Monday, November 25, 2013

Kicked out or Real, Advice to Sangha in robes on how to investigate frauds or errant Sangha

It is really hard to figure out if a monastic in robes has been kicked out for parajika offenses and complicated if they refuse to stop wearing robes unless you were someone connected by the sad occasion and actually knew them well.  Sometimes we can find a dividing line between ‘professional’ and devoted to the Path.  Here are some of mine:

First, their behavior in robes is the first clue to how they swing and how pure they really are.  

Second, if they emphasis money or fundraising over providing dharma talks and services.  

Third, if they clearly flaunt wealth. Big cars, homes, expensive products, etc.  

Fourth, if they deny you citizenry rights or basic human rights.  

Fifth, if they don’t let you go outside, deny you permission to seek medical care, become hostile and so that it makes you fearful or dependent. 

Sixth, if they are overly coercive in having you ‘dirty’ your hands in their nasty business.  This they do so they can force you to comply by collusion.  

Seventh, if they tell you that you or everyone around you is crazy and most assuredly they are state they are not.

If you find some of these apply then take another look at them to see if you are noticing the things actually happening or if you just are feeling culture shock.  You should talk to them to see if you can tell if they are needing (only if you are Sangha yourself can you give this) admonition or remain set in their ways.  If they are past caring about Vinaya then you need to leave them, break cleanly or you will find yourself broken from the root (Sangha only commit this parajika by hiding another's clear parajika fault).  This comment is regarding the parajika offense of associating with an unrepentant expelled Bhikshu or expelled Bhikshuni.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Motivation to seek ordination and join the Sangha

What is your motivation if you are indeed seeking to ordain as a monk or a nun?  

I would hope it would be for the best reasons; however, I have read so many autobiographies since the 1990s of so-called modern seekers most who failed to remain robed that I should address motivation first.

If you become a monk or a nun in the Buddhist tradition called the Sangha then your motivation should be seeking Enlightenment for yourself while being a monk or a nun in Buddhist robes.  

However, people become monks or nuns for much different reasons.  Some reasons are for the fad of it, professional aspirations, supporting politics, supporting the underdog, to stand out from society, attain fame, get money, emotional satisfaction, making history, legitimizing views, infiltrate and conquer, escape, to help others, gay rights, women's rights, feminism, and many others.

Popular causes highlighted in Buddhism tend to attract people's attention.  Countries that have troubled histories in Buddhism tend to polarize people's views regarding Sangha behavior and authority. History is often ignored in light of headlines.

Those seeking ordination need to really take the time they need to explore their motivation.  If you are politically or fashionably orientated then you are facing more obstacles if you indeed achieve the goal of becoming ordained in robes.

Seek out stable long standing communities of Sangha to observe, be observed and understand how they work, practice and live.  If you go into the robes without knowing the language, culture, history or even the basics of how you are expected to live and survive in robes then you are indeed in for a really rude awakening and may become frustrated and negative in your own life.

Mental health in those seeking ordination, you must be conservative here. People do your work on yourself.  Make use of therapy and therapists before you try to join a monastic community.  Have plan of safety if you suffer form chronic mental illness. If you are good at putting it in place, taking care of your needs diligently then you should have no problems in your monastic life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Leaving Home

Leaving Home to become a sramana a left home man given 10 precepts or sramaneri also referred to as sramanerika a left home woman given 10 precepts in the West has to be the hardest for those that have no idea where to start to find a place to leave home to.  In Buddhist countries there is the advantage of knowing where to go and the best places to go to.

It is important to go to the places first that you wish to ordain with, for women this means a longer period of observation while attending the temple as a lay Buddhist and then joining in volunteering.  Most training places in the USA are founded by overseas Buddhists thus their primary culture and language is not English.  The two largest places for those intending full ordination while training in the USA are the Sagely City of 10,000 Buddhas in Northern California and the Hsi Lai Temple in Southern California.

Both places have a "look and see" type program for inquiring people who want to consider leaving home to become ordained.  These programs are likely to ask you to be a volunteer for some time 3 to 6 months as you will better understand by experiencing monastery life.

