and biases into their translations, commentaries and teachings in Buddhism.  Yet they do not practice it, nor believe in any part of it.  So how does this make them the best source for your Buddhist study?  How does a profession based on guesswork (hypothesis are guesses), obscurification of:  history, facts, and sources be at all a reputable source?

Sangha have struggled to achieve their education in Western based institutions facing this reality of extreme prejudice in what academics consider Buddha dharma and what is actually Buddha dharma.  Academics will censure Sangha to preserve their personal views Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Sangha have to concede the truth in order to receive their university education, even in Buddhist studies: of the content in the Tripitaka, the actual methods of Buddhist practices, even our traditions are not given respect.

I’ve been told educators in Religious Studies, Psychology, nonpracticing Buddhist scholars that it is OK for them to take and profit from Buddha Dharma including my translations to make themselves money or give themselves authority or fame so they get more money.   Academia repression should be cut out of our minds when we write or speak for they do not know the life we live or legacy we carry as Sangha, they do not believe or practices the virtues or precepts of Sangha.  Apologetic styles, historical-critical contrasts, debates, etc are not to shape our voices as Samgha.  We must speak, write and act in certainty when we teach from the Tripitaka, that will continue our legacy as Buddha’s descendant masters.

Most of Academia does not follow present or the vast centuries of Sangha scholars (bhikshu and bhikshuni who study Tripitaka contents and translate them); a vast majority cannot translate and rely on their student’s dissertations or a very tiny pool of scholars who do translate.  So they hypothesize instead and rely on media which is heavily skewed to commercialized contents.

If Academia can reform itself and invite or hire more Sangha who are qualified to teach (must be qualified through scholarship not through MA or PhD by other Sangha) then there is hope they can learn from us without just riding our backs trying to get to the bank.

Ven. Hongyang, Bhikshuni, Calm Clarity, Ames, Iowa

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, Mahayana culture, Temple life, Vinaya

Ven. Hongyang’s memoir

If we are accepted as a disciple of another Sangha member from them we may get more names for that master to use to call us. Please note that students of a master are not in the same category as disciple. It is possible for a master to have many students but few will have even one or more disciples. The disciples are earlier fully ordained as Sangha and the lineage holder in that master’s line, the students are not.

Floating Clouds, Folded Palms ~ A Bhikshuni life in Iowa

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, On the Path, Temple life

Excerpt from my memoir: Floating Clouds, Folded Palms

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I have also the development of my temple to consider as I have decided to have a small temple and not seek to grow bigger and expand to more sites. I hope to inspire resident Sangha here and elsewhere to do the same. You must protect yourself first while you are on the Path. Solid foundations can decay if you keep ignoring them they fall in disrepair. The problems in Sanghas in the West are confounded with desires for larger, expensive, and prettier. Ambition is a symptom of greed and dissatisfaction; it should not be a part of a Sangha’s strategy to propagate Buddha dharma. I don’t want my Sangha to be bothered with such distractions.

Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Dharma Talks, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships, Vinaya

New Page as Traveling Sangha offering Dharma

I’ve decided to offer my humble services teaching dharma and precepts in English to temples and monasteries.  I’ve been encouraged by my dharma friends to start to let more Sangha know that I am now willing to travel to their way places.  I’ve strongly believed in practicing one tradition during one’s monastic life and for me that is Chinese Buddhism.  I’ve never dabbled or practiced other religions since taking refuge and five precepts.   And since becoming a bhikshuni I have experienced the guidance of the Vinaya precepts that have given me such comfort and solidity in my daily life!  I want people to understand that comfort and solidity is very important foundation for mind training.  Refuge and 5 Precepts are the foundation for everyone’s practice and should be taken as the basic framework for their practice.

Sangha can see the difference and you can feel the difference in your daily life when you have precepts even as a householder.  It does support you.  It does benefit your mind training.

For those interested in having me talk you can contact me via email venhongyang (at) gmail.com  and I will respond with information to help you decide to furnish an air ticket or a train ticket.  I have freed up my fall to spring schedule, and will open my spring to summer to accommodate your scheduled events and services.

If you are Western people you may not understand how to sponsor Sangha to give dharma talks and precepts.  You usually ask first then offer the transportation cost plus housing and dana monetary offering at the day’s end or end of event.

I only practice Chinese Buddhism and that’s the context of my Dharma talks and training/encouragement in Precepts (Refuge and 5 Precepts, next year qualified for VInaya Precepts and 8 Precepts giving training and ordination for monastics).  I will only transmit the Dharmagupta lineage as that is the one I hold myself.  I will not participate in multi-yana (Theravada, Mahayana combined lineages being offered as a choice to the candidates to pick one) ordinations ever, so don’t ask.  I will only transmit my dharmagupta lineage ordination line with only dharmagupta lineage masters beside me and of proper numbers.

Posted in Buddhist Culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life

Health and progressing in Aging

I’m pretty sure nobody filled us on the facts of aging.  For women (lucky US!) we have to deal with menopause issues.  Like how we have problems losing weight because of menopause.  And how about when your recovering from serious injuries?  It’s harder, and yes an opportunity for weight to be added on.

However, I am optimistic and I believe that I can lose this stubborn weight in spite of my injuries!

I’m presently redesigning my nutrition and diet to avoid too much carbs, however, I’m really having problems being able to have enough proteins that would be fresh, yogurts and the like. I can’t afford it.

I am relying on dried beans, rice, and whatever veggies and fruit that are thrown away by the grocery store.  It’s not often I get to have fresh and I treasure it!

I’m considering going out for alms rounds, something this town has never seen.  I need to have fresh fruit and veggies and yes … some tofu!

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Dharma Talks, Precepts Holders

Schedule for 2015

DSC00495Three sages

January to March 2015  Winter Retreat  Master will be able to meet with you by appointment, feel free to visit.

April 2015  Preparation for Buddha’s Birthday this year will be a group effort, new search for a basin with a pedestal

May 2015  Buddha’s Birthday

24 Dharma Talk in Des Moines, IA:   Triple Refuge and 5 Precepts and How to apply it in Daily life

Ven. Long Yun will be the guest speaker with Ven. Hongyang supporting with commentary.

27-31 Gethsemani IV Encounter (DIM-MID) Buddhist Catholic Dialogue

hosted by the catholic monks at Abbey of Gethsemani, New Haven, KY

June 2015  1-5  the 2015 Dharma Teacher Gathering

July 2015   Vassa, TBA

August 2015   Vassa, TBA Iowa State University Buddhist club dharma talks welcome and schedule to set

September 2015  Vassa, TBA

October 2015  Vassa ends, Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering

hosted by Sravasti Abbey in Washington state (west coast)

November 2015  TBA

December 2015  TBA

January 2016  TBA

February 2016  TBA