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, Chan - authentic Masters words, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Translation Resources

Indiegogo Build Iowa’s First Buddhist Nunnery

Build Iowa’s First Buddhist Nunnery. Please click to go to the Indigogo site and

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Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Dharma Talks, On the Path, Precepts Holders, Vinaya

Sangha – laying the foundation

This carries forth the idea of Sangha mind. The words I used in the last post and an attempt to flesh out the idea with what we already know. I am hoping that most still have good memories or notes from their ordination training. I still do!

Stability in our practice was determined by our training, our ability to embrace as much as possible the teachers guidance, our core training while at our preceptors temple learning the ropes and our willingness to stay on the path after ordination.

What we uphold after we ordain is key to our monastic life. How we actually carry out our daily lives is key to our laity that come to us for help and our success in helping them by teaching dharma and our future years as elders in the Maha Sangha.

We individually are responsible for ourselves…en total. Not our teachers or our temples. We are. The sum total of “I” is still here, still doing stuff, still typing at this computer trying to relieve people of doubt about the power of the robes, the stabilizing force of our training, the ability of Vinaya to guide our path and our own power to succeed.

We are even in our dreams monastics. Even in our private moments, spazing out (freaking out) over bills we can’t possible figure out to pay, or facing homelessness in the winter, or seeing our elders decline into babbling fools (not aimed at anyone…love my elders!…respects to you who read this, no harm, prostrating just in case your offended). 

When your in a private moment freaking out, just remember this. Your on a stage in your full robes, freaking out and your elders are there with more invited elders from other temples and so are the laity who came to just see you. Your alone on the stage. Do you still want to freak out? I hope the answer is no.

Keep yourself from freaking out by staying calm, see emotion remove from the situation, then respond to the situation then completely let go of it.  My first monastic friend is a monk a bhikkhu Ven. Zhang Ji who often said in Chinese “Fang Xia” which means let go!. So simple words, so valuable advice.  It saved me. It helped me remember to act on it. Thank you Ven. Zhang Ji.

My next monastic friend was a bhkshuni Ven. Jin Xin who gave me a recitation book. Her advice was to recite the morning service as my mind was jumbled full of interior talking because I was really stressed over separating from my husband with a toddler to support and lots of rejection letters from potential employers! I was scared! I couldn’t calm myself while I was trying to survive. So stabily after a long while happend due to my persistance to use a service in a foreign language which I struggled to pronounce!

I got so much comfort from the morning and evening service, even I didn’t know they were the LengYan Zhou and the Amitabha Sutra. Very good for stabilizing your mind. I stablized my discomfort inspite of the situation not changing for a real long time, but I survived it and my kid grew up very well. I learned to trust the mundane daily practice rather than depend on the glittery fluff of immediate gratification or grandiose events hoping for immediate relief.

Karmas cause and effect well we all got those, but we do not need raise our emotions to such a desparate level to deal with life’s problems. Stable mind relies on practice that is mundane even boring. This is what you do for yourself while you trod that Path. Think of the humbleness of when you were lay person listening to the service enjoying it, gaining benefit from joining it to right now, when you are the one performing the service and enjoying it benefitting from knowing so many people are there with you benefitting from joining in with you. What a treasure life you have!

If you are Sangha and suffering from serious problems like schizophrenia, serious health problems, depression, physical or verbal abuse or other serious problems you must get yourself help. If you need medication then get it. If you need police then call. If you need therapy take it. If you need something in the real life that will ease your body while you cope with your mind then do it! Surgery, medicine, good food, good Sangha community, stable place to live….this is your responsibility to achieve to allow you to cultivate the Path, if you lack in the basics or have one of these or other obsticles you then need to deal with it first.

Created modern things, methods that exist in the world are your tools too. Just because internet was not around in Buddha’s time doesn’t make it no less a poweful tool for dharma teaching.

Medicine has come along way since people suffering from mental health problems were tied to a stake to live out their lives in destitution and shame. Medical advances in treating bodily problems have made for many quick recoveries in what would have never been possible in Buddha’s times.

No excuses for not taking advantage of such things in modern life now.  Shame on you if you don’t, but if you lack money then understandable. But at least there is medicaid for low to no income people in the USA and overseas many national health programs exist. It’s your duty as a Sanghan to take care of yourself so please do it.

Posted in On the Path, Precepts Holders, Vinaya

Ordinations – proof

How we have to prove our ordination in modern times? Can’t do it on handshake or based upon words, dream it or imagine it.  Frauds abound and have always been a problem, so the wise elders created certificates with clearly identifiable information on it. We carry this with us all the time, and safeguard it. It’s only produced when we reside as a guest in a new temple or as a new resident of another temple. Just usually once and only to a monastic Sangha member assigned to verify our status. This is usually a stamped or visibly signed ordination certificate from a national buddhist council with picture and numbers to cross check for verification.

Who participates in the process? The candidate, the preceptor, their temple, the ordination temple, their ordination committee, their national ordination council.  Ordination bodies that are designated as ordination councils are the only members allowed to issue certificates after full application is made by the candidate, the preceptor and the hosting ordination temple, verification by the preceptor during the arrival of the candidate, verifcation of completion of the ordination by the candidate and then later by the preceptor temple upon the newly ordaines return to the preceptor temple after.

Ordinations mean a great deal to communities that host them, their monastics and laypeople are proud to offer the opportunity for ordianation candidates and they often go to great lengths to be a part of dana or even present to witness the event.  Rarely ever done in secrecy for indeed what would be the purpose of that!  Ordinations are public events that anyone may witness standing outside the actual Sangha boundary.  Usually announced 2-3 months in advance to the local papers and community there is a flurry of activities to get ready for the event with candidates rushing to get their applications in and arranging transportation and schedules to accomodate the wonderful event!

Challenges happen and when it does it only involves, just Sangha members that are bhikshu or bhikshuni directly concerned with the matter, their residing temple, their respective ordination temples and those issuing ordination certification national councils concerned with discipline of either the bhikshuni or bhikshu. It only raises to next level of inquiry when there is missing usual information from those directly involved.

It is not a public matter to be discussed with laity or the public. Any complaints about monks or nuns should be brought to their attention first then that of the temple director or senior monk or nuns. There is formal Sangha inquiry on discipline matters that happen in meetings without lay people present to decide on investigation and consequences.

Legal matters involving Sangha requiring law enforcement are public matters that Sangha are subject to obey as per the country’s law and our Vinaya instruction. This is totally separate from Sangha matters regarding Vinaya. There is is no code of silence among Buddhist Sangha at all, nor sanctuary for those having done criminal acts trying to escape investigation and courts.

Gossip is to be discouraged among Sangha members and about Sangha itself and particularly about Sangha matters like adherance to Vinaya conduct. This being written, fakery is horribly abundant, and talk does happen; whether it is about fakes or the real thing it hurts the Sangha and our sense of community. There is a difference if Sangha members discuss a matter among themselves for sake of improving community and safeguarding their harmony which is for the better of the community rather than disparaging a group or a person. Unfortunately when something goes wrong there is an abundance of this type of non-virutous talk.

Posted in Dharma Talks

Sangha led blog Welcome all!

This blog is offered to you to introduce you to Buddhist life, culture and arts from the traditional perspective of the monastics; ie, the ordained Sangha.

For example, I am a Bhikshuni ordained fully in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya as a monastic (a monastic is celibate woman or man ordained in formal recognized trasmission of vows and ordination by a reputable traditional religious group).