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

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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, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships

Sanitizing of Buddhism, Buddhists and erasing Sangha in America by Elitists

2,555 years ago Buddha passed away leaving the disciples and the rest of the Sangha to remember his teachings and pass them along to the next generations.  Very little has changed in the Sangha who carefully follows the Vinaya which are his guidelines of monastic conduct and instructed in his last bequest.  They carried Buddha’s teachings (the Dharma) to various countries teaching and forming practice places for generations with a great deal of sacrifice and effort.

Recently in media by Buddhist orientated sites online and in print through Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and Shambala Sun much has been made about the national form that Buddhist followers should or as they assume will eventually take in the USA.

Their Protestantism of Buddhism or rather a sanitizing or erasing/rewriting of Buddha’s history and rejection of what they identify as irrelevant to modern Americans today.  This means all the ethnic Buddhists from Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Korea, India, Tibet, Nepal, Indonesia, Phillipines, Malaysia or other American countries or Europe are to be cleansed and shunned from Americans or American Buddhists as it starts with white men who are protestants who already rejected the catholics because they have monks and nuns… or maybe they are jewish who didn’t like christians at all and or even those who prefer to embrace every oddball newly created religion and market it.

They are trying to dummy-down traditional Buddhism because they couldn’t figure out  how to make it work for themselves.  Now they are trying to keep it elite and promoting a new version or a rather a odd form of Japanese Buddhism; Wow, even to do that is to disparage the efforts of the Japanese Buddhists in our American history.  But a recent picture in a news article features Japanese robed zen married clergy,  a couple (women are nuns only in Japanese Buddhist tradition and not to hold priest roles like the men can opt for marriage or monk’s life)  in a zendo.  The writer asks “What’s an American Buddhist?  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/whats-an-american-buddhist/2012/06/17/gJQAJCQrjV_blog.html

Well, it’s a circular article first stripping away the Triple Jewel.  No Sangha, no ethnic trappings as they are not considered true or authentic enough to be Buddhist or relevant.  Then at the very end it says careful least 900 years later the adherents reject the efforts of the fabled American Buddhists who magically created a new world order of Buddhists here.

One way to look at this question is through the example of practice. When done correctly, what Buddhist meditators refer to as “sitting”–whether following the vipassana or zazen (or other) approaches to sitting meditation–does not rely on ceremonial chanting and recitations and actions that typically surround collective meditation sessions. This is not to say such ceremonial activities normally performed in an ancient or modern Eastern language are not useful or helpful. This is only to say they are not a necessity for the gradual expansion of consciousness that is the result of regular meditation. If one accepts this basic premise, which can be supported by the sutras attributed to the Buddha, then the conclusion that North Americans could conceivably develop their own Buddhist tradition some day is perfectly rational, if not probable.

This is based on opinion and not on reality, meditation has always been taught as a method but not the exclusive one, the first thing Buddhists do worldwide is to take the Triple Refuge and 5 Precepts.  The next thing they do is join in services that always recite sutras and repeat the Triple Jewel in refuge and action, join in volunteer work in the community and when it’s time and there is an opportunity they choose or not to sit on a cushion with the goal of being enlightened eventually.  This provides the stable framework necessary before one sits on the cushions.

2,555 years the core of Buddhist practice has always been formed from the Triple Jewel, being carried and protected by the Sangha who observes the Vinaya.  Also because people who come to Buddhism from new countries took the time to study Buddhism in it’s traditional form and upheld it, so the Buddhist culture developed as the Buddha instructed us Sangha who traveled to adapt to the countries conditions and culture with lots of variations in languages, practices and kept the core that is the Triple Jewel.  The problem in the USA and in many parts of the world is that there is no one identified unified culture.  We are a global society in the USA in reality, much of the myth the elitist create is not real and not reflecting the reality of the people in the USA. There is no one culture.  There can be no one form of Buddhism defining the United States and that is really ok.  The myth is there must be one form of Buddhism for each country, that’s the fakery being created by these elitists.

