Greetings . . . Yes, this paper has a version number, and as this introduction is being written, the version number is at 0.3. The reason for having a version number is that I expect the following text probably will not be written just once, but, following review and clarifications, will probably undergo a number of additions, clarifications, and assorted rounds of tightening up, albeit will not undergo total revisions, as I think the basic point of the paper will remain the same . . . .
What you are finding here is a three part work in progress which is currently being placed on hold until a further time.
The first part, which outlines the basic nature of Buddhism, also known as the buddha-dharma, is complete, subject to further fine detail clarification and editing.
The second part, an overview of assorted case examples of applications of the buddha-dharma, is partially completed, but at this time is a mass of barely edited text and unedited citations.
If you wish to see the first and second parts together, please click Here
The third part is an overview of western cultural origin societies which appear to have begun to practice the buddha-dharma starting in the 20th century, without any previous contact with "Buddhist" missionaries, teachers, or teachings, and thus have begun a full practice of the buddha-dharma with complete separation from all previous "Buddhist" tradition and practice.
This third part also is partially completed and a mass of barely edited text and unedited citations, but at this time it is still being researched.
Let us open with a very old, shopworn theoretical concept, that of a theatrical performance used as an example of existence. In this particular case, let us specifically use an Italian origin theatrical form called the Commedia delle'Arte.
Commedia dell'Arte reached its height between 1550 and 1650.1 Rather than rely on elaborate effects and story lines, Commedia performances were simple and basic reflections of the people and occurrences which surrounded the Commedia players.2
A major feature of Commedia, which kept the performances elementary in portrayal, were stock sections of action and dialogue, called lazzi, or, singularly, lazzo. These have been described as "something foolish, witty, or metaphorical in word or action.", "stage tricks" and "comic stage business". While a particular performance would have an overall plot and intent, more often than not, the ongoing performance would be formed from an ongoing series of lazzi, which had been previously selected, and which were well known by the performers who were dong that show. 3
Where a different form of theatre may require a very involved script with ongoing pages of dialogue and stage direction, the entirety of a single Commedia performance could be outlined on a small piece of paper, and sometimes was;
"The subject which serves as guide for these excellent players is written entirely on a small slip of paper and posted under a little light for the greater convenience of the troupe. It is astonishing to think that, with such a trifling aid as this, ten or twelve actors are able keep the public in a gale of laughter for three hours or more and bring to a satisfactory close the argument which has been set for them."4
While the lazzi were indeed rehearsed in great detail as a part of the ongoing theatrical training, what also helped with the performances is that the lazzi themselves featured stock theatrical characters which were well known to the audience and which the actors would play from long time familiarity.5 One actor, Flaminio Scala, 1611-52, played the character named Lelio so often that it became his nickname.6
While there have been a number of variations over time, there is a main set of these stock characters which developed within Commedia, such as Pantalone, Dottore, Capitano, Arlecchino and Brighella, and Columbina.
Pantalone is an elderly merchant, usually fancying himself a great lover, often with a much younger wife or mistress, or both, or with a son or daughter who was in love with another character, any of whom would often seek to outwit and outmaneuver him, and vice versa.
Dottore tends to be Pantalone's friend or rival, and was a academian or doctor of either medicine or law, except that his vocabulary was larger than his knowledge and often mangled at that. He too tends to be a father of one or more of the lovers.
Capitano is a great military man and lover, or at least wants to known as one, as long as he never actually has to pull out his sword. At some point in a play some elaborate buildup often leaves him playing dead or fleeing rather than actually being in combat.
Arlecchino is a servant, but one who is naïve, stupid, rebellious, graceful, agile, and almost always hungry.
Brighella is another servant character, with the same characteristics, albeit he is usually greedy as well.
Columbina is a maid or other servant, and is usually a go-between for the lovers, a lover of Arlecchino, and very a clever contrast to the bumbling of much of the other characters about her.7
In the same manner of using the lazzi to build a play, and the stock characters to build the lazzi, rather than rely on the audience to remember which character was which merely from memory, the major characters were themselves indicated by very particular stock masks work by each of the actors.
Arlecchino's mask was black, with a wart.8 Brighella is portrayed with dark skin, a hooked nose and a beard.9 Pantalone has a brown mask with a hook nose, a gray and sparse mustache and a long gray beard that is sometimes forked.10 Dottore's mask is black of flesh colored, covering only the forehead and nose.11
While particular actors usually regularly played the same role, it would be the mask which would show the audience which person was which, and would tell them what to expect.12 In general, but also as cited in one experiment, the audience came to prefer actors with masks to the same actors without.13
Now, as for the reason for beginning this text with Commedia, let us consider that indeed we have a number of actors, who from long experience have a collection of set stage pieces which they cycle through simply by reason of which character each actor is playing, actors which therefore do indeed resemble a large Commedia troupe. As a part of this ongoing play, let us suppose that not only do these actors wear masks, but as far as they are concerned, there is no mask, the masks actually define who the actors are at all times and not just when on stage. In fact, let us say that what becomes more important is indeed that mask and how people react to it, where that misplaced sense of awareness and importance causes the actor to act in ways which then leave the actor having to continue to act in more of the same ways in the future because of the way he has behaved in the past.
"I am a puppet, you are a puppet, we are all puppets. Is it enough, do you think, to be born a puppet by divine will? No, Signor! Each can make himself the puppet he wants, the puppet he can be or that he believes himself to be. And this is where the insanity begins, Signora! Because each puppet wished to be respected, not only for what he has inside himself, but for the mask he wears to the world. Not one of the puppets is contented with his role, each would like to stand before his own puppet and spit in its face!"14
So, basically, let us suppose . . .
1) that there is an immense stage which consists of everything that there is.
2) Upon this stage there is an immense number of actors who are capable of viewing and interacting with everything just as it is.
3) That most of these actors are wearing masks which they think are their actual faces.
4) That deliberately and otherwise, these masked actors have gone and memorized entire sets of lazzi to match each mask, so much so that the lazzi are now the only way each actor can act and react.
5) That these actors are now acting out some great Commedia del 'Arte on such a large scale that they do not see the stage they are on, they do not see that they are actors who can see and play anything. That instead, these actors are trapped in their conditioned, lazzi oriented view of everyone and everything that is around them, trapped into repeating and repeating the lazzi because one lazzo inevitable leads into the next lazzo, for ever and ever, without end. That this endless cycle will continue for each and every actor until some time that each actor can wake himself up, see that the lazzi are just conditioned views and responses, that each mask is just a mask, that not only do the masks interchange, that the masks can even be taken off entirely.
6) that on this immense stage which consists of everything that there is, upon this stage there are a few actors who are capable of viewing and interacting with everything just as it is. No mask, no lazzi, just real actors on that real stage.
While we are looking at terms and views, there is an additional set of concepts that I will cite.
Let us consider that the entire area in which the commedia performance is taking place is the entirety of the universe, the entirety of all that exists in any form or time, or "U". Let us consider that there is a staging area of all these performances, where all the actors are and where they are being watched by any and all audience, and that this staging area is known as the Objective Universe, or "OU". Finally, with this additional model, let us consider that within the OU there are any number of what we will call a Subjective Universe, or “SU”, where each SU is a personal mental mechanism through which each person within the OU percieves the OU and filters information from the OU, based on personal whim, neurosis, preference, training, whatever.15 Here, with our model of commedia, each mask and mask based mass of lazzi thus consists of each actor's subjective universe, or SU.
So, with this last, let us say that the great stage is the objective universe, the OU. That each mask based mass of lazzi consist of each actor's subjective universe, or SU. Let us say that each of these actors is indeed a separate, distinct human being. Let us say that relying on the lazzi to make one's decisions is known as being conditioned, being asleep. Lest us say that acting solely in accordance to what is, as opposed to what some lazzo directs, is called being unconditioned, being awake, even if that unconditioned actor knows a lot of lazzi and still wears a mask. Finally, for that ongoing process of one lazzo leading to another for as long as each actor lets the process to continue, without bringing it to an end, let us give that ongoing process the name of karma.
Karma is another concept but one that dates from far before the beginning of Commedia dell'Arte, all the way back to the beginning of Buddhism. At its simplest, karma can be summarized as "What went up Will come down", but this observation of gravity's effect on physical objects is here extended to the entirety of sentient thought and action across all of time and space. In the effects of karma on individual lives, death is not a consideration, for as a sentient being dies while still being affected by karma which that being has generated, then that being will be born again to have the opportunity to cancel out that same karma. If the karma generated during the earlier life is not dealt with during that next life, especially if additional karma is generated as well, there will be a further rebirth, and so forth, and so on.
As each round of karma is the cause of one round of action and reaction and, unless stopped, automatically leads into the next, these cycles of birth and rebirth are considered to be the central core of all that occurs among all sentient life. In turn, also unless brought to a willed end by the cessation of the creation of further karma, this cycle of rebirth is also considered to take place for lifetime after lifetime, through hundreds and thousands of lifetimes after lifetimes after lifetimes . . . . . . . .16
In all of this, as with the example of the commedians who Do know they are wearing masks, there is indeed that stated way out, but even then, a part of that way is the realization that when humanity has considered methods of making decisions, regardless of the scale in question, one of only two methods has been chosen.
