Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism

The Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism is published annually in spring by the International Academy of Buddhism of University of the West. Address all correspondence regarding subscription fulfillment, change of address, and sample copies to Editorial Office, IAB, University of the West, 1409 N. Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, CA 91770, USA. Correspondence regarding should be directed to the editor.

The journal is directly linked to the annual Conference on Humanistic Buddhism which is conducted in January. Keynote addresses of plenary sessions will be available to participants in the journal. Proceedings of the previous conference along with selected papers presented to panels will also be published.

Check out this website I found at journal.uwest.edu

Great collection of articles (PDF) from 2007

Finding community where you are (finding Sangha in our connected world) (#OMCru)

(I wrote this as an article for the upcoming issue of Buddha’s Light Magazine (available at Hsi Lai temple), but since we’re still working on that website, I thought I would post it here for anyone interested in reading.)

Historically, the term Sangha was once reserved for only referring to the monastic community. Over time it has gone on to be expanded into also including a group of Buddhist practitioners.

As Buddhists, we are each responsible for our own practice. No one can practice for us and we must make worthwhile decisions allowing us to practice. From a lay practitioner point of view this means different things for each of us, depending on our situation in life. For some, it means attending services at temple, meditation retreats, group study, and many other things. All are great ways to practice together and offer the practitioner time to work through their practice with others.

In an increasingly busy world, time with your Sangha can be difficult to come by. Our family, jobs, and multiple responsibilities in life always take our attention, and for most of us, become our practice. This is where the connected world can help. We now have tools to keep us within a Sangha of some sorts with the use of email, blogs, and even social networks.

My own sitting practice had been lacking for some time. I would always feel too busy, or have some other reason not to sit. In retrospect, these were all just excuses, and a great group of people on Twitter (a popular ‘social network’ site) has helped one another to sit more often. We call the group the ‘Online Meditation Crew’ and speak to one another throughout the day. People will ‘check in’ when they are about to sit, inviting others to sit with them. This is exactly what I needed. I don’t need to be a specific place when I sit, just find a somewhat quiet place and get to work. The sits are usually about 15 minutes, but really, the point is to develop consistency. Most of the time I find a quiet conference room at work and sit.

Many different Buddhist traditions are represented, and there are people all over the world participating. Fo Guang Shan — Hsi Lai will always be my Dharma home, and I recommend everyone who is able to meet with their Sangha in person as much as they can. But, in my busy world I feel very fortunate to be able to sit with my friends in this global Sangha we are all a part of.

…joining palms

Being a father

It is said that when Queen Maya was carrying Siddhartha she had a dream. Her dream was translated to mean that when the baby was born, if he stayed home, he would become a world conqueror, but if he left the home, he would become a Buddha. Hearing this, Siddhartha’s father, the king, kept him on his land. We can imagine this was done to protect him, but also so the king would have an heir to his throne when the time came. The king hid all aspects of suffering from Siddhartha during his young life. Then one day Siddhartha left the kingdom and witnessed a sick man, an old man, a dead man, and a monastic. From there we know he went off to find enlightenment.

We all know this story well, and with Father’s Day coming up, I have been thinking about each piece of the story. Most of the time we concentrate on the actions told about Siddhartha, but let us take a different look; a look at the king, Siddhartha’s father.

We can assume he loved his son very much. In his mind he wanted what he thought was best for the boy; riches, status, and a life free from trouble. Maybe even a bit of his own ego was at fault if we assume he wanted to someday have an heir to his throne. As a father, I can understand this very well. And, as a Buddhist, I am thankful that young Siddhartha was able to look past what his father intended for him; and give us the wisdom in which we base our own faith on; the path to enlightenment.

See, as a father, you want the best for your sons and daughters. When you have a child your life no longer belongs to you; it is theirs. Every action must be done with the best of intentions for your children.

And when the time comes, we fathers must also have the wisdom to allow them to go out on their own. Their path to enlightenment is a road only they can travel. May we be fortunate enough to help them take their first step down that path, and allow them to go on their travels…


at Hsi Lai, originally uploaded by mindonly.

(I wrote this as an article for the upcoming issue of Buddha’s Light Magazine, but since we’re still working on that website, I thought I would post it here for anyone interested in reading.)