North American Buddhists are likely to create their own traditions and schools of thought, but they should do so with the awareness that they are forging a new Buddhist culture, not the ‘true’ Buddhist culture.

This is so strange that it is very insulting to North American Buddhists anywhere.  There is no need to forge a new Buddhist culture at all.  It does not work.  People in history have tried and when they diverge from the Triple Jewel they are not Buddhist at all, their movements become perverted and vanish.

The worst kind of approach a Westerner would take is to accept wholeheartedly without question any practice offered from any teacher without investigating and studying the history and knowing the standard teachings of Buddha and his disciples.  So ‘wholesale acceptance’ of Buddhism from the East is not likely the problem here.  It is lack of acceptance and adaptability. Just the last two.

Also they seem to have a need to make their own piss in the snow, a male pre-occupation.  That last bit is sadly the reason there is an effort by rags that call themselves the voice of American Buddhists or rather trying right now to lead the Buddhist movement with their money and media forming a horrific laughable council of teachers that fell on it’s face and nobody paid attention to it other than to point them out.  Led by the protestant versions of Japanese Buddhism and fringe trend setting teachers and all their writers who make them money… virtually ignoring the Sangha “”(they had one show Bhikkhu Bodhi who got rightfully upset with them and whom they posted as somehow he misunderstood..or he mis-heard them and gee wasn’t that embarrassing for him to explode on them during the conference type post on their blog) on whose back they cruelly stepped on to reach their goal as King of the Mountain, they virtually stood and pissed on the the living Jewels, all the while laughing in the faces of those who donate and sacrifice to make Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Americas.  This is soooo christian and not worthy of what is American today.

This sanitizing of Buddhism is wrong.  It is a symptom of lack of effort and study of Buddha dharma.  It’s rote repetition of wrong teachings based on fear of loss of their own leadership due to aging and somehow they must keep their flame alive and make a historical memory so their efforts don’t seem wasted to others.  The fact of the matter is the hippies are old and their start into Buddhism was filled with false intentions, most are failed monks and they are damn mad that people did not support them when they were innocents in robes, so they formed their careers by damning the robes and those that wear them.  All of them… look up the writers for yourself in the rags, tricycle, shambala sun, buddha dharma, the big 3 have featured all white… and all secular people claiming to be experts and leaders of Americans ‘cuz they failed to be monks.

They said they failed to be monks because they failed to get enough dana to do as they want to do (and become hits in their homelands).  Instead they were ignored perhaps bored in their robes, fearing poverty and they lacked the balls to stick it out they left their robes because there is no money in them.  Then these ex-monks damned repeatedly the very people who had virtuous roots that helped them succeed and go forth and being accepted.

Playing king of the mountain pushing off their competitors.  They promoted themselves as experts saying they have really represented Americans cuz they can have sex and create families… and they want their kids to be able to participate fully in their activities in the zendo cuz they don’t feel welcome anyplace but where they want to go and meditate while they ignore how bored their kids are waiting for them and let their kids run around doing things unsupervised while they zone out in hippie bliss or their mental version of it.

I’m sorry this is not how Americans do things, they do things by hard work, patience and sticking things out enduring because they know what really works. This fad by elitists is misleading and harmful and it does NOT meet the needs of common folk and it’s common folk that need proper Triple Jewels not fads.  They aren’t looking for trends while they work on the line or pack boxes into a truck, they are looking for a community that is stable, intelligent, active in the town, around the corner or even in the grocery…. but not at the expense of their own minds.  That’s where traditional Vinaya Buddhism excels, it’s stable it has lots of variety and enough well trained Sangha of monks and nuns to be able to endure and offer Buddha dharma as requested without all the bangs and whistles of slick rags or media blitz… and we will be long enduring whether the elites want to come to us while we are busy meeting the needs of the community where we live and reside in the Americas in and out of temples.  At my estimate we are well over 10,000 Sangha living in the USA alone and not all of us are ethnic imports from overseas but created, born and raised right here from every ethnic group that can be thought of here.  Here are some Iowas some Califnornians, some Nova Scotians, some Germans, some Chinese, a few Texans, some Burmese, and a majority of whom are Midwestern people as common as you can get and their shenanigans while enjoying traditional Buddhist offerings.

Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships

Tears spilt in grief…when can Sangha cry?

When can we Sangha cry?  How about what happens when we lose our parent or a child?  We cry of course, but we also must carry on in our day and even some of us have to perform at the funeral like I had to and be at the reception and stay with my mom cuz the rest of the family couldn’t bear to, even they never came over cuz their own grief was too much.

How about when we have to suffer in our grief too? We suffer, we grieve but when that first person comes to us in tears, it’s almost a sure bet that our tears spill forth in remembrance.  It should be shameful, but it really is not.  We are humans too.  We are supposed to let go of our attachments quickly and we do but we still have memories and cherish our loved ones too.

Nobody addressed the needs of those ordained who lived through 9/11 and had to carry on performing countless funerals, counsel grieving families, run their temples, but when they talked to me, they were angry with their grief was not being acknowledged at all.  In fact, most of the clergy in churches had grief too not just in temples or mosques. They all were not acknowledged by the public because the need was so great, it really was.  I was out there and saw it; I’ve never seen public grief on such as scale as I did in NYC. I learned a lot about it then, and about funerals where we were in and out in 30 to 6o mins depending on the family needs, no talking just in and out! So many sometimes we didn’t eat that day until 1 am.  wow!

My recent encounter with a grieving Buddhist led me to this uncomfortable truth about myself.  I was suddenly spilling tears with this dear person.  I apologized, for (what…being unprofessional…please I’m walking the Path…sure we are supporting laity but we have a right to be human too).  But my dear Buddhist friend just handed me a tissue and we shared our tears through the conversation on what to do and how to prepare, we drank tea and both of us inspite of our individual grief had come away with something better…two people who connected and I hope and pray when the funeral day comes that I keep it together for these dear Buddhists need more than a weeping nun to help them in their future hours of need.

Can you believe I blamed it on hormones, as my change of life has been in full erratic swing for a couple of years already!  We all do our best, some of us are good at hiding our tears, in our rooms away from curious eyes or our Sangha and in our darkest hours when we most need our companions by our side in full on support and offering comfort.  I from now on, will strive to be solid and if I tear up, I hope to quickly recover enough to be solid in my support for my future services at the side of my dear Buddhist friends.

You know we don’t hug but I was not going to let my dear Buddhist lady leave my home without a solid squeezer. If I could have I would have taken her home and put her to bed and watched over her that’s how much I care about comforting someone in grief.  But you know as Sangha we are truly limited in how we comfort people in grief and as a mom I just wish that part of it would be less impersonal. Maybe one day I can figure out a dignified way to help people that would be acceptable in the East and the West.  Right now I only know Iowa ways of cooking comfort food and providing a willing ear and support.  My temple training works well for me and know I must apply it to meet the needs of my Buddhist families in this area.  I wish for more wisdom!

Dad’s ashes in the brass urn with tiny navy stripe on it at the funeral home.  And one picture of dad when he was alive.  In the last 6 months before he died he lost so much weight he looked like his young self in that black and white picture and he marveled at it.

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!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6D738AB1EB1660E4

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 Buddhist Culture, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Dharma Talks, Mahayana culture, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Sangha Relationships, Vinaya

Abbot, Bhikshu Ven. Hui Guang clear explaination of Chan transmission, lineage, ordination for monastics

Ven.Da Mo

His Facebook photo set has his photos during his retreat time, he is the present abbot of IBS in Taiwan. He has given us the clearest explanation I have ever seen regarding details of how this process of transmission really works.  It’s important to really get the correct teachings and from the correct teachers.  In the USA we are woefully deluded by the newness of Buddhism, over-reaching for levels or attainments that we do not need or deserve. I am quoting his exact post that appears on the Facebook link.  Let me know if it does not work. I only cut and pasted and hope for the best, I’m new to the blog world here.