At some point or another, many have encountered Some variation of this old aphorism, "Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for the rest of the night. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
This is just one of the many variations involving the two possibilities of "getting things done". One version is that an individual waits for someone else to deliver attention, money, food, whatever, where the other version has the individual getting what he seeks for himself, or getting for himself the means to get that for which he seeks. In turn, religious practice and tradition is one area of human activity that this division turns up in, along with a lot of confusion and difference that can occur even within what may be considered a uniform organization or history.
As a part of this varied history, many sects of one sort or another involve external references, be they called "Torah", "The Bible", "Sutras", "Koran", whatnot. Many sects of one sort or another involve an external focus, be it considered "God", "Goddess", "The Gods", whether called "Adonai", "Allah", "Jesus Christ", "Satan", "Amida Butsu", "Bridget", "Jehovah", "Amaterasu", "Ahura Mazda", "Kali", or many other variations. While pervasive, however, these externally focused methodologies are not the totality of human practice, and that other side of the room includes the core beliefs inherent within Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Various sources cite Hinduism and Taoism fairly equally when it comes to great uncertainty of the two tradition's age and origin, where Taoism's first record is at least attributed to a man named Lao Tzu sometime around 600 B.C.17. Of Taoism, the basic essence is the Tao, which is described as being ever present, but extremely subtle, resulting in the statements; "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.", and "Those who know don't say. Those who say don't know." In this, Taoism shares with Hinduism and Buddhism the sense that everything which is available for humanity is indeed available to be immediately accessed without recourse to a series of gods and goddesses18. Taoism makes itself unique from Hinduism and Buddhism with a further series of beliefs that are not entirely shared by the other two. In Taoism this difference is a particular emphasis upon reticence, with one such example being;
"He who stands on tiptoe, doesn't stand firm. He who rushes ahead, doesn't go far. He who tries to shine, dims his own light."19
Even with the sense that to withdraw or stay in place is best, here too is shown a reliance on self limitation that is for its own sake, rather than being based upon an externally based belief.
In Hinduism, this basic personal essence of each human is declared to be Brahman, an unending individual consciousness which is also simply inherent without regards to an external source or focus.20 Yes, Hinduism also features a massively interconnected collection of apparently external and very assorted gods and goddesses. However, as humans each have this universal and eternal essence, each of the gods also all are seen as being merely forms of the same essence and in turn, all the gods are themselves subject to the same cycle or death and rebirth as all other beings . . . . Ok, so a god takes a little longer to get around to dying than most beings seen wandering down a sidewalk on a weekday, but just the same . . . .
Hinduism's answer to these ongoing cycles of birth and rebirth were codified in a number of texts, the most important of which is called the Laws of Manu. The Laws of Manu, on the other hand, simply state what each variety of person should do during a current incarnation, regardless of the variations which may apply to an individual's situation . . . which will probably lead the individual to the next incarnation, and so on . . .21
On the other hand, as karma is considered malleable at will, if this will is thus focused then there is nothing stated that can prevent karma from being cancelled out in a single lifetime, thus ending the endless rebirths and releasing that being to move beyond the concerns of karma. This solution to the very broken precepts of Hinduism was the proclamation of a Northern Indian prince named Siddharta Gautama.
Gautama was born in what is now Nepal, apparently where early stories state him to be the son of a well to do civic leader, where later stories have him the son and heir of a local king. Again, there is a mix of stories regarding the circumstances of his earlier years and what lead to his search for enlightenment. These range from a king who sought but failed to distract his son from contemplation so that the son would become the continent's greatest general, to a more prosaic realization by a hereditary administrator of the utter inevitability of disease, old age, and death and that maybe something could be done about them. At age 29, he set out to find that answer, and six years later, following intense study, intense physical limitations, and the insufficiency of both as a method for release, he sat down under a tree for one final effort, and solved the puzzle.22
After becoming enlightened, he was noted as being different, with people asking if he were a god, an angel, a saint, all of which he denied. Finally, when someone did ask him simply what he was, if none of the other possibilities, he replied "I am awake". With the Sanskrit root Budh denoting both to wake up and to know, he became known as The Awakened One, or, the Buddha.23
Following his enlightenment, Gautama then taught and traveled for the next forty-five years, until his death at the age of eighty. Unlike some who claim ultimate knowledge to which all must pay attention, who are subsequently ignored,
"He founded an order of monks, challenged the deadness of Brahmin society, and accepted in return the resentment, queries, and bewilderment his stance provided. His daily routine was staggering. In addition to training monks and overseeing the affairs of his order, he maintained an interminable schedule of public preaching and private counseling, advising the perplexed, encouraging the faithful, and comforting the distressed. 'To him people come right across the country from distant lands to ask questions, and he bids all welcome.'"24
While Gautama actually predated the Laws of Manu by a good three centuries, his proposal for enlightenment in one leap was first intended equally for all, and second was predicated upon the individual confirmation by each person of each step on the path to enlightenment, with no reliance upon an external entity.
"It is most characteristic of the Buddha that he always adapts his talk to the person he is conversing with. His courtesy in argument results from this: it is certainly not his way to denounce the opinions and practices of another to his face and challenge him to justify them, His method rather is to seem to adopt the other's point of view and then by question and answer to improve on it until a position compatible with his own has been arrived at. Thus he leads his partner in discussion towards the truth as he has discovered it, but so that the partner seems himself to continue his own quest, in whatever for it had taken, and to arrive at higher truths than he had previously been aware of, or more convincing moral ideas."25
While Gautama was acting from his personal insight, such individualism can and has resulted in a confusion of countering interpretations over time. As part of the confusion, near the end of his life, Gautama was asked how one might differentiate between "The word of the Buddha" and some text which was randomly claimed to be equal, Gautama's reply is stated to have been; "Whatever is well spoken is the word of the Buddha."26
It is one thing to count objects to confirm that for everyone two grapes and two grapes are, together, four grapes, but when the subject is a level of understanding such that only one who has achieved that understanding may critique it, those who do not have such understanding are left with what each thinks the various words and concepts mean.
While Gautama and other buddhas have had a particular reference for all of his teachings, if someone else is not enlightened, discerning what is correct can be a matter of what "well spoken" is, can be a matter of what "is" is. On another hand, while Buddhism has indeed since been inundated with 2500 years of additional desires, thoughts, extras and attachments, what Gautama had to say has lasted for two and a half millennia, even if extremely distorted at times, and over time. 27
Some 2500 years following Gautama and what he suggested, the varieties of what is claimed to be Buddhism are vast and Very contradictory. On the other hand, there are still reports and indications which point towards a basic core which does constitute Buddhism and which provides a filter for any additions and alterations. One of these filters can be to note that there is a distinct difference between a series of beliefs that are collectively known as a religion, and a singly focused series of actions that are known as a practice . . . even if what the practice covers does leave it being considered to Also be a religion.
One such example of this is that in the 2500 years of Buddhism, the term "Buddhism" is actually a European term dating to around the 1830s. While that which constitutes "Buddhism" can indeed be called a religion, and usually is, and while the term Buddhist can be used as a widely recognized general description of one who so practices, an actual term used by practitioners is the dharma, meaning, "the path", or "the way things are",28 or also the buddha-dharma, the "teaching of the awakened"29
Of that core, the essence of the buddha-dharma is stated to be "the four truths and the eightfold path", as follows;
The four truths are; The existences of 1) "suffering", 2) "desire", 3) finding relief from "suffering" and "desire", and 4) getting that relief through the eightfold path.
The eightfold path is; "Right"; views, intent, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.30
Suffering was actually described by Gautama as dukkha, which has a conceptual meaning of a wheel with an axle that is off-center, or a bone that is dislocated from its socket.31 The argument is not that life is horrible, for much of life is quite enjoyable. The actual argument is that if you really like steak, a salad, and a scotch, what if that was all you could ever have for any meal? No alteration, no change, total stasis in that one experience, and in time, would you really like that? You wanted something, but now that you have it, it's never going away. You may want something else, but that something else is never going to happen. And now you have to also face that this situation will never change. A wheel with an axle that is off center.
Desire, the second truth, was defined as being tanha, which is the cause of dukkha, and which is usually somewhat inaccurately described as desire. The particular form of desire here is more the wanting of something, regardless of that something. Going back to the steak and salad, or the proverbial rose just as it is in bloom, if you have it and enjoy it, Excellent! As one fellow commented in the latter half of the 20th century, "Indulgence, instead of abstinence."32 What is aggravating about Tanha is that it is the wanting of that indulgence, instead of simply accepting that when that indulgence is not there, it is not there, and when it is there, it is there and can be enjoyed at that moment, without also obsessing over whether that indulgence may or may not happen again, or is it good enough, or any of the many other facets of tanha which the mind can generate.33
The third truth is that just because tanha occurs, the occurrence is not permanent, because as tanha is not a requirement of existence, tanha can indeed not occur.34 If you're bored, well the reality is that you're bored, and you don't worry about it. If you decided to relieve the boredom by watching a mystery movie or a documentary, but one or the other is not available, then you accept what is there, and not worry about it. If neither preference is available, you stay bored or accept what else is there, and again, you don't worry about it.
