Reflections: When Adversity Knocks


When Adversity Knocks On My Door
by Liz Whiteford

Adversity comes to all of us at one time or another and, for many, our initial reaction can be one of confusion, anxiety, sadness, regret, or despair. Before studying Buddhism, I spent a lifetime reacting out of fear and anxiety. My only hope was that adverse circumstances would change as quickly as possible so that the anxiety in the pit of my stomach would disappear (until the next time.) I believed that the safest way to live was to take the least amount of chance and prepare for every eventuality. I was full of envy as I looked at other people who seemed to sail through life without any conflict or regret while every challenge became an obstacle for me. There are several principles of Buddhism that have begun to change my attitude about adversity: causality, Middle Way reality, tolerance, and impermanence.

To accept that present circumstances (effect) are a result of previous actions (cause) answers the previously unanswerable question of “why do bad things happen to good people?” Now, I no longer ask “why me?” From that point on, I have learned to go forward with the elements of the Eightfold Path so that I can develop good karma for the future. In other words, I no longer waste time wondering why adversity comes to me, but, instead, I focus on how I can create good cause now for a good future effect.

In the middle of an adverse situation, I try to practice Middle Way reality by neither ignoring the situation nor becoming totally engaged in it. I do the best I can to deal with circumstances without becoming dragged down into anxiety and despair. I’m not always successful but, now, I can observe when my mind wants to take me down the old, familiar path and I attempt to react in a different mindful way. I’m finally beginning to understand that through the practice of sitting meditation, which trains us to bring our minds to a calm, focused place, I can move my mind away from useless thoughts of anxiety and confusion toward a more serene state. And, instead of wishing for adversity to go away as quickly as possible, I try to tolerate and show patience toward it. I no longer see adversity as an enemy but as an opportunity to practice tolerance.

Impermanence has taught me that all things in life will change-sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In the middle of a crisis, this helps me to accept and to know that it will eventually change or end whether by my actions or the actions of an outside force. This has given me hope when, at times in the past, I had none.

Several years ago, my family moved to San Francisco from the East Coast where we had lived for many years. We intellectually understood that this undertaking would be difficult but we were not prepared for the emotional suffering we would face. Our jobs were not satisfactory, we had few friends, we missed the family we left behind and we regretted having moved so far away. Coincidentally, I found Buddha Gate Monastery only three miles from our house and, having wanted to explore Buddhism for a long time, I began to take classes and attend ceremonies. It wasn’t long before I realized that Buddhism offers an entirely different way of approaching life and managing adversity. In a short while, I could begin to see how the principles mentioned above could be used to improve my situation. I am coming to terms with our move without regret, trying to be more tolerant of our situation as I know it will change, and being hopeful about the future.

When Adversity Knocks On My Door
by Sylvia Huynh / Chuan Xin

This is a very good reflection exercise. Since I have been given this topic, I have been thinking really hard to see what one specific adversity happened in my life before and after I studied Buddhism that I can compare. I finally have to say that it is my health and the pain associated with it.

While growing up as a child, I always had stomach pain, but the doctors turned me away because they said I was too young to be sick. The doctors put me on pain medication and told me the pain would go away. I remember times when I was rolling on the floor in the living room holding my stomach and complaining to my parents about my pain. Did they not care about me? Now that I look back, they ignored me not because they didn’t care; it was because I was complaining too much and there was nothing they could do to help me.

When I was in high school, I started to suffer from low back pain. Not knowing what had triggered it, none of the doctors really did anything to help ease the pain. They assumed that it would eventually go away, or I would not complain about it anymore. At least at my age, they didn’t think it was anything serious. I’ve gone to see physical therapists, sports injury specialists, chiropractors and even an acupuncturist. No one could do anything that could ease the pain. Their treatments either had no affect or only gave temporary relief. At that time, even a day of relief was appreciated. I started having negative thoughts toward doctors and medications. I began losing faith in doctors and always resented going back to them since they couldn’t help me.

By the time I was in college, new pain and symptoms started to appear. I started to get sciatica (nerve pain) radiating down my legs. This made it difficult for me to drive and sit in class for long periods of time. I continued going to physical therapy and seeing a chiropractor for temporary relief. Again, the stereotype of my age being too young had a big part in the therapist’s analysis. I was easily irritated by the thoughts of my age and the doctors not accepting the fact that there was something wrong with me that was causing my pain. By this time, I grew tired; I started to accept the fact that my back pain was chronic and that I would have to live with it for the rest of my life. I remember thinking to myself. ‘Why me? What did I do to deserve this?’ Not knowing the principles of Cause & Effect, I didn’t realize that these symptoms could have been caused by an accumulation of past karma. I continued to go to different doctors hoping that one day someone could find something to help with my pain and problem. Doing this was just an action to satisfy myself so I could say I have done something by trying to seek someone for help.

Each day passed with the thought that my ‘chronic pain’ would be stuck with me forever. I mentally learned to accept the fact that my body has to adapt to the pain. As I got older, my pain kept coming and going. Over a year and a half ago, I started to endure another new type of pain. My neck, shoulder and arms were hurting to a pain level that was much more intense than my back at this point. I use to think that it was unfair for me to have to go through this kind of ‘torture’.

This type of torture aggravated my anger at home. Thinking that no one could understand my pain the way I do, I was very ignorant and expected my family to sympathize with my pain. This time the pain was irritable to a point where it affected my performance at work. That was when I decided it was unacceptable for me. I needed to really find someone to figure out what I needed to fix the pain. Luckily, two months ago, I was referred to a specialist who took the time to find out exactly the trigger area that was causing pain in my neck and shoulder. I have gone through an epidural injection procedure, which has diminished the pain tremendously. Currently, I have only have minor sporadic pains that I can deal with because it has diminished to a very low pain level .

Since I started going to Buddha Gate Monastery, I realized I had many negative thoughts and I was selfish in thinking that the increase of my pain was due to the incompetence of the doctors. I blamed my family for not understanding my sufferings, when it was my own anger that I was to blame. I let the pain I’ve been growing up with overpower me. The chain reaction explains the example of Cause & Effect. Now that I have started to utilize my Buddhist practice, I’ve come to realize that my actions play a huge part in how I should react to my pain. I’ve started to recognize and judge my behavior and situations differently. One major change that I’ve put into practice is to slow down my multi-task lifestyle and only attend to things I believe I can handle and that are important.

After taking meditation classes and listening to the Dharma talks, it seems like a luxury to take the time to sit and meditate. With our mind full of many thoughts, we need to purify our mind in order to have a clear understanding of what issues we are facing and how we are to deal with them. I also realize I was too attached to my body being in pain. My body is impermanent so I need to accept the pain at that very moment and then let that thought go. By changing my negative views and instead of complaining about it, I tell myself to let go of the thought of pain and it will subside on it’s own, eventually.

I never imagined that I could learn from my own pain. It is not the pain my body is going through that I am listening to, but it is my mind that I need to pay attention to. Giving my physical body rest and taking the time to take care of myself can give me the opportunity to become aware of myself and helps me determine what my next step will be. Since I still have pain after I started practicing Buddhism, I have gradually started meditating longer daily and used that time to calm my mind down. It is funny how my whole body feels much lighter and the pain does not linger on as long now that I think about it differently.

by Joe Provost / Chuan Jie

Life presents us with daily opportunities to react in anger. From the news in the morning, to the commute, to the grind of the workplace, and again the news in the evening, bills, things breaking down, nothing ever goes right, anger is easily presented to us.

Someone I was acquainted with a few years ago pointed out that I was an angry person. That surprised me because I didn’t see that in myself, so I asked several close friends if I seemed to be an angry person to them. The general answer was “no”, rather I appeared to be deeply saddened at the injustice, unfairness of the world around me. If I appeared angry, it was my profound reaction to the injustices I saw. The hypocrisy and the ignorance of what was plain as day to me, that others didn’t see or didn’t want to see. There are some who are angry that I’m not angry too, and others who are angry that I appear to be angry (a reflection on their part?). I just couldn’t win. Happy though, I was not.

I think it was Mahatma Gandhi that I first read, “If you want to change the world, begin with yourself”. So I began my quest to find happiness and to change the world. Simple.

About a year ago I got a speeding ticket on the highway. I was going at the same rate of speed as most everyone around me, 79 mph (honest, some were passing me). A few years earlier I would have been really upset that the policeman stopped me. I was doing about the same speed as everyone else, so why did he choose me? I thought for a split second that it was unfair, but I didn’t react that way. Just a few days earlier, on that same road and in almost the same spot, a person nearly ran me off the road. There was no road rage on my part. I realized that in the big motor home that the person was driving, their view was blocked and they just didn’t see me. I could have said, “Why wasn’t the cop there when that happened”. But I didn’t. I understood at the time that the police couldn’t be everywhere. At this moment he had to stop someone and I was it. An earlier accident had help up traffic for two hours and everyone was speeding to catch up to themselves. I could have tried to use that excuse, but the bottom line was, I was speeding. I was just going along with the flow, it’s true, but I was still speeding. Why me I thought? The answer is .just because. And that’s it. It was my day to get a ticket.

What was happening to me, I questioned? Getting run off the road. Getting a ticket that might have been unfair. I had every right to be angry and upset, but what good would that have done me. None. So in those split seconds I made a choice, to not be angry. To take responsibility for my actions. I had been about twenty years since I had gotten a ticket, so I knew only money would be involved. A couple hundred bucks, but no long term consequences. That may have been part of the reason I could remain so calm. The policeman even apologized that he “had” to give me a ticket. I’m changing, I thought. It’s all about choices, and so far, I’m choosing to not be upset.

It’s been a long and circuitous route to Buddhism for me and finding Buddha Gate is as much a surprise for me, as I’m sure it’s not a surprise to my friends (my lifelong friends are not of any particular faiths). It’s as if the minute I said to myself I want to change, I found Buddha Gate, or it found me, one never really knows. I guess it had been about 6 months or so before getting that ticket that I had my first class at Buddha Gate. That’s where I discovered that I had a choice about how I react to adversity. I heard that said many times before but didn’t really understand it. I was very surprised at how the nuns could diffuse almost any situation. Being a Westerner, we have some rote responses to everyday situations. When pushed, we push back, when challenged, we respond in kind, when offended, we offend, and often we look for ways to be offended. Some of these things we do are so subtle and automatic that we don’t even notice them. The nuns on the other hand, have a different way of responding to every situation, and for me so far, I can’t see a consistent pattern. But I do see consistency in the teachings of Buddhist philosophy. Yes, life gives us many opportunities to be angry, but revelation: anger is a choice. I can choose to be angry or offended, or not.

