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 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, 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 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 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 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.