The fourth truth is to not make tanha by instead practicing the eightfold path. Again, rather than the eightfold path being made of "right", views, intent, and so forth, which can imply "right" actions as opposed to "wrong" actions, the particular concept used by Gautama was samma, which is more like "that which best gets the job done at the particular moment."35 If something needs to occur and something is available, do that something, and move on to something else. If another way turns up that is better, don't obsess over which way to use, go with the better way, and leave it at that. If in turn, the not so better way somehow becomes the best action at a particular moment, then again, do that, without worry about what could be or could have been. Don't emphatically insist on "The Right Way", that will just cause tanha to arise. Instead, merely do what needs to be done, and move on.
View; A very good reason for there not being a "Right" view is that everything always changes. A regulated, unchanging way of seeing only a part of everything is not enough, and such a view of even everything is not enough because it will be instantly out of date.36 At the moment I'm writing this, I'm listening to rain falling outside a window. Were I to carry an umbrella earlier before the rain, when I was outside running errands, such would have been pointless, for the rain wasn't falling. Right now is pointless, for I am indoors, but if I was outside, then I might want an umbrella, if could remember if I have an umbrella, or if indeed I care if I get rained on, which could be another part of the picture as well. In all of this, the correct behavior is not just a matter of when it rains have an umbrella, when it does not, don't, because all of such is not the entire picture. The correct behavior for any moment can only be decided at that moment, based on objective experience and the facts of the moment, right at that moment.
Intent; Intent is the matter of actually deciding to do something, or to not do something. If someone else decided that something might be nice, that's not what you have decided. If you yourself say that you will do something, but then you think about something else, and then move on to something else, and keep wandering around at random, you do not have intent. In turn, even if you do focus on some aspect of something, and then switch to a different aspect, then onto a third, or back to the first part, if all of this is related to the same thing, then even with the variations that are being worked on, the whole is being done with intent.37
Speech; The two parts of this tend to be truthfulness and, for lack of a better word, consideration. For truthfulness, the simplest explanation is that if the truth is told, then remembering what was said is less of a concern than if a lie was told. If a lie is told, the following concern is what story was told to whom and why, combined with the reaction of another or others when they find they've been lied to, even in the situations where the liar doesn't care what the reaction is.38 Of consideration, one possible approach is to be aware whether people want to listen to you, or instead, from choice of words to choice of topic do they have to put up with listening to you? What is also included is that if the situation does call for a deliberate lie, you lie
---One classic version, which includes the last, has you living in a war zone where refugees who have been sentenced to death by invaders are living in your attic. When the invaders come to the door looking for someone to kill, what do you tell the invaders? Keep in mind that they will probably kill you on the spot just for having the refugees clearly hiding in the attic and being concealed from the invaders. There can also be the example of stating that someone is a lying, malevolent rapist, who has deliberately stalked and destroyed another human being . . Yes, that is hardly considerate of the one being described, However; When the statement is true, to lie to others about it, to tell them that nothing whatsoever is wrong or needs to be done to answer the murder, is to chose to leave those others to be harmed, could leave you harmed by your own lies, will harm the community you live in . . . .
Conduct; Conduct is to act as actually needed, with total awareness of actual reality39 . . . . Which is about as vague as a statement can get, but the limitation in description comes from the fact that everything is constantly in flux. "Thou Shalt Not" commands quickly become outdated or obsolete or don't fit the new situation which itself will be superceded. Pretty much the closest to a more concrete guide that comes to mind is that as one should beware of "Thou Shalt Not" commands, one should be equally aware of commands to deliberately violate "Thou Shalt Not" commands. Where one set of rules may not apply to ever changing reality, the deliberate opposition is just as devoid of reality. As always, the decision must be made by the individual, with total awareness of actual reality.
Livelihood; Livelihood is also based upon the situation at hand, along with conduct. Making a living does permit more self sufficiency than not, but again, what to do will depend entirely on what is available, what one prefers, and so forth. In this case, with the same observations as the above, one simply does work as actually needed, with total awareness of actual reality.40
Effort; Effort, like intent, is the ongoing action of what needs to be done, or not done, where one example in this case being an ox which just keeps plodding along as it needs to until a particular job is actually done, as opposed to a high speed sprint that only lasts a short amount of time and fails . . . at those times when the long distance effort is what is needed. Yes, that's right, when the short distance needs to be covered right now, then yes, sprint.41
Mindfulness; Mindfulness is being aware of what is actually going on, but not just in what is going on around you, but what your mind is doing, thinking, and so forth. Yes, thoughts of one sort or another arrive in mind, but do you just see them arrive and then watch them go, or do you go mentally chasing after what are only transient thoughts? When a difficult situation occurs, do you note that yes, there can be irritation, as you concentrate on understanding and doing something to improving the situation, or do you let your emotions leave you throwing a tempter tantrum when such gets nothing done? Mindfulness includes the former of these, not the latter. The issue is that you are the one deciding how to react from moment to moment. Your decision is based on the information you have at that moment, and sometimes some of that information is merely what others have told you that may not be correct, or sometimes the information is what you thought of a situation, but when you look at that thought, it too turns out to be just a thought. In all things, you must see things for themselves, you must confirm everything for yourself, leaving nothing unconfirmed.42
Concentration; .Concentration is that act of just watching the thoughts go by as they occur and not doing anything more than that43.
Yes, thoughts occur. So what? They are just thoughts. So you have the most horrendous thought that can ever be. So what? Who says it is horrendous? Who says it is more than a thought? Who says that the contents of that thought could even actually enter reality?
So you have the most wonderful and glorious thought that could ever be. So what? It too, is just a thought. You can indeed go chasing after these mere thoughts and possibly lose yourself in delusion, or you can be aware that they are merely the products of an active mind.
Yes, you can have someone drop something on your foot, and it hurts and you proclaim ")_#%&+_@%!!!" And then in the next moment, the pain is gone, or maybe it still hurts, but only in that successive moment. You don't worry about something which isn't actually happening, you think about a likelihood only long enough to decide what to do about it, and then, again, you don't worry about it.44
At the same time, as you can indeed feel pain, and deal with it, but not also get attached to thoughts of the pain, this does not mean not feeling anything, this does not mean going with the fantasies of some that the only thing to do is become one with the universe and just fade into some cosmic pea soup. You remain aware and present, you just don't add anything to that being present.45
The point is that the essence of that which is you is not that active mind, but is instead that which is watching that mind, is just sitting there, just silently watching, a watching essence that is always present, that does not add superfluous feelings or attachments as the flurry of mere thought and mere object goes floating by . . . .46
Over much time there have been a number of concepts related to the buddha-dharma which have seemed confusing or contradictory. No, there will not be a complete list here. In some cases, the alleged confusion began with Gautama pointedly refusing to say anything;
"Whether the world is eternal or not eternal, whether the world is finite or not, whether the soul is the same as the body or whether the soul is one thing and the body another, whether a Buddha exists after death or does not exist after death---these things the Lord does not explain to me. And that he does not explain them to me does not please me, it does not suit me."47
Gautama's answer to this was the parable of the arrow, that when one has been impaled with an arrow that has been smeared in poison, the proper reaction is not to ask who shot the arrow, how was the arrow made, what quality is the bow, the proper procedure is to get the arrow and the poison out immediately.48 Never mind Why thoughts occur, never mind what the thoughts are about, just recognize that those thoughts do just occur and just move on . . . . .
And just the same, from the time of Gautama's death onwards, entire libraries of speculation began to develop, because chasing those thoughts that just occur has always been easier than the much more difficult and disciplined steps of the eightfold path of the buddha-dharma.
The problem that has occurred with the buddha-dharma is that even as Gautama's teachings were memorized and handed on and finally recorded, what did suit some over time was to get frozen into a particular choice of wording and often graft on entire new configurations of belief. In this process, the buddha-dharma is cited to have split into at least three main branches, and a fourth. The three are Mahayana, either Theravada or Hinayna, depending on who's describing it, Vajrayana, and the fourth is Cha'an, Son, or Zen, whether the Chinese, Korean, or Japanese variety.
The meaning of the word Mahayana is stated to be "The Greater Raft", Theravada and Hinayana are, respectively, "The Way of The Elders" and "The Lesser Raft", and Vajrayana is "The Diamond Way". 49 In turn, Son is stated to be the Korean word for Zen50, Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Cha'an, which is stated to be a contraction of ch'an-na which is the Chinese attempted pronunciation of the Sanskrit word dyana, which means "meditation",51 or "mental absorption".52
Theravada is considered the oldest of the Buddhist based practices and one of the only surviving practice of the Hinayana traditions. It is based on the concept of a community of monks who practice the basic core of the buddha-dharma as outlined by Gautama, concentrating on practicing the eightfold path in as codified a method as possible. It is this branch of Buddhism which, in time, spread out into most of south-east Asia, while also, over the same time, also grafting on to itself a lot of the local practices and beliefs of the local pre-existing practices and religions. In turn, while a community of Buddhist nuns was founded by Gautama, it has not existed in the Theravada tradition since around the 10th century C.E. due to the lineage of nuns getting wiped out during war.53
Mahayana is based on a number of texts which began to appear in India in the first century C.E., at least six hundred years after Gautama, and are stated to be a delayed, postmortem transmission by Gautama. Where the buddha-dharma considers Gautama to have been one person who made a series of logical deductions which all can follow, branches of Mahayana tend to postulate that Gautama or even some a particular symbolic buddha is merely a god who granted and grants all, monks or otherwise, with the ability to be enlightened more than to become enlightened.54 One decorative aspect of this tends to also be an entire amusement park system full of heavens and hells.55 As far as personal practice, while one's personal merit could grow over time, Mahayana also began to argue that ones merit could actually be transferred to another, which has itself been a clear departure from the buddha-dharma.56
Even on a mundane level, attempts to alter and augment were attempted as a part of exporting the buddha-dharma out of India. One such case in China was the attempt to declare Gautama to be a reincarnation of Confucius and to declare both Lao-tzu and Confucius to be early incarnations of Gautama, regardless of all three having apparently been contemporaries.57
As a reminder of the differences between an internally focused practice such as the buddha-dharma, and an externally based worship such as Christianity, an extreme form of Mahayana's choice of wish over practice is the Pure Land sect. The Pure Land sect worships the Amida Buddha, who is stated to live in the Pure Land, a form of heaven located in the west and sometimes also known as the Western Paradise.58 While confirmation of what Gautama taught is sometimes stated to be a facet of Pure Land worship, the basis of the Pure Land sect tends to be to repeatedly chant the name of the Amida Buddha, and if one chants sincerely or hard enough, then following the chanter's death, the chanter is then allowed to be reborn into the Amida's Pure Land.59
Of the Pure Land sect, there are a number of interesting observations which one can make.
