Friday, February 27, 2009

Meditation from the Humanistic Buddhist Perspective

Notes on January 2009 Activity

A talk By Ven. Jue Wei in the Ratanapannya Meditation Center, Wildomar, CA, Feb. 7, 2009, 11:00am

After expressing our sincere appreciation to Venerable Sompoch and his center’s reception of our visit, Venerable Jue Wei shared her view about meditation from Chinese Buddhist and humanistic Buddhist perspectives.

Venerable Jue Wei stressed that

(1) Mediation can help us to deal with the problems we are facing in the present moment;
(2) The most prominent problem exists in our mind: the mind processes external sensory data through our sense organs and consciousness, then mind develops desires contribute the suffering we are experiencing;

So mediation’s purpose is to train our mind to change its habit-finding satisfaction inside, but not from external world. As for mediation methods, Venerable Jue Wei pointed out, cited from a prominent text in Chinese practice, the Diamond Sutra, that we should not allow our sense organs to be cheated by those things from outside.

There are four powers brought by meditation:

- To perceive the world better, to solve problems better;
- It leads to happiness, and joy;
- It makes us at ease;
- It enhances the contemplation.

By sharing her own experiences of mediation, although humbly claiming that she was only a novice in mediation, Venerable Jue Wei thought that Pure Land was our choice, and Chan was our daily life. We should therefore pursuit our spiritual practice life after life. Venerable Jue Wei further illustrated this idea by telling the story of the “Bodhisattva in negative conditions” to encourage everyone in the audience.

A Visit to the Pechanga Reservation

Notes on January 2009 Activity

A Visit to Pechanga Reservation (LuiseƱo Indians)
Feb. 7, 2009, 2:20pm-5:40pm

Through a friendship of and kindly arranged by Venerable Sompoch, we were received at the Perchanga Indian reservation in Temecula Valley.

For more than 10,000 years, the Pechanga have been living in that place we now call Temecula. For detailed about the reservation, see its official website:

Our visit begun with the escorting by the tribe ranger to the former tribe leader, Vincent’s house. The huge wholly-wood-assembled guest house was a surprise to us. Vincent said that the guest house was also used like a community center to the locals. We saw some people coming and bringing drums made of animal skins and other instruments to prepare for a gathering there.

After a looking at the surroundings of the guest house, holding either a warm cup of coffee or tea, we listened to Vincent’s talkative and humorous personality. We quizzed him with a friendly Q&A session that was filled with laughing, information, and satisfied of curiosity.

We were not able to go to the village due to the muddy road after the rain earlier that day. However, we were led by Vincent to visit the preservation site and one of the oldest oak trees in the country.

Everybody was trilled to see the giant oak tree: “It was just a tree among many other trees we played underneath when I was a child,” Vincent said.

Just a few hundreds meters away, there was the preserved site, which included a pond, huts made of the skin of redwood and vine plants, symbol-carved rocks, and an underground assembly hall. For us, these things had only can been seen in movies. Everybody was excited. We were happy to know that part of site has been converted to places to educate their younger generations about their own culture.

On the way back to Vincent’s house we had some more adventure on the slippery mud road. Some of us had to get out of the car and push the vehicles forward because we were stuck in the mud! Thanks to the Buddha, the heavy rain on the way back to city we caught cleaned everything!

That marked a perfect end of our marvelous January outing.

A Talk by Venerable Sompoch Sripund

Notes on January 2009 Activity

A talk By Ven. Sompoch Sripund
in Ratanapannya Meditation Center, Wildomar, California, Feb. 7, 2009, 10:00am

After a group Pali chant welcome led by the senior monks at the center, Ven. Sompoch delivered a thirty minute talk about meditation.

“Although the method is quite easy, many people are still afraid of sitting down quietly and 'do nothing' on a mat.” Ven. Sompoch began his talk with this humorous observation.

He mentioned that there are four foundations of meditation in the Thai tradition, which are based on the description in the Pali canon. These foundations are the fourfold contemplation to be practiced after one has completed the exercise of tranquilizing one's mind: (1) contemplating one's body as defiled; (2) contemplating one's feelings as painful; (3) contemplating one's mind as constantly changing and (4) contemplating things in general as devoid of inherent existence.

He said the purpose of mediation is to have the direct experiences of the Four Noble Truths. Through meditation, suffering could be moved completely or at least “can be lowered.”

But the practice is hard, “our mind tends to be move around in meditation ... we need to train our mind,” he said.

The first foundation is meditation on the breath. “We have breath, but we never use it in this way.”

A well-trained mind becomes sharp, clear and stable. “We use our mind to know and see the cause of suffering,” the Venerable said, “then we uproot the root.”