Both places offer training with spoken English but will include and encourage you to study the Chinese language for benefit of understanding and participating in the Buddhist ceremonies which is also written in the Chinese language.  Most of their material is in Chinese with instruction in Chinese but with English as well.  It's great to learn both if your first language is neither then you need to know at least one of these two.

They both provide excellent educational opportunities.

If you choose a smaller temple it may be better to be sure you undertake it with a mature understanding.  If you are the type to take on a new language and culture with a good deal of tolerance and enjoyment then go ahead.  If you can't stand any type of new food or traditions then just  forget it.  In a smaller setting you will be taught most of the services during the course of the year, the music, the instruments, the care and preparation of services, food and events.  Everyone is wearing all duty's hats, the decisions are made by the abbot or abbess generally, everyone is responsible for themselves, their health, their training.  You need to be able to take the public nature of your life, the idea of being on a stage from the time you are up to the time you close your eyes and sleep is a good image to keep in mind.  Most of the training places are based on the Dharmagupta Vinaya precepts meaning they are entirely Mahayana in orientation.

The best training is the one that is taken fully understanding what you are getting into, seeing problems clearly in others and in yourself and striving on in spite of them both for yourself making sure you are committed to the new role and walk the Path you undertake in purity and dedication.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chinese Sangha in the United States a woman from Iowa ordained in the oldest lineage

It is very likely you haven't met me or anyone like me, but if you live in Ames, Iowa you have surely seen me.  I am a fully ordained Bhikshuni a Buddhist trained in the oldest form of Buddhism in the USA, Chinese Buddhism.  It's rather remarkable that I have not seen much about Chinese Buddhism in the USA when it's been here the longest and built some of the largest temples and monasteries in the United States.
Ven. Hong Yang Bhikshuni, participating at a Diversity Fair in Ames, Iowa 

As of right now I'm not the visually stunning photographic stock image of the Buddhist nun you see in your search engines.  For one I am white not Chinese ivory but with a hint of spice from 5 to 7 countries of mixed ethnic origin thus not the typical one landed country straight liner most seem to be here in the states.  If you were a minority mix you were from the other side of the tracks as far as the majority was concerned in your little town.  As you can guess I was in the minority in my town, white, of the wrong clan, not a beauty queen, but a great worker, a happy woman, a risk taker, and adventurous soul.  I did what most have dreamed of, earned my own way, sought experiences and education, went overseas lots of times, was poor my whole life so far, so really the sky's the limit in what you want to achieve in your life, if I can do it on a dime then you surely can!

Iowa is largely Irish, German, Swedish, Finnish, and French with a little Scots, African, Spanish and since the 70s Hmong, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Singaporean, Filipino, Cambodian, Burmese, Korean, Japanese, and many more!

I am very orthodox in my Buddhist views even while here in Iowa. I live simply, and am not afraid to use technology, as I strongly feel that it's important to accord with the times we live in and not get hung up in trying to live the way they did in 300 BCE India.  I am not alone in this, already other masters besides myself have long since be on the technology wave as it has emerged.  It is true to my nature to be so, for I am a curious woman, well-educated, diligent, studious, artistic, and very dedicated to the Vinaya and the pursuit of translations of the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka in the Taisho Edition.  I want it translated completely before I die.  And I won't die until that is completely done.

I respect my ordination and the robes I receive I wear gladly. I received ordination in the Chinese tradition thus have Chinese robes.  They happen to be from the Tang dynasty in style and are very comfortable.  I do indeed favor this style as they are very practical.  Daily wear is a type of loose shirt and long loose pants, then over that is a long vest or longer shirt.  This is preserve modesty for men and women both wear the same according to the Vinaya guidelines for Sangha.  

I'm not repressed except by those who seek to repress Buddhism, slot women in traditional roles in Buddhism (Western ppl do this alot) and I always walk in freedom.  I find those ordained in active 2 - part Sanghas do indeed uphold their precepts and conduct with grace and maturity while those with 1-part Sangha (only monks) do not do their robes justice regarding women being ordained in their tradition.  Most of the women underneath the rule of the 1-part Sangha do not achieve the same degree of education and are stuck in their householder mode of thinking due to lack of cultural and role models to emulate from women in robes.  To these women I would invite them to consider a proper 2-part Sangha community to train themselves so they too can walk in freedom.