I think I’m still new at this, but I’m learning every day. I must admit that I don’t meditate as often and as sincerely as I should, and that I don’t accept everything I’m taught at face value, but I have found that what I didn’t accept at one time, a year or so later, it seems simply obvious. I often ask myself, why didn’t I see things that way before? Osmosis? Maybe. But the practice and constant observance are sinking in, slowly at times, but sinking in nonetheless. And happiness is creeping in where the sadness used to live, and to my surprise, the world is changing, too.

by Bob Clark / Chuan Bo

Adversity is only
Karma and Resistance—
Seen differently.

I have been taking classes at Buddha Gate Monastery for nearly four years. I consider myself to be a novice, although Buddhism has given me glimpses of greater understanding and slivers of insight that have allowed me to handle adversity differently than I have in the past. Adversity comes in so many forms, seemingly from within and without. Outside me, it can take the simple form of an irate driver, a hostile store clerk, a slight illness, or a blown light bulb. Or it can take stronger forms such as a dire illness, a car accident, the breakdown of an important relationship, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job. Forces outside me can gather to create warfare and generate vast destruction, both at home and abroad. These are easy to identify because I have conditioned myself to look outside for the causes of my unhappiness. Because my senses are habitually turned outward, I perceive that adversity must be caused by what is happening “out there.” To my embarrassment, depending upon my internal state, my reactions are sometimes identical for all levels of “outside” adversity. In a given moment, confronting a blown light bulb can escalate my emotions beyond the outrage and despair felt regarding a War!

Locating the source of adversity within me is the greater chore. When I first started learning about Buddhism, I tended, as I have said, to perceive adversity almost exclusively outside me. It made sense then that I also sought solutions to adversity outside of myself. Though I carried with me a vague awareness that my real understanding of adversity and its solutions were to be found within, I continued to pound the world upon my own anvil hoping to reshape it into a workable resemblance of my own idea of perfection. Sometimes it seemed to work, at least a little bit, and the world seemed to get the idea of what I wanted. Then all of it would dissolve, fluctuate, and reform into a new variety of adversity. I often felt like I was trying to row an ocean liner with a drinking straw. My studies at Buddha Gate Monastery, along with the compassionate and thoughtful guidance of my teachers, as well as the support of my fellow students, have given me new tools with which to approach adversity.


Meditation was my greatest inspiration for attending Buddhist classes. I recall that on my very first introductory tour of Buddha Gate Monastery, I was most drawn to the Meditation (Chan) Hall. I knew that I must return to sit upon those bright gold and yellow pads and go inward. Really, for me, there are no concrete ways to describe the benefits of meditation in regards to adversity. It is something I do in silence to slow my mind and prepare it for other, more describable, skills. In that way, I place it first and foremost. I simply know that I cannot see my truth, perhaps any truth, in darkened, tempestuous waters.


This has proved to be one of my most useful tools. It originally arose for me out of my meditation, but has begun to “follow me” like a trusted friend— it now appears of its own accord, even apart from sitting meditation. When confronted by adversity, it allows me precious moments to curb my emotions and keep me more firmly planted in what I understand to be the Middle Way. It also gives me the awareness to remember the great, and sometimes destructive power, of cause and effect. Not always, but oftentimes, I am able to at least contain the level of adversity by leaving space and time for right thinking, right speech, right consciousness, etc. Even more importantly, reflection in the face of adversity allows me to more deeply access the Buddha mind. Often, solutions to adversity seem to “appear from nowhere” and everyone involved is pleased and satisfied. It has taken great faith for me to turn toward internal solutions for outside adversity, but my faith is gradually being rewarded with honorable and compassionate results. I feel increasing gratitude for that; and gratitude is a form of happiness.


This was one of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp. Perhaps, just maybe, it was hard to understand because it holds within it my own (body) mortality. It was difficult for me to look at the end of forms, things and people that I am attached to; places I still long to see; repentances I have not done; wrongs I have committed and left uncorrected and unhealed; and expressions of appreciation and gratitude that I have not expressed. Also, I am no longer a young man and I faced the truth of my place on the mortal timeline. It all came with this concept of emptiness.

However, once understood, I found great treasure in this concept as well. I felt motivated to undertake as much “correction” to my Karma as I could do (and am still doing); I recognized the freedom that could be obtained from breaking attachment to this temporary existence; and I have found it to be a useful way to handle adversity. As I said at the beginning of this article, I often treated all adversity with the same level of emotion. Now, when my distress is too great, I turn to this great truth of emptiness to remind me of the Absolute and not to give the temporary too much weight.


This has been another difficult topic for me. Since I was not wholly open to the concept of emptiness and my own (body) mortality, why would I want to even consider coming back again and again? I had pushed this truth back to the very outermost recesses of my common mind. Initially, it invoked a sense of despair and hopelessness in me. Gradually though, I have begun to understand that I am not a victim of Karma, but a “Depositor.” It is a wonderful banking system that can be misunderstood and under-appreciated. I remind myself when I face adversity that I can choose to “Deposit” or “Withdraw.” I can either build my account or diminish it. This helps me to see adversity as an opportunity and then deal with it in a more thoughtful and constructive way involving a lot less suffering.

Staying Present 

In my experience, this has become a sort of “end result” of all my studies. This is where I take my understanding and awareness out into the world. I have found it to be one of the most powerful ways for me to handle adversity. I didn’t realize it, but I often thought that I was facing adversity, when in reality I was resisting and avoiding it. Often, I wished that I was anywhere but there in the face of adversity. I would imagine being somewhere in the past or the future to attempt to comfort myself. I didn’t see this in myself and to be compassionate with myself, I don’t think it is that uncommon. I have very gradually come to understand that a nail cannot be hammered from a thousand yards away, the right words cannot be spoken out of earshot, a heart cannot be mended from wishing, and the truth cannot be attained with my back to it. When adversity knocks, I try, with all the effort I can muster, to remain in the present. When I do, it gives my Buddha Mind a chance to strengthen its place in my life; it increases my faith through success; my appreciation for myself and others compounds itself; and frankly, it always seems to turn out well.

I have actually used many of these tools, concepts and devices during the creation of this writing. When I was first asked to compose this article, I resisted for many reasons. I had not written about my understanding of Buddhist concepts before and I did not feel entirely adequate. I worried that my understanding was not deep enough or that I could not find the right words to explain my understanding. I feared that my ego would invade the writing and I would embarrass myself through a perceived lack of humility, or worse, fall into misleading others. There was a wide range of inner adversity that I projected up on the screen of the outside world, and in the process was darkening and creating waves on my own inner pool. I resisted to the point where I went two days beyond the deadline and then had to face the adversity of the failure to complete this on time.

I countered this adversity by setting aside a time for me to settle myself. It meant I would have to forgo other events, other attachments, other distractions. I brought myself to meditation and then on to reflection. I was compassionate and understanding with myself and gradually came to a perspective of this project that allowed me to use it as an instrument for cultivation and growth. I did my best to give my Buddha Mind a chance to participate in its creation and I set my intention on staying in the present and completing this task to the best of my abilities. I reminded myself of the temporary nature of forms-including words and writing. Now the writing is done and I have enjoyed sharing.

Chuan Bo

There is no burden
Of learning upon Wisdom—
Appreciation is all.


[:en]Reflections: Awakening[:zh]覺悟[:]


Awakening in Meditation
by Anne Khoury

My face smiles as I remember my Chan 7 Retreat. My mind hears the sound of chanting, drums and the awakening bell, smells the incense, and sees the fog settled in the mountains at day break. My heart remains touched by the kindness and generosity of all who shared their wisdom, practice and guidance and made me feel at home in a new experience and land.

Sitting in mediation was a profound awakening, for my mind has seldom been still in the outside world. When sitting in meditation and my mind became calm, much delusion, ignorance and attachment floated by . . . some of which was deep rooted and long repressed. As I sat with a still mind, I felt a peace and lightness I have never before experienced. Attachments and judgment seemed to disentangle from my mind as clarity, calm, and a feeling of connectedness settled in. That feeling of connectedness to the universe and all beings increased as I meditated during Zen breakfast and lunch . . . reflecting on how what I put into my mouth, to became part of my body, came from a multitude of sources and perspectives.

It is now my challenge to hold onto this experience in practice as I “pick up” in the outside world. Interestingly, upon my return to the USA, there was no jet lag and my mind seems to have transformed. It is much calmer, focused, and aware of the essence of what I am here to contribute. There is hope. Perhaps our world leaders and all sentient being need a Chan 7 Retreat. The world would be a much different place.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing the dharma, your practice and for the joy of glimpsing my awakening mind.

How the Teaching of “The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana” Changed My Life
by Peggy Bryant

In the spring session, 2004, our new Abbess of Buddha Gate Monastery, Ven. Jian Pin, introduced the sutra study class to the sutra on “The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana”. She explained that this sutra contained the core understandings applicable to all Buddhist sutras. The sutra was difficult, concise, and required a lot of explanation and discussion to be understood.

In Chan Buddhism, the mind is the Buddha, and to realize our mind is to become enlightened. I was very interested in the Sutra because it explicates the aspect of the nonenlightened, deluded mind. In the section “The Aspect of Nonenlightenment”, there is a logical explanation of how we become deluded, what it means in a step by step fashion to develop aspects that characterize our defiled state.

In this section, I learned that because of being unenlightened, our deluded mind produces the activity of ignorance, the perceiving subject, and the world of objects. Then, conditioned by the world of objects, the deluded mind produces the discriminating intellect, continuity of deluded thoughts, attachment to what it likes, analysis of words devoid of reality, evil karma, and suffering. This is what my mind is doing all the time!

