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.

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)  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 Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Confuscianism, Daoism/Taoism, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Temple life, Three Religions of China, Translation Resources, Vinaya

Calm Clarity Temple

English: A talisman from one of the Lingbao Sc...

I had expected some fanfare at least a post comment or two on Facebook  oh well people are busy. but I finally picked the temple name.

Calm Clarity Temple

It came from knowing what attributes I  carry and promote as the abbess. My main attributes are Calm and Clarity.  I am not  saying I am the best but it’s the attributes I want to carry forth as a signature of this temple and it’s mission to meet the communities needs here and carry on my translation efforts to have a complete Mahayana English Tripitaka of the Taisho Edition of the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.

The reason this edition is so important is that it is inclusive of the Pali Cannon and has an Esoteric Division (yes, people  Esoteric came from China through India as well as accumulations of the effects of adaptations to local religious beliefs and cultures.  It has all the schools in Buddhism in both Theravada and Mahayana including I suspect some of the older ones, that are not all translated out into English, what we have today is scholars works and they are not accessible, largely out of print or not available to the public.  It has commentaries, verses, records, and lineages of our Sangha, this may not be interesting reading but it is really good for us to know what bits from history we can glean from these being translated.

I honor my interest in Daoism with the recognition of a specific school, the Complete Reality School, it’s burned it’s place in my noggin.  I like it very much, I also have a title memorized “The Master Who Embraces Simplicity” from my early days of study of Chinese culture included the Three Religions of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism.  I liked monastic life for it was easy fit for my lifestyle the way I lived it and the way I thought about my life.  To honor me, and my past lives I chose Calm and Clarity for the temple attributes.  When you choose a temple name it’s to have a purpose to benefit the country, the states, the county and the town in which you live; that’s responsibility towards society creating positive conditions for prosperity, reduce conflicts and improve the quality of life for everyone.

The mission carries on the Bhikshuni one.  To create awareness of Vinaya Sangha residing in the USA. To provide Buddhist services and offer instruction in Buddhism to the public, and conduct creative, charitable, and education programs for interested persons.

The primary specialty is the translation of the Mahayana Tripitaka Taisho Edition in Chinese to English.  Serving as translator, education of translators, networking with translators around the world, being a part of the development of an international database the would provide free online access to all English translated Tripitaka materials.

English: Venerable Tzu Chuang, founder of Hsi ...
English: Venerable Tzu Chuang, founder of Hsi Lai Temple, in an alms begging round during Sangha Day, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, Dharma Talks, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Sangha Relationships, Theravada culture

Wow Finally Found some English Dharma talks that don’t flinch!

Ven. Guan Cheng has a 22 video series about the Diamond Sutra on youtube.  It’s in English and is done well for it does present the Chinese Buddhist view in a very clear useful way that we westerners can absolutely get and understand!

Posted in Buddhism, Dharma Books, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Translation Resources

Resources for Translators, a query answered

This is quite large, sorry.

Right now I’m editing a 100 page Chinese scroll in the yogacara bhumi sastra, well in english it’s past 300 pages so far, since font is set up for large typeface for easy reading. It’s a course translation very rare and I’m nearly done. It’s a teaching on the practice of dana; particularly emphasis is to reach out to ease the sufferings of those in great suffering, and  to the hungry ghosts (preta) and those unfortunates abandoned with no family, deceased from violent or suddent means, unborn deceased, and many others.

In the near future I’ll work on my vinaya translations and I’m looking for the commentaries in the chinese to be my next huge, pretty sure it will be huge number of scrolls on this. And of course I’ll finiIsh up the other schools translations as part of that work.

I heard from other scholars there are 4 or more versions of abhidharma in that Chinese collection and look forward to seeing all in english one day.

Buddhist Hybrid sanskrit in Chinese is a study all it’s own. Yes they have Pali in the Chinese texts, I find it all over the place, yes I’ve got notes, no…they aren’t typed up… they are in a tub…. a very very large one… maybe when I get old I’ll do something about it… hahaha…

The Buddhist Literary Heritage Project

The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism has many links a valuable resource for translators and students of Buddhism

Wikipedia has a list of the contents but has no links per line, there are resources tho’

Columbia University

Relevant Resources of Chinese Classical Studies

Sacred Texts Archives -Buddhism


Fodian Net

International Dunhuang Project has a large pdf collection of all the traditions sutras and many short courses for self-study.