I encourage women to seek the supportive path of the 2-part Sangha as the Buddha set the rules for this.  The lack of support for women in just 1-part Sangha is a significant barrier to progress for women to join the the full Sangha.  In modern times we must deal with things responsibly and realistically.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fakers in the Sangha how to spot one it's really hard for us too

Buddha set forth clear rules on who is and who is not a Sangha member.  He started with a simple command of acceptance Ehi Bhikkhu or Ehi Bhikkhuni meaning "Come here my Sakya man disciple, Come here my Sakya woman disciple" then because of Sangha members who raped, went in public naked, or were drunk or violated some local laws, or did something criminal or disgusting, he had to keep adding rules from 5 basic ones now often given to lay Buddhists for guidance in their lives to the 250 of Bhikshus and 348 for Bhikshunis.

The big 5 are do not kill (refers to a human being), do not steal, do not lie, do not have sex, do not take intoxicants. This is the usual order for lay people.

What a defeat means is that that person is no longer immediately on the act and in this lifetime allowed to be calling themselves Bhikshu or Bhikshuni or represent themselves as such, neither can they wear robes or retain the rights of a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni anywhere in this world.  They cannot be re-ordained either later if they reform their ways or remain celibate.  They cannot with the intention to ordain again join any Buddhist tradition new or old; or cross into another countries place with the purpose to ordain again.   There is no fix to it, anywhere.  This means if a Mahayana or Theravada defeat then they cannot go to the other tradition to be ordained.  This means they cannot join a non-Vinaya group like Japanese traditions and be ordained a married priest nor be a monastic there.  They must disrobe and leave the community in lay clothes.  They remain Buddhists lay man or lay woman for the rest of their life if they choose too.

Four special categories of bhikkhunis/bhikkhus exempted from a penalty under this rule: any bhikshu/bhikshuni who is insane, possessed by spirits, delirious with pain, or the first offender(s). These four categories are exempted from penalties under nearly all of the rules, although the first offender for each rule is exempted only for the one time he acted in such a way as to provoke the Buddha into formulating the rule.  

NOTE to the STUBBORN or the RADICALS!  This is NOT A FREE PASS, the ONE TIME exemptions are hard to stick to, and it really is dependent on whether your Sangha would tolerate it even once.  

Vibhanga commentary defines insane anyone who "goes about in an unseemly way, with deranged perceptions, having cast away all sense of shame and compunction, not knowing whether he has transgressed major or minor training rules." It recognizes this as a medical condition, which it blames on the bile. As for spirit possession, it says that this can happen either when spirits frighten one or when, by distracting one with sensory images, they insert their hands into one's heart by way of one's mouth (!). Whatever the cause, it notes that insane and possessed bhikkhus are exempt from penalties they incur only when their perceptions are deranged ("when their mindfulness is entirely forgotten and they don't know what fire, gold, excrement, and sandalwood are") and not from any they incur during their lucid moments. As for a bhikkhu delirious with pain, he is exempt from penalties he incurs only during periods when the pain is so great that he does not know what he is doing.

In the Dharmgupta 4 part Bhikshuni precepts it's written this way:

1. If a bhikshuni acts on sexual desires, violates, impure conduct, and even with domestic animals is a bhikshuni parajika and together cannot live.

The full offense here is composed of four factors: effort, object, knowledge, and consent.
Summary: Voluntary sexual intercourse — genital, anal, or oral — with a human being, non-human being, or common animal is a pārājika offense.

2. If a bhikshuni, gathers in a city, if in an empty place, not given, cherishes stealing, intends to take; Follows and actually steals things.  If by a king, if a king's official places or catches.  If killed, if bound, if banished:  "You are thief! You fool!  You are none to know."  If a bhikshuni not given, takes, is a bhikshuni does thus:  is a bhikshuni parajika and together cannot live.

four factors.
  • 1) Object: anything belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
  • 2) Perception: One perceives the object as belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
  • 3) Intention: One decides to steal it.
  • 4) Effort: One takes it.
Stealing under any circumstances is always an offense. However, the severity of the offense depends on another factor, which is —
  • 5) The value of the object.
This is one that is vastly regulated examples, rules and intentions, living and the dead, pretas, and spirits, devas and the attached deceased; friends and acquantances permissions and implied, permanent and temporary; and the commentary and exceptions are lengthy.