Abbess Jian Pin encouraged me to study and memorize this section of the sutra and for this I am most thankful. Studying this sutra has helped me to better understand what it means to be deluded and how delusions arise. When I improve my understanding of how my deluded mind works, I feel that I have more power to make right choices, to avoid taking everything in my mind as real. I understand more clearly that I have the option to choose what I believe in and that I need not believe in and act on everything that arises in my mind. Let those moods, cravings, needs go! In short, studying this sutra is helping me to understand more clearly how to know myself, how to practice more effectively to purify my mind to eventually realize its original nature.

by Peggy Bryant

The other day I was walking around the block near the hospital where I work, when an older man got out of his car right near me. We exchanged “hellos” and I asked how he was. He was a handsome, African American, tall and athletic looking. He noted my hospital ID badge and started telling me about his recent heart bypass surgery, his kidneys that were beginning to fail (his doctor wanted to discuss dialysis), and his prostate cancer. He said, “You know, I’m just not sure I want to deal with all this.” He told me that he had worked for many years as a longshoreman at the Oakland docks. He was always in good shape, he said, and he had felt good about himself physically. Now, he said, pointing to his outstretched arm, “I don’t have much muscle left.” He was proud that he had just celebrated his 73rd birthday. It was tough, he said. All the while, he had a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye, so I knew that he’d continue to fight. He was grateful for what he had.

This made me reflect on my Buddhist practice and how we struggle with our conventional views of ourselves versus what we know to be true about existence; that is, everything is impermanent. How can we learn to accept impermanence? Buddhism teaches that meditation is key in developing self knowledge and, therefore, clear seeing. During sitting meditation, we face ourselves alone. It’s very difficult to allow things just to be as they are when we sit. There’s no fooling ourselves that things come and go – thoughts, pains, noises, feelings change. Impermanence. That means accepting our bodies that hurt, our minds that run around, our always having to work to remain focused and alert. To just sit, facing ourselves as we are.

I wish I could tell that man I met on the street how meditation is helping me to face myself and accept things as they are, always changing. That is half the battle.



Anne Khoury







Peggy Bryant


二00四年春季研經班,佛門寺新任住持見品(Jian Pin)法師在研經班介紹了«大乘起信論»。住持法師說明這篇論文含括了與所有佛經相應的的核心法要,論述扼要而難懂,需要透過詳細的解釋與討論才能理解。




by Peggy Bryant

前幾天在我工作的醫院附近漫步,一位男子剛好從他的座車下來。彼此打了招呼後,我問他可好。他是個英俊高眺、有著運動員身材的非裔人士。他注意到我掛著醫院的識別證,於是開始訴說他最近的心臟繞道手術、他的腎臟開始衰竭(醫生想與他討論洗腎的問題) 、他還有攝護腺癌。他說:「你知道嗎?我不確定是不是應該處理這些問題。」他告訴我他在奧克蘭碼頭做了許多年的碼頭工人,以往他總是維持良好的狀態,對自己的身體很滿意。他露出伸直的手臂說:「現在,我已經沒有什麼肌肉了。」他很自豪剛剛過了73歲生日,對他而言這並不容易。言談間他始終帶著微笑,眼神露出光芒。我知道他仍在為生命而戰。他很感激自己所擁有的一切。



[:en]Reflections: Ceremonies and Events[:zh]法會與活動[:]


Memorial Ceremony At Buddha Gate
by Tony Khoury

I would like to thank the Abbess of Buddha Gate for allowing me this opportunity to address you as a neophyte of the Mahayana Buddhism. I have been a student of Buddhism since September 2003 and in March 2004 I received the Three Refugees.

Today we are gathered here to remember the events that took place on September 11, 2001. those violent events have created much suffering among the people of this nation. They have also created confusion, anger and fear.

It is also worth mentioning that people everywhere are suffering from the same feelings of dread and uncertainty. It is universal. Suffering is not alien to human existence. As a student of Buddhism I have learned the causes of suffering and ways to instill peace in one’s mind.

We the practioners of the faith must not waiver form the teachings of the Dharma. We should always stand fast against anger, fear and hate. We should extend our feelings of compassion to all sentient beings. And when the dark storms blow wild and deadly we should always seek refuge: in the Buddha, in the Dharma, and in the Sangha.

The Gratitude, Blessings and Memorial Ceremony
by Bob Clark (Chuan Bo)

I have been a student in the Meditation classes at Buddha Gate Monastery for some time. I have enjoyed my classes immensely, but recently decided to begin exploring the actual ceremonies and hopefully use that experience to further deepen my awareness of Buddhism.

There are several steps, or phases to the Gratitude, Blessings and Memorial Ceremony. I would like to focus on one aspect of the Ceremony wherein I felt that the process, as well as the concept of gratitude, moved front and center, then out into the assembly.
Those people with children or parents who were celebrating a birthday that month were asked to come to the front of the room to express their gratitude to their parent(s). Their comments were all heartfelt, spontaneous, and deeply meaningful—not only to those expressing their gratitude, but also for us in the audience. I’d like to give you a few examples.


Grace, from the Beginning Meditation Class, expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the loving kindness of her parents, who have passed away. She wanted the audience to know she regretted that when she was a young woman raising her family, she felt that she had perhaps been too preoccupied with her own duties, had assumed that her parents would be around forever, and that there would be time to express her gratitude to them. She likened her life at that time to a tree being blown about by the wind and “though the trunk of the tree wishes to be calm and steady, the wind of life moves the branches, unsettles the tree trunk and opportunities to express gratitude are sometimes lost through distraction.” Her story served as a thoughtful warning to me not to take the living for granted.


Lily is a student at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Her adoptive parents were not in attendance but she wished to express her gratitude for their loving care of her as a child. Her gratitude expanded to include her biological parents and then expanded still further to include the Triple Gem of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Grace, Betty and Hsi-Hsien Chen

Grace is the daughter of Betty and His-Hsien and she wanted to thank them for the sacrifices they made to give her a stable, loving upbringing. She said that she knows they could have had other careers, greater material benefits and more for themselves, but they took less for themselves so she (Grace) could have more stability in her life. She remembers seeing other students in High School and college who did not have that solid and loving structure in their lives and knew even then how fortunate she was to have these parents.

Then her mother, Betty, took the microphone and in turn thanked Grace for making room in her busy life for her mother and father. She said that once she told Grace, “I don’t know how you make time in your busy schedule to help us the way you do.” Grace had replied, “Mom, I have my priorities in order and you and Dad are at the top.” Betty felt so happy to know that she and her husband mattered so much to their daughter.

Finally, Grace’s father, Hsi-Hsien, spoke from his wheelchair. He wanted to express his great appreciation to his daughter and son-in-law Louis (Lou) for finding Buddha Gate Monastery (yes, they “Googled” it) and bringing him there to the Ceremonies.

One thing I did know was that as each of these people spoke, it became more and more difficult for me to keep from crying. It was not out of sadness, but appreciation for the greatness of these people, how much they cared for one another and the essential goodness that shone out of each of them. I kept shifting my gaze to others in the audience to help hold back the tears, but then more and more people were wiping away tears. I finally ran out of “options” and let them flow freely down my cheeks.

After everyone had spoken, the Ceremony shifted to each Birthday person receiving pieces of a large cake that had been brought into the Hall. As each person came forward to take a piece, we sang “Happy Birthday” to them in English.

At the completion of the Ceremony, as I stepped outside, I felt a light sprinkling of rain drops. A kindly man near the door handed me an umbrella. “Are you going up for lunch?” he asked. “Yes” I nodded. “In case it starts raining again,” he said as he extended the umbrella. I took it from his hand and thanked him. I suddenly felt an unusually strong upwelling of gratitude toward this man and smiled from the top of my head to my toes.


  • If you have questions, please speak to any of the Shifus and ask for a short meeting with them before attending a ceremony. They sincerely want to encourage understanding and participation.
  • If possible, provide some volunteer service in preparation for the Ceremony and/or after the Ceremony. It not only builds merits, but builds friendships and generates a deeper sense of being a part of the Ceremony and the Sangha. There is much preparation that goes into a ceremony and the members of Buddha Gate are so grateful for any extra help. It truly can be the first step in generating gratitude.
  • Come early for ease of parking. Also, it can be very reassuring to bring a classmate or friend. Not only is this helpful in terms of mutual support during the Ceremony, but can also be an opportunity for discussion after the Ceremony.
  • When attending the Ceremony, dress in appropriate, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. There are bows and prostrations during the service, as well as some sitting and kneeling on the meditation pads. Along these same lines, if it is too difficult or uncomfortable for you to participate in prostrations and kneeling, then there are chairs and reading stands set up at the back of the room. Please take good care of yourself. This is not a test of endurance, but rather a further cultivation of character and practice.
  • It is natural to be a bit lost or confused when first attending the ceremonies. Be willing to forgive yourself for not knowing, feel free to ask for direction and guidance, and when in doubt, follow the lead of those nearest you. This is a situation where mistakes can be embraced and made part of our practice.
  • If you generate questions or concerns during the ceremony, write them down and present them to one of the Shifus at an appropriate moment. You will get answers and they will gain a better understanding of the attendee’s needs.
  • There are many “forms” present during a ceremony (besides our bodies). There are many intricate and beautiful decorations, statues, lights, flowers, etc., as well as movement (Ceremony); sounds (Music); and smells (Incense). It’s easy to become distracted and even a bit overwhelmed. It important to remind ourselves that though the forms, etc. remain a necessary part of this process, they are not the end we seek. Make an effort to see all of this as a mirror to redirect us back inward towards our own Buddha Nature.
  • Give yourself the treat of attending the lunch. The food is delicious and the company is sacred.



