When someone mentions South America's largest independent nation, deep jungles, majestic waterways, piranha fish, and coffee will most probably come to mind. Few would even dream that in the predominately Catholic nation of Brazil the mysticism of the Far East would root, but a growing number of Buddhists can now be found in this country where freedom of religion is guaranteed by law.

The Sino-American Buddhist Association was pleased to have the opportunity to welcome an important representative of the Buddhist community in South America at Gold Mountain Monastery recently when the Elder Upasaka Yu Shau Shing from San Paulo, Brazil, visited the monastery to pay his respects to the Venerable Abbot Hua. Upasaka Yu was very glad to have this opportunity to meet one of great Way virtue, and all present hoped that this would begin a period of mutual aid and cooperation, for which Buddhists are so justly renowned, with the goal of making Buddhism a viable force in the Western hemisphere for promoting the peace and happiness of all men.

Shown from left to right in the picture below are Upasaka Yu, the Venerable Abbot, and a friend of Upasaka Yu's, Mr. Kwok Kwan Chi, who resides in San Francisco.



--By Bhiksuni Heng Ch'ih of the United States

Dharma Protectors Kuo T'ung and Kuo T'ung Laugh-ton pioneered a vegetarian celebration of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23rd 1972. Following the ancient Buddhist tradition by which devoted laymen foster blessings through offering pure food to the Triple Jewel and are favored in response by Dharma talks given by members of the Sangha, the Laughtons invited the Sangha of Gold Mountain to receive offerings at their home.

Blessings derived from making offerings to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha include such tangible benefits as prolonged lifespan, good health, honor and riches, and peace within the family. Thus the opportunity to offer a meal of pure vegetarian food to fully ordained members of the Sangha is truly a time of thanksgiving for the entire Buddhist community. Host Upasaka Kuo T'ung expressed these thoughts of gratitude in his message, which followed the meal.

Bhiksu Heng Yo, who opened the Dharma talks, also expressed a Buddhist thanks. "We may offer thanks to the Buddha for transmitting his understanding, for without it people would be in serious difficulty. Study of the Buddha's teaching provides men with the opportunity to wake up from their dream, understand the nature of their former state and thereby leave suffering and attain bliss.

"We may be thankful to the Dharma for providing the method by which we can achieve liberation. This Dharma is transmitted mind-to-mind from generation to generation by all the Buddhas of the three periods of time.

"We may be thankful to the Sangha. When the pilgrims first came to America they didn't have any methods for obtaining food and the Indians taught them how to till and plant the fields. The Sangha is like a field where the right seeds of merit can be planted with the assurance that the harvest of blessings will be in accord with proper Dharma.

"And we may be thankful to ourselves as individuals who have met a good teacher, who hear the teaching and who practice in accord with proper Dharma."

      Dharma Master Heng Chu then discussed the third of the five contemplations the Buddha instructed the Bhiksus to observe while eating, that of purging the heart of greed, hatred, and stupidity. "Most people spend their entire lives running in an attempt to satisfy their greed to take advantage of every situation they encounter. In fact their hearts race on so greedily that they are always spinning about ten miles an hour faster than their bodies and thus they end up having heart attacks. Or else they end up hating because they can't get what they want. They hate others for being favored with conditions they themselves desire and then end up hating themselves as well. In addition there are stupid people who do cultivate but don't know how to go about practicing so they end up doing futile bitter practices; for example, a certain sect of Indian ascetics carry their flee-infested mats about and in the face of observers roll them out and lay their unwashed bodies down on them calling out, "Feed the bugs!" In closing Dharma Master Heng Chu reminded everyone that the Venerable Master Hsu Yun's last words were that Buddhism is just getting rid of greed, hatred, and stupidity.

Dharma Master Heng Ch'ao offered a brief and lively variation on the theme "Everything is a test" commenting on the test he was currently confronted with, that of the vegetarian delicacies which graced the Thanksgiving table. "I fail this test every day," he admitted honestly. "Even though I have been presented with it before, and have read about it, and know it well, still, when the time comes it is hard to 'recognize what's right before my eyes.' Every day I have to 'start anew!' How about you?"