3. If a bhikshuni intends oneself, holds severs a human life, if holds a knife aids together with people.  If admires death, praises death, and urges death: "Arrgh! People use this evil life for! rather death no life!" Acts accordingly to her mind's idea, countless helps out, admires death, praises death, urges death.  This is a bhikshuni parajika and together cannot live.

Supporting suicide particularly the self-immolation in and out of Tibet is a parajika because it is done in words, print, pictures, online websites and in social media, signing petitions that support this, in protest marches, and acts with intention to result in the death of another person, no matter what views you have on the matter in Tibet or it's status as you wish it to be.  There is no Bodhisattva vow or any precedence that would override this at all.

 five factors, all of which must be present for there to be the full offense.
  • 1) Object: a human being, which according to the Vibhaṅga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately after conception up to the time of death.
  • 2) Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that person's death. "Knowingly" also includes the factor of —
  • 3) Perception: perceiving the person as a living being.
  • 4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that person to die.
  • 5) Result: The life-faculty of the person is cut as the result of one's act.
The pārājika offense is for killing a human being aside from oneself. A bhikkhu who attempts suicide incurs a dukkaṭa. If there are bhikshu or bhikshuni or including novices supporting the act of suicide then they commit the parajika and are defeated instantly (self-immolation is suicide, those supporting it are in defeat upon the Facebook post of a picture or in written or spoken words).

A bhikkhu who kills a "non-human being" — a yakkha, nāga, or peta — or a devatā (this last is in the Commentary) incurs a thullaccaya. According to the Commentary, when a spirit possesses a human being or an animal, it can be exorcised in either of two ways. The first is to command it to leave: This causes no injury to the spirit and results in no offense. The second is to make a doll out of flour paste or clay and then to cut off various of its parts (!). If one cuts off the hands and feet, the spirit loses its hands and feet. If one cuts off the head, the spirit dies, which is grounds for a thullaccaya.

Rules entailing thullaccaya offenses are found in the Sutta Vibhaṅga as derivatives from pārājika and saṅghādisesa rules; in the Khandhakas, as stand-alone rules. The fact that they are scattered throughout the Canon with no special arrangement or section of their own makes it difficult to determine whether one has committed an offense of this class. NOTE these require confession to good bhikshu or if a bhikshuni to another good bhikshuni.  this is an appendix to the Buddhist Monastic Code from Access to Insight website:
Here is the thullaccaya-confession:

61. Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive an animal of life, it is to be confessed.

There are five factors for the full offense here.
1) Object: a living animal.
2) Perception: One perceives it to be a living animal.
3) Intention: One knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wants to cause its death.
4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing it to die.
5) Result: It dies as a result of one's action.

4. If a bhikshuni really not actually knows.  Self admires praises says:  "I gained exceptional dharma.  I already become an Arhat whose wisdom surpasses dharma.  I know correctly.  I see correctly." Later at a different time.  If asked, if ignored wishes to seek purity intentionally, doing correctly say:  "All elders, I really not know, not see, and said I know, I see.  False lies talking nonsense." except achieves a slow highly developed (ability) is a bhikshuni parajika and together cannot live.

The full offense under this rule has four factors.

1) Object: a superior human state.
2) Perception: One perceives it as not present in oneself.
3) Effort: One addresses a human being, mentioning that state in connection with oneself — either the state as within oneself, or oneself as in the state —
4) Intention: with the intent to misrepresent the truth, motivated by an evil desire.

NOTE:  Natural states are ok, confusion about an attainment is ok, lack of education, superstition, cultural customs and the case by case basis for the claim or practice that is noticed by other bhikshuni is not a violation of this.  Because there is no intention to violate.  Modern cases refer to gaining extra sensory ability whether it's real or mistaken, reading minds, knowing past lives, meeting the demands of Buddhists who would otherwise not learn from masters is ok but a violation if it is all faked.  No ruling on making money off of abilities, except for already stated in the Vinaya.

