About the UBA

The University Buddhist Association of UCLA is an organization of students, faculty, and community members who come together to learn about and practice Buddhism. We're a non-sectarian Buddhist group that welcomes all Buddhists and non-Buddhist of all faiths and traditions.

If you're interested in learning more about the UCLA Buddhist community, please come to our meetings.

When: Every Tuesday, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Where: University Catholic Center
633 Gayley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

If you have any questions, please contact us at uba.ucla.online@gmail.com.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Week 1: First Meeting

Hello everyone,

Here we are in the 2008-2009 school year! Please join us for our firstmeditation meeting of fall quarter this Tuesday, September 30th from 5:30 to 7 pm. We meet at the University Catholic Center (UCC), which is located at 633 Gayley Avenue (across the street from the UCLA campus, between Strathmore and Le Conte, near the fraternity houses).

These weekly meetings are facilitated by Reverend Kusala, who leads us in a dharma discussion followed by a chance to ask questions and a meditation. Previous dharma discussions are available in podcast format Rev. Kusala's website: http://www.dharmatalks.info/. As a non-denominational Buddhist group, our meetings are great for members of all forms of Buddhism as well as those new to the practice who are looking to learn more. Throughout the quarter we will also continue to offer various events such as talks, field trips, socials, community service days, and retreats. Keep checking our website (http://www.theuba.org/) for more info on these and other events. So far this quarter we are looking at having an off-campus weekend retreat, a bonfire event, and a beach cleanup day, just to give you a taste!

To wrap things up, if you're a returning member, we look forward to seeing you again, and if you're new, welcome! If you have anyquestions please do not hesitate to ask, and if you have suggestions for events, feel free to share them with us. Best of luck in the new year to everyone!

Burmese monks mark Anniversary with peaceful protest

Buddhist monks in Burmese participated in a peaceful protest march in light of the anniversary of last year's pro-democracy demonstrators. Leading world powers have also gathered to urge the junta to make political reforms.

"The monks' march took the form of their morning round of begging for alms, but it is widely understood that such a large number of monks marching in an organised fashion represents a veiled protest."

"Ahead of a possible visit by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to the country by the end of the year, the first ministerial meeting on Burma by the five permanent Security Council and mostly Asian nations urged the country's military rulers to co-operate with Mr Ban's special envoy to resolve the nation's political crisis."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Burning of Lotus Flowers in Tibetan Buddhism

So I spent this past Saturday at a very interesting Tibetan Buddhist event run by one of my parents' friends and her Tibetan Buddhist group. It was held at a small suburban home in Rowland Heights, mainly in their backyard and living room furnished with Buddhist statues. Before we went, I was told by my parents that we were burning paper folded into lotus flowers for our ancestors. I spent Friday night making folding one of the lotus flowers using special ritual paper and writing the name of whom the flower was supposed to be given to. I've burned paper money for my ancestors many times as part of certain Chinese holidays so burning paper lotus flowers wasn't strange or new at all.

When we arrived at the house, I was first surprised to find that it was located at a small house - I was expecting some sort of temple. Also I was surprised to find the monastic leading the procession was a woman. We started setting up fruits, snacks, and vegetarian dishes in front of the statue of Guanyin, the Boddhisatva of Compassion also referred to as Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit. We also brought several small stations to burn the paper in. My mother helped the other women (most of the people there were women) fold the remaining lotus flowers and we started the procession.

The monastic chanted and read off names of the ancestors each household wanted to receive the lotus flowers. We burned incense and prayed before going into the house to chant. They chanted in Sanskrit, which I found extremely interesting because I've never heard it done before. After the chanting, the burning of the lotus flowers began and each household threw paper money and paper lotus flowers into the flames. By the time everyone finished burning their flowers, it was 8pm at night and they prepared the vegetarian dishes for everyone to share.