      Dharma Master Heng Shoou explained, "Thanksgiving is a custom traditional to all temperate climates. It is the 'harvest festival' which ends the summer of outdoor activity, working at plowing, planting and reaping. It is a time of offering thanks that the winter can be gotten through in safety and comfort. The winter in pioneer days was a time for quiet indoor work such as spinning, mending and tooling. In Buddhism, too, there is this pattern of outward active cultivation during the summer and following this time of thanks our cultivation will change its direction to quiet contemplation as we tend toward meditation and mindfulness of the Buddha in an attempt to illumine within, and we can come to see how much 'grain' we harvested from our summer's work. If we have done well we will have some accomplishment."


Open the flower of enlightenment! The first seven-day spring cultivation session at Gold Mountain this year will begin on Saturday evening, March 10th. It will be devoted to practicing one of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva's mantras. OM MANI PADME HUM. During last year's Maha Mantra Marathon the mantra was recited for seven days straight, non-stop, and was highly praised by many who achieved results. Periods of walking and chanting will alternate with periods of seated chanting and periods of silent meditation on the mantra every day of the session. The week's cultivation will close with the celebration of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva's Birthday on Sunday, March 18th. The mantra session will be held for the purpose of promoting world peace and contributing to the welfare of the nation by pacifying the minds of men.

The second session will begin on Sunday evening March 25th, and will consist of seven days of Ch'an meditation. Beginning at 2:30 AM and continuing until midnight each day of the session, sitting meditation of one hour in length will alternate with fifteen to twenty minutes of walking meditation.

September 3rd 1972 Hung Fu Temple


On December 6th, 1972, members of the Sangha of Gold Mountain Monastery were invited to speak at the Open Lectures on Buddhism sponsored by Upasaka R. B. Epstein, lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at San Francisco State College. Attended by more than one hundred twenty-five enthusiastic students, who kept the speakers on beyond the time originally allotted, the lectures were originally planned to give students enrolled in two courses. The Religions of Mankind and Development of Indian Philosophy, a feel for the actual living religious practices which formed the subject matter of their courses. That the lectures were attended by many more students than those taking these courses is an indication of the widespread interest in Buddhism which has developed as the students and youth search for alternatives to an overly materialistic society.

Shown in the picture are the speakers, Dharma Masters Heng Chih; Heng Kuan; Heng Ching, Chairman of the group; Heng Shoou; and Heng Ch'ao. Dharma Master Heng Yo who also spoke is not shown in the picture. The contents of the speeches will appear in future issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea.



  Opening the Light for Maitreya Bodhisattva

The Patient Immortal in the kind compassionate heart samadhi,

To save all men and women takes a hundred thousand bodies.

It is a pity, face to face, men don't recognize him.

The mountain sanghan introduces him to tie up Dharma conditions.

This Bodhisattva with the big stomach cultivates the compassionate heart samadhi. He is so thick-skinned that nothing disturbs him. If you spit at him he'll just put it in his bag and forget about it. He's patient because he knows that it is useless to fight, and so another verse says of him,

The Old Fool wears second-hand clothes And fills his gut with tasteless food,

Mends holes to make a cover against The cold, and thus the myriad affairs, According to what comes, are done. Scolded, the Old Fool falls down to sleep. "Spit on my face, I just let it dry; I save strength and energy and Give you no affliction." Paramita's

His style; he gains the jewel within The wonderful. Know this news and then What worry of not perfecting the Way?

      He transforms into millions of bodies to save women and men whom he loves as his own children. Children aren't afraid of him and so we should study this style, not the style of tigers, which frighten everyone away. If you're like Maitreya bodhisattva, you smile when you see someone. Everyone likes him, because he likes them.

It's a pity, however, that face to face with Maitreya Bodhisattva, you do not recognize him. So I, this useless mountain dwelling sanghan, will introduce him to you. Shake hands. "How do you do?"


to be continued