from the Dharma Realm
TRANSLATION INSTITUTE INAUGURATED
The International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts located at 3636 Washington Street in San Francisco was formally opened on Sunday, October 14th, 1973. Many hundreds of Buddhist disciples and friends from all over the world came with their congratulations, encouragement, and good will on that auspicious day, the anniversary of the day the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara left the home-life.
As festivities were about to begin, a distinctly international audience including members of the Sangha and lay community, professors, government officials, foreign diplomats, students, and many others gathered at the Institute. The inauguration began with the installation ceremonies opening the eyes of the image of the Bodhisattva with a Thousand Hands and a Thousand Eyes Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World. Seated on a lotus throne, the Bodhisattva presides over the Buddha Hall at the Institute. During these ceremonies, the Venerable Master Hua chanted a gatha in praise of the Bodhisattva, which commemorates the opening of the eyes:
Verse to Open the Eyes of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
You've perfected many hands and eyes through many kalpas' cultivation;
Your compassion rescues living beings saving them everywhere.
Now, here in San Francisco, you let fall your light.
holy teaching flourishes: Reveal your spiritual powers!
Following these ceremonies, speeches commemorating the inauguration were given by a varied group including representatives from the Sangha, lay community, diplomatic community, scholars, and friends, after which everyone participated in the high offering and enjoyed a traditional Buddhist vegetarian feast. The speeches were so varied and interesting that the audience forgot all about lunch, and had to be reminded of vegetarian delicacies awaiting them. The speeches have been transcribed and will be published in Vajra Bodhi Sea for those who were not able to attend.
In the afternoon the activities included a Dharma lecture on the Avatamsaka Sutra, followed by a period of circling the Bodhisattva and holding the name interspersed with periods of meditation on the Bodhisattva's name. A second Sutra lecture completed the day. All who attended greatly enjoyed the varied round of activities.
At the early afternoon lecture many members of the assembly had the opportunity to ask questions. The discussion was lively, and everyone was greatly pleased and derived benefit from the Master's instruction. A peaceful energy circulated through the place, and many people stayed on through all the activities. Everyone who visited the Translation Institute that day was in joyous good spirits.
The opening of the Institute is an important step in the growth of Buddhism in the West. Here native Westerners who have been trained and ordained in the orthodox Buddhist tradition are involved in the translation of Buddhist texts, thus insuring that the material that comes into English and other Western languages will be accurate as well as readable. Genuine practice of the theories is a necessary prerequisite for this work. Consequently, in addition to having research and translation facilities, and living accommodations for serious practitioners, the Translation school houses a Buddha hall to insure that cultivators will have the opportunity to practice.
Shown here with the Venerable Master and some of the members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association is Mr. George Chin of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors who came to pay his respects and give his best wishes to the members of the Association on the occasion of the inauguration of the Translation Institute.
DHARMA MASTER HENG KUAN, MASTER OF CEREMONIES:
The ceremonies this morning honor the opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts. The Institute is dedicated solely to translating and training translators, and its goal is to bring the entire Tripitaka into English. The Sino-American Buddhist Association began this work some fifteen years ago, and now has some twenty translators who are qualified to translate from Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan into Western languages in order to make Buddhism available to the West and to help promote the cause of enlightenment and peace in the world. During the ceremonies this morning the spiritual essence of the image of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, who will preside over this hall, has been activated. (See cover; VBS #43)
Now we have an opportunity to invite several of our honored guests to speak. It is a rare occasion to have so many hundreds of Buddhists gathered together in this country where Buddhism is so new; all must be wise advisors with deep good roots to be present to aid the spread of the Dharma at its inception in a new land.
The first to speak will be Dharma Master Jen Chun who is representing the Buddhist Association of the United States where he is on the Board of Directors. We are especially honored to be able to welcome Dharma Master Jen Chun to San Francisco.
DHARMA MASTER JEN CHUN (Bhiksu Heng Yo translating):
When the Buddhist Association of the United States received the invitation from the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, the entire assembly was pleased and delighted, and sent me to represent the entire assembly in taking part in these opening ceremonies. One of the most important affairs in Buddhism is understanding the Sutras, because the survival and propagation of Buddhism depends entirely on the Sutras. Speaking in a little more detail, if Buddhism is to survive in the world now, people must be able to understand the Sutras, and in order to understand them, they must be able to translate them into their own language. Then they may be able to understand the true principles of the Sutras.
The Sutras are words spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha. They are complete in true meaning and in the wonderful pure language, which comprises them. They exist so that all of mankind may be able to enter and enlighten to the true principle, which they expound. That is, the Dharma spoken in the Sutras is able to cause people everywhere to attain to equanimity in Buddhahood.
The work of translating Sutras is involved with propagating the true meanings of the Sutras, so that all people of all lands may understand the true principles, so that all people can first understand and then penetrate these principles. The Sutras explain how to actually do the work of cultivation; when one does the work of cultivation then one can have some accomplishment.