https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/media/set/?set=a.182828165075325.43405.100000444276511

於2008年,我蒙 本換老和尚慈悲親自傳授,禪門正法眼藏,臨濟正宗法脈。此法法脈源流源自於釋迦牟尼佛,祖祖印心相傳,直到近代虛雲老和尚→本煥老和尚→慧光 (第45代臨濟正宗傳人)。
2008, I received the transmission of the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye in the Noble Linji Ch’an Dharma Lineage with the compassion of my  Master, Ch’an Master Ben Huan. This lineage of Dharma transmission trace all the way back to Sakyamuni Buddha. The ancient Masters have transmitted one after another until recent era to Ch’an Master Hsu Yun. Then the Dharma transmission is from: Venerable Master Hsu Yun→ Venerable Master Ben Huan→ Hueiguang (45th generation lineage holder of the Linji Ch’an).

佛教傳承有三種體系:

(一)剃度系——即初出家時,依剃度師之宗派,給予法號(或稱外號),終生稱呼;
(二)授戒系——即求授三壇大戒時所依之三師七尊為壇上得戒十師,按傳統又會給一個法名(或稱戒名、內號,唯有師父能叫),這為戒的傳承法名。
(三)傳法系——即稟承釋迦世尊歷代相傳之正法眼藏,亦即心心相應,教外別傳之系統。此時又會在給一個法名,這為法的傳承法名。一般得法者,則此後只運用此法名。寫名字時應先寫法名,再寫法號。例如我法名為「常安慧光」。「常安」是我得法法名,而「慧光」則是剃度法號。

這種法派,應該代代相傳,不可斷絕。此體系在習慣上,稱為剃度恩師,得戒本師,傳法尊師。中國佛教傳統上,出家是一回事,受戒是一回事,傳法又是一回事,並非一定都由同一位師父主持。又禪宗重在傳法,得法的人, 即稱為法子。當然在家也可得法,但畢竟是少數。出家得法的,多是已在別的師父那裡剃度及受戒。

In Chinese Buddhist tradition, there are 3 systems of transmission:

1. Tonsure system: a person become tonsured as a novice monastic under the Master’s school. He/she is given a Dharma name 法號 at the time of tonsure based on the Master’s lineage. This name is also called “the outer name 外號” because it is use by all people to address you. This name is used for life.

2. Ordination system: a novice will become fully ordained as a Bhikṣu monk/ Bhikṣuni nun with the Triple Platform Ordination (Observing the Śrāmanera, Bhikṣu and Bodhisattva precepts) . This ordination must be presided by 10 monks with at least 10 years of seniority with a pure practice in upholding the monastic precepts. In this ceremony, the 10 Masters represent the Triple Gem accepting the novice into the Sangha. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This name is also called “precept name 戒名 or inner name 內號” because it is use only by one’s Master. This name represents your precept lineage transmission.

3. Dharma transmission system: This system upholds the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye through the generations of transmission. This is the Mind to Mind seal of the Dharma that is beyond the scriptures. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This is also called “the inner name 內號” and use only by one’s Master. This name represents your Dharma lineage transmission. After receiving this name, one will use this name instead of the name received during precept ordination to write one’s Dharma name (Inner Name)(Outer Name). For example, my Dharma name is “Chang An Huei Guang 常安慧光”, where “Huei Guang” is my name given at tonsure and “Chang An” is given at Dharma transmission.

Therefore, these systems of transmission should not be ended.
It is customary to refer to one’s own tonsure Master as “Gracious Master”, precept Master as “Root Master” and Dharma transmission Master as “Venerable Master.” In Chinese Buddhism, these 3 systems are separate and are not performed by the same Masters. Moreover, due to the strong emphasis on the Dharma, when a person receives the Dharma transmission, he/she is recognized as that Ch’an Master’s Dharma son/daughter. Of course lay Buddhists may also receive this Dharma transmission, but there are very few incidences. Most of the monk/nun who received the transmission has already been tonsured and ordained by other Masters.