Translations of Gampo Abbey

Free Dharma Texts (you pay the postage they list that’s all) – note all schools listed and most Chinese temples have them all in their librarys and to give away.

Early Buddhists Manuscript Project

An absolutely huge collection of various masters works translated into english – explore others on the sidebar besides Han Shan’s poetry.

Mahayana Sutras in English

Numata Center

Alphonses Taisho Tripitaka index in english and chinese

Tibetan and Himalayan library

Ok, so this is some of my links, should be a good start for those interested in looking up interesting bits about Buddhism and serious scholars alike.

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 Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chinese culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships, Theravada culture, Vinaya

Ex-Buddhists who ate bitterness with Sangha come back

I’ve jsut read another sad story from another Sangha member’s blog, a woman reply with bitterness over her disaster with her guru in Vajrayana. I just replied to her reply.  She was holding on to so much idignation, bitterness and was rejecting women’s roles, robes, and validitiy of Sangha at all.

Abused by her guru and his supporters finally she left. But had to endure hardships and kept biting that bitter nut of regret, rage and grief at her self and the guru.  Until she faces all the habits that kept her there and choices she made to not act for her own safety and hold him accountable she will not progess as rapidity as she would like.  Good therapy, resuming practice with a calmer, harmonious and peaceful Sangha community will help her.

Her failure to undestand her own power as a Buddhist practitioner and the system she was in led to this rotton situation.  It’s common for westerners and some easterners too;  to bitch at us or about us Sangha as being weak, as some of us for being women,  childlike, undeducated, dancing about with our wiles and without power or a sense of our empowerment as Sangha, or accusing us of not policing our Sangha leaders enough so abuses do not even arise at all.

Well in the West Buddhism is not controlled by the government. We do have laws that protect us and Sangha are not above the law.  We are mandated by our Vinaya to observe the laws and respect the government of the country in which we reside.

New Buddhist are just plain ignorant, often tossing their self-control, common sense, sense of right and wrong, memory of whose country they live in anyway, deluded greately by who is in control of them, have definite problems listening to their teachers advice, often fickle to Buddhist practice omiting key traditional practics cuz they don’t wanna, and toss whats left of their minds up in the air as far as they can forcing it all way up until by chance and gravity it is falling into the hands of frauds, politikers, and often well-meaning but really inexperienced with the Western ideas of teachers, saints, leaders and monastics are those small but sincere groups of foreign monks and nuns.  What a hideaous act!

If people when they approach Sangha wanting to learn would keep their heads, stop tossing their minds out for someone else to grab they would get along just fine and make progress they deserve.  It’s gone wrong for many idealistic or perhaps those that reject too much, or make that pick and choose style of Buddhist salada bar type who can’t settle into a practice or goes mental after sitting for days in meditation ‘cuz they heard Buddha Sakyamuni did so.  All of these types often reject Buddhism after trying to capture their minds again from bad practices they kept doing to themselves. Instead of moving on, correcting their mistake they blame.  So in the future they get to repeat the same pattern.

Here is is, what you did wrong perhaps.

The first action of all of these who suffer bitternness is to reject the sangha, temple or center entirely as too far, too much, can’t be bothered to get there, can’t understand them or they won’t undestand me.

2. pick up a book by a famous monk, nun or writer that starts everytime with a warning… do not undertake this practice without supevision of a master, a qualified teacher of the method being taught in this book….. then ignore it, undertake the practice on your own; get mental, get vulnerable, and can’t make the voices stop; can’t work, can’t ….can’t life stops and nothing is the same anymore. So they blame robes, centers, and of course Sangha.

3. have all the answers and sits for hours. at first ok, then for a year or so gets sensations, loves it. keeps going, gets to hear voices.  oh ! progress.  does continue ‘cuz the mind says to. Then oops no job ‘cuz all I wanna do is sit in blisss…yeah that’s the life.  Oops lost the family.   Ooops feel bad voices won’t stop.  Oh no! It’s still progress tho’. Nope I just don’t need sangha! I made it! Numerous visits to psych wards, lots of needed medications, now it’s really all Sangha’s fault!

4. Drugs the faulty test of bliss! It’s so real, vibrant, love to get high during chanting services. I made it! jhana aaaah! I’m expert I can teach this! Wow! fast track to Nirvana! Whoa, the man why he here! Oh, yeah.  Mutiple hospitalizations with freaky side effects. Blames Sangha for lack of progress.