Under the expert spiritual guidance of the Venerable Master Hua, the disciples have been able to vigorously cultivate this way. They have walked the path of the high monks and bhiksus, sangha members from the past. In the same tradition they are continuing that work. The most important thing is to propagate the true upright Mahayana Dharma.
|Shown here are the four-fold assembly, the honored guests, and the friends from all over the world who gathered to celebrate the opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts on October 14th, 1973.|
|As those people at the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts continue the work and cultivate diligently, it will not be long before a response will be received, a real response. On behalf of the Buddhist Association of the United States I would like to congratulate the International Institute for the Translation, of Buddhist Texts on the opening ceremonies. Thank you very much.|
DHARMA MASTER HENG KUAN:
We are very happy to have with us today several other honored guests, Consul General Hung of the Republic of China, and Professor Nancy Lethcoe from Stanford University. Professor Lethcoe is a very active translator of Buddhist texts herself and we are very happy to have this opportunity to make her acquaintance. We have many messages and greetings from all around the world, some of which I will read now. (Texts of several of these messages can be found on page 33.)
Two Dharma Masters from Hong Kong have come to attend the opening ceremonies today, and one of them, Dharma Master Miu King, Abbot of the famous Tung Lin Nien Fo T'ang in Hong Kong, will represent these two Dharma Master and say a few words for us.
SHOWN HERE ARE SOME OF THE MESSAGES OF CONGRATULATIONS RECEIVED BY THE SINO-AMERICAN BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE TRANSLATION OF BUDDHIST TEXTS
OFFICE OF THE
JOSEPH L. ALIOTO
On behalf the people of the
City and County of San Francisco, it is my pleasure to extend greetings and
congratulations to the Sino-American Buddhist Association on the occasion of the
opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts.
San Francisco is a home for
many world-wide institutions and we are very proud to welcome you to Our City.
Besides being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, it is also one
of the most compact. The latter attribute is of a decided advantage in that
Buddhists of every nationality will be within easy reach of Gold Mountain.
Joseph L. Alioto
State of California
I am pleased to extend warm greetings to those attending the opening ceremony of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Text.
The Institute is undertaking an admirable and challenging task. The training of future translators of the Buddhist text and the actual unveiling in our language of Gautama Buddha’s philosophies of understanding the human principles of life and striving for world peace are commendable goals. No greater cause exists than that of seeking world peace and human understanding.
DHARMA MASTER MIU KING:
Today is the opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts and it is an extremely auspicious day. The true principles within the Buddhadharma are universally pervasive, but their representation in language and literature is varied. The true principles within the Buddha's Teaching contain limitless merit and virtue, but because languages differ, they have not been able to pervade everywhere to all mankind. The translation of the Buddha's words can bring us limitless merit and virtue, and so it is a work, which is extremely meaningful.
I think of Chinese Buddhism, in the Sui Dynasty, before the Sui in the Northern Wei period: it was especially flourishing because at that time Buddhabhadra, Dharma Master Kumarajiva, Tripitaka Master Paramartha, Tripitaka Master Gunabhadra, and then at the beginning of the T'ang, Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang, translated Sutras and so Chinese Buddhism flourished.
Now American Buddhism has Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua and his disciples who are striving with great vigor here and are opening the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts to host the work of translating Sutras. American Buddhism will be able to flourish as greatly as that of China in the Northern Wei and Sui Dynasties...or even more, and cause all mankind to increase their wisdom and kindness through the propagation of the Buddhadharma, cause all people to take up the clear and pure life of faith in the Buddha, and ultimately cause all to/perfect the All-knowledge and together realize the Buddha-Way. I will speak just this small, simple bit. Thank you all.
BHIKSU HENG KUAN: We are very happy today to have Professor Maurice Tseng from San Francisco State. I know that he enjoys the classics, his speciality. He has studied at Yale and has been on the editorial committee of the Yale Dictionary of Spoken Chinese--people involved with Chinese studies know very well how essential a work it is. He has also written several books on teaching Chinese and learning the Chinese language, and has assisted the Buddhist Text Translation Society and Vajra Bodhi Sea of the Sino-American Buddhist Association in an advisory capacity. We are very pleased to have him speak to us today. Professor Tseng:
PROFESSOR MAURICE TSENG: Instead of a speech. I'd like to present to you a poem, not in the tradition, nor in the vernacular, but something In between; it came from my heart. I will deliver it in Chinese followed with an English paraphrase. The way I understand The Life of Dharma Master Hsuan Hua:
he, a young lad from the Pai family
he learned from masters,
the North he followed Ch'ang-jen.
the multitudes, he rose above the mundane world.
vicissitudes of life and stormy events
have gone by; the time has passed thus.
was to know, today,
he established Gold Mountain Monastery.