At first all this seemed quite odd and boring. The people attending the event seemed ridiculously superstitious, claiming to be able to communicate to spirits of the other world. The monastic individually confirmed to each household that their ancestors were present in the room while we were chanting using divination tools that looked like a pair of red, wooden apple slices. Many people that attended claimed to have come because they had dreams about loved ones who've passed away (even dogs) asking for the lotus flowers. Supposedly, my parents' friend told my dad that my grandfather told her he needed exactly 72 lotus flowers. For what reason? I don't know. In fact, most people there didn't seem to know what the purpose of the flowers were. Why are they burning lotus flowers? The closest thing I got to an answer was that it's equivalent to an upgrade for those passed away, like upgrading from economy to first class on an airplane. So at the end of the procession I asked the leader, the monastic.

She first warned me that she'd only be able to give me a simple description, since it's a very complicated tradition. And since she spoke in Chinese and I am attempting to paraphrase it in English, this will probably be an even more watered down version of her description. The point of burning the lotus flowers lies in their function to purify and rid one of suffering. She told me that many people who die are not able to complete the cycle of rebirth and remain as spirits on Earth. Sometimes its because of an illness they had in their previous life, sometimes its because of a problem that was left unsettled. But by burning the lotus flower, these spirits are able to treat whatever is preventing them from fulfilling the cycle of rebirth and go on to their next life.

At first, all this sounded, once again, ridiculously superstitious and disconnected from the Buddhism I am used to hearing about. I was hesitant to believe that by burning some paper flowers that we'd save wandering spirits and lead them to their next life. However, the monastic said something that finally made the connection between their specific practice in Tibetan Buddhism and the general, personal application of Buddhism with my own life. She told me that it's often not the paper flowers that help your ancestors but the heart that we put into making them. It's the compassion that one has for others - their family, their relatives, their friends - that is the most powerful force to rid them of their suffering. To me, that was something I could understand, and despite the fact that I may not be used to their traditions and rituals, I found the common ground that makes us all Buddhists and worth interacting with each other.

From the recent activities fair at UCLA and some flyers posted around campus, I've found three other Buddhist student groups on campus: one focused on meditation, one on chanting, and one on community service. Since UBA is mostly a discussion-based Buddhist student group, it seems as though all four Buddhist groups (and maybe more) have something unique to offer and share with the others. I hope we will be able to hold events where we can all meet and share our interests with each other.

Friday, September 26, 2008

South Korean Buddhists accept apology

The South Korean Buddhists finally accept the SK administration's apology over religious discrimination. Hopefully, this will mean fewer conflicts in the future between the two dominant religious groups.

"The chairman of a Buddhist committee on the government's religious bias said Friday that the panel decided to the accept the president's apology and promise in consideration of the economic difficulties and social conflict over the issue. The committee's decision will be reported to high-level Buddhist meeting on Tuesday."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush calls the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama doesn't seem to be feeling to well recently and good old Bush decided to call and see how the Tibetan leader is doing. A thoughtful act of kindness and compassion or a politically-motivated move to reintroduce the Dalai Lama into the spotlight? Who knows...

"President Bush called the Dalai Lama this morning to express his concern over the Dalai Lama's health," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

"The president's call reflects the great esteem he and the American people hold for the Dalai Lama, who is a revered religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism, a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, and an important cultural figure and human rights advocate," said Johndroe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Buddhism around LA

Here are some pictures of places I've noticed Buddhism randomly appear. It's interesting to see how Buddhist terms and icons are among us, though many times not in the proper religious sense.

This is a menu from "Socko's Subs". The #7 sub is called the "Dharma Bum: Our fantastic hummus sandwiched between cheddar & provologne cheese garnished with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mayo & sprouts. Dharma Bum? I guess so...

Here's some soap products from a soap store called "Lush" on Third Street Promenade. It's called the Karma fragrance, with "the fragrance of pure, innocent orange and worldy mysticism of an eastern spice market."

Here's an Asian restaurant called Buddha's Belly...kinda cute

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Following the Beckham trend?

British rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has revealed his conversion to Buddhism. Wilkinson reveals suffering a period of depression upon kicking in the final goal for victory at England's 2003 World Cup finals. He then studied quantum physics, in which:

"I came to understand that I had been living a life in which I barely featured. I had spent my time immersed in the fear of not achieving my goals and then spent my time beating myself up about the mistakes I made along the way. Quantum physics helped me to realise that I was creating this destructive reality and that all I needed to do to change it was to change the way I chose to perceive the world."

