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

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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 community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, On the Path, Western Holidays

How do Buddhists Celebrate Christmas?

IMG_3701 IMG_3795 IMG_3798 IMG_2901With Joy! It’s a popular holiday in the West so when i became Buddhist and traveled to different temples in the USA, I found that nearly everyone in those places big and small celebrates with the rest of the country!

Strange you may think, but no…. think about it.

To me Christmas is about the practice of generosity. Santa is a giver of gifts that are deserved and mysteriously leaves them overnight to everyone on Christmas Eve. to wake up to on Christmas morning. He wears red, the color of the heart in Chinese theory called the 5 elements.

The Christmas tree, an evergreen, the sign of life in wintertime, every culture notices this type of tree. Germans long before Christianity used to bring in pine tree boughs to freshen their home in the winter and add color and life in their harsh winters. Later they would bring trees into their home and eventually began to decorate them. Then Christianity came, but nothing was done about the tree issue until the Victorian age when the created myth about the trees began to be commercialized.

I love the lights too. the lights sparkle and immediately make you feel happy upon seeing them! I have a tiny white desktop tree with optic fibers that change color. I love that. I have red lights up on my doorway to the Buddha hall and lining the Buddha altar. I love the colors of Christmas time too. It does not bother me to know that Christians took the holiday that used to be pagan, that probably started as a way to keep the homes from smelling bad in the winter! Pine scents have been used for centuries to deodorize rooms!  There is often a reference to ‘luminosity’ in referring to the mind, this is the goal of many Buddhists who sincerely meditate and particularly attainable for those with discernment and skill.

I rarely go out during the holidays.  However, I do visit mom during this time of year.  Also this year I am going to celebrate Christmas Day with her and the family and I am bringing healthy snack food for them, that will be my contribution.  We have soup and sandwiches on Christmas Day.  Also they play Christmas Bingo, which is just drawing numbers and picking a numbered present.  I hardly go for Christmas celebrations due to the weather or mostly due to the fact I am not too attached to the day.  Mom asked me to come and convinced me to bring my daughter who usually serves up a Christmas meal to her friends without family nearby and like she does so for every holiday.  I bake goodies and breads for them to take home afterwards every holiday, they need fresh food besides pizza!

Remember Buddhas Bodhi Day is also in December around 18th or so. Remember Christmas can be a fun day, it’s not about meeting the needs for wished for gifts, it is about the act of generosity, you can give time, acts of kindness, presents if you like, and food.  All from the genuine wish to give and nothing more than that.  Oh, I stay away from the stores and only buy groceries during the holidays… but love to buy discounted Christmas items afterwords for dharma crafts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Dharma Books, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships, Solitary Living, Temple life, Vinaya

Sangha Conduct – Advice to Americans in robes invite for contributors

English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a f...
English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a formal ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regarding my invite for Sangha members to contribute their wisdom to Sangha Conduct-Advice to Americans in Robes.

Only Sangha fully ordained in robes presently in good standing are asked to contribute.

Living anywhere you have to deal with Americans in robes, or if you are an American in robes; any ethnic group, any tradition. Declare your tradition and give me a brief autobiography

Living in solitude on your own or living in community.

Any level of English, it will be edited for typos and grammar as best I can do.

ANY STYLE, poetry, plain speak, write like you telling another Sangha member some needed advice.  Share stories if you wish, keep the dharma names in them or make an obvious fake name, something like Ven.  ChattyKathy or Ven. Snipesalot… you know be creative or not.  ANY way you write is perfectly ok.

The deadline is Monday June 24, 2013.

And no limits to length on your contribution, but at least a page not a sentence. No Koan, no gungan; Haiku if you must but need to include a lesson or verbiage to add to it or increase our understanding in the Vinaya or Buddha dharma or life in general.

All your work if you have citations include them if not I will find what I can if citing sutras or other ppls words declare in the sentence (paraphrased/written by/from NAME if have year or page great if not just a name).

Write for the Sangha not the public.

It will be on Amazon through my account for sale. Selling a book there does not make you rich, I’m not rich, occasionally I get a partial tank of gas out of it every few months or so. Mostly it’s for benefit of future generations. You can sell it too, I’ll give you advice a bit later on that.

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Dharma Books, Dharma Talks, On the Path, Temple life, Translation Resources

Lack of common language limits understanding in Buddhism

English: Buddha. In the Jewel of learning (Dha...
English: Buddha. In the Jewel of learning (Dharma).In the Jewel of community (Sangha). The jewelled and golden Buddha sits with mind focussed and concentrated like a Cobra at Samye Ling Monastery. A striking image and you can do walking meditation round the lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dharma Wheel. This is one of the most importan...
Dharma Wheel. This is one of the most important buddhist symbols, and represents the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lack of common language limits successful understanding.  I have seen, heard and read about the constant struggle of laity to achieve success in their own practices because they did not have a common language with a dharma master or wat, vihara, temple or center in which they sought to study and practice Buddha dharma.  I have first hand knowledge of ordained Sangha that do not know their adopted culture or it’s language and are stuck as a servant, living years at a lower level of practice than what they can achieve had they been aware of detailed teachings.

These Westerners and some Asians have little or limited access to their own dharma master’s meetings and teachings due to poor translators or no translators.  Since they do not have any notable level of training they often seek outside of Buddhism to survive in work or in other religious practices or faiths beyond Buddhism, even if they have been a novice of 30 years or fully ordained for 5 years.  If they do not have competency at least one of these areas:  listening, speaking, writing the temple language or even if they are not pursuing a line of Buddhist study and just seem to be taking up space then it keeps them at the ‘newbie’ level.  They are the same as a tourist would be in their own understanding and ability or lack of ability to teach Buddha dharma with any degree of skill.