Tony Khoury







Bob Clark(Chuan Bo)









Grace, Betty and Hsi-Hsien Chen


她的母親Betty接著拿起麥克風對Grace說,謝謝女兒為了父母在忙碌的生活中騰出空檔。有次Betty問Grace說:「我不知道妳怎麼能在這麼緊湊的行程裏挪出時間來幫我們。」Grace回答:「媽媽,在我的優先順序中, 您和爸爸排在第一位。」 知道女兒這麼在乎父母親,Betty十分欣慰。

最後Grace的父親 Hsi-Hsien坐在輪椅上說,他要謝謝Grace和她的女婿 Louis(Lou)在網路上Google搜尋到佛門寺,還帶他來參加法會。





  • 如果有問題,可以在法會前向任何一位師父請教。師父會不吝解答並且誠摯地鼓勵大眾與會。


  • 早點抵達比較容易停車。歡迎帶同學或朋友一起參加。同行的人不僅可以在法會上相互支持,法會後也可以一同討論心得。
  • 參加法會最好穿著合宜、舒適、寬鬆的服裝。法會中有問訊、禮拜的動作、也會在禪墊上靜坐和長跪。如果不方便長跪和禮拜,禪堂後方準備了椅子和經架可以使用。請注意自己的身體狀況,法會的目的是培福修慧,不是耐力測驗。
  • 首次參加會跟不上或不清楚狀況很正常。請不用自責,有問題時歡迎尋求協助,或是跟隨身旁的人行動。出點差錯無可厚非,這也是修行的一部份。
  • 如果有問題或疑慮,可寫在紙條上於適當時機交給師父。你將會得到解答,師父也會更瞭解與會大眾的需要。
  • 法會上有許多「表法」 (除了身體之外)。有精美的裝飾、塑像、燈、花等等,還有動作(法會) 、聲音(唱誦)、香味 (薰香)。這些表法容易讓人分心或是不知所措。我們必須提醒自己,這些表法雖然是法會不可或缺的部份,但不是我們最終尋求的目標。試著將這一切當作我們向內心尋找本具佛性的明鏡。


[:en]Reflections: Classes and Workshops[:zh]心燈課和法會[:]


What I Have Learned at Buddha Gate
by Bob Clark

I have learned that I have a lot to learn. I have learned that when I am stuck in life, when I need spiritual support and if my intention is pure and heartfelt, then Buddha will provide a place for me. I begin to find my way home to my true self and my divine source. I am grateful for the discovery of Buddha Gate.

What We Have Learned from Buddha Gate Monastery
by Joe Yeo and Sheena Tan

It was by sheer chance that we were introduced to Buddha Gate Monastery in March 2004 by a fellow neighbor. Before going to the Monastery, our family lives had been in helter skelter caused mainly by our ignorance, doubts, suspicion, anger and greed that we were unable to identify the reason why.

Unfortunately, these factors rule the major portion of everyone’s life, but we are unable to find a solution to resolve all the differences until we came to the Monastery. Afterwards, we realize what causes unhappiness, the power of the mind and the true meaning of being a Buddha.

Everyone in the Monastery is extremely helpful, and they support us to work towards achieving happiness. Having been at the Monastery for the last nine months, our lives have undergone a total change and we are so much happier, contented and most importantly, able to apply all the teachings form Buddhism to change our lives.

Calligraphy and Buddhism
by Mae Hoag / Chuan Ming

Learning Chinese Calligraphy is not only the acquisitions of an artistic skill but also a workshop in which Buddhist principles can be practiced. It required diligence to persevere in mastering the tools of break and ink to create forms that have energy, proportion and fluidity. It takes a commitment to practice, to dedicate oneself to repetition, knowing there are no shortcuts and that this resolve will result ultimately in an esthetic achievement one might not have thought possible as a beginner. On my work table I keep a motto which states: “Nothing is difficult to one who is diligent.” This has provided encouragement during times I was ready to give up, not believing I had the requisite ability.

Tolerance and patience are needed as a beginner for the inevitable mistakes and the awkwardness felt in handling unfamiliar tools and materials. Through acceptance of this initial situation, one can discover that progress and accomplishment are possible. Just abandon preconceived notions regarding time of achievement and personal ability!

It is not a permanent state!

To practice calligraphy is a meditation providing an opportunity to focus and concentrate while being totally absorbed in the formation of each stroke, oblivious to external sounds and activities. Attention to breath must be paid to execute characters which are decisive and forceful. Both time and self disappear. Practicing can be both a spiritual and artistic expression, a transcending experience leading to greater awareness and mindfulness.

Coming Home
by Harvey Saitzyk

Sometime, in early 1960, while attending city college, I became interested in finding out the meaning of life. Between class breaks, I would sit in my car and write all my thoughts in a notebook. I thought I could think out the meaning of life. The notebooks were lost and the only thing I can still remember to this day is one thought that I wrote “the only secret to life was that there was no secret.” The meaning of life was simply before my very eyes. The problem was, I could not see it or did not know how to see it. Toward the end of the 1960’s, I joined the military. The USA was still engulfed in the Vietnam war. While in the military, I continued my searched for the meaning of life. With the protests against the war still raging, hippies experimenting with LSD, and the movement toward eastern philosophy, life to me seemed more absurd. After two unsuccessful marriages, and several unproductive jobs, the compulsion to seek and “answer” or “way” became stronger. I decided to enroll in a few religious evening courses.

I took a course in Judaism and the Old Testament. I thought this course would guide me back to my Jewish heritage and a meaning to my life. The course only clarified that the Old Testament was written by prophets and writers whose writing could be divided, by historical periods, into “J” and “Y” documents. This course stimulated my interest in Buddhism, Chan and Taoism. I found myself searching out and collecting books on Buddhism, Chan and Taoism. My library was growing, but I was not growing. During this time, I met a wonderful woman of Islamic faith. We fell in love and married. I began to study Islam. Particularly Sufism. In the 1990’s I became interested in Existentialism. I was fascinated with Camus’s “Life is Absurd”, Martin Heidegger’s “Search for the Meaning of Being” and Satre’s “Human’s Make their own Meanings”. I could see similarities in the concepts of European Existentialism, Sufism and Eastern ways of thoughts. I became a lay scholar researcher of philosophical and religious ideas and practices. I realized that I could not make a commitment to a practice. All I had done was to gather hundreds of concepts about the different ways toward enlightenment. I had now reached a state of confusion. One day I was thumbing through some poems by Sufi Mystic Rumi. A line of his poetry sparked an inner yes. The line read “die before you die”. Yes, that was it. I had to die to all the illusions created by my ego. It was a positive realization, but it carried with it a great fear. I quickly discovered that it was just this fear of dying to the ego that held me back from making a commitment to a practice. For forty years of my life, I thought that I could think my way to enlightenment. How wrong I was. It took a lot of courage to take my first step toward a practice.

A friend told me about the Buddha Gate Monastery. After much debate with myself. I decided to visit. I met and talked with the Chan Master of this beautiful establishment. I met the Abbess Master Jian Pin. I told her my story and the Abbess looked into my eyes and said that it was my karma to come to the Buddha Gate Monastery. I had a feeling that I had finally come home. She suggested me to attend the meditation class. My first meditation experience in Buddha Gate was no an easy task. I experienced the “monkey mind”. However, after many attempts, my mind has begun to settle down. Now each time I meditate, my mind becomes more and more stable. I let the thought come and go and try not to identify. My body still becomes resistant to the sitting meditation. It will probably take many years of practice. In the class Master Jian Pin teaches me that all my mental activity is my mind constructing an illusive reality. This is the reality that is created by my ego. My ego has created my world of pleasure, doubt and fear. This is the me that comprehends the world in terms of its need for security, nourishment, protection and attention. It’s my ego stillness is a death. Meditation is a way to slowly die into life, to die and be reborn to the life. Meditation at Buddha Gate and the teaching of Master Jian Pin are a unique and exceptional combination. If this is my karma, then I am pleased to know that I am home.

Reflection upon The Acolyte Class
by Sylvia Huyhn (Chuan Xin)

What would you like to get out of the Acolyte class?
Having to learn the Buddhist practice as a student at Buddha Gate Monastery is already very overwhelming because at first there is much to learn. Therefore, the only way one person can perfect it is to practice.  Being able to attend class helps us achieve that.
As for being on the Acolyte team, it is an honor.  It gives us an opportunity to understand the reason why we are doing certain duties.  Having the understanding of why we walk a certain way or what the preparation is and means, gives me the opportunity to help the people attending the ceremony.   Also, the ultimate goal is to make the ceremony go as smoothly as possible.  I also see the reason why we have the class and meetings.  It is so we can work as a team, even if there are any language barriers.  Therefore, attending the Acolyte meetings and class will help us understand the flow in preparation so we can succeed during the ceremony.  Another thing I noticed as an Acolyte is timing.  We depend on each other on timing things right to make everything go smoothly.  For me, once I accomplish this, it makes me feel good.
I appreciate all the Dharma Masters for teaching us and pointing out the mistakes we make so we can correct ourselves and not make the same mistake.  Practice makes perfect.  For us, lots of practice makes a step closer to perfection.  I feel that as long as we are willing to accept the correction then we are benefiting.
To answer the question, “What would I like to get out of the Acolyte class?” it is to be able to understand what we are doing during the actual duties.  Knowing the etiquette and the meaning of why we do it satisfies our curiosity.  Once we have an answer, then our mind can rest.  Before, I would wonder why are they doing that or what is that for?  How do they know when a certain thing is to be done?  So it all boils down to the knowledge and wisdom we can attain from whatever the Dharma Master is trying to show and tell us.
Pam Rubio, Buddhist Practitioner since 2003

When I entered the gates of Buddha Gate two years ago to practice meditation, I had no idea that I was entering into the gates of my very own mind. Learning to understand my mind has given me the opportunity to discover the Truth beyond all doubt!

My mind kept me a prisoner to my many sufferings caused by my arrogance, anger, rudeness and deceit. I was trapped by external conditions. Trapped by Fear.

Following the practices and disciplines of the Dharma has lead me to cultivate my very own mind. Simple, but profound teachings. Now I know I am responsible for my own hell or heaven. Freedom from fear.

Maybe I will never be a Buddha…in this life! However, I have been awakened to the Truth beyond all doubt. Truth has given me Freedom, joy, peace, and wisdom. I am no longer trapped in the prison of my own delusional mind. The Gates of Buddha Gate has lead me on my own personal journey to enlightenment. Thanks to all the Shifus.