One such begins only about one-hundred-sixty years after Gautama, at the time that one of the Northern Indian kingdoms had been expanding out further and further. Finally one of the kings started a specific campaign to rid the north-western area of India of the remnants of the Greek army of Alexander the Great., left in place after Alexander's death in 323 B.C.E. In time, these campaigns were momentous enough that they were recorded by contemporary Greek historians.60
For rebirth in the Western Pure Land, it is stated that the primary requirement is that one have absolute faith. Another practice that is possible is not just to do good works, but to transfer to others the merit which one has acquired through this good work. In addition, it is possible to arrange this transfer not only to the living, but also to the dead61, raising correlating parallels with the current contemporary practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as The Mormons.62
In Shin Buddhism, a Japanese form of the Pure Land Sect, not only is one's faith delivered by the Buddha, one should not try to rationalize the mystery of faith. The Amida Buddha is considered to be the absolute other power. In the Vietnamese form of the Pure Land sect, some practitioners have stated that maybe mediation is nice, but very definitely, the point is the accumulation of merit so as to permit the rebirth in the Pure Land.
As one commentator on the buddha-dharma has stated; " . . . it may be better than no religion at all. But is it Buddhism?"63
Given that this began to appear a century after the founding of Christianity some very accesible distance to the west, the indication that Pure Land practice is actually a mutated form of Christianity is a distinct possibility. However, as this text is an overview of the buddha-dharma, and not an exploration of the roots of what is actually more a practice of Buddhianity or possibly Christism, such an exploration is left to others.
Vajrayana traces its lineage to an additional round of extra revelations called tantra which turned up in India starting around a thousand years after Gautama. Tantra involves intellectual transformation through specific visualization and ritual. As with Mahayana, the claim made of the tantras is that they were taught by Gautama, but in this case were a secret tradition which was verbally transmitted from teacher to student. On an other hand, while still an extension of Mahayana and the concept of Buddhas as gods, Vajrayana returns to the original Buddhist belief that with the correct practice, anyone can achieve enlightenment within a single lifetime.
The primary addition which tantra brings is the addressing of attachment. Where some non-tantric sects have an intricate series of rules nd regulations to prevent transgressions which will supposedly prevent enlightenment at some future time, and while tantric practices do also seek detachment, with tantra this search often can involve seeking out attachments as a meditative exercise, whether the attachments are desired or feared. Sex is one area which tantra covers, but death is yet another, and all points in between. The only limitation to tantra is the limits of human psychology and imagination, for these are the roots of the tanha which causes the dukkha which prevents enlightenment and causes the repeated rounds of rebirth. 64
Zen is one of the traditions which is attributed to Mahayana, but probably only because Zen followed Mahayana in its expansion out from India.65 In actuality, with its lineage of monks and both its reliance on the direct experience of its practitioners, combined with the apparently unaltered reliance on the original body of Gautama's teachings, it actually is more of a second remaining Hinayanan branch along with Theravada.66
Zen's alleged original lineage comes from a story told of Gautama and a gathering of monks. Where histories of Gautama are of sermon after sermon on all sorts of topics related to whatever was immediately at hand, on this occasion, all he did was to hold up a lotus flower. As all but one of the monks apparently just stared, Mahakasyapa smiled in return. Of the main known lineage of Zen after Mahaksyapa, it comes from the Indian monk Bodhidharma, who reached China in the sixth century C.E., where Zen then moved from China afterwards.
As a form of Theravada, Zen's effort is in the direct comprehension that leads to enlightenment, with a resulting strong emphasis on word and concept games which emphasize that direct knowledge is beyond mere thought and that which can be described to another. 67
Two such direct practitioners and teachers were a pair of Japanese monks named Ikkyu and Bankei.
Ikkyu was born during a time of Japan's ongoing civil wars, before the Tokugawa shogunate came to power in 1600 and unified the nation. He was apparently an illegitimate son of one of the Emperors of the time, by age five had been placed in a monastery for schooling and training as a monk. By age twelve he was showing an early facility for poetry, a practice which continued on through the rest of his life. After his first few years of training, Ikkyu left the monastery to study with another monk, until the monk's death, which was followed by another few years of study with a second teacher, during which Ikkyu achieved enlightenment.
A common theme in Ikkyu's life reflected the status of the buddha-dharma in Japan at that time. While there was indeed a widespread network of temples and teachers, in some cases one or either were more of a career or a place to park some junior son of a family rather than an actual practice, and a fair amount of Ikkyu's recorded commentary is on monks who have all the trappings and none of the practice.
At the same time, though, as a counterpart to the Theravadan ideal of a monk stuck in a monastery, Ikkyu became more and more known for his practice of preferring whorehouses and taverns as a source of proper practice rather than put up with what he regularly decried as fake monks making a mess of the monasteries. During his wanderings, and occasional disappearances from official records, he is stated to have taken at least one mistress, probably married at least once, and have had at least one child, even while continuing to write poetry which often discusses some or all of this. Finally, in his old age, with a long history of indulgence and total rejection of the religious practices of the day, Ikkyu finally was made abbot of one of the major Zen monasteries of the period, a position he held until his death a few years later.
Following his death, Ikkyu was held in sufficiently high regard that he was even cited by a group of Chinese Buddhists. While awareness and appreciation did fade, somewhat, increased interest in him has regularly returned68, so much so that in the late 20th century, an American Zen instructor was heard to lament; "Where is the School of Ikkyu?"69
Bankei, in turn, lived during the early years of the rigidly stratified and regulated Tokugawa Shogunate. By that point, while the buddha-dharma was still present in Japan, it had been undergoing a serious decline for at least a couple of centuries. In many cases the buddha-dharma was merely being experienced rather than practiced, and in worse cases, highly distorted sects had sprung up in Japan as they had elsewhere, claiming to be the buddha-dharma, but being much more in line with animism or Christianity.70 In the meantime, as a way to create increasing order and stability, the Tokugawa's regimentation of Japanese society was very oriented around Chinese origin Confucian ideals, and this extended to early teaching in schools.
Bankei was very strong willed and self directed from an early age, and the most important manifestation of this occurred when he was eleven and being subjected to calligraphy lessons based on Confucian texts. The class had reached the Confucian statement "The way of great learning lies in clarifying bright virtue.", at which point Bankei interrupted; He wanted to know what "bright virtue" was.
As the teacher's answers were clearly only what the teacher had memorized along with the rest of the text, and as Bankei really did want to know the answer, his going to even Confucian scholars resulted in his being directed towards Zen Buddhists, as "they know about such knotty problems". Ultimately, Bankei did come up with an answer, but he lacked the intellectual and conceptual training that Gautama had been able to make use of to achieve his enlightenment. Finding the solution took Bankei fourteen years, and even then he needed a further couple of years to fully achieve full enlightenment.71
Banker's contribution was what he referred to as "The Unborn Buddha Mind". This was a reference to one of the apparently very few statements attributed to Gautama which bordered on a statement of faith for a non buddha;
"Were there not the unborn, ungrown, and unconditioned, there would be no escape for the born, known, and conditioned. Since there is unborn, ungrown, and unconditioned, so there is escape for the born, grown, and conditioned.72
Of course this only borders on a statement of faith, as Gautama was being the example of someone who was being a bodily essence of the unborn, and simply stating that others could achieve what he had achieved.
In Banker's case, what he preached was not just that enlightenment was possible in a single lifetime, but that anyone could recognize that enlightenment just was without resorting to years of training in a monastery, with the societal disruption which could result from so many individuals dropping out of everyday life.
Like Gautama, Bankei also traveled and taught for forty-five years before his death. By that time, he was a regular teacher at a number of temples and monasteries, several of which he had helped found.