5. If a bhikshuni, an impure mind together with an impure mind man, from armpit already down, knee above, bodies mutually touching.  If caught rubbing.  If holding hands. If returns.  If upper touches.  If raises.  If lowers. If catches.  If presses down, is a bhikshuni parajika, not together to live.  It is due to a body mutually touching reason.

A continuation of Parajika 1 in more detail. The intention is to give in to desire, sexual attraction being mutual.  This means the woman has not given up her desire for sex and its acting on it. Thus it is a defeat.

6.  If a bhikshuni, an impure mind, knows a man's impure mind; accepting grabs hands, seizes robes, enters a screened place, together standing, together talking, together walking, or bodies mutually lean on, or together dates.  Is a bhikshuni parajika and together cannot live.

This is also related to parajika 1.  The case is dating, being seen dating, as a couple so the people viewing the bhikshuni with the man will see them as a couple walking in public, talking in public, going into a screened place even standing, watching them seeing them lean on each other like a husband and wife or a boyfriend and girlfriend. Women who have neglected their mindfulness finding themselves seeking out men, being in the company of men, making comments about the beauty or ugliness of men, are also at risk here.  Comments to a family member to shore them up and build their confidence are not a part here, but still can't be in the company of the menfolk without attracting gossip.

7. If a Bhikshuni, knows a Bhikshuni violated a parajika, not self confessed, not pure assembly.  If in an unusual time; this bhikshuni or life when her life ends, or among assembly raises, or retires a path, or enters a place path group, after does rightly say: "I foretold similar to be thus as a right violation." Is a bhikshuni parajika, together cannot live.  Covered concealed serious fault by intent.

This matter means that if knowing a bhikshuni in or outside your own community or even in your community has a violated a parajika then that bhikshuni is suspect but not in violation if she is unclear about the matter at hand.  All good bhikshuni should be aware of this difference.  Knowing someone who is a parajika breaker is not good for your credibility either.  I regularly check my friends on Facebook for appropriateness.  Sometimes with a large number of fans or friends it's really hard to catch it when a violation occurs.

8.  If a Bhikshuni knows a Bhikshu  Sangha to do conduct. As a dharma, as regulation, as a Buddha actually taught  not comply , not repentant, the Sangha not yet grant act together to live, yet to comply, all Bhikshuni speak saying: "Elder sisters, this Bhikshu no Sangha place conduct, as dharma, as law, as Buddha actually taught.  Not comply  not repentant, Sangha not yet grant act together to live, as did not comply." thus bhikshuni warn this bhikshuni when persists not given up.  This bhikshuni must and even  2nd, 3rd warnings, order gives up this mistake.  And even 3 warnings, gives up she is good.  If she doesn't give up.  It is a bhikshuni parajika not together to live.  Violation follows conduct intent.

Really simple, stop hanging out with the bad boys.  You Bhikshuni who support a violated Bhikshu are considered warned now upon reading this blog.  I'm checking your Facebook timeliness periodically, unfortunately it takes me time to figure stuff out, I like you, do err on the side of caution.  If you hide you can be found.  Don't worry about it if you are not in the wrong here.