Garden Of The Mind
by Bessie Yu (Chuan Yun)

In the garden of the mind,
remove the seeds of ignorance,
greed, and anger.
Cultivate the soil with kind thoughts
so that the sprouts of good deeds
and the flowers of enlightenment
can flourish
and open to the sun of wisdom.
Know that
a garden is never finished.

A Pigeon and our Practice
by Eric Cox

A mother pigeon built her nest in the eaves of our neighbor’s house recently. My wife, my grandson, and I have watched how patiently she sits on her eggs. Day and night she sits calm and still, even when our big dog runs along the wall underneath her nest barking loudly. Or when we walk by taking out the trash. Yesterday my grandson and I were bouncing a big red ball against our house; when it bounded up striking the eaves right next to her, she was gone in a rush and a flurry of wings.

But very soon she was right back in her nest, quiet and composed as if nothing had happened. Thinking of her now as I sit on my meditation cushion, I’m reminded of what Master Jian-Sheng said recently in class, “Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be.” I too can aspire to sit as the mother pigeon, without expectation, with patience and calmness, no matter how loud the barking dogs of worry, or how wildly the red balls of thought bounce through my mind. Back to the breath, back to where I should I be – which is where I am!




Bob Clark






Joe Yeo and Sheena Tan







Mae Hoan/ Chuan Ming





當你能全神貫注於每一筆畫, 練習書法就是禪,它讓你有機會聚焦、專注,放下外在的聲音與活動。想要寫出剛勁有力的字體,必須注意呼吸。當下時間和自我都消失了。書法兼具了心靈與藝術的呈現,這樣超脫的體驗能引導出更深的契悟與覺性。


Harvey Saitzyk

我選修了一門有關猶太教和舊約聖經的課程。我想這門課可以引導我找回我的猶太傳統和生命的意義。然而它只闡述了舊約聖經是由許多先知和不同作者撰寫,各版本依照撰寫的時間被分為J典和Y典等等。 這門課激發了我對佛教、禪宗和道教的興趣。我發現自己不停在蒐集佛教、禪宗和道教的書籍。我的藏書數量一直成長,但我並未成長。此時我遇到了一位信仰伊斯蘭教的好女人,我和她相愛,然後我們結婚。我開始研究伊斯蘭教,特別是蘇菲主義。1990年代我變成對存在主義感到興趣。我對卡繆「人生的荒謬」、馬丁·海德格「尋找存在的意義」和沙特「人類塑造自己的存在」等思想十分著迷。我也發現歐洲的存在主義、蘇菲主義和東方思想的概念頗有相似之處。我成了一個研究哲學與宗教思想和儀式的業餘學者。我知道我無法實踐這些意理。我所能做的只是蒐集上百種如何啟蒙的概念。此時我處在混亂之中。有一天我翻閱到蘇菲派神秘主義詩人魯米的作品。他的一行詩燃起了我內心的認同感,詩句是「在你死前死去」。對,就是這樣。由我執產生的妄想必須死去。這是一個正向的領悟,但也帶來極大的恐懼。我馬上知道我對修行裹足不前的原因是我害怕自我的壞滅。過去四十年來我以為可以想到覺悟的方法。我根本錯了。我鼓起很大的勇氣才踏上了修行的第一步。




by Sylvia Huyhn (Chuan Xin)



一開始在佛門寺修習佛法已是讓人不知所措,因為要學的事情很多。因此,想要精熟,唯一的方法就是多練習。參加訓練課程讓我達到了這個目標。加入心燈團隊是很榮耀的事。它讓我有機會瞭解各種職責的意義。瞭解行進的方式和準備工作的意義,讓我有機會幫助參與法會的大眾。最終的目標是盡可能讓法會流暢地進行。我也瞭解了上課及開會的原因。這也是為什麼即使在語言上有些隔閡,我們還是能夠進行團隊合作。參與心燈會議和課程有助於熟悉準備工作,使工作順利完成。心燈職事也要注意時間觀念。我們必須注意時程,才能精準地接續彼此的工作。對我來說,任務完成, 讓我覺得很開心。





Pam Rubio, 2003開始學佛







Bessie Yu (Chuan Yun)










Eric Cox





[:en]Reflections: Volunteering[:zh]福慧出坡[:]


2009 Buddha Gate Monastery Bodhi Seed Camp
Darlene (Chuan Ling) Cioffi-Pangilla

When I got home from volunteering at the Gardens at Heather Park in Walnut Creek, where I had spent two hours pulling up plants that had seeded and gown in unexpected places, I could not help but recall an article written by the manager of the Gardens and reflect on Buddha Gate Monastery’s Bodhi Seed Camp.

To paraphrase the article:

Life begins and ends in the garden; this year’s seed is next year’s flower. The hot days of summer are perfect for propagating plants that will be put into the garden during the autumn or next spring. A garden is different from a landscape – it is constantly evolving because the gardener is part of the evolution.

No doubt growth, change, frustration and surprise will come with spending time with the plants. While some may be a nuisance, others add a new dimension to the forever changing garden.

The gardener is the Buddha, through the BGM Shifus and volunteers. The plants are the children being seeded with the seeds of respect, kindness, harmony, truthfulness and gratitude.

Who knows where these newly seeded “plants” will be in the autumn or next spring. Many of these “plants” will seed in places not in the original planting plan. However, NO plant will need to be pulled up because it seems to be in a wrong or unexpected place. There is no wrong or unexpected place when the tenets of Chung Tai are strong and flourishing!

Bodhi Seed Camp

Katherine Huynh  (Chuan Wen)

During the two weeks of the summer camp, it’s been pretty tiring but it was good experience with most of the kids. Even though the kids were rowdy, enthusiastic, or full of energy, they were just excited for the next activity and making new friends with one another. As a TA it was exhausting taking
care of the kids but in the same it I met a lot of friendly new faces as well. I think that seeing the kids taking in and learning new things like meditation, folding clothes, calligraphy, martial arts, gardening, scout training, learning Mandarin,  and etc, got them really excited to do the activities.  In my perspective, these four days were lively and cheerful.  I realized that taking care of kids was not easy but also not hard. The activities were enjoyable and I hope most of the kids will return to the Bodhi Seed meditation class and looking forward to the next summer school as well.


Bodhi Seed Camp TA

Drew Dickson (11)

I had a lot of fun being a TA.  It was hard keeping the kids together and having them listen, but overall it was fun just to help them and work with my other TAs. While I was there helping I did learn a lot of new stuff like how to bow, meditate, speak mandarin, not waste food, and chant. I had a lot of fun being a help to the Buddha gate monastery and learning many new things that can help me later in life.

Jamar Pagpaguitan (12)
Being a TA at BGM’s 2012 Bodhi Seed Summer Camp was a great and fun experience for me.  That was my second year there and now I know how TAs felt last year when I was a Bodhi seed.  I made many new friends from Bodhi Seeds to Teachers, volunteers, and shifus.  We helped each other and
spoke up when needed.  In my opinion, driving approximately 1 hour to BGM is worth it.  I wish everyone there and who was there a great rest of the year.  And I hope to see me being a TA again in 2013.

Jessica Ly  (12)
I have been a Buddha Gate member since I was 5 years old. Now I am almost 12. For the past 3 years of the Bodhiseed Summer Camp as a Bodhiseed, I’ve learned a lot of things and made many new friends.
And for this year I’ve become a TA. As a TA I’ve experienced a challenge to handle with kids. When I had to handle the kids, it was very hard for me. And once I learned about them, I figured that each and every one of them had different personalities of many things. But when they learned about the Four Tenets of Chung Tai (as in Respect, Kindness, Harmony and Truthfulness) and the other stuffs, they’ve improved so much. Even if they struggled a lot they kept on trying their best and never giving up or slacking off so basically they’ve been really diligent during this camp. And even though I had hard time to do these difficult things and activities at this camp, I had a very spectacular summer. So I   hoped they enjoyed their summer here at the Bodhiseed Summer School, too. But most of all, I’d like to thank the Abbess and all Shifus for giving me this opportunity to be a TA. And if I get another opportunity again then I’dlike to be a TA again. Amitofo!



佛門寺秉持佛法慈悲的精神以及  導師上惟下覺大和尚的諄諄教誨,自 2009 年起,以「中台四箴
今年,兩梯次的夏日學園,有 96 人次,五到十歲的小菩提子,及 32 人次的隊輔,30 人次的老師,
上百位護持的義工菩薩們共同參與。課程活動包含:禪修靜坐、 過堂行儀、佛門巡禮(學習佛菩薩
怎麼栽)、童軍訓練、涼扇香皂染衣 DIY 等,「敬慈和真」不但融入於課程活動的內容,課堂中更
進一步實踐。每一堂,上下課時,由隊輔呼班,帶領小菩提子,向師長行禮,長養恭敬心; 課程中,
耐心學習,長養慈悲心; 互相幫助,長養和睦心; 專注投入,長養真誠心。

傳文 (11 歲) 真誠隊輔  菩提子夏日學園心得


Drew Dickson (11 歲,和睦隊輔)


Jamar Pagpaguitan (12歲  慈悲隊輔)


Jessica Ly (傳聲 12 歲,和睦隊輔)

五歲時,我就是佛門寺的一員。現在,我十二歲了。過去三年,在菩提子夏令營還是學員,  學了
們學習了中台四箴行(敬慈和真) 和其他規矩,他們進步快速。儘管他們也有掙扎,他們不斷努力,

Darlene (Chuan Ling) Cioffi-Pangilla


我在核桃溪市的 Heather Park花園做義工,花了兩個小時拔掉那些不應該存在的植物。回家後不禁想起花園管理員所寫的文章,並且觀照了佛門寺菩提子學園的體驗。






傳文 (11 ) 真誠隊輔  菩提子夏日學園心得


Drew Dickson (11 歲,和睦隊輔)



Jamar Pagpaguitan (12  慈悲隊輔)



Jessica Ly (傳聲 12 歲,和睦隊輔)

們學習了中台四箴行(敬慈和真) 和其他規矩,他們進步快速。儘管他們也有掙扎,他們不斷努力,從不放棄,也不懈怠,基本上,在學習過程中,他們真的很勤奮。雖然在營隊中,我也曾遇到難關,但這是精彩的暑假。希望他們在夏日學園中,都很愉快。另外,我特別要感謝住持和所有師父給我機會擔任隊輔。如果未來還有機會,我要再當隊輔。阿彌陀佛![:]