"At the time of his death; Bankei had as personal disciples over four hundred priests and monks and two hundred and seventy nuns, in additional to the more than five thousand men and woman of the laity who had received the precepts making them his students. They included people from all over the country, more than a few of whom were daimyos and other men of prominent position and family, as well as many students from the peasant classes. In 1740, forty-seven years after his death, the posthumous title of Haiho Shogen ('True Eye of the Great Dharma') Kokushi, or 'National Teacher' was bestowed on him by the Emperor Sakuramachi."73
By the time of the early 21st century, people answering to Buddhism are found in India again, after disappearing during the Islamic invasions around the 10th century. They are found in all of the nations of south Asia, and in China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan. They are still found in the nation of Tibet, regardless of the efforts of the Chinese Communists to eradicate both the buddha-dharma and the Tibetans following the Communist invasion in 1950. And what has also been beginning from the 19th and into the 20th centuries is the expansion into Europe and the Americas.74
Buddhism certainly came into the Americas with immigrants and their native beliefs, so that America's first Buddhist temple is built in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1853. In 1880, in Ceylon, Americans Helena Blatavasky and Henry Olcott, the founders of the Theosophical society, took Buddhist lay vows. Olcott's work as a Buddhist in Ceylon was also with a monk named Anagarika Dharmapala, who was one of the Buddhist monks in attendance at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, where he administered further vows to a New York Businessman named Charles Strauss. Also at the 1893 parliament were Japanese Buddhist monks and a publisher named Paul Carus, who subsequently worked with a number of Japanese Zen practitioners, and so the progressions went from there.
Since that time, the American network of Buddhism and the like has grown to include Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Tibetan, Pure Land, Zen, Theravada, Vajrayana, and all points in between . . . and for any who may be unfamiliar with the buddha-dharma, it can all appear to be one large mixed and confused mass. 75
The main issue for one who wishes to learn about the buddha-dharma does indeed become the question of what does and does not constitute the practice. The four truths and the eightfold path have been cited earlier, but as has been pointed out, such is a retelling of what has been handed down through 2500 years, with many and varied twists and revisions In addition, as the essence of the buddha-dharma is indeed an issue of personal observation and experience, one person's experience is not always going to match that of another. Judging from tradition---which can not be trusted---and handed on messages---which can only be judged by the enlightened---even having multiple buddhas serving as effective repeaters of the signal down through time is not a guarantee to result in a clear message. While a person alone, working for himself, can sort things out, relying on third hand translation of concepts which can be confusing to begin with provides extra difficulty.76
In short, as ever, don't trust any of this at all . . . . Consider everything yourself, confirm everything directly for yourself, or there is no point in any of this.
On another hand, of the stories that have come down through 2500 years, this basic distrust of the transmission of another is to be considered an essential rule. As is alleged to have been said by Gautama to Ananda, one of his followers, granted the 2500 year margin of error;
"Do not accept what you hear by report, do not accept tradition, do not accept a statement because it is found in our books, nor because it is in accord with your belief, not because it is the saying of your teacher. Be lamps onto yourselves. Those who, either now or after I am dead, shall rely on themselves only and not look for assistance to anyone besides themselves, it is they who shall reach the utmost heights "77
Very basically, out here in the 21st century, the difference between the buddha-dharma and psychiatry is that the buddha-dharma doesn't limit itself to 50 minute chunks and it's a whole lot cheaper. Of course, just like psychiatry, you alone have to face your neuroses, that is to say, your conditioned self or that which thinks it is a self, you alone have to do the work of realizing that the conditioning is there and that it is unnecessary. When you do that, enlightenment follows, and when you don't do that you're on the couch, err, meditation pillow for years . . . .
At the same time, what can be useful is to weigh the various sources of what has come down through the years, comparing them against each other. While one does still need to do all the weighing, seeing the commentary of others can be used as an aid, rather than doing all the work by oneself, from scratch, where all the perceptions must be based on the widest possible variations . . .
Yes, by the way, of the suggestion to weigh and compare, this too has been stated quite repeatedly . . . .
"Do not go by what is handed down, nor on the authority of your traditional teachings. When you know of yourselves: 'These teaching are not good: These teachings when followed out and put in practice conduce to loss and suffering'---then reject them."78
"This Dharma isn't anything you can learn from someone else"---Bankei79
To cite a comment by the current Dalai Lama; " . . . what happens when the guru gives advice that we do not wish to follow or that contradicts dharma and reason? The yardstick must always be logical reasoning and dharma reason. Any advice that contradicts these is to be rejected. This was said by the Buddha himself. If one doubts the validity of what is said, one should gently push the point and clear all doubts."80
And at another time;
"I am a Buddhist and my whole way of training is according to the Buddhist teaching or Buddha Dharma. Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is of no use, then you can discard it."81
To quote a German born monk, Lama Anagarika Govinda;
"Only when we understand the reasons for this or that rule, and only when we completely agree with it, should we accept it and act accordingly. The Buddha never expected his disciples to follow him blindly. He was the only founder of a religion who not only allowed criticism but encouraged it in his pupils. He only wanted people to follow him if they did so on the basis of their own experience and conviction.
"And so he said to his favorite disciple, Ananda, 'If you were to follow the dharma purely out of love for me or because you respect me, I would not accept you as a disciple. But if you follow the dharma because you have experienced its truth, because you understand and act accordingly---only under these conditions have you the right to call yourself a disciple of the exalted one.'"
"The dharma of the Buddha is not a religion based on belief. Its basis is our own uninterrupted work on ourselves, and this will lead us to its sources, which are meditative experience and understanding." 82
A Buddhist scholar named Charles Prebish reports another summation that occurred nearly 2500 years after Gautama;
"At the onset of this chapter, I described the visit of Sister Kechog Palmo to Penn State University . . . Another of my colleagues was interested in the elaborate rituals of Tibetan Buddhism, comparing them to parallels in the Christian tradition that he understood and respected. But when he began asking her about the meditative tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, he seemed unable to fathon why someone might journey so deeply within in order to search for religious enlightenment. In the absense of a compassionate deity who provided salvation by grace, he was clueless, trapped in an ontological-theology stalemate."83
As faith is not the answer, then reason must follow. As miracles just distract, then clear statements of information become the only answer;
"Buddhas do not wash away sins with water, they do not heal suffering by laying on of hands, and they do not transmit their understanding into others' minds; they introduce beings to freedom by educating them about reality."84
Of Gautama himself;
"Sakyamuni did not owe his bodhi to any other higher being or power. According to the Buddhist doctrine, Buddha is the highest being and dharma is the supreme power. Buddha is "self-existent" (svayambhu). Not Gautama the man, but Gautama the Buddha is called self-existent and self-luminous (svayamprabha). He is called svayambhu because he got the supreme enlightenment by himself, by his own efforts, without any external help, grace, instruction, or revelation. The reality (tattva) which the Buddha had realized is, therefore, called 'not dependent on other' (aparapratyayam), 'independent' (svatantra), and 'to be realized only by oneself' (svayameva-adhigantavyam). This reality is the immaculate and blissful nirvana (nirvanam amalam sivam)."85
One part of that reality, and a reason for the writing of this text, is that there are immense amounts of distortion and misunderstanding possible of a practice that deals with the extreme subtleties related to how individuals perceive their thoughts and actions. On an other hand, there are at least a few of the distortions which have turned up, some of which started even while Gautama was still preaching, and are still echoing on to today . . .
Introduction---Excerpts from Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups, A handbook for chaplains.
The work involved in developing and producing this handbook was performed pursuant to contract number MDA903-90-C-0062 with the Department of Defense by
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF AMERICAN RELIGION
J. Gordon Melton
James R. Lewis
Senior Research Associate
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF CHAPLAINS
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20310-2700
Nothing herein shall be construed to reflect the official position, policy or endorsement of the Department of the Army, or of the Chief of Army Chaplains regarding the organization, beliefs, or doctrine of the religious groups described in this manual. It contains information on these selected religious groups provided by the groups themselves. Errors or changes may be reported through official channels to the Chief of Army Chaplains.
JAPANESE HERITAGE GROUPS
Although members of "Japanese Heritage" groups are by no means limited to persons of Japanese descent, the origins of these religions in the United States can generally be traced to the arrival of the first Japanese emigrants. In general, this immigration began in 1868, when 148 contact laborers arrived in Hawaii, the first of thousands of Japanese who were to work on the Hawaiian plantations. Within a few years, Japanese immigrants began to arrive on the West Coast, particularly in California. Japanese Americans now number more than 500,000, 85 percent of whom still reside in Hawaii and on the West Coast.
The immigrants brought their religions----Shinto and Buddhism with them. In 1889 Sawer Kagahi of the Honpa Hongwanji, the largest of the Buddhist groups, arrived in Honolulu and began work among the plantation workers. In April of that year a temple was constructed in Hilo. In the remaining years of the century, priests of other groups began their efforts.
Buddhism entered Japan in the sixth century A. D. from Korea. in 710, at the time of the building of the new capitol at Nara, the emperor became Buddhist and made Buddhism the state religion. Several varieties of Buddhism were introduced, but the next centuries saw the emergence of the more popular forms. The popularity of Buddhism in the country depended directly upon the favor of the various emperors.
The twelfth century saw the arrival of Honen and Shinran from China. They introduced what became the most popular form of Buddhism, the Pure Land. Pure Land Buddhism teaches devotion to Amida Buddha. Sincere invocation of this bodhisattva (saint) gives entrance into the Pure Land (heaven).
The following century saw the appearance of Nichiren, a Buddhist reformer whose efforts led to the founding of the Nichiren-shu. Nichiren was attached to the Lotus Sutra, a collection of Buddha's teaching, which he believed contained the primitive true Buddhism that could unite the various groups.