After quantum physics, he eventually moved on to Buddhism:

"I do not like religious labels, but there is a connection between quantum physics and Buddhism, which I was also getting into. Failing at something is one thing, but Buddhism tells us that it is up to us how we interpret that failure."

"My motivation today has nothing to do with status, money or ego. Before I wanted to be the best in the world and I would watch other players to see how I measured up. Now when I do something great on the rugby pitch it is not about being better than others but about exploring my talent ... My fulfilment is no longer about self-gratification; it is about seeing the happiness of others."

Though he'll still be plowing through his opponents on the rugby field, he seems adequately informed. I wonder if there's any connections between him and the Beckhams...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Urban Dharma Newsletter 9-14-08

In This Issue: Buddhism and Ordained Women


This newsletter is focused on the Bhikkhuni (Bhiksuni) Sangha, the nun’s of Buddhism... I hope you find it useful and interesting.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Peaceful farewell to Buddhist leader

Thubten J. Norbu, a former Indiana University professor and the eldest brother of the Dalai Lama, passed away on Friday, September 5th and cremated Wednesday in a traditional Tibetan ceremony for high lamas. He is also known as the 24th reincarnation of Taktser Rinpoche, a historical high lama from centuries ago. Norbu contributed to the world not only as a professor of Tibetan Studies, but as a freedom fighter in support of the Dalai Lama during the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949.

"From reading, I knew about Norbu’s long, unlikely journey from eastern Tibet to Indiana. I knew he was forced into exile by Chinese troops, and that his destiny changed from being the abbot of an important Buddhist monastery to being a husband, father, teacher and activist in the United States. (A biography is at tibetancc.com.)"

His friends and followers wait for his reincarnation, with which they expect to happen within the first 49 days of his death. Though they do not know the location or form of reincarnation, clues are left through notes by the deceased, dreams from those closest to him, and other signs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just when the caterpillar...

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."


I recently came across this rather popular quote that's so simple yet insightful. I find it wonderful that a poetic line like this can spread Buddhist concepts without being labeled as "Buddhist". That way, anyone, whether affiliated with Buddhism or not, can share the wisdom.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eco-friendly Fish

As many Buddhists keep to vegetarian diets, many also do not. For those that don't, how can we contribute to helping the Earth as much as possible even by consuming meats?

The Environmental Defense Fund provides two great articles with information on the ten eco-best and eco-worst fish to eat. They provide information on the source of the fish, the capture methods, how it affects the environment, and how it affects your own health. Many of the non eco-friendly fish have high PCB and mercury levels that can be harmful to one's health. Here are the links to the two articles:

Dharma Tube

Yes, there is a Dharma Tube! It is run by the same venerable that runs the Urban Dharma website, Venerable Kusala Bhikshu. Dharma Tube includes various videos not only on Buddhism, but also topics relating to how the world works.

"DharmaTube.org --- is home to a variety of Dharma (Truth) recorded on video and audio for free online viewing and listening (Flash Video/Audio). Kusala and friends share the Dharma in a simple non-technical way to support the Buddhist ideal of ending suffering through clarity and kindness."

So far, I've watched three videos - "The Fly", "Stroke of Insight", and "The Story of Stuff". I especially recommend the last one. It's a quick-paced, fun, and informative video about where all our "stuff" is from and where it goes.

And don't forget, Venerable Kusala also uploads personal podcasts of his dharma talks at various schools, churchs, conferences, and so forth. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thich Huyen Quang

I stumbled upon an article about Vietnam's leading religious dissident against Vietnam's Communist Party (VCP) and made me think about how unique every individual's experience with a religion can be. Thich Huyen Quang committed his life to saving Buddhism from being eliminated by the VCP. He later assumed the role as the leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and wrote a series of articles calling for religious freedom and an end to Communism.

"IN 1981, Vietnam's ruling Communist party, the VCP, presented a choice to the country's Buddhist monks. They could affiliate with a state-controlled "patriotic" Buddhist church, or remain independent and face the consequences.