[:en]Everyday Buddhism[:zh]生活佛法[:]


by Peggy Bryant

The other day I was walking around the block near the hospital where I work, when an older man got out of his car right near me. We exchanged “hellos” and I asked how he was. He was a handsome, African American, tall and athletic looking. He noted my hospital ID badge and started telling me about his recent heart bypass surgery, his kidneys that were beginning to fail (his doctor wanted to discuss dialysis), and his prostate cancer. He said, “You know, I’m just not sure I want to deal with all this.” He told me that he had worked for many years as a longshoreman at the Oakland docks. He was always in good shape, he said, and he had felt good about himself physically. Now, he said, pointing to his outstretched arm, “I don’t have much muscle left.” He was proud that he had just celebrated his 73rd birthday. It was tough, he said. All the while, he had a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye, so I knew that he’d continue to fight. He was grateful for what he had.
This made me reflect on my Buddhist practice and how we struggle with our conventional views of ourselves versus what we know to be true about existence; that is, everything is impermanent. How can we learn to accept impermanence? Buddhism teaches that meditation is key in developing self knowledge and, therefore, clear seeing. During sitting meditation, we face ourselves alone. It’s very difficult to allow things just to be as they are when we sit. There’s no fooling ourselves that things come and go – thoughts, pains, noises, feelings change. Impermanence. That means accepting our bodies that hurt, our minds that run around, our always having to work to remain focused and alert. To just sit, facing ourselves as we are.
I wish I could tell that man I met on the street how meditation is helping me to face myself and accept things as they are, always changing. That is half the battle.

The Life of Subtraction
by Chuan Ren

Just as one teaches students how to subtract in mathematics (one of the most difficult concepts to teach to children for some reason), first with physical manipulates (fingers, blocks, candies, etc.) and then gradually moving to the abstract practice of subtraction through symbolic numerals mentally and on paper, so I am attempting to subtract my attachments and false ego.
I need to begin with one step at a time. First, by diminishing the most obvious in the physical state: television. There could be nothing more deceptive, false, or ignorant than watching television. By recently removing the act of foolishly watching television, I was able to naturally extricate the urge to be a certain way and buy more of what is not at all necessary.
Now is the more challenging part: How do I remove all of my other, less obvious and more abstract attachments that have been embedded within me during my thirty years of living? I have been constantly surrounded, fed, and bombarded with delusions. I have willingly accepted so many of them. Learning the teachings of Buddha at Buddha Gate Monastery, meditation, and my husband’s unceasing and compassionate assistance with reminding me to develop more awareness, have all assisted me in becoming more conscious of where my attachments lie and what is real. I want and “need” that new and fashionable cell phone. I desire the good-tasting food from that fancy restaurant. I really crave that feel-good compliment from my boss in order to feed my false ego. If only I could really, truly understand that these desires are just bringing me suffering.
Subtracting these material goods and attachments from this life, in fact, add to my life. My true Buddha nature can be revealed through subtraction.

The Life of Subtraction
by Chuan Xiu

Due to Buddha’s infinite compassion,I encountered Buddha Gate during a confusing period. Every time I ask myself “Who is walking?”, “Who is meditating?” or “Who is eating?”, I notice that new “I”s surge, but I can neverdiscoverwho they are. I used to believe I knew myself, but now I don’t know who I am. Who is this who demands and expects so much of everyone? Who is this who is never satisfied? Who is this who seekssocial identification andfulfillment of senseless habits while swinging betweenself-limitation and self-exaltation?
If I don’t know who I am,I have no legitimate reason to struggle so hard in order to satisfymy endless threads of desires.This has helped me to make small, daily life decisions that once sounded daunting:vegetarianism, less comparison, emotional sublimation and the attempt to empty the mind of pre-concepts. Thepractice is lighterwhen I remember that I am not myself and that the Buddha’s Mind is infinite.

Weeding & Planting
by Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)


I am a volunteer at the Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek. The time I spend gives me the opportunity to reflect on what is taught in Buddha Gate’s Meditation and Buddhism classes.
As we begin the new year, the weeds accumulated over the winter need to be pulled up, making space for new flowers to be planted and the dormant ones to emerge and grow.The weeding and planting is ongoing:  each day, each week, all year.  Should this not be like our daily life, not only while at Buddha Gate?  We weed out what needs to be eliminated, and we plant new attitudes, thoughts, speech, and actions that WILL enhance our personal environment and that of the greater world.
While pruning shrubs, trees or whatever, at the Gardens, we first remove the coarse stuff so that the finer growth can be seen.  We then step back and look at the finer growth from different angles to see what needs to be weeded or pruned so that the plants intrinsic beauty has a chance to be revealed.

Is this not like our meditation practice?  We sit to allow the coarse stuff to surface.  The more we sit, the more falls away, the fine with the coarse, deeper and deeper, subtle and even more subtle until our True Nature, the subtlest of all things, Is. I must continuously weed and plant, weed and plant. Buddha Gate Monastery and the teachings available there help me to better recognize what I need to weed and what I need to plant.  For this I am most grateful.
佛門寺研經班傳仁(Lauryn Marinho)

因為佛陀無盡的慈悲,在我困惑時,得遇佛門寺。每一次我問自己,“誰在走路?” “誰在打坐?” 或 “誰在吃飯?” 我發覺一個新的“我”湧現,但我仍不明白那是什麼。過去,我認為我知道自己,但現在,我不知道自己是誰。這個向外要求、期待這麼多的,是誰? 這個永不滿足的,是誰? 這個在自我設限和自我得意之間,搖擺追尋著社會地位及無意義的成就感,是誰?
佛門寺研經班傳修 (Vinicius Marinho)[:zh]

Peggy Bryant

    前幾天在我工作的醫院附近漫步,一位男子剛好從他的座車下來。彼此打了招呼後,我問他可好。他是個英俊高眺、有著運動員身材的非裔人士。他注意到我掛著醫院的識別證,於是開始訴說他最近的心臟繞道手術、他的腎臟開始衰竭(醫生想與他討論洗腎的問題) 、他還有攝護腺癌。他說:「你知道嗎?我不確定是不是應該處理這些問題。」他告訴我他在奧克蘭碼頭做了許多年的碼頭工人,以往他總是維持良好的狀態,對自己的身體很滿意。他露出伸直的手臂說:「現在,我已經沒有什麼肌肉了。」他很自豪剛剛過了73歲生日,對他而言這並不容易。言談間他始終帶著微笑,眼神露出光芒。我知道他仍在為生命而戰。他很感激自己所擁有的一切。





佛門寺研經班傳仁(Lauryn Marinho)



佛門寺研經班傳修 (Vinicius Marinho)

因為佛陀無盡的慈悲,在我困惑時,得遇佛門寺。每一次我問自己,“誰在走路?” “誰在打坐?” 或 “誰在吃飯?” 我發覺一個新的“我”湧現,但我仍不明白那是什麼。過去,我認為我知道自己,但現在,我不知道自己是誰。這個向外要求、期待這麼多的,是誰? 這個永不滿足的,是誰? 這個在自我設限和自我得意之間,搖擺追尋著社會地位及無意義的成就感,是誰?


Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)


我在Walnut Creek的 Heather Farm花園做義工。花園的時光讓我有機會觀照在佛門寺禪修班所學的一切。

新年伊始,我們會把在冬季繁衍的雜草拔除,勻出空間栽培新的花卋,也讓休眠的植物能重新露出成長。除草和植栽的工作每天、每周、每年不曾間斷。這不應該是每天要做事, 而不是只發生在佛門寺嗎?我們把該消除的拔掉,然後栽下可以提升個人境界並讓世界更為美好的新態度、思維、言語、和行為。



[:en]Meditation Retreats[:zh]精進禪修[:]


Seven Day Chan Meditation Retreat
by Chuan Dun

Gratitude is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the 7 Day Chan Meditation Retreat. I am truly grateful to the Abbott and all of the Shifus and Volunteers at Chung Tai who made the 7 days possible. I am also thankful and fortunate to have the support and teachings from the Abbess and the Shifus at Buddha Gate Monastery who encouraged me to participate in the 7 Day Chan.

The dharma talks were the most memorable part of the retreat for me. There seemed to be so many topics but there really was only one, the awakened mind. Through different stories the Abbott spoke about this topic.

The Abbott reminded us that breath counting was a tool to be used to settle down and calm our mind. I used this tool countless times. Chanting the Buddha’s name was another tool the Abbott spoke about, I choose to chant Guan Yin’s name and this helped me to stay focused and calm at times when I was not sitting in meditation. The Abbott spoke of these methods as tools and not to be taken for the awakened mind. He said that it is important to not get stuck here. I chose to interpret this as a reminder not to get lazy with meditation, something that is very easy for me to do.

With a calm mind the story the Abbott told about one of Buddha’s disciples using the analogy of a hotel front desk manager and guests coming and going to describe his awakening and understanding of who is the host and who is the guest resonated for me. The host is there (the pure mind); the guests (the thoughts) are coming and going filtering everything through the five sense organs and my ego, judging, labeling and rationalizing each thought as if it was real. It is best to just observe them and not attach. I practiced this for days. At first the more I tried to ignore “the thoughts” and not attach the louder they were and so I would have to go back to using breath counting. I realized that once again I was chasing something, leaning outward instead of focusing inward. This is something I find myself doing a lot, but now I see it more often and am able to let it go.  Occasionally during the last days of Chan 7 there was nothing to chase. Whether sitting in meditation or in action there was clarity.  Is this an awakened mind? No, I do not think so but it is a beginning and I will continue my practice with a focus on daily meditation and reading the sutras because Chan 7 has shown me both knowledge and practice are one.

The Abbess at Buddha Gate often says, “There’s a little, there’s a little more.” I understand this in a new way and if conditions are right, I will attend Chan 7 again next year.