The last major Buddhist group to enter Japan was the Zen school which came from China. Combining the strong meditative practices of Chinese Taoism with Buddhist tradition, Tao-sheng (360-434) the founder, added an emphasis on the possibility of instantaneous enlightenment.
There are no less than fifty groups of Japanese origin functioning in the United States. Most are Buddhist, but Shinto and the New Religions are well represented. The Buddhist groups share allegiance to Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, the Enlightened One. In 529 B.C., he abandoned his princely life and family to wander in search of the meaning of life. His search ended in 523 B.C.; while in meditation and contemplation, he found enlightenment. At that point, he became the Buddha.
Buddhist teachings were collected into the Tripitaka, the Three Baskets, which includes the Vinaya, the Sutras, and the Abhidharma. The Vinaya contains the story of Buddha's life and the rules for the monks. The Sutras contain Buddha's teachings along with those of his close disciples. The Abhidharma contains Buddha's discourses. As the Buddhist community spread internationally, the number of Buddhist sutras, holy books, also grew. The different segment of Buddhism emphasize and use different sutras.
The Buddhist Churches of America, the largest Buddhist group in America, is the American form of the Honpa Hongwanji Pure Land Buddhism. Other Pure Land groups in the United States are the Higashi Hongwanji Buddhist Church and the Jodo Mission.
It should be noted that Buddhism has experienced a rapid expansion in the United States through immigration from Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent from Tibet and Hong Kong. The number of Cambodians, Thais, Vietnamese, and Laotians now number in the hundreds of thousands. Given the present trends in immigration, it is likely that these newer rapidly growing segments of the community will come to dominate it.
INTRODUCTION: "OTHER" GROUPS
The groups considered in this section manifest the wide variety of religious options available in the U.S. They draw upon several distinct religious impulses, each with a long heritage.
INDIVIDUALLY DISTINCTIVE GROUPS
Within the variety of American religion are a number of groups which are highly individual in nature. That is, while their origins can often be traced to any number of the major world religions, they have developed beliefs, systems, or structures which are considerably different from those traditions.
Finally, Vajradhatu is a Buddhist group, but out of a Tibetan rather than a Japanese tradition.
ROCHESTER ZEN CENTER
ADDRESS: 7 Arnold Park
Rochester. New York 14607
LEADERSHIP: Zen is not organized as an international body with centralized leadership. Rather, Zen training centers and affiliate groups are oriented around any one of a number of autonomous teachers. Bodhin Kjolhede, Sensei, is the director of the Rochester Zen Center and its affiliates in the Americas and Europe.
MEMBERSHIP: In 1990 there were 515 members in the United States and an additional 100 members worldwide. There are five centers and two priests.
HISTORICAL ORIGIN: Zen is the "meditation" sect of Buddhism, in which the direct experience, or realization, of Buddhist teaching is given emphasis over scriptural study, devotions, etc. It traces its origin to Shakyamuni Buddha(563-483 B.C.), who after devoting himself to meditation and rigorous self-discipline for six years achieved supreme awakening, or enlightenment, and who is but one in a chain of enlightened individuals. In Zen it is not the Buddha himself but his enlightenment that is of central importance.
Bodhidharma (d. 534) brought Zen from India to China in the sixth century and is generally looked upon as the real founder of the Zen school. Himself the twenty-eighth inheritor of the "mind-to-mind" transmission begun by the Buddha, Bodhidharma has been followed by an ancestral line of enlightened spiritual descendants that continues to this day.
As Zen developed in China, two main schools, or training approaches, emerged. The Lin-chi ("Rinzai" in Japan) school emphasized the use of the koan, an anecdotal event or dialogue given to disciples as spiritual problems to elicit awakening relatively quickly. The second school, Ts'ao-tung (So to), favored a more gradual "ripening" into enlightenment through meditation without a koan.
Zen first came to the United States when a Rinzai monk, Soyen Shaku, spoke at the World's Parliament of Religions in 1883 in Chicago. It grew very little among non-Japanese Americans until after World War II, when numerous Americans encountered Buddhism as a result of the occupation of Japan by United States forces.
Philip Kapleau, founder of the Rochester Zen Center, first encountered Zen Buddhism while a reporter at the war crimes trials in Japan in 1946. While there he met D. T. Suzuki and in 1950 began to study Buddhist philosophy with him at Columbia University. In 1953 he returned to Japan and spent thirteen years training under three Zen masters; after five years he came to an awakening, then went on to complete another eight years of further study and practice. During this time he was ordained by his teacher Yasutani-roshi and later authorized by him to teach. In 1966 he returned to Rochester and founded the Zen Center. In June of 1986, Bodhin Kjolhede was formally installed as Roshi Kapleau's Dharma-successor and director of the center. Roshi Kapleau now lives in semi-retirement in Florida.
The history of Zen shows that it is flexible enough to accommodate itself to widely differing cultures, and recognizing this, Sensei Kjolhede is thoroughly committed to adapting Zen to Western society.
BASIC BELIEFS: The words uttered involuntarily by the Buddha at the moment of his awakening are recorded in various Buddhist scriptures: "Wonder of wonders! Intrinsically all living beings are Buddhas, endowed with wisdom and virtue, but because people's minds have become inverted through delusive thinking they fail to perceive this." This first declaration of Shakyamuni is also the ultimate conclusion of Buddhism. Belief in the validity of the Buddha's enlightenment as well as in the intrinsically enlightened nature of all beings is a fundamental article of faith. In Zen, Buddhist theory and doctrine is considered no substitute for personal experience.
After his enlightenment the Buddha proclaimed what are known as the Four Noble Truths: 1) all life is suffering, 2) the origin of suffering is ignorance, which causes egoistic craving and attachment, 3) there is a way to the cessation of suffering, 4) this Way is the Eightfold Noble Path: right understanding, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
PRACTICES AND BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS: To formally become a Buddhist one must take part in a ceremony in which he pledges to make every effort to live in accordance with the Ten Cardinal Precepts of Buddhism: I) not to kill but to cherish all life; 2) not to take what is not given but to respect the things of others; 3) not to engage in improper sexuality but to lead a life of purity and self-restraint; 4) not to lie to but to speak the truth; 5) not to cause others to take substances that impair the mind nor to do so oneself but to keep the mind clear; 6) not to speak of the faults of others but to be understanding and sympathetic; 7) not to praise oneself nor downgrade others but to overcome one's own shortcomings; 8) not to withhold spiritual or material aid but to give them freely where needed; 9) not to indulge in anger but to exercise control; 10) not to revile the Three Treasures (i.e., the Buddha, his teaching, and the Buddhist community) but to cherish and uphold them.
The major ceremonial holidays of the year are Thanksgiving, New Year's, and Vesak, which is a late-May celebration of the Buddha's birth, primarily. The Buddha's enlightenment is honored in December with an especially rigorous 7-day training period in seclusion and total silence.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: The Center and its various affiliates are organized on a membership basis under the aegis of Sensei Kjolhede, who appoints leaders to each group.
ROLE OF MINISTERS: In Zen, spiritual authority is vested in the teacher, or roshi (elder or teacher) or sense I, who is formally given this position by his teacher, and has usually, though not always, has been ordained. Ideally students have a close working relationship with the teacher, who in regular one-to-one encounters gives them personal instruction. Roshi Kapleau has said that in Zen the teacher's chief aim, apart from bringing the student to enlightenment, is to preserve the student from his or her (the teacher's) influence, thus developing strength and self-reliance.
WORSHIP: There is no worship in Zen Buddhism, as there is no deity to be worshipped. A basic tenet of Buddhism is that all beings are Buddha, or perfect, and need only wake up to their true nature to realize this. Zen meditation is the means to awaken as well as the expression of this awakening.
Where available, ordained persons may lead services, but appointed lay people may also lead. Group meditation is not required, but it is strongly encouraged, especially for beginners. Eventually students are able to practice zazen (meditation) effectively alone as well as with others, and throughout their daily activities as well as while formally sitting.
In order to become a full participating member of the Center one must first attend an introductory workshop conducted by Sensei Kjolhede, then demonstrate, through regular participation in group sittings and devotional activities as a trial member, a sincere spiritual aspiration. Prospective members must not be involved with any other spiritual group or teacher.
There is no minimum equipment required for Zen meditation, but meditation cushions are recommended. No required facilities for meditation, though each center has a room designed for sitting zazen.
DIETARY LAWS OR RESTRICTIONS: Most members abstain from eating meat, poultry, or fish (out of compassion for all forms of life) and avoid regular use of alcohol and tobacco.
FUNERAL AND BURIAL REQUIREMENTS: At the time of death it is preferable, but not required, to have either an ordained Buddhist or other Buddhist (ideally one of spiritual maturity) present.
An ordained Buddhist must perform funeral and burial rites. With respect to autopsy, or embalming, it is preferable to delay until three days after death where possible. Cremation is preferred but not required.
MEDICAL TREATMENT: No restrictions, though many members avoid entirely the use of drugs in preference for herbal and natural treatments.
OTHER: Service in the armed forces is a matter of personal decision, but the Center will support any member with a sincere religious need for conscientious objector status. The first and most important of the Buddhist precepts is: "not to kill but to cherish all life."
The major source of new members has been from the readers of Philip Kapleau's books. In accordance with Zen tradition, the Zen Center does not proselytize, but it does provide information about the Center's programs upon request.
