萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea
萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea


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文 恒音 by Heng Yin






In late October, 1996, two Bhikshunis of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association spent one week in Austin, Texas, introducing the Buddhadharma at the local university and other places. Heng Hsien Shr and I were invited to speak on two different occasions at the University of Texas at Austin. We arrived in Austin on Friday, October 25. The same evening, we attended a brief meditation on the university campus with about forty members of the university's Buddhist Association and gave a talk on "The Teaching of Wisdom and Compassion." Afterwards the listeners expressed the hope that the DRBA could send some speakers again next year.

Heng Hsien Shr and I  also spoke at two meetings that were arranged at the house of our hosts, Dr. and Mrs. Yeh. On Sunday, Oct. 27, we spoke to a gathering of about fifty people about compassion and vegetarianism, introduced DRBA and its activities, and recounted the Venerable Master's visit to Austin in 1989. The following Wednesday, Oct. 30, on the anniversary of Guanyin Bodhisattva's Leaving Home, a small group met at the Yeh's home for a ceremony and afternoon discussion. After our short talks on Guanyin Bodhisattva and the meaning of leaving home, everyone told stories of their responses from Guanyin Bodhisattva. Mrs. Yeh related how reciting Guanyin Bodhisattva name enabled her family to escape without a scratch from a car accident in which the car turned over on its side.

The next morning Heng Hsien Shr and I again went to the University of Texas, this time to introduce Buddhism to members of LAMP (Learning Activities for Mature People), an outreach program for seniors with inquiring minds, mostly retired professionals. The audience of about 200 seniors was very receptive to the teachings of the Buddha and readily understood the doctrines presented. Heng Hsien Shr emphasized that many people of other faiths look to Buddhism for practices such as meditation, which can enhance their own spiritual practice and alleviate stress in daily life. She told the elders that one need not be a Buddhist to gain benefit from Buddhist practices and related the Pure Land practice of reciting the Buddha's name to a similar practice in Catholicism. When we spoke of the sufferings of old age, sickness, and death, many of the seniors nodded and said with feeling, "You can say that again!" It was extremely rewarding to speak to such a responsive group of elders.

In Texas Buddhism is not yet as widespread as in California. Yet there is clearly a great need for the Buddha's teachings, for the proper Dharma that can help people understand the mysteries of life and guide them towards leading more wholesome lives. From the responses of the people we met, it seems likely that DRBA will be sending more delegations to Texas in the future.


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