Three members of the Sangha, Mike, Chris and Shon, took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The Venerable Thich Tri Hoang, Master Monk and founder of the Dharma Teacher Order presided. Assisting him with the service were the temple’s Abbot, the Venerable Thich Chuc Hoi and Dharma Master, the Venerable Thich Chuc Thanh.
The simple service started with traditional chanting by the monks. Thay Hoang made brief comments about the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha before the three recipients recited the taking refuge statements. The Master continued the ceremony with brief comments about each of the Five Precepts before the recipients made the commitment to accept and practice the precepts in their daily lives.
Master Hoang provided an interesting, thought provoking dharma talk after the refuge ceremony. He related a brief history of the introduction of Buddhism into the United States which began when three Therevadan monks visited Chicago in the late 1800’s.
Buddhism really took root in the United States in the 1950s and 60’s with the introduction of Zen Buddhism on the West Coast. He introduced us to the book “The Light of Asia” by Sir Edwin Arnold, the first book about Buddhism sold in the United States. The first printing of the book was in 1879. The book is still sold today (it is available on Amazon).
Here are some of Thay Hoang’s key points from his dharma talk:
- Ignorance is the root of all suffering.
- Ignorance creates the delusion of faith and religions. All religions are founded on the premises of teaching people love and peace. To use religion as a reason for war, such as jihad, is just a big illusion.
- The United Nations has recognized Buddhism as the most peaceful religion.
After the dharma talk, Master Hoang answered several questions from the sangha members, concluding a beautiful evening for everyone in attendance.
October 6, 2016