A bhikkhu who violates any of these four pārājika rules is automatically no longer a bhikkhu. There is no need for him to go through a formal ceremony of disrobing, for the act of violating the rule is an act of disrobing in and of itself. As each of the rules states, he is no longer in affiliation, which the word-analysis defines as no longer having a single transaction (i.e., he can no longer participate in any Community meetings), no longer having a single recitation (i.e., he can no longer participate in the uposatha (see BMC2, Chapter 15)), no longer having a training in common with the bhikkhus.
Even if a bhikkhu who has violated any of these rules continues to pretend to be a bhikkhu, he does not really count as one; as soon as the facts are known he must be expelled from the Saṅgha. He can never again properly ordain as a bhikkhu in this life. If he tries to ordain in a Community that does not know of his offense, his ordination is invalid, and he must be expelled as soon as the truth is found out.
The Commentary to Pr 1 maintains that he is allowed to "go forth" as a novice, but because the Vibhaṅga does not clearly support this position, not all Communities accept it.
Ignorance of these rules does not exempt an offender from the penalty, which is why the Buddha ordered that they be taught to each new bhikkhu as soon as possible after ordination (Mv.I.78.2-5). Because the rules cover a number of cases that are legal in present-day society (e.g., recommending abortion, proving to oneself how supple one has become through yoga by inserting one's penis in one's mouth) or that are common practice among people who see nothing wrong with flirting with the edges of the law (e.g., hiding an article subject to customs duties when entering a country), it is especially important to inform each new bhikkhu of the rules' full implications from the very start.
If a bhikkhu suspects that he has committed a pārājika, he should immediately inform a senior bhikkhu well versed in the rules. The way the senior bhikkhu should handle the case is well-illustrated by an incident reported in the Commentary to Pr 2: A king together with an enormous crowd once went to worship the Great Stūpa at a certain monastery in Sri Lanka. Among the crowd was a visiting bhikkhu from the South of the country who was carrying an expensive roll of cloth. The commotion of the event was so great that he dropped the cloth, was unable to retrieve it, and soon gave it up for lost. One of the resident bhikkhus happened to come across it and, desiring to steal it, quickly put it away before the owner might see it. Eventually, of course, he became tormented by guilt and went to the resident Vinaya expert to admit a pārājika and disrobe.
The Vinaya expert, though, wouldn't let him disrobe until he had found the owner of the cloth and inquired about it more fully. Eventually, after a long search, the bhikkhu was able to track down the original owner at a monastery back South, who told him that at the time of the theft he had given the cloth up for lost and had abandoned all mental attachment for it. Thus, as the cloth was ownerless, the resident bhikkhu had incurred not a pārājika, but simply some dukkaṭas for the preliminary efforts with intention to steal.
This example shows several things: the great thoroughness with which a senior bhikkhu should investigate a possible pārājika, the compassion he should show to the offender, and the fact that the offender should be given the benefit of the doubt wherever possible: He is to be considered innocent until the facts prove him guilty.
There are, however, cases of another sort, in which a bhikkhu commits a pārājika and refuses to acknowledge the fact. If his fellow bhikkhus see, hear, or have any suspicions that this has happened, they are duty-bound to bring up the issue with him. If they are not satisfied with his assertions of his innocence, the case becomes an accusation issue, which must be resolved in line with the procedures outlined in Sg 8 and Chapter 11.
Finally, the Commentary concludes its discussion of the pārājikas by noticing that there are altogether 24eight actual, twelve equivalent, and four derived — pārājikas for bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs.
The eight actual pārājikas are:
  • the four for bhikkhus (also observed by the bhikkhunīs), and
  • the four additional pārājikas for bhikkhunīs alone.
The twelve equivalent pārājikas include the eleven disqualified types who should not be ordained as bhikkhus in the first place. If they happen to be ordained, their ordination is invalid; once they are found out they must be expelled for life (Mv.I.61-68; see BMC2, Chapter 14 for details). They are —
  • a paṇḍaka (essentially, a eunuch or a person born neuter — see Saṅghādisesa 2),
  • a "non-human" being, (this includes nāgas, petas, devas, and yakkhas),
  • a hermaphrodite,
  • a person who poses as a bhikkhu without having been ordained,
  • a bhikkhu who has ordained in another religion without first giving up his status as a bhikkhu,
  • a person who has murdered his father,
  • a person who has murdered his mother,
  • a person who has murdered an arahant,
  • a person who has sexually molested a bhikkhunī,
  • a person who has maliciously injured a Buddha to the point of causing him to bleed, and
  • a person who has dishonestly caused a schism in the Saṅgha, knowing or suspecting that his position was contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya.
These eleven equivalent pārājikas apply to bhikkhunīs as well.
The twelfth equivalent pārājika, which applies only to bhikkhunīs, is the case where a bhikkhunī leaves the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha and takes up the role of a lay woman (Cv.X.26.1). Unlike the bhikkhus, the bhikkhunīs have no formal procedure for disrobing. If they leave the Saṅgha, they are not allowed to reordain for the rest of this lifetime.
In addition to the twenty actual and equivalent pārājikas, the Commentary gives separate listing to the four anulomika (derived) pārājikas, which are actually four cases included under Pr 1: the bhikkhu with a supple back who sticks his penis in his mouth, the bhikkhu with a long penis who inserts it into his anus, the bhikkhu who performs oral intercourse with someone else, and the bhikkhu who receives anal intercourse. Of these, three can be extrapolated to apply to bhikkhunīs, too. Why the Commentary lists these cases as separate pārājikas is hard to tell, until it's simply to ensure that these permutations of Pr 1 don't get overlooked. Still, the entire list of 24 is important, for under the rules dealing with falsely accusing another bhikkhu of having committed a pārājika (Sg 8 & 9) or the rule dealing with concealing another bhikkhu's pārājika offense (Pc 64), the Commentary defines pārājika as including equivalent and derived pārājikas as well.
Inserted material is from Access to Insight website.  Parajika section in Chapter 4 of the Buddhist Monastic Code I; the material I inserted is only a little bit from this entire section. It bears saying that it is better to read the Buddhist Monastic Code I and Buddhist Monastic Code II for more information and for a complete understanding of this matter.