A beginner can start to meditate around 20 or 30 minutes, and make it longer as our concentration develops.

Participants then meditated 30 minutes after the talk. Venerable Jue Wei gave a talk on meditation from “humanistic Buddhist perceptive.”

After some more beautiful chanting we had a potluck lunch with the monks there. Everybody enjoyed the fresh after-rain air and sunshine in the suburban mountain city.

Venerable Sompoch then brought us to a local Indian reservation site. We were warmly welcomed and guided by the retired tribe leader, Vincent. Everybody begun another wonderful experience of the native Indian ten thousand year’s culture in the valley.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

About Hsi Lai Friends

Hsi Lai Friends is a study group for people interested in Buddhism and the activities at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California. The group, although founded independently, has been guided since its creation by monastics affiliated with the temple.

The group is diverse in many ways. It includes lay people and monastics, students and professionals, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. All are united by a common interest — the study of Buddhism and its application to daily life.

Hsi Lai Friends was created in 2004 by graduate students from Hsi Lai Buddhist College as a way to discuss and practice Buddhism among friends. Today, the journey continues and expands as members explore the Buddha's Dharma with activities that include reading key portions of sutras, learning more about other Buddhist traditions, and meeting with non-Buddhist groups for discussions and various activities.

Humanistic Buddhism, as practiced at Hsi Lai Temple and promoted by its monastic order Fo Guang Shan, urges people to become engaged in social activities that improve the lives of all human beings. With this spiritual goal in mind, members of Hsi Lai Friends continue to reach out to all citizens of Southern California in an attempt to promote understanding, to increase compassion, and to seek new friends.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photos from Ratanapanya Meditation Center and Pechanga Indian Reservation

We had a great time at the Ratanapanya Meditation Center
and the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecular. I posted photos at

and Jacky posted photos at

-- Alex

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 7 Outing to Ratanapannya Meditation Center and Temecula Indian Reservation

Here is the confirmed schedule for our Feb. 7 outing, we have two major activities that day (highlighted). Please be aware of that it will be a day-long trip. We probably will leave there around 4pm. Therefore, those who want to come back earlier you certainly can do so, but you may need to drive by yourself.

Details as follows:

* 8:00 am, (those who want to carpool with us) leave UWest (in front of General Service Office) to

Ratanapannya Meditation Center (Thai vipasyana meditation Temple)
34550 Orange Street, Wildomar, CA 92595 contact tel 951-245-1399, my cell 626-548-0495.

* 10:00am, talk by the abbot of the Temple, Ven. Sompoch Sripundh, about vipasyana meditation;
* 10:30am, talk by Ven. Jue Wei (Hsi Lai Temple), about "meditation from humanistic Buddhist perspective";
* 11:00am, group meditation sit;
* 11:30am, lunch;
* 12:00pm, discussion/walking mediation/site-seeing etc;
* 1:00pm: group meeting to discuss our upcoming events, blog etc;
* 1:45pm, leave temple to Temecula Indian Reservation, a local reservation site (kindly invited by the former tribe leader, native Indian Vincent, this site is not for public but will be specially open for us, please check the attched file to see the photos);
* around 4pm, leave Wildomar back to school.

Please be advised to bring some food to share since we are going to have a potluck lunch in the Temple.

Photos from previous visits to the Ratanapannya Meditation Center and Temecula Indian Reservation.

Photos from Hsi Lai Temple

There has been a number of great events at Hsi Lai Temple, including Chinese New Year and the Offering Ceremony to the Buddhas and Celestial Beings.

Here is a photo of (left to right) Alex, Elaine ,Jacky, and Bill at the tea shop after the Offering Ceremony to the Buddhas and Celestial Beings.

For more of Jacky's photos go to

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meeting with Sierra Club International Community Section
Jan 31, 2009

The Los Angeles Chapter, International Community Section reaches out to new comers from abroad in the Los Angeles with a variety of activities, such as hiking and car camping, familiarizes them with the Sierra Club, and encourages communication of ideas. I met the committee at a committee meeting and asked them for ideas on how Hsi Lai Temple can help the community. I briefly introduced the temple and the brainstorming session that we did in the Hsi Lai College Study Group. Many people present were familiar with Hsi Lai Temple both from official International Community Section outings to the temple and from individual trips.

1. Have you considered engaging the community at Hsi Lai Temple for being engaged in activities sponsored by the Sierra Club?

The International Community Section is very interested in connecting with the community at Hsi Lai Temple.

Members of the Temple are always welcome to International Community Section events. These are advertised on the web site ( We can also send flyers to the Temple for outings. Most International Community Section events are weekend car camps. To participate in a car camp tents, sleeping bags, etc are needed.

