AMERICAN BHIKSUS TO PROPAGATE DHARMA IN ASIA
--By Bhiksu Heng Kuan
Sixteen Buddhists, all Westerners trained at the Sino-American Buddhist Association, are prepared to travel throughout the world to propagate the Dharma. Responding to an invitation from Asian Buddhists last year, one of these, Dharma Master Heng Ching, who is Managing Director of Gold Mountain Monastery and Director of Translations for Vajra Bodhi Sea, lectured the Heart Sutra based on a commentary in seventeen gathas composed by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua. Hong Kong Buddhists were so impressed by Bhiksu Heng Ching's deep understanding of the Dharma, and pleased by his enlightened delivery, that they have again invited Dharma Masters from the Sino-American Buddhist Association to explain Dharma there this year. In response to this invitation, three dhyana cultivators from Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery are currently making preparations to travel to the Far East to propagate the Buddhadharma this winter.
These three Dharma Masters will translate and explain the Dharma Blossom (Lotus) Sutra, and while in Asia, will complete an English translation of the text of the Sutra, with a commentary by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua. They will explain the Sutra in both English and Chinese for Buddhists who wish to attend the first Dharma Blossom Assembly in world history to be hosted by a Western Dharma Master, Heng Ch'ien, from the United States.
Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, chief translator of the Lotus text sponsored by the Buddhist Text Translation Society of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, will preside over the Dharma Assembly. He, Dharma Master Heng Shou, and Dharma Master Heng Pai, his fellow-cultivators and Dharma brothers will take turns explaining the Dharma Blossom Sutra. Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien is currently the Chairman of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, the Supervisory Director of Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery, and Director of Publications for Vajra Bodhi Sea. As the first American to leave the home life, he is the senior seated American Bhiksu and leads the Sangha here with sagacity and wisdom. The fact that he was able to memorize the lengthy Leng Yen Mantra in one month attests to his superior intelligence. He accomplished this feat at the first summer Sutra Study and Cultivation Session to be held in the West, at which the Venerable Master Hua spoke the Lena Yen Sutra, lecturing twice a day for ninety-six days. It was at this session that he became the first American to leave the home life.
A diligent, student and cultivator, Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien has been one of the foremost students to sit at the feet of the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua. He has studied the Dharma Blossom Sutra for over five years, and has been explaining it for more than four. His understanding of the Sutra is deep and comprehensive, and his lectures have made the Sutra's principles clear and easy to understand, and all who have heard the Dharma Master speak have gained great benefit. Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien was invited to dwell at Mahayana Temple in South Cairo, New York, to protect and support this new Bodhimandala, and is using this opportunity to prepare for the 'forthcoming lecture tour, devoting much of his time to cultivation of the Dharma Blossom.
Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien will be accompanied by Dharma Masters Heng Shou and Heng Pai. Dharma Master Heng Shou is currently secretary-general of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, Assistant Manager of Gold Mountain Monastery, and Director of Administration for Vajra Bodhi Sea Publication Society. He is a vigorous propagator of the proper Dharma in America who, together with Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, led the building and establishment of Gold Mountain Monastery.
Dharma Master Heng Shou, cultivator of dhyana meditation, translator, and a leader in the founding of Buddhism in the West, is Secretary-General of the Sino-American Buddhist Association.
Dharma Master Heng Shou has also been one of the outstanding disciples to sit at the feet of the Venerable Master, and has been translating for the Master and speaking Dharma for San Francisco Bay Area Buddhists for over four years. His keen and quick intelligence has been a guiding force in the establishment of Buddhism in America and his cultivation of dhyana meditation has set a standard, which many others have attempted to emulate. Dharma Master Heng Shou, who was the first western to maintain the practice of never lying down, is always working to broaden and deepen the foundation of his practice of dhyana meditation.
|Dharma Master Heng Pai, a graduate of Yale University, is the chief editor of the translation of the Dharma Blossom text and commentary.|
Dharma Master Heng Pai, an active and invaluable member of the Buddhist Text Translation Society of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, has been instrumental in polishing the Dharma Blossom text and commentary. A graduate of Yale University, Dharma Master Heng Pai took the complete precepts in December 1971. He first arrived at the Sino-American Buddhist Association when he discovered his school friend, Dharma Master Heng Shou, had left the home life. Curious about what his friend might be doing, Dharma Master Heng Pai visited at the beginning of an intensive meditation, session. Although not completely clear about what was happening and why, nonetheless he sat in full lotus meditation for eighteen hours a day for a week, thus revealing deep good roots. In spite of his diligent cultivation, more than half a year passed before the Venerable Abbot Hsuan Hua spoke with him, but Bhiksu Heng Pai endured the passing time and waited patiently. It is the Venerable Abbot's custom not to speak with newcomers until at least one-half year has passed, for he never spends time in idle and vain conversation, but only interviews those who truly seek the upright Dharma. Realizing the usefulness of his friend's ascetic practices for developing his skills in dhyana meditation on the path toward Bodhi, Dharma Master Heng Pai also maintains the practice of never lying down.
Dharma Master Heng Pai is presently dwelling in New York with Dharma Master Heng Ch’ien, and is hard at work on the Dharma Blossom Sutra and commentary. His knowledge of literature and writing, coupled with uninterrupted cultivation and study of the Dharma, make him an invaluable editor.
All three of the Dharma Masters are diligent cultivators who, in their pursuit of unsurpassed Bodhi restrict themselves to only one meal each day which is taken before noon, and make bowing to the Buddha, Sutra recitation, mantra practice, translation, Sutra study and meditation a part of their daily practice. While in Asia they will lecture the Dharma Blossom Sutra in turn on successive evenings; those who attend the Dharma Blossom Assembly are sure to obtain a broad and deep understanding of the Dharma, and have an opportunity to meet the worthy sons of the Buddha who are founding the proper Dharma in the West.