Zen recognizes the fundamental indivisibility of life in its many forms and so addresses itself to the spiritual impulse common to all men and women, which transcends religious differences. Throughout history no war has ever been fought in the name of Buddhism.
GENERAL SOURCE BOOKS:
Buddhist scriptures and writings of or about the Buddha and the masters are recommended insofar as they inspire one to practice zazen/meditation and experience directly the truth that transcends all words.
Kapleau, Philip. The Three Pillars of Zen. New York, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1989. 400pp.
Zen: Merging of East & West, by Philip Kapleau. New York, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1989. 330pp.
Kraft, Kenneth, ed. Zen: Tradition and Transition. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1988. 230pp.
Ross, Nancy Wilson. Buddhism: A Way of Life & Thought. New York, NY: Vintage Books/Random House, 1981. 208pp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Ven. Mitra Bishop
7 Arnold Park
Rochester, NY 14607
BUDDHIST CHURCHES OF AMERICA
ADDRESS: 1710 Octavia Street
San Francisco, California 94109
OTHER NAMES BY WHICH KNOWN: BCA; Shin Buddhism, Jodo Shinshu Denomination.
LEADERSHIP: Koshin Otani ("Patriarch"), Twenty-fourth Descendant of Shinran Shonin, in Japan.
NATIONAL LEADER: Rev. Seigen H. Yarnaoka, Presiding Bishop
MEMBERSHIP: Not reported.
HISTORICAL ORIGIN: The founder of Buddhism was Gautama, the Buddha, born in 566 B.C.E., son of a king in Kapilavastu, which is present day Nepal. The Shin sect of Buddhism gradually grew from the teachings of Shinran Shonin (1173-1262 C.E.) who had left the monastery, married, and preached Buddhism according to his own Buddhistic experience.
The origins of BCA can be traced to the arrival on July 6, 1898 of Rev. Eryu Honda and Rev. Ejun Miyamoto in the United States on a goodwill visit. They came to view the living condition of Japanese immigrants and to explore the possibility of extending the teachings in the U.S. As a result of this visit, Rev. S. Sonoda and Rev. Kakuryo Nishijima were sent to the U.S. as the first official missionaries, arriving in San Francisco on September I, 1899. Temples were erected wherever Japanese immigrants had settled, to meet the needs of the Japanese population. Currently there are 60 independent temples and 40 branches in the Mainland U.S., and an independent sister organization, the Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, organized in the Hawaiian Islands.
BASIC BELIEFS: Amida Buddha is the symbolic Buddha of infinite Light (Wisdom) and Life (Compassion). Buddhism is the way of developing the fullest potential in all human beings.
Some forms of Buddhism are not based on the spirit of Wisdom and Compassion and their emphasis is on the historical Buddha. However, Jodo Shinshu presumes these other forms of Buddhism to be valid. The power of sacred universal salvation consummated by Amida is embodied in the sacred Name, Namo Arnida Butsu, which is easy to remember and recite. Amida Buddha communicates with us through his Name, which has three aspects. Its substance is the absolute power to save all sentient (aware) beings. Its form is two-fold: it is Amida Buddha's voice calling to us and our vocal response to his call. Its meaning is the actualization of salvation and complete assurance of our Enlightenment. Wherever there is "Namo Amida Butsu" there is Amida Buddha, and wherever there is Amida Buddha there is "Namo Amida Butsu."
From the voluminous Buddhist Tripitaka, Shinran Shonin selected three sutras that bring one directly to the heart of Amida Buddha. They are (1) The Large Sutra on the Eternal Life, in which Sakyamuni tells the Sangha about Amida Buddha; (2) the Meditation Sutra on the Eternal Buddha, showing the actual case of a woman who finds salvation through Amida Buddha; and (3) The Smaller Sutra on Amida Buddha, describing the beauty of the Pure Land and extolling the virtues of Amida Buddha.
PRACTICES AND BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS: No specific set of ethical practices are set forth in Jodo Shinshu except for members to live a life of gratitude; gratitude is the way faith is expressed. Our life gives this faith the opportunity of expression.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: At the national headquarters, administrative duties are conducted by the Office of the Bishop, the Executive Secretary and Secretarial Staff. Churches and branches are divided geographically into eight districts--Southern: essentially Arizona and Southern California; Central: essentially Central California (Fresno, Bakersfield); Coast: California coast, Mountain View/San Jose to Monterey; Bay: San Francisco Area (Palo Alto to Sebastopol); Northern California (Sacramento to Marysville); Northwest: Washington, Oregon, and Idaho; Mountain: the Rocky Mountain Area (Utah, Colorado, etc.); Eastern: from the Twin Cities (Minnesota) to New York. Each district is represented by a Minister-Director selected by ministers of the respective districts, and by three district-representatives selected by the District Council.
Affiliated organizations are maintained by each temple/church to meet spiritual, social and educational needs of all age group members. Principal organizations: The Buddhist Women's Association, Adult Buddhist Association, Young Buddhist Association and Dharma School Teachers' Association, all organized into large leagues and federations. One representative from each league or federation represents each at the BCA Board of Director's meetings.
The main educational center in the U.S. is the Institute of Buddhist Studies,1900 Addison, Berkeley, CA 94704. Phone: (415) 849-2383. Lectures, pre-ministerial training, in-service ministerial seminars, lay leader training and other educational programs are conducted by the Institute.
WORSHIP: There are no specific worship requirements. Devout members recite the name, Namo Arnida Butsu, literally meaning "I place my faith in Amida Buddha" (see also "Basic Beliefs"). During worship it is desirable, but not absolutely necessary, to have a statue or scroll of Amida Buddha or Scroll of the Sacred Name, Namo Amida Butsu. It is also desirable to have a table for a scroll or statue, incense and incense burner, flower and flower vase, and candle and single candle stand.
DIETARY LAWS OR RESTRICTIONS: None.
FUNERAL AND BURIAL REQUIREMENTS: Individual or family preferences honored. A minister is not necessary, but, if available, will usually conduct a bedside service at death.
MEDICAL TREATMENT: Individual or family preferences honored.
OTHER: BCA essentially supports the Buddhistic non-violent position, but individual preference is honored. With respect to recruiting new members, the BCA practices a policy that invites prospective adherents to investigate and decide for themselves. The Buddha had taught that we should respect all spiritual paths and that there exists a path of enlightenment for each being, including non-Buddhist paths.
GENERAL SOURCE BOOKS:
The Teaching of Buddha Tokyo: Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, 1985. 343pp.
Ueda, Yoshifumi, and Dennis Hi rota. Shin ran, an Introduction to His Thought. Kyoto: Hongwanji International Center, 1989.
Unno, Taitetsu, trans. Tannisho, A Shin Buddhist Classic, Honolulu, HI: Buddhist Study Center Press, 1984. 73pp.
Books are available for mail-order purchase through the BCA Buddhist Bookstore,1710 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109. Phone: (415) 776-7877.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Department of Buddhist Education
1710 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
ADDRESS: National Headquarters
1345 Spruce St.
Boulder, CO 80302
International Headquarters Vajradhatu 1084 Tower Rd. Halifax, N.S. B3H2YB no
OTHER NAMES BY WHICH KNOWN: Tibetan Buddhism; Tantric Buddhism; Vajrayana Buddhism.
LEADERSHIP: The Sawang, Osel Rangtrol Mukpo.
MEMBERSHIP: Approximately 5,500 world wide.
HISTORICAL ORIGIN: Vajradhatu, the largest of the several Tibetan Buddhist groups in the United States, is a representative of the Kagyupa sect founded by Lama Mar pa of Lhagyupa in the eleventh century. The Kagyupa tradition was brought to the United States by Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987). Trungpa is the incarnation of the trungpa tulku (emanation of a bodhisattva) and abbot of Swarming Monastery, a center of the Kagyupa tradition until the takeover of Tibet by the Chinese.
The Vidyadhara fled Tibet in 1959 and settled in England. While attending Oxford University, he established a small Buddhist center in Scotland. In 1970, he married and migrated to the United States as the leader of a center that had been formed by a group of his students in Vermont. From this point in time, the work expanded steadily. At and near Boulder, Colorado, a complex of interrelated organizations were established. Vairadhatu was created as an umbrella organization in 1973.
BASIC BELIEFS: Buddhism arose out of Hinduism, and consequently shares certain basic beliefs with that religious tradition, such as the related notions of reincarnation and karma. The basic premise of Buddhism is the recognition that individuals can discover their own bodhicitta (awakened heart). Tibetan Buddhism is also a form of Tantric Buddhism, meaning, among other things, that much of its symbolic imagery is sexual.
PRACTICES AND BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS: The foundation practice of Buddhism is a 2,500 year old meditation technique called samathavipasana. It is through the consistent practice of this technique that the practitioner can rediscover one's unconditional nature that is free from confusion. Having rediscovered one's own inherent wisdom, one naturally begins to gently relate with one's world without confusion.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: Vajradhatu International is a world-wide organization of meditation and study centers based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its headquarters in the United States is in Boulder, Colorado, while the main centre of Europe is in Marburg, West Germany. It was founded in 1970 by Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche when he settled in the United States.