Awakening in Meditation
by Anne Khoury

My face smiles as I remember my Chan 7 Retreat. My mind hears the sound of chanting, drums and the awakening bell, smells the incense, and sees the fog settled in the mountains at day break. My heart remains touched by the kindness and generosity of all who shared their wisdom, practice and guidance and made me feel at home in a new experience and land.
Sitting in mediation was a profound awakening, for my mind has seldom been still in the outside world. When sitting in meditation and my mind became calm, much delusion, ignorance and attachment floated by . . . some of which was deep rooted and long repressed. As I sat with a still mind, I felt a peace and lightness I have never before experienced. Attachments and judgment seemed to disentangle from my mind as clarity, calm, and a feeling of connectedness settled in. That feeling of connectedness to the universe and all beings increased as I meditated during Zen breakfast and lunch . . . reflecting on how what I put into my mouth, to became part of my body, came from a multitude of sources and perspectives.
It is now my challenge to hold onto this experience in practice as I “pick up” in the outside world. Interestingly, upon my return to the USA, there was no jet lag and my mind seems to have transformed. It is much calmer, focused, and aware of the essence of what I am here to contribute. There is hope. Perhaps our world leaders and all sentient being need a Chan 7 Retreat. The world would be a much different place.
Thank you for your generosity in sharing the dharma, your practice and for the joy of glimpsing my awakening mind.

Reflections on a Half-day Meditation Retreat
by Mae Hoag

A half-day meditation retreat at Buddha Gate Monastery provides a welcome change from one’s daily life of routines and demands. It is an opportunity to return to one’s true nature through focus and concentration in a quiet, peaceful environment free of interruption and intrusion. How easy it is to lose sight of who we really are in our every day existence. To participate in a retreat is a reassuring reminder which leaves one renewed and refreshed. In stillness comes charity and a realization, “I am home.” I am returning to that place where no “I” exists and the long cultivated persona is not needed or required. I become mindful of what is truly important in my life and renew my commitment to being awake and fully present here and now.

Thoughts during “One Stick-of-Incense” Meditation
by Mae Hoag

To enter the Chan Hall for meditation is to take refuge. There is an immediate sense of tranquility and peace which transports me from the world outside to the world within. I am at home. During the hour of sitting and walking meditation, I experience a familiar and comforting beauty. I forget who I am; my persona is like the shoes I remove and leave at the entrance. Meditation seems a natural process and many of my other activities artificial. I ask myself “Why am I not here every day?” My life would be very different if I sat for one hour daily in the kind of supportive environment the Chan Hall provides. However, my limited experience of “two sticks of incense” during this month encourages me to be more disciplined in my practice at home and wherever I may be. I feel tremendous gratitude that Buddha Gate Monastery exits and offers such opportunities.[:zh] 

Chuan Dun









Anne Khoury








Mae Hoag




Mae Hoag



[:en]New Year[:zh]新年法會[:]


Reflections on the New Year’s Ceremony
by Anonymous

As I drove up the hill to the monastery I felt joy and calm, my breathing slowing down as I entered the now familiar setting. The Chan Hall was so festive, red and white flowers, lanterns, as well as the adornments for the Guan Yin Memorial Ceremony.

I feel so grateful to the Dharma masters and everyone associated with Buddha Gate to have this jewel practically in my backyard. The chanting, the Abbess’s talk, the feeling of being with others who also resolve to clear their minds of delusions and strive to have a clear mind,truly makes this a joyful New Year!

Reflection on the Chinese New Year at BGM
by Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)

Entering the Chan Hall, we are welcomed with thoughtfully planned flower arrangements and altar adornments. Greeting us was the traditional Chinese New year color of red. Red everywhere: symbolizing for me compassion, strength and power (power in the sense of coming in touch with my True Nature).

As we chanted through the liturgy, I could feel and sense a quieting within the assembly. Evoking the name of Guan Yin, over and over, penetrated the very core of our beings and we relaxed, became calmer. There was peacefulness inside. Peace in my “core”, peace in the assembly’s “core”, peace in the Chan Hall and peace hopefully in the world (if for only an instant peace happened).

As I chanted and was mindful of Guan Yin’s name, I recalled the names of those I had “blessing tablets” prepared for. I knew they, too, were being heard and their needs met because of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s great, pure vows and skill in responding in all places.

Reflections on New Year Celebration
by Julia De Rienzo

When reflecting on the Lunar New year, it becomes clear that my priorities have changed compared to those of previous years. Many years ago, my New year’s resolutions were filled with “should and have to” often rather self centered. However, this New Year comes as a surprise to me not so much because of the things that need to be done but for what has already been accomplished. Looking back at the past year, I was filled with gratitude not only because I am blessed with a wonderful family, but also because I have the chance to walk the Buddhist path along with so many incredibly kind companions. Each of them have brought a wealth of experiences for which I am deeply grateful. Their benevolent acceptance of my shortcomings, their persistence in keeping me on the path, their tolerance and their strength is like a mirror which reflects my hopes for myself and for those around me. So this New Year comes with renewed vows, and responsibilities. For each moment is a blessing and each step of the way is joyful and peaceful like clear water.

Reflections on Guan Yin Blessings and New Year Celebration
by Julie and Brian Gyoerkoe

Thank You for such a wonderful way to start and celebrate the New Year. This was our first Guan Yin Blessings and Memorial Ceremony. We felt very welcomed by everyone showing us the rituals and routines. The chanting was one of the loveliest earthly sounds I’ve ever experienced. We left the ceremony feeling rejuvenated and ready for the new year. We feel so fortunate to have Buddha Gate and all the wisdom of the Shi-fu’s as part of our lives.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Reflection upon Entering the Lunar Year 2007 Ceremony at BGM
by Mae Hoag

Looking ahead to the New Year is also an opportunity to look backwards, not only to see where I may be going but to reflect on where I have been. Who I am today is not the person I was yesterday or the person I will be in the future. Sometimes I think I am losing my identity. The lines of demarcation are no longer clearly defined. Who am I? Before practicing Buddhism I read many books on the subject, and I recall a line, “There is no abiding self.” It was a totally new idea. Now I am learning from my experiences at Buddha Gate that all life is in flux and that such a realization, which initially is frightening, can become on a deeper level not only comforting but liberating.

Since being actively engaged in Buddhism the past five years, my life has gradually been a process of letting go—letting go of old patterns and habits that defined my and my universe, letting go of ideas and concepts maintained for security and stability, and letting go of the person I think I am. I am shedding a lifetime of layers, and with the loss of each layer, I become lighter. One can accumulate a lot of baggage over time, which can be an obstacle to the realization of one is Buddha nature.

What would my life become if I had not entered the Bodhi path? I can only assume that my judgmental critical characteristics would have prevailed and that underneath a persona seeking perfectionism, an unfulfilled spiritual yearning would have persisted—a vague feeling that there must be more to life.

I live now increasingly in the present. My life before Buddhism was spent looking ahead to the future or ruminating on the past. There is pleasure in simply being present in my life, right here, right now, accepting what is. I have always had goals which created pressures and drives and to change my attitude about this is not easy. But I have increasing faith in karma, its results and connections, and I see it manifested as my awareness increased. With infinite life and a dedication to the Bodhi path, I can practice with assurance and faith that the Buddha nature within will eventually emerge and follows.

Reflections on New Year Celebration
by Susie Tyrrell

I celebrated Chinese New Year at the Buddha Gate Monastery February 18, 2007. The flowers, the chanting, the candle lighting ceremony were all so beautiful. It gave me a wonderfully positive feeling about the New Year ahead. It gave me an opportunity to honor my loved ones, both alive and deceased. I felt part of a large community all with the same focus. The love and oneness was a perfect way to celebrate this new beginning, the year of the pig. Amitofo.[:zh]








Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)





Julia De Rienzo





Julie and Brian Gyoerkoe






Mae Hoag







Susie Tyrrell



Pilgrimage to Chung Tai Monastery中台禪寺朝聖之旅


My Pilgrimage Experience to Chung Tai Monastery
by Robert King

Following is the most important and vivid realizations I experience on my trip to Taiwan and Chung Tai Monastery.

As I undertake the process of writing my pilgrimage experience, I contemplate the time I spend in Taiwan viewing different monasteries, and meeting Dharma masters and lay Buddhist practitioners. The more I think of my trip, the more I find my thoughts gravitate towards a few specific experiences. Mostly I think of the few occasions that I am privileged enough to see the Grand Master Wei Chueh.

Grand Master Wei Chueh is a man who is small in physical stature, but his energy and charisma are larger than life. The instant I first see him, I know I am in the presence of a true Zen master.

Although my encounters with the Grand Master are few and relatively brief in duration, I learn a great deal about practicing Zen from him. By observing the Grand Master, I can see that his mind is completely calm and he is mindful and deliberate in taking every action. It strikes me that the Grand Master is constantly practicing Zen.

For me Zen Buddhism is about practicing, not about theorizing or philosophizing. Grand Master Wei Chueh practices the middle way every second. He directly expresses his true nature in every action.

As a result of observing the Grand Master, I am inspired to practice Zen diligently. The fact that he can practice with such vigor makes me realize I have no excuse not to practice with intensity.

There are instances that I feel unmotivated to practice. In those instances, I remind myself of how the Grand Master practices. By thinking of the Grand Master’s practice, I suddenly become motivated to act.

Partaking in the pilgrimage to Chung Tai monastery and meeting Grand Master Wei Chueh and the other Dharma practitioners revitalizes my goals and commitments pertaining to my Zen practice. I commit to calming my mind, being mindful in my actions, letting go of my egotistical notions, and practicing Zen with robust effort—in each moment of my life.


Lay Bodhisattva Precept Ceremony
by Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)

As I write this, it has been just about one year (May 2005) since I had the privilege of going to Chung Tai Chan Monastery to take the Lay Bodhisattva precepts. Little did I know what I was getting into. I quickly realized that this event was no joke. It was going to be a serious and important step in my life.

Master Jian Pin, then abbess at Buddha Gate, prepared us well. Her steadfast support and faith in me, personally gave me the strength to face my doubts, my lack of faith in myself, my feeling of not being worthy enough to take such a big step in my spiritual practice.