Remember those who are Bhikshuni or Bhikshu living in solitude away from Sangha but not intentionally disrobing are still considered pure.  It is a fault on the Bhikshu or Bhikshuni that  views them or claims them as defeated or disrobed because they live alone or in retreat or are retired.

Sangha in Buddha's time his students even lived in solitude and it's always been the case due to financial costs or lack of community space or geography or even personal preferences where Sangha would live on their own.  Records left to us by ancient masters and their communities point out those that live to high achievement while living on their own and remaining pure.  And exceptions are made for those that need to be working and having to adhere to dress codes in the workplace then returning home to wear robes are in fact still in good standing. There is no rule against such living only rules guiding one in how to live in community and how to live outside it.

Take heart dear brothers and sister in purity.  If you find you are the object of derision by another Sangha member just get on Facebook, I will find you someone you can trust to help you decide the matter.  If the matter includes one of these then you are duty bound to seek an elder who is expert in the Vinaya and who is willing to hear you and you should observe the advice given.  If you are in defeat admit it let it be investigated to see if the it is truly the case and if it is so, then take the recommended action but please do wait for the review and the process to be complete, particularly if you are a bhikshuni.

We are not to attract local gossip, being careful to deport ourselves properly in public, we are to seek out other Sangha regularly, asking elders for advice often.  It is also clear that you can go outside your own community or tradition to receive good advice from Vinaya masters.  Do so, it matters.  It clarifies and makes you more supported than if you were sitting in a chair wondering about a mater.

Remain in contact with other Bhikshuni or Bhikshu in good standing who are in solitude or residing in communities.  This is clear.  No one can be accused of a parajika or other offenses for where they live and/or how they have to survive as long as they are not breaking the the laws or their Vinaya precepts given to them.  Remember dear Sangha a place or robes does not make you pure
it is the precepts properly transmitted to you,
properly educated right away in them and
if you observe them in your daily life continuously that makes you pure.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Surangama Sutra translator notes

The Surangama Sutra is from the esoteric section of the Taisho Edition of the Mahayana Tripitaka.  Esoteric teachings are often misinterpreted as the secret teachings.  It is not secret; it is deep teaching that requires much commitment to study.  I do not believe in secrets or promoting them in Buddhism.   I strive for clear teachings and translations.  In the Tantra vehicle there are teachings for practitioners and clear instructions to keep their practice private in order to focus on the practice and to avoid fame.  Buddha dharma should be open, clear and available to anyone who cares to read it, all of it.  All collections of Buddha’s teachings, including commentaries are not private and should be open to all. 