Many accepted, but not Thich Huyen Quang, a leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), who has died at a monastery in Binh Dinh, aged 87. He suffered harassment, imprisonment and internal exile, but gained international backing as a moral leader of the Vietnamese opposition."

"Two months before his death, Quang told his followers: 'Buddhism does not turn its back on society.' Earlier, he had said of himself: 'I have lived without a home, will die without a grave, I walk without a path and am imprisoned without a crime.'"

Thich Huyen Quang's journey in life and Buddhism has been about struggle, resistance, and hope. His story made me reflect upon my own experiences with Buddhism. Though mine certainly is not be as significant, his experiences reminds me that we all take different paths even within the same religion, no matter what religion you follow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Religious Problems in SK

Here's the latest update of the Buddhist protests against the South Korean government as result of what the Buddhist community feel is religious bias. The Buddhist leaders have put great pressure on the South Korean administration to issue a public apology and the President Lee Myung-bak said on Tuesday, "It is deeply regrettable that some officials caused misunderstanding among Buddhists and thus hurt their feelings.'' However, the Buddhists don't buy it. Now they are demanding another public apology and the dismissal of the police chief. If the President does not comply, Buddhist leaders threaten to hold massive rallies nationwide.

Now how did this situation get so messy? Was it the result of the administration mishandling the apology and policy reforms? Or are the Buddhist leaders just being too stubborn? Certainly, even in America, where the Constitution separates the Church from state in the same way the South Korean Constitution does, Christianity has more obvious role in government and politics (just look at the presidential campaigns) than that of South Korean. So why don't non-Christian groups in America protest in the name of religious discrimination? Why is the SK administration having trouble handling the situation and why are the Budddhists still dissatisfied?

Well, as many might suspect, religion in SK society is very different than religion in American society. Firstly, the government is most likely not used to confronting religious issues. In a country where protests at the capital are quite common, massive religious rallies are considered rare. Furthermore the percentage of the population that identify with a religion is very different from that of America. To begin with, 2005 statistics found on Wikipedia state about 46.5% of South Koreans express no religious preference, 29.3% are Christians, 22.8% are Buddhist, and the rest adhere to several different new religious movements created under the increasing influence of Christianity and Western culture. In America, 2007 statistics from the CIA World Factbook state 51.3% Protestants, 23.9% Roman Catholics, 1.7% Mormon, 1.6% other Christian, 1.7% Jewish, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.6% Muslim, 2.5% other or unspecified, 12.1% unaffiliated, 4%none. What is apparent is that not only does SK have less religious diversity, but also there is a large portion of people who are not religious at all. The administration probably isn't used to addressing political issues using religion in the same way the US administration addresses issues such as abortion, homosexuality and marriage, and cvolution vs creation using Christianity.

The Buddhist community is also having a hard time handling this situation probably because the presence of Christianity in SK is still relatively new, as it has played key roles in democratic movements and national modernization since the 1980s. In America, though we have great religous diversity, the majority of followers are still Christian while in Korea, there is a close percentage between Christian and Buddhist followers. With such close numbers, there's bound to be competition and conflicts between the once deeply-rooted traditional religions of Buddhism, Shamanism, and Confucianism and the relatively new and expanding religion of Christianity. In America, we have yet to see any religion challenge the spotlight of Christianity.

Hopefully, compromise will be reached between the SK administration and Buddhist leaders. They better find a way to coexist peacefully; after all, neither the Christians nor the Buddhists look like they're going anywhere.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shake your Buddha!

I recently saw this t-shirt at Buffalo Exchange, a store that buys and sells used clothing, and I didn't know what to think. At first, I thought it was funny though not the most witty t-shirt I've ever seen. Then, I began to wonder what it's supposed to mean. Shake your Buddha? Obviously, the designers played off the word "booty" with "Buddha", but why? The phrase "Shake your Buddha" doesn't even make sense; the closest possible meaning I can think of is flaunting your Buddhist faith in the same way one would flaunt their "booty" when they shake it. Though that may be the meaning behind this shirt, I think I took the phrase a little too literally.