The five or so days of preparation at Chung Tai, before the precepts were finally given, were filled with frustration for me:

the weather – thunder, lightening, torrential rains that we had to navigate through.

the language – just being present to the liturgy while trying to keep the ear-piece in place to be able to catch the simultaneous translation and always feeling details were missing for knowing where to be and when.

the etiquette – seemingly always behind yet trying my best to catch the cues as to how and when to bow, kneel, stand up, and how to properly put on and take off our robes.

When the day came for taking the precepts, everything seemed to fall into place. Thanks to Master Jian Pin’s all night effort, we had the complete liturgy in our hands and we were able to follow the ceremony. The simultaneous translation was invaluable.

However, as the three Precept Masters, who presided over the ceremony, completed the transmission of the precepts, something transformed inside of me. The Truth within me had been touched. There was (and continues to be) a sense of inner calm and elation at the same time. I now have a deeper sense of commitment to the bodhisattva way; a deeper connection with Chung Tai, Buddha Gate, and to my dharma sisters and brothers, who were there for me in this very special experience. My life has been renewed.

Amitofo. In profound gratitude.

Reflection on the Chan Seven Retreat at Chung Tai Chan Monastery
by Peggy Bryant

“Have a cup of tea” said Abbot Jian Deng. So went the tea ceremony to open the Chan Seven Retreat a couple of weeks ago. This was my second Zen Seven at Chung Tai. The Abbot explained that the purpose of the Zen Seven is to realize our true awakened minds, to know WHO is drinking this tea. Do we know who we are? Are we the master of our minds? In what do we take refuge?

Taken from a well-known Zen koan, “Have a cup of tea” was to symbolize the theme of the retreat. As I sat there at the tea ceremony, I thought, oh I know what this means, we need to know ourselves. As the retreat got underway, however, and the busy everyday mind was tamed and made clearer by the rigorous schedule of meditation, dharma lectures, formal meals and chanting, I realized that my earlier thoughts about “have a cup of tea” were pretty superficial and that an important meaning and deeper lesson awaited me.

The dharma talks by the Grand Master and Abbot Jian Deng built on the theme of the mind ground dharma. Again and again we were asked “Where is your mind?”, “Who is it that is feeling this pain/discomfort?”, and remember always to “Dwell in your awakened mind”. During meditation, we were to “let go” of everything and focus on the clear mind. How do I let go, I asked myself. I worked very hard on this. After the retreat, we were told to “pick up” the activities of our conventional lives and still we need to dwell in our clear mind. “Don’t waste your time” the Grand Master admonished. I admit I grew restless and tired during some of these dharma lectures because they were too long, much longer than I was used to, and repetitive. Where was my mind?

The retreat and its message had quite an impact on me. When I arrive back at home in the San Francisco Bay Area I felt like a different, changed person. I found something. I now understand more deeply what it means to know where my mind is, how to dwell in my clear mind. I have a deeper sense of paying attention to what I am doing at the moment, to focus, to keep a clear mind, to avoid unnecessary and wandering thoughts. It’s hard to change habits in everyday life, but I feel inspired to work on mindfulness, to be aware of where my mind is. My true awakened mind, that is my refuge……Have a cup of tea!

Impressions and Reflections
by Tony Khoury

I remember very well the time I spent at Chung Tai in Puli, Taiwan. Chung Tai became a home to me for about six weeks between June and August 2007. I came to know several Masters, nuns as well as monks and I was fortunate enough to be the tutor to some. My students showed interest in learning about different subjects and expressed their gratitude for my contribution to their knowledge by presenting me with gifts. I learned the value of humility, generosity, and respect just by observing my students.

In order to make my stay at Chung Tai meaningful and productive Master Jian Zhong asked me to follow a schedule whereby I do sitting meditation for two hours every day. It seemed to me to be too excessive at the beginning, but by the end of the first week I was thirsty for more. If it was not for my other responsibilities during the afternoons I would have spent two more hours meditating. Meditation helped me see inwardly. It also helped me relax so that I was able to think more clearly and get rid of some of my mental anger. I also slept better.

Chung Tai houses some of the unique Buddhist art in the world. Its library contains some of the old and very valuable books on Buddhism. The Jade room is magnificent. The Pagoda is a masterpiece. I was impressed by the beauty of all the treasures around me. One drawing, though, impressed me so much that it became embedded in my mind. It was among several drawings hanging on the wall in the big hallway. It showed a monk with thick eyebrows facing a wall in meditation. I was fortunate enough to read this Monk’s book “The Zen teaching of Bodhidarma”. What Bodhidrama taught me is diligence. He is by far my favorite Buddhist Monk ever. The story of his travel to china to teach the Way is legendary, but then he is a legendary figure who walked in our lives with one shoe in the grave and the other on his shoulder.

Chung Tai’s hospitality, generosity, and kindness are LEGENDARY. There is truly nothing like it.



Robert King











Darlene Cioffi-Pangilla (Chuan Ling)


  執筆的一年前左右 (2005年5月),我有幸前往中台禪寺受在家菩薩戒。事前我不太清楚所要面對的事。但我很快地瞭解這不是開玩笑的。它是我人生中嚴肅且關鍵的一步。










Peggy Bryant








Tony Khoury

我對在台灣埔里中台禪寺度過的時光記憶猶新。2007年6月到8月約六周期間,中台禪寺就是我的家。我在這裏認識了許多法師,有比丘也有比丘尼,很榮幸地可以擔任其中一些法師的教師。我的學生們對各個科目都很有興趣,為了感謝我來此教書,他們還贈送了禮物給我。從我的學生身上,我學到了謙遜、寬容與尊重的可貴。為了讓我在中台禪寺停留期間更有意義、更有收獲,見中法師 要我每日在固定時間禪坐兩小時。起初我覺得負荷太重,但在第一周的最後幾天,我已渴望能有更多時間靜坐。要不是我有其他職責,我願意每天下午多花兩個小時靜坐。靜坐有助於向內觀察自心。靜坐也幫助我放鬆,讓我可以思考得更透徹,並放下我的瞋心。我也睡得更好了。

中台禪寺收藏了一些獨特的佛教文物。圖書館有許多佛教的珍貴古籍。十八羅漢殿宏偉莊嚴。藥師七佛塔乃經典傑作。身旁的珍貴寶藏令我印象深刻。然而其中一幅畫作深深烙印在我心底。那幅畫與其他幾幅畫一起掛在一個大穿堂的牆上。畫中一位濃眉的和尚面壁靜坐。我有幸讀到有關這位法師的著作«The Zen Teaching of Bodhidarma 。達摩祖師教給我的是精進。達摩祖師是我目前為止最景仰的法師。他長途跋涉到中國傳法的故事是個傳奇,後來他自己成為了一個傳奇人物,他留了一隻鞋子在墳墓裏,而將另一隻鞋掛在肩上離開中土。


Bodhi Seeds Class菩提子兒童禪修班


Empty Nature
by Tiffany Zheng (Chuan Ren)

In class today, we learned about the sage, Subuti. The abbess told us a story about how Subuti realized the truth of “Empty Nature.” The Buddha was returning from his recent trip to heaven, where he had been giving dharma talks to his mother and other heavenly beings. After three months, the Buddha decided it was time to go back. All the Buddha’s followers wanted to welcome the Buddha back to Earth. So they arranged a party. At that time, the wise sage, Subuti, was meditating in a cave on Ling Mountain. When he heard the news of the Buddha returning, he also wanted to welcome the Buddha. However, he suddenly realized that Buddha’s dharma body is everywhere and that all the followers were only welcoming Buddha’s physical body. Because of that, Subuti stayed on the mountain. When Buddha set foot on Earth, a nun ran up to him and exclaimed that she was the first one to welcome the World Honored One back to Earth. However, the Buddha told her that she was just the first one to welcome his physical body. The one who really welcomed him was Subuti because he realized the truth of empty nature.

During class time, we all practiced meditation. For the activity, we made sculptures out of play-dough. Our topic was meditation. We had a great time in class today!

by Tiffany Zheng (Chuan Ren)

Last Saturday, at kids class, I learned that you can give away poverty and obtain wealth by performing charity. I also heard a story about an old lady that worked for a cruel master. One day, when she was filling a pitcher with water from the river, the sage, Katayana passed by and saw the old lady. He was compassionate and wanted to help her. So, he went up to the lady and asked her if she wanted to sell her poverty. She was deeply surprised, so the sage told her to fetch some water and offer it to him sincerely. The lady did as he said and that night, she passed away and was reborn in heaven. From this story, I can learn that you must be generous to obtain what you want.

A few days ago, I helped some friends by giving them band-aids when they hurt themselves. I also always give my friends at school a share of my cookie or dessert (if I have any). Sometimes I buy my friends cookies from the school cafeteria. Another thing is that, every day, after school, I clean my lunch thermos by myself, which saves my mom from more work. Sometimes I also do my own laundry and wipe the tables by myself.

Today, at kids class, I learned the importance of moral conduct. The precepts include, no killing, stealing, or lying. I promote these precepts by being a vegetarian and by taking things only if I have permission. I am also honest.

Another important thing I learned is the proper way to eat. I practiced this lesson at lunch and dinner. Over the week, I look forward to using the lessons I learned today in my daily.

A Mother’s Day Poem 
by Milan (Chuan Qien)

My Mom
You are nice as a leaf.
I love you more than a diamond ring.
Your heart is as pure as a lotus flower.
I love you so much.



Tiffany Zheng(Chuan Ren)







Tiffany Zheng (Chuan Ren)

幾天前,我的朋友們受傷了,我就把 OK繃給他們。我在學校常常跟朋友分享餅乾或甜點(如果我有的話)。有時候我在學校餐廳買餅乾請同學吃。還有一件事,我每天放學會自己把中餐的保溫餐盒洗好,減少媽媽的工作。我時候我會自己洗衣服、擦桌子。
今天我在兒童禪修班學到了戒行的重要。我們應該守的戒包括不殺生、不偷盜、不說謊。我守戒的方法是: 我吃素食,而且只在得到允許後才拿別人的東西。我也很誠實。
我還學到另一個重要的事情, 就是適當用餐的方法,我在中餐和晚餐時練習這門課。這個星期,我希望把今天學到的事用在日常生活中。




Milan(Chuan Qien)