5. Sex is bliss. perhaps you were empowered by your own sexuality or repressed. You know you.  Letting the leader touch you, that was fun or not. People said its a merit/better method/fast way to bliss what ever that is to be with him, a lie and you knew it but were swayed because they knew more than you or insisted you be in the bed with him. he cries to you, he shares intimate fears or worries with you. he clings to you. your hooked. well. if your not then your caught. Right.  But it gets bad, you want out but how? Still want that bliss? Yes so hopeful and  you stay. Then leave badly. Right time to blame Sangha. Despise us, why, why, why?  Why indeed did you not call the cops, consult lawyers, family or friends or leave?

6. Use Buddhism for medical care or mental health care. This is just wrong. It is not meant for this type of approach. The Buddha was not a doctor but sometimes referred to metaphorically as a healer. This is all that meant.  All of Buddhist practice is for well people to undertake.  There is some truth of some practices benefitting some conditions but not any of the modern definitions of serious psychiatric conditions.  I add this to make sure you get it;  IT WAS NOT MEANT FOR PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS, none of it.  No matter how fancy of a pracice offered or by whom.

We live in times of adequate medical care and good therapists and much of Buddhist practice today as in the past is to be undertaken by well people. Mental health issues need to be faced properly and correctly. Most of what people can do for themselves is to do the best they can and not over reach for what they are not ready for or capable of.  Be Real about your issues and you will be more stable!  That is why the Buddha taught us to teach others according to their conditions and capability.  There is no generic Buddhist method to cure or eliminate disease beyond the knowledge of standard science and medicine. Buddhist measure their progress one by one; step by step; not by Proctor & Gamble mass produced pills or B & N books, etc.

At the core of this faulty mindset is this –  the lack of valuation or understanding of the the Triple Jewel.

There is a marked lack of attempt to join  and/or reject a real strong Buddhist community of laity that activly seeks out Sangha to improve their personal practice. And a total lack of common sense and deliberate refusal to put self-preservation first in the face of co-ercive or dangerous practices for what ever unerlying problems you already had coming into your efforts to practice some of the methods of Buddhist practice.

There is no sense of community in the above approaches, this faulty thinking has led many to disaster and ruined many a struggling community. However, all that being said just stop the blame.

Buddha taught us that our minds are our responsibility, it is ours after all and nobody elses.  We are responsible for walking on the path ourselves, not Buddha and not anyone else.

Embrace all of traditional Buddhist practices for they are already time tested with many checks and balances to help you progress.  Being a lone wolf type as many try to do simply does not work.

Sangha monastics know this, they work as a community and train together, they have moments to practice or study what interests them but really that’s only moments daily we are busy with our duties and meeting the community as a whole needs. The strength of our practice lies in our precepts, guided by the Vinaya, striving to study and learn as much Buddha dharma as we can staying withing our basic practices, renewing our selves in retrains, seeking elders in our community and outside our temples for improved understanding and our basic training forming our foundatin while with our tonsure master before we are accepted for full ordiantion.

Sangha are human beings, with all their skills and are still learning and still practicing. We are ahead of you on the path but not there yet to the final goal of enlightenment.  We are entitled to our flaws the same as you. However, we have guidelines that help us daily that’s called monastic discipline or the Vinaya.

Traditionally you are supposed to seek out the Sangha for dharma teaching. If you do not do this you will not make progress on the path yourself.  Sangha, me and others have learned a thing or two being left-home persons and if we  or I am skilled enough in communnications and I or others decide to agree to teach you upon your request then we can share what we know the best we can.

This key action on your part is what you need to do to be safe, to know what is exactly going on in practices and what is normal for Buddhists to do.  Please don’t give up on yourselves and throw your minds away like this it brings more suffering to you, your family mostly and to the sangha.

Have patience for Buddhists really gotta practice daily in order to progress. What makes generational traditional Buddhists miles ahead of you is just that, patience …  facing reality as it is, reading sutras/suttas; charitable acitons for the needy, doing their best to keep a sense of community with other Buddhists and seeking Sangha for more dharma teachings and counseling if they think of it, learning solid safe methods to improve their practices in a supportive environment that is safe for them to be in while studying.

Part two of this will give you real good examples of what lay people say to sangha and what the sangha respond to; appropriate teachings and laity guiding the Sangha in situations and conduct.