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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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Interview with Master Sheng Yen

Here's an interview with Chinese Buddhist Master Sheng Yen by the Religion News Service. He is a prominent and influential figure in Chan (or in Japanese, Zen) Buddhism, teaching in America and writing about Buddhism for the West. You can read a short bio at Wikipedia as well as his new more in-depth memoir, Footprints in the Snow. Here are some interesting questions he answered in the interview:

Q. How did you get through the difficult times in your life?
A. There is no problem that cannot be overcome. To use our heart means to understand how we should go about carrying on. To persevere means to try again and again, and do not be worried and afraid. When I was in mountain, living alone, (I) never thought I was alone. I felt that there are many sentient beings and many bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) to help me.

Q. Why is it better for Buddhists to not get involved in politics?
A. This has something to do with Buddhist tradition. The Buddha was a prince who left home and did not want to get involved in politics any more. Politics is necessary for worldly people. But as soon as one is involved in politics, there will be a lot of problems regarding who is right and who is wrong. As a monastic or a practitioner, one should know what one needs to know about politics, but one should not get involved. As soon as one gets involved, one will immediately be sucked into the worldly, secular environment and be tangled up with it. This will obstruct one's cultivation in the practice.

Q. You recently decided to refuse a kidney transplant. Why?
A. Since I am already 80 years old, if a kidney is transplanted to my body, at most it will be used for 20 more years. If it is transplanted to a younger person the function to be fulfilled by the kidney will be greater. Therefore I think it is wasteful to transplant a perfectly functioning kidney into my body.

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