Vajradhatu has more than 100 centres, called Dharmadhatus or Dharma Study Groups, throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, offering programs in the study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology and the practice of meditation. Four rural centers, Karme-Choling in Vermont, Rocky Mountain Dharma Center in northern Colorado, Dorji Khyung Dzong in southern Colorado, and Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia provide the opportunity to study and practice in a more contemplative environment.
The Vidyadhara passed away at the age of 47 on April 4, 1987. He was the former abbot of the Surmang monasteries in Tibet and a meditation master of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. He held the degree of Khenpo, the equivalent of a Doctor of Divinity degree, and studied at Oxford University as a Spaulding Fellow. He was the author of many books on Buddhism and the path of meditation, among them meditation in Action, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Tile Myth of Freedom, Journey Without Goal, and Shambhala the Sacred Path of the Warrior.
At the present time Vajradhatu International is directed by the Vidhadhara's dharma heir, the Sawang Osel Rangtrol Mukpo and by the Vajradhatu Board of Directors, who also direct the Nalanda Foundation, a nonsectarian educational organization founded by the vidhadhara. Its divisions include Shambhala Training, an international meditation program, and The Naropa Institute, a fully accredited (by the N.C.A.C.S.) liberal arts college located in Boulder, Colorado. The institute stands at the forefront of what has come to be called contemplative education, and offers programs of study at the Certificate, Bachelors, and Masters levels.
ROLE OF MINISTERS: Counselor, teacher, ceremonial head. Performs funerals, marriages. Meditation instructor.
WORSHIP: On an individual basis = (one's own practice)
DIETARY LAWS OR RESTRICTIONS: None.
FUNERAL AND BURIAL REQUIREMENTS: The following approach to relating with a dying person is written primarily for the person who is taking
charge of cooperating with the dying person in shaping the environment around him. It relates particularly to sang ha members who are dying, but it also pertains to a dying family member who, by his own wishes, has given you permission to shape his environment.
The dying person should have good nursing care by people who can actually relate to him straightforwardly--people who are willing to relate with their own fear about death and dying and do not feel that they have to constantly communicate with the dying person to relieve their own anxieties.
A. How to Relate with a Dying Person - 1) You should acknowledge to him and to yourself that he is dying, which is the greatest opportunity for establishing a mutual trust.
2) Mutual acknowledgement that he is, in fact, dying creates a situation of fundamental openness and reality and a genuine meeting of minds.
3) As far as you are concerned, you should be able to relate with the deterioration of his body, his senses, and his ability to communicate.
4) You could acknowledge with the dying person that he is going to lose his habitual world and surrounding, but, at the same time, he could relate with the positive continuity of egolessness and the teachings.
5) As the dying person's physical existence and consciousness are dissolving, he is, at the same time, becoming highly sensitive to the psychological environment, to the states of mind of those around him. So your sense of acceptance, warmth and reality are very important. This provides a very helpful ground for the dying person. For a summary of basic principles of relating with a dying person, study the Tibetan Book of the Dead, pp.27-29.
6) In general, when friends come to visit the dying person, perhaps two or three visitors at a time is enough. The atmosphere should be unchaotic and relaxed, and conversation should be simple and ordinary. They should keep the dying person company in a simple and ordinary way, not laying trips, their philosophical or religious speculations on them. Keeping your basic state of mind is more important than what you talk about with the dying person.
People should keep in mind that because his physical situation is deteriorating, he tires quickly. The length and frequency of visits should be paced and spaced accordingly. Fundamentally, we are respecting and cooperating with the needs and wishes of the dying person, creating the best possible situation of warmth, trust, openness, and wakefulness.
B. When the Dying Person is Beginning to Slip Away - When the dying person is beginning to lose ordinary consciousness, his communication with visitors becomes quite effortful and sometimes confused. He might not be able to recognize friends. We should relax with this, letting go of our desire to bring him back to reality, although we might clarify simply what is happening and who is there.
C. When the Dying Person is Asleep or in a Coma - The same principles of basic communicating apply. There should be continuous nursing care, and, in addition, members of the sang ha should provide a continuous atmosphere
of meditation by doing either shamatha practice, tonglen, or silent vajrayana practice.
The person in charge should set up a schedule of visiting practitioners, so that one or two people are practicing in the room at a time, in shifts throughout the day, evening, and possibly the night.
We should not try to force communication with the dying person or socialize together, and we should also not be in the way of the nursing staff who are ministering to the needs of the dying person. Basically, we are creating a meditative environment which is very important reference point of sanity for the dying person.
D. The Last Few Days Before Death, After Death, and Prior to the Funeral - The last few days before death, if this can be determined, after death (especially during the 18 or so hours after death until the signs of rigor mortis have disappeared and until the funeral has taken place) practitioners should sit with the body in shifts, 24 hours per day, according to the guidelines above.
E. When the Person has died - If possible the body should remain relatively undisturbed for a period of twenty four hours or until rigor mortis has disappeared and the body has relaxed. During this time a minister or trained practitioner should lead a practice called "sending and taking" in which the living remind the deceased that he/she is dead and that it is okay to continue on their journey and to let go of their body. (Whenever possible the body should be placed in a shrine room during this period of time.)
F. The body is then cremated and ashes distributed according to the deceased's wishes 49 days after death.
MEDICAL TREATMENT: Not divergent from usual medical treatment.
GENERAL SOURCE BOOKS:
Chogyam Trungpa, Meditation in Action. Berkeley, CA: Shambhala,1974). 74pp.
The Myth of Freedom. Berkeley, CA: Shambhala,1976). 176pp.
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Berkeley, CA: Sharnbhala, 1973). 250pp.
The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston, Shambhala, 1988). 202pp.
Osel Tendzin. Buddha in the Palm of Your Hand Boston: Shambhala,1987). 120pp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Nan Han non
1084 Tower Rd.,
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2YB
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2 Ducharte, Pierre Louis. The italian comedy. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1966. P. 17
3 Gordon, Mel. Lazzi; the comic routines of the Commedia dell'Arte. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications. 1983. P. 4-5.
Aquino, Michael A. Black Magc. Michael A. Aquino. 1975.
Arntzen, Sonja. Ikkyu and the crazy cloud anthology, a Zen poet of medieval Japan. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1986.---UC Berkeley library
Arntzen, Sonja. Ikkyu Sojun, a Zen monk and his poetry. Bellingham: Program in east asian studies, western washington state college, 1973.---UC Berkeley library
Balasooriya, Somaratna and Andre Bareau, Richard Gombrich, Siri Gunasingha, Udaya Mallawarachchi, and Edmund Perry, Editors. Buddhist studies in honor of Walpola Rahula. London: The Gordon Fraser Gallery, Ltd., 1980.---UC Berkeley library
Bancroft, Anne. Religions of the east. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1974.---UC Berkeley library.
Bishop, Peter, and Micheal Darton, editors. The encylopedia of world faiths, an illustrated history of the world's living religions. New York: Facts On File Publications, 1987.---UC Berkeley library.
Burtt, E.A. The teachings of the compassionate Buddha. New York: Mentor Books. 1955.---UC Berkeley library, or from a citation
Coleman, James William. The new Buddhism, the western transformation of an ancient tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.---UC Berkeley library
Dalai Lama XIV. The Dalai Lama's book of wisdom. London: Thorsons, 1999---Personal copy
Dalai Lama XIV and Glenn H. Mullin. The path to enlightenment. Ithica: Snow Lion Publications, Inc. 1995.---UC Berkeley library
Ducharte, Pierre Louis. The Italian comedy. New York: Dover Publications, 1966.---Berkeley Public Library
Fisher, James. The theatre of yesterday and tomorrow, Commedia dell"Arte on the modern stage. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellon Press, 1992.---UC Berkeley library.
Gordon, Mel. Lazzi, the comic routines of the Commedia dell'Arte. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1983.---UC Berkeley library
Govinda, Anagarika Brahmacari. A living Buddhism for the west. Boston: Shambala Publications, Ltd., 1989---UC Berkeley library.
Hagen, Steve. Buddhism plain and simple. New York: Broadway Books, 1997.---Personal copy
Haskel, Peter. Bankei Zen, translations from the record of Bankei. New York: Grove Press, 1984.---Personal copy.
Kulananda. Western Buddhism. San Francisco: Thorsons, 1997.---Berkeley Public Library.
LaVey, Anton Szandor. The satanic bible. New York: Avon Books, 1969.---personal copy
Lawnor, Lynne. Harlequin on the moon, Commedia dell'Arte and the visual arts. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.---Berkeley Public Library
Levey, Judith S. and Greenhall, Agnes, Editors. The concise Columbia encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press. 1983.
Ling, Trevor. The Buddha, Buddhist civilization in India and Ceylon. London: Maurice Temple Smith, Ltd., 1973 .---UC Berkeley library
Lopez, Donald S., Jr., Editor. Religions of Tibet in practice. Princeton: Princeton university Press, 1997.---UC Berkeley library
Mackenzie, Vicki. Reborn in the west, the reincarnation masters. New York: Marlowe & Company, 1996.---Berkeley Public Library.
Narain, A.K., Editor. Studies in Pali and Buddhism, a memorial volume in honor of Bhikkhu Jagdish Kashyap. Delhi: B.R. Publishing, 1979.---UC Berkeley library
Norbu, Namkhai. The crystal and the way of light, sutra, tantra and dzogchen. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul Inc., 1986.---UC Berkeley library