2. How can Hsi Lai Temple help the environment, the Sierra Club, and the International Community Section?

Members from the Temple can participate in animal preservation and conservation activities sponsored by the Sierra Club. There is a huge number of activities and limitless possibilities.

3. What can we do as follow up steps?

Follow up with the chairman on activities. The International Community Section is also interested in another trip to the temple. Let them know the opening hours of the dining hall and my contact email for further comments.

I was invited to present to the San Fernando Valley Section meeting on Feb 17, 7 pm. Check the LA Chapter schedule for details of the group and meeting.
Upcoming events

Dear friends in the Dharma:

We believe that you all have had a great break and we wish you have fruitful new year!

With some member's great effort, I am pleased to announce after the suspension in January, now we are going to resume our monthly activities:

1) On. Feb. 7(Sat.), we are going to visit

Ratanapannya Meditation Center (Thai Temple)
34550 Orange Street
Wildomar, CA 92595

We are planning to arrive there at 10:00am, followed by a talk about Thai vipassana meditation by the abbot Ven. Sompoch Sripundh there and "Humanistic perspective on meditation" by Ven. Jue Wei, then we are going to have a group meditation sit (may be 30 minutes), then we will have potluck lunch (probably around 11:30am, just be aware of that Theravada monastic don't cook by themselves, their food is not vegetarian and they need to have lunch before 12pm due to the Vinaya regulations, so we need to bring our own food).

After lunch, we are going to have short walk (or walking meditation) around the Temple, then we will sit down to discuss out future plans, maintaining the blog, mailing list, and out-reach ideas etc.

We will leave the temple after that(say 2pm).

2) On March 4th(Wed.)

Ven. Jue Wei will be speaking at the Arcadia Interfaith at 7pm.

Vegetarian dinner is provided at 6pm (we suggest we make some modest contributions if we intend to eat.)

The address is
Arcadia Congregational United Church of Christ
2607 So. Santa Anita Ave.
Aracadia, CA

Those who intend to join in this event should bring a ritual object or
object of art to share with the audience.

3) On March 9th (Mon.)

Ven. Jue Wei will be speaking at the Church of Good Shepherd to the American Association of University Women at 7pm. The address is 400 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia, CA 91007 . We can arrange to be there by 6:30pm for snacks, and then proceed to dinner after the discussion.

Also, we will let you know the details when this event is coming near.
Hsi Lai Temple
2009 English Buddhism Class
Core Teaching of Buddhism – Ven. Jue Qian
(Every Sunday 10.30am to 12pm)

Table of Contents

1.Buddhist Etiquettes

Who is Buddha?
Introduction of Buddha’s past lifes and this life

Four Noble Truth
- Suffering, Cause of Suffering, End of Suffering and Path Lead to End of Suffering
Noble Eightfold Path
Three Dharma Seal
- Impermanence, Non-Self, Ultimate Enlightenment
The Law of Cause and Condition

Who is Sangha?
The Practice of Sangha
Origin of Sangha Order
Evolution of Sangha Order
- Lesser Vehicle (Theravada), Great Vehicle (Mahayana), and others

Who is Bodhisattva?
Origin of Bodhisattva
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple
English Buddhism Class Schedule

Meditation: 9:20 – 10:20 am (Advanced)
2:00 – 3:00 pm (Beginners)
Ven. Miao Hsin & Ven. Hui Xuan
(Meditation Hall will be open from 9:00 am)

10:30 am – 12:00 noon
Classes (I & II) on Buddhist Teachings
Assembly Hall (second room right corridor)
I.Core Teachings of Buddhism
Meeting Room (first room right corridor)
II.Chan Mind: the Art of Living

(A fee of $10.00 required for every semester
of either meditation or teachings)

(BLIA Hsi Lai Subchapter Monthly Meeting
First Sunday of the month at 1:30 pm in Meeting Room)

2009 – Session I

January 11 – Special Dharma Lecture: – Dr. Joshua Capitanio: Prajnaparamita Literature in Chinese Buddhism (Meeting Room)
(Saturday, January 10 – 9:30 am Prayer for World Peace Ceremony
4:30 pm Neighborhood Party)

18 – Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

(Two-week break for Chinese New Year)

February 8 - Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Sutra Study – Ven. Jue Ji (Meeting Room)
15- Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

22- Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

March 1 – Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

9 – Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

15 – Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

22 –Classes: I. Core Teachings of Buddhism –
Ven. Jue Qian (Assembly Hall)
II. Chan Mind: the Art of Living – Ven. Jue Ji
(Meeting Room)

29 – Dialogue with the Abbot on Humanistic Buddhism –
Abbot Venerable Hui Chi (Meeting Room)

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple
3456 S Glenmark Drive
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Tel: (626) 961-9697 (107)
Fax: (626) 369-1944