In my opinion and as well as others, sometimes labels of ‘secret’ are offered to cover up the fact of lost scholarship,  centuries of protecting selfishly inherited teachings to remain in power, poor study, a serious lack of access to moral, sane, even of qualified teachers there gets to be a label of ‘secret’ to help the teacher save face while they are trying to avoid the dreaded “I don’t know”.  Then with time this mistakenly is taken for precedent and the tradition with a perfectly prefab type answer becomes the only rote response instead of encouraging investigation and growth in the practitioner.   There are teachings that are publicly offered and practices carried on that have produced many positive effects.  They are known far and wide as beneficial and talked about openly, this Surangama Mantra is such a teaching in any language it is written in and folks it’s been written in many languages just not in English until now.  This work has been a part of Mahayana practices in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan and recited in native languages for centuries and it’s about time in our short 160 years history in the USA that we have standard Mahayana daily recitation texts in English.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Translator Notes from Heroes Spell

Sanctity of the language versus clarity in understanding.  There is no mandate for sanctity of  language in traditional Buddhism, so why demand one in the West?  It is ordered by the Buddha himself to adapt to the country in which his Sangha (meaning monastics bhikshu and bhikshuni only) travels to and resides.

It’s a power trip from wrong view.  Those that demand a blind devotion to a language as a vehicle of enlightenment or access to Buddha’s teachings are perverting Buddha dharma.  Devotion to language as ‘official’ to to legitimize a particular sect or teacher limits another being’s access to sutras, esteemed teachings of ancient and modern dharma masters.  Thus stunting their growth and development in the pursuit of enlightenment.

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 competancyat 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.

This seriously stunts the progress of Western practitioners and students of Buddhism.  It’s a joke on sincere people being perpetuated by repetition and desire for gain or control, the joke can be on you based upon your own limited views and blindsidedness.  You need to support financially qualified Western monastics in their advancement of training rather than send your dollars or euros overseas.  Support the Western monastics improvement in their level of training, ask them how they train, if they have language ability in their own tradition; if that is missing they are not accomplished much except in reading trendy Buddhist books or by their own limitations in their personal practice for they try to fit in somehow to fads, trends and other religions.  The fact is most of the Western monastics have householding duties and very limited monastic training; unless they are trained in these traditions:  Chinese Buddhism, Vietnamese Buddhism, and Korean Buddhism.

The training available to Chinese and Korea is also available to sincere Westerners with competant translators being available but the training  to Westerners in Vietnamese Buddhism is very limited in access to the Sangha and sometimes to access to higher level masters who can speak English and outside of Vietnam as it’s government does not allow Westerners to train in their temples or ordain there.

Western women seeking training must be diligent.  Those going after trendy sects covered in the Buddhist news places like the newly formed Theravada nuns or the Tibetan communities will not find much stability or standard training or even qualified training dharma masters.  Strong patriarchal leanings in Thai, Sri Lankan, and Tibetan culture limit women severely even if they achived the full ordination as bhikshuni.

For women interested in quality well-established training the best is from the training nuns in Taiwan and the training nuns in Korea.  I am noting ‘training nuns’ meaning they are qualified to teach women to be come sramaneri, siksamana, and bhikshuni.  Their level of Vinaya education, understanding of Buddha dharma and skill as teachers are derived from their dedication to serious training from their own time spent training as sramaneri to bhikshuni.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Indiegogo Campaign Calm Clarity Temple

Feel free to click on our new indiegogo campaign Indiegogo fundraising for Calm Clarity Temple , we are trying to raise funds for a down payment for a purchase of land or a home for housing nuns who want to translate the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka or study Chinese Buddhism.  This temple will serve the Asian American community and the general mid west community who is interested in Buddhism, either through practice or curiosity

This is a traditional nunnery following the Chinese Buddhism within the context of our Western culture, Iowa flavored with context, primary to it's mission is translation and secondary is service to the public. Daily religious services, along with Buddhist traditional services with the Chinese lunar calendar will be used as the foundation.

Daily life is vegetarian with egg and cheese allowed.  No offerings from laity will be refused, as long as the food is safe and not rotten.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, donations of staples of flour, sugar, baking supplies, especially vital wheat gluten used for primary protein, along with low salt soy products are welcomed. links to standard USA sources for vegan and vegetarian Buddhist products will be listed shortly.