Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New blog for Sangha in USA


I've included some links to some of the largest monasteries in the USA, the Hsi Lai Temple the headquarters in the USA for Fo Guang Shan which was founded by Ven. Master Hsing Yun, who promotes traditional Vinaya Sangha and new school called Humanistic Buddhism, it's a very large group that has temples everywhere in the USA.  Very good group and well-trained. Great at large crowds and attracts large crowds, lovely tea houses, active well educated and nice Sangha largely bhikshuni and some bhikshu.  This is a closed community to outside Sangha, however, if you choose to pursue residency be warned you more often are asked to return to lay life and apply to them for monastic training.

Bhikshuni be warned in the Chinese Buddhist Bhikshuni Sangha it is not normal to return to lay life and expect that you will be accepted again even if you are told to do this, just don't.  Many women are treated harshly by resident bhikshuni who try this, most if not all fail and only achieve novice status.  I strongly do not recommend anyone doing this at all.  I am hoping one day that tolerance for outside traditions and recognition of full ordination of monastics who want to reside within their Sangha will be in their future.  Sangha outside their FGS system may visit for very short stays, you will find them friendly and very nice. I count them as my long time friends and ally's.

I've also included the Sagely City of 10,000 Buddhas a totally friendly group of orthodox 2-part Sangha which observes additional teachings of wearing the work robe (5 strip) and the strict segregation of genders on their very large monastery grounds.Everyone there speaks English and it's known for tolerance of both Theravada and Mahayana schools in residence.  This is a closed community.  Ven. Master Hsua Hua donated the land for the Theravada monks of the Abhayagiri Monastery to be built and reside.  Limits outside Sangha residence to short, very short stays.  One day they hope to have enough housing for visiting Sangha who wish to apply for long term stays.

Chuang Yen Monastery, the visiting monastic by policy.  This place has provisions for allowable with permission a 2 week stay at the longest which is unfortunately very, very short.  But historically this has served it's purpose as a wandering monastics way place. Very nice area, remote but they have active amount of laity and very good Sangha in residence.

If there are any communities that have open doors to outside Sangha then let us know, it will be shouted from the rooftops (not literally but we will post links or information).

Friday, October 26, 2012

In response to suffering

Today I read of yet another child's death. Yesterday two children, killed by their nanny. What kind of mind does this? Sorrowing, angry, and full of repetitive rages?  These last few months the child murder rate is dangerously rising?  What happened to the parents? What happened to their caregivers? What happened to the stranger who grabbed and killed?

Caring hearts all cry the same.

I can't logic this out.  But I can pray.

Namo Guanshiyin Pusa

Please watch over our world's sufferers much closer.  Actively assist those children facing violence, protect them. Enable the human's who can act, to act to protect our precious jewels. This is violence is not stopping but it seems to be increasing, aid those haters, angry, sorrowful, regretful, imbalanced, and swiftly calm their minds, enabling them to seek help of a long lasting kind to keep them stable.  To those murdered please teach them no revenge, to let go of their sorrow, sense of loss and fear, moving in to their next life or to their heavens let them be at peace.  May all sentient beings in the past, present and future benefit from this prayer from this bhikshuni who is caring and thinking of all of them, who is a mother, who was a wife, who was child, who was born into this human realm.  May all my ancestors of all my lives, my loves, my children and my children's next lives and families benefit and have full and peaceful lives. Amituofo!

I bow to Observe World Sound's known as Avalokitasvara Bodhisattva.

Ven. Hong Yang, Bhikshuni
8th rains October 26 2012.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Build the Nunnery Editing ideas?

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.