Hsuan-tsang's spirit be with us,
The International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, established as a branch of Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery, is dedicated to translating the Tripitaka and training translators, and maintains the intensive and comprehensive practices for which Gold Mountain is noted. The Institute is operated by members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association in facilities made available through the generous assistance of Upasaka C.T. Shen.
To be continued
SABA WELCOMES HONG KONG DHARMA PROTECTORS
Shown above with the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in the Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes at Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco are (left to right) Wong Kuo Hsin, Sramanerika Kuo Man, Wong Kuo Feng, and Hsueh Kuo Feng. Sramanerika Kuo Man, mother of Wong Kuo Hsin and a devoted disciple of the Venerable Master who has diligently supported and faithfully protected the Dharma for more than twenty years, recently had her head shaved and left the home life under the Master.
Shown below, the four-fold assembly of disciples at Gold Mountain welcomes Sramanerika Kuo Man (center, standing behind the Master) and her family from Hong Kong. The party, on their way to Argentina where they make their home, stopped in San Francisco to pay their respects to the Master. Kuo Man will remain at the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts in San Francisco for several months to be near and study with the Master. (See the Bodhi Mirror and the Bodhi Lectern in Issue #42 of Vajra Bodhi Sea.)
ON THE ROAD TO PEACE
2 AMERICAN BUDDHISTS IN 1,000-MILE TREK
By David Rounds, Editor, Napa Valley Record
Wearing long grey robes and with his shaven head touching the ground in a full Chinese k'ow-t'ow after every third step, Heng Ju, a young American Buddhist monk, is making his way on foot from San Francisco to Seattle.
He says he's on the road for peace—for peace within himself and for peace, he hopes, in the world. As he walks and bows northward along State Route one, the Coast Highway—last week when this reporter spoke with him, he was reaching the West Marin County fishing village of Marshall, 15 walking and bowing days out of San Francisco--he says he labors to keep his mind singly on a saying of Buddhist praise, so as to reduce the inner hate and enmity within, which can come forth as violence.
Some people react angrily when they see the monk in robes bowing beside the roadway—like the Golden Gate functionary who forbade Heng Ju to bow his way across the bridge and tracked him in a pickup truck to make sure he didn't but others are "deeply moved" Heng Ju says.
Invariably, though, he and his companion, Heng Yo, create a flutter in the shoreline towns as they go by.
The two men sleep out along the road and eat food that's offered them.
Heng Yo, also a Buddhist monk-the two are among a mere dozen American monks in this country—carries a 52-pound pack for the two of them. He and Heng Ju believe that their 1,000-mile eight-to-twelve-month journey will, if they bow sincerely, cause the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, whom Buddhists worship, to take pity on a violent world.
The practice of making prostrations during a journey is an ancient tradition in Buddhist China, the two monks report and Heng Ju says he was inspired to make the arduous journey to Seattle, where his parents live, when he read of a three-year five-thousand-mile bowing journey made across China in the 1880s by the great Buddhist Sage Hsu Yun.
Heng Ju, the 28-year-old son of a truck firm representative, and Heng Yo, the 24-year-old son of a Pawtucket. Rhode Island, Clothier, both belong to the Gold Mountain Monastery at 1731 Fifteenth Street in San Francisco, where more than 100 American monks, nuns, and lay people are carrying on 'the high tradition of Chinese Buddhism.
Their purpose as monks, Heng Yo says, is to escape suffering, "the cycle of birth and death," and to inspire and help others to do so also.
"To endure suffering is to end suffering" say the young ascetics, who sleep sitting up and eat only one meal a day. They believe that the more they achieve peace of mind by learning to the anxieties and unnecessary worries that afflict most of us.
And by establishing the ancient wisdom of Buddhism in this country, they hope to teach others of us how to achieve that peace of mind in the face of daily difficulties.
During the first few days of their bowing journey, as they passed through south Marin County towns, the monks say they felt very self-conscious, as people stared at them and occasionally insulted them, but they are beginning now to feel "a great confidence" Heng Ju reports.
The humility which bowing forth—the kind of humility, which most Americans don’t have much use for—is "a good way," Heng Yo says, "to see through the illusion of a self."
|Bhiksu Heng Ju and Bhiksu Heng Yo bowed out of San Francisco on October 6th, 1973--more than one hundred miles in the cold autumn wind and rain during the last month.|
|When the two bhiksus left San Francisco to complete their vows, they were sent off by well-wishers from the four-fold assembly of Bay Area Buddhists who circumambulated them, reciting the Great Compassion Mantra, for over one mile, Heng Ju is shown in the middle of both of these pictures.|
At the last report as this issue goes to press, the two bhiksus were seen bowing north of Mendocino in the vacinity of Fort Bragg, more than 150 miles from San Francisco. Watch for more news in the next issue.