The way I see it, the only reason the designers incorporated the word and image of Buddha is because he is a pop-culture, fashion icon. One of my favorite Buddhism-related articles, "Buddhamania" featured in the LA Times, tries to make sense of modern pop-culture using the Buddha as a fashion and decorative icon. What was supposed to be an icon of an enlightened teacher revered for rediscovering and spreading Buddhism has now become a popular image completely disconnected from its religious context. So the question is, is that good? Is it disrespectful to the Buddha to wear a t-shirt that says "Shake your Buddha"?

Personally, I tend to believe that wearing a t-shirt like this one isn't disrespectful. Its message isn't meant to be crude or profane. If anything, I think it's great that icons of the Buddha are appearing more often in Western culture, even if it is out of religious context. It helps spread awareness of Buddha's existence and though there may not be any accurate historical or religious information attached to the icon, the image eventually leaves a lasting impression. The more they see the Buddha out of context, the more people will one day wonder who is the Buddha anyways and what does Buddhism teach? If there were no Buddha icons in form easily accessible to the mainstream public, such as fashion and pop culture, such thoughts and curiousity over the Buddha may never arise. If images of Buddha never appeared in Western pop culture, Amy Winehouse and the Beckhams may never have turned to Buddhism when their friends suggested it.

Though sometimes immature and shallow, popular images of the Buddha give people unfamiliar with Buddhism an early sense of distant familiarity with the religion so that they may feel more comfortable approaching it if ever necessary. I believe it is our job (as Buddhists, a Buddhist organization, the Sangha, and just anyone involved in Buddhism) to welcome those intersted in learning about Buddhism and guide them to the appropriate resources for their faith. That is what I hope we can do as the UBA.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beckhams turn Buddhist

Yes, we have more celebrity Buddhists to add to the list. Now, David and Victoria Beckham have turned to Buddhism to cope with their hectic celebrity lives in California. Except is it really Buddhism they are practicing?

"David has begun wearing health, prosperity and performance beads around his wrist. He has started yoga and stretching classes after a knee injury, and then a teammate suggested Buddhist chanting to soothe his mind. "

"David and Victoria are really getting into the whole holistic, healthy vibe too. Victoria often picks up a soya latte at an organic cafe called Urth Caffe, which is next to The Bodhi Tree bookstore, where she bought hundreds of dollars' worth of self-help books."

"They have had Chinese Feng Shui experts come in to rearrange their home, hope it will improve David's luck on the soccer pitch and their chances of conceiving. They have turned into the ultimate hippy power couple!"

So let's see - apparently Buddhism for the British soccer idol and former Spice Girl involves....

1. morning chanting

2. holistic (whatever that means) and healthy diet

3. health, prosperity, and performance beads

4. yoga

5. Chinese Feng Shui

6. Bodhi Tree self-help books

Well, I guess Buddhism comes in all forms. I hope they know or figure out there's much more to Buddhism than diets and beads - maybe mentioning the Three Jewels (no, they aren't more beads) will catch their attention.

How to meditate

Here's a youtube video I found as a posted item on the Buddhist Peace Fellowship facebook group. Despite the weird voice and kinda creepy-looking guy, the video is a simple, easy-to-understand guide to meditation. Hope its helpful.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Buddhist song book launched

"The first ever Malaysian-produced Buddhist song book, which comes with music notation for piano as well as lyrics and guitar chords, has been published.

Produced by Buddhist music enthusiasts from Setenang Buddhist Society, Dharma Tunes Volume 1 is aimed at promoting and popularising Buddhist music that is inspired by Buddha’s teachings, and making Buddhist singing part of the culture of every Buddhist community."

I have always been attracted to (and even a bit jealous of) the songs Chrisitian sing as part of their practice. Many fellowships targeting the youth use a combination of modern tunes (guitar, piano, drums, etc.) and combine them with Christian-based lyrics. It's a great way to spread the teachings to the younger generation. I'm so glad Buddhism is also using modern music to spread the teachings of the Buddha. This is not the first or only Buddhist music out there. The Urban Dharma website also features free mp3 downloads of "Music in the Dharma". Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One more to the list of celebrity Buddhists

Yes, another celebrity has embraced the teachings of the Buddha. This time, its Amy Winehouse and we all know she probably needs it too. One of her musicians introduced Buddhist chanting to her as a way of recovering from her rather chaotic life of severe health problems as a result of drug abuse. She has also watched the Youtube video of an interview with Tina Turner in which she describes her conversion to Buddhism and chants "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō", the same chant that Amy has adopted.

Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō is translated as "Devotion to the Mystic Law of cause and effect that exists throughout all the sounds and vibrations of the universe". It's a mantra chanted as the main practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Buddhism distinguished by its focus on the Lotus Sutra and the belief of an innate Buddha nature in all people. Nichiren Buddhism also separates itself from other sects of Japanese Buddhism, of which they believe to be deviations from the orthodoxy of Mahayana Buddhism.

The phrase "Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō" seems to have an interesting pattern of appearance in pop culture. Besides Tina Turner, it has been used by The Wayans Bros, Boy Meets World, and even The Simpsons. No wonder Amy Winehouse chose this particular phrase to chant.

And as a closing note, here are a list of Buddhist Celebrities, many of which may come off a bit surprising (Keanu Reeves? Steven Seagal??).

Orlando Bloom
Leonard Cohen
Richard Gere
Angelina Jolie
Tina Turner
Uma Thurman
Miranda Kerr
Jet Li
Kate Hudson
Dennis Weaver
Allen Ginsberg
Philip Glass
Phil Jackson
K.D. Lang
Courtney Love
Alanis Morissette
Victor Pelevin
Keanu Reeves
Thuy Trang
Tiger Woods
Naomi Watts
Sharon Stone
Ming-Na Wen
Steve Jobs
Steven Seagal

Monday, September 1, 2008

Urban Dharma Newsletter

In This Issue: Monastic Buddhism in America

1. How Will the Sangha Fare in North American Buddhism? - Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

HI, This is a special Urban Dharma Newsletter... It is a paper by the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi on why the monastic sangha in important in America... I hope you find it interesting and useful.

Peace... Kusala

"Terrible situation" to come for South Korean government

"Buddhists repeated their demand Monday for President Lee Myung-bak to apologize for alleged discrimination against their beliefs. They announced that they are preparing for a drawn out protest against the administration.

'If the government continues to neglect our demands, it will have to take full responsibility for the terrible situation that may follow,' Ven. Seungwon, the spokesperson of the Jogye Order said at a press conference held at Jogye Temple Monday."

"Terrible situation"? That doesn't sound good. Let's just hope the South Korean monks will still adhere to non-violent measures of protest. So far, there doesn't seem to have been any violence, except for a monk named Ven. Sambo, who tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the stomach. Luckily, he was sent to the hospital right away and survived. Buddhist leaders advised their followers to voice their concern over the government's religious bias in a peaceful way.

With all this protesting, I've wondered and asked before, should Buddhists be participating in political action. On one hand, it's great that the Buddhist community has a political voice and can have their interests considered by the government. In the United States, Buddhists, like many other minority groups, seem invisible, at least politically. On the other hand, should religious leaders be involved with politics? Once they're involved with politics, what makes them any different than a politician? Maybe being a religious politician or a political monastic isn't so bad; after all, politicians often have much influence over important local and national decisions and what better way to decrease suffering than to influence those decisions with Buddhist ideas.

Buddhist monks can't use house as temple

"Virginia Beach - Buddhist monks must stop holding services at their home near Pungo.In an 8-2 vote Tuesday, the Virginia Beach City Council denied the monks' request to use their West Neck Road house as a temple with a Sunday service for two more years."

This makes me a bit sad because a large part of my exposure to Buddhism as a child came from Buddhist monastics who used residential houses as a temple. My parents would take me to the temple-house usually during weekends and light incense, talk with the monks, have lunch, and listen to the monks chant. I especially enjoyed the personal touch of being in a house rather than a temple. I found that I became a lot closer to the monks from the temple-house than ones from a temple. Of course, this was in Southern California, where there are Asian ethnic suburbs that may be more tolerant and familiar with Buddhism than a neighborhood in Virginia.

Here's the full background story.

We've Moved

We've finally settled in our new home. If you'd like to read some of our former posts and browse our student group's website please click here. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy our posts and please do leave comments - we love comments :)