Saturday, February 15, 2020

Dharma practice

Always a beautiful day to hike Diamond Head, Waikiki 

Practicing the Dharma takes much work and dedication in the USA. Finding creative ways to practice and benefit sentient beings sometimes includes attending vegan potlucks and adopting an independent path of non-violence outside of  being a monk or the monastery for contained studies. This lifetime, my personal practice is not as a monk, and many Americans still have stigma against Buddhism and Asia and Japan. However, I am devoted to high consideration of sentient beings as much as possible. The following is a small list of places to visit in the USA. And, is where I had the most positive experiences and learning opportunities in the USA to practice and adhere too the Dharma.

--  It is generally accepted that natural form Vegan food is food made by God. And, in its natural state does not need to be blessed. It already has God's blessing.

-- Healing energy -- My personal journey took me to the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends (available online) and is non-denominational, not a religion, and teaches how to connect to source.

-- Prasadam is vegan or vegetarian food offered to Lord Krishna - Dharma protector and later served to devotees.

*Temple Valley in Honolulu, HI is a world showcase for religious practices around the world. There are numerous Buddhist, Krishna, Israeli, and Christian places of worship. In daytime it is possible to practice and have blessed vegetarian (and a little vegan)food at the Govinda Cafe on the Krishna temple ground during open hours.  Some of the places listed have physical or online studies available globally.

Namgyal Monastery- Ithaca, NY - Chanting and meditation prayers (see below)

KTL - Honolulu, HI - Affordable classes, Chanting and meditation prayers (see below)

Sukyo Mahi Kari - Honolulu, HI -  Receive light (non- members bring clean socks & clean handkerchief), Members - Initiation into giving and receiving light

ISKON - Honolulu,HI  - Govinda Cafe\ is open for vegetarian/ vegan Pradasam/Prasadam, celebrate Lord Krisna's Birthday, and also meditation can be done on the grounds.

Shingon Shu - Honolulu, HI -  Bon Dance

Namgyal Monastery - Institute of Buddhist Studies

Tibetan Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY - This is the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's premiere USA monastery. There are several courses and major disciplines taught through Namgyal Monastery. Though they are a welcoming community, there is very strict discipline in study.

Kagyu Thegchen Ling (KTL)

In the midst of Temple Valley* off the Pali Highway in Honolulu, HI -  Shangpa lineage - After speaking with a Geshe here, this place is a little less formal and coordinates better with modern/ daily routines of work. This may be due to the number of Buddhists of many generations from their families. So, for me, I was able to participate a little in some activities that coordinated with my schedule. There are classes in writing Tibetan, Open meditation, and, Puja Ceremonies as well as more esoteric teachings offered occasionally.

Many Pages of gripes/////// see below

On My personal journey, and awakening, came at the death of my Brother. Particulary when it came to handling family matters that we kept private. You see, my parents in the 60's made our household multi-religion. Meaning, my dad was raised at a private catholic school in Philadelphia with the Sisters of Mercy. While my mother grew up Shinto Buddhist that was common in Japan. And, much of our family in Japan is Mahayana Buddhist. Despite my being forced to participate in Lutheran Sunday school and church to be accepted as a classical pianist who had organ playing experience, I eventually managed to have a Pastor client unbaptize me after my brother's death. 

Over many years I was "invited" or being inappropriately recruited to Buddhism that I feel the USA CIA brought to fruition. My personal practices and this lifetime is more involved with the Dharma work - not as a monk. So, while Buddhism is still considered "Hippie" to the USA;- My own Japanese and Asian family history is well ingrained in Buddhist practices for 1000's of years beyond the conception of the USA.  Here, I'll list a few of the popular Tibetan Buddhist sects that are in the USA and the other things I did that include the Dharma. I do stop in sometimes;- however I have found many Buddhist practitioners outside of Hawaii, in the USA too rude for me to be able to practice the Dharma. Which, includes their adaptation of dharma that is not even vegetarian. 

Personally, I don't like many of the Sokka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhists because they retain American racist language while 'being Buddhist'. This was a unique experience I had with over 50% of those who I met through SGI. For me, it is the same reason I disliked Lutheran racist sermons. And, it is not acceptable for my personal spiritual practice time. 

 And, the recruitment is a bit pushy as is American style. So, they are generally disrespectful of personal beliefs and try to force conversion. I found the SGI community friendly, condescending, and a bit too pushy all at once since they are very popular in the USA and don't care about the affect of these new Buddhist politics emanating from USA. 
The United States has a list of celebrities who have embraced Buddhism. And, many people are swayed to practice the particular type of Buddhism that those celebrities "promote". 
However, this isn't the correct practice for everyone. And, there also aren't a lot of temples to worship at in the United States East Coast and midwest.  Basically, the further away from Asia we go, the less options there are. And, Hawaii had the highest number of Bon Dance season dances advertised all over Honolulu County. It is a fun way to meet people and wear Kimono too.