International Faith Women Conference
Hosted by I’m for World Peace Foundation
Peace Temple – 37538 Second Street, Fremont CA
May 5th, 2013
11:00 AM = Guests arrive (sign Guests Book)
12:00 PM = Vegan Buffet
2:15 – 2:30 – Arrival and refreshments.
2:30 – Sister Regina to Introduce Program & members self introduce
2:40 – Chant Metta Suta & Sitting Meditation; lead by Ven. Sakyahanhtri
2:50 – Regina to introduce speaker: Venerable Bhikkhuni Sobhana; Topic: Theravada women
3:10 – Venerable Sobhana to introduce Venerable Sakyahanhtri Topic: All women; Theravada;/ahayana/Vajayana monastic wemen
3:30 – Zen Song by Musician Nigrodha -Le minh Luan
3:40 – Discussion/dialogue Chair by Venerables Sobhana or Sakyahanhtri
Question and Discussions on the two speeches…
4:30 – Announcements
5: 00 Closing by Sr. Regina
Sister Regina and all Catholic Sisters and Reverends, Venerable Bhikkhuni Sobhana; Respected Faith Dignitaries, and participants; Thank you for your time and your presence at this International Faith Women Conference. And the students, who have came here to help this event to happen. I could not have done it without your help and participation.
The Buddha teaches us that all living beings are equal. We are equal in birth, old age, decay and in death. We are all equally responsible for our actions, and also, at the same time, we receive equal rewards from the good deeds that we have done, or we receive sufferings if we hurt others. When Buddha delivered that true and logical nature, there was no exception for anything, anyone, or any living being, male or female, young or old. All are equal. However, human beings caused discrimination, created superiors and inferiors, but not equally, different male and female, with the female always secondary or losing equal-rights. Within the family, the woman always has to obey the husband. Outside, in the social arena, when they work their salary is always less than their male colleagues’. This inequality is so obvious in the workplace, although today in the United States there has been reduction in inequality in work or pay, it still persists and we cannot deny that.
In the civilian arena, women have been suppressed unfairly. However, that suppression cannot be imposed on faith, compassionate hearts or on the women’s good nature. In other words, to make it clear, women’s good hearts will have advantage over men’s ultimately, because men cannot have the soft touch of a mother. Men don’t have patience like women, to raise and feed a child and to teach a baby how to say respect things, and to endure during suffering. Women serve others and become teachers/ doctors/nurses and hospices, astronaut/engineers also save and help victims in wars or disasters, orphans with their true and loving hands. Like a magic wand, they can soften suffering and reduce unhappiness, and they can dissolve pain and suffering of life with smiles and soft talk and encouragement.
What will happen to all the living beings if we don’t have the kind heart and love of females? The answer is it would be very bad for this world. Human beings would suffer a lot more and perhaps for all living beings, survival and continuity of life would be hopeless without females.
We are the women who wholeheartedly help others and we should be proud to be women. We should be proud, even if this life is short and temporary, because we are here to help to make it more beautiful, peaceful, and more livable.
The above is about all women.
For the women practicing the Theravada school following the Tripitika, or called “three baskets” in the Pali cannon, during the Buddha’s lifetime, there were many Bhikkhunis Theris who attained enlightenment and became Arahantas and entered the final ultimate bliss by restraining intake materials and concentrating on the mind in meditation. (This was explained by venerable bhikkhuni Sobana).
The following are about the Mahayana and Varajyana basic practices.
For the Vietnamese Buddhist women who live in the United States and practice Mahayana school, they work generously helping others in need. Buddhist dharma gives them the wholesome wisdom to learn to reduce suffering. This wisdom can stabilize peoples’ lives and bring peace in the community. They understand the nature of impermanence, suffering, and ultimate selflessness. This philosophy helps the monastic women to be content and to grow strong in all schools, whether Theravada, Mahayana, or Varajyana.
For the Mahayana monastic women or Bhikksunis they follow the path of Bodhisatva to serve others and generate Bodhicitta (“Bodhi” means enlightenment and “Citta” is the mind = “The Enlightenment Mind) to liberate themselves and others by helping all suffering beings on Earth. Many of them manifested as Mother of Compassion or Bodhisatva Avalokiteshvara (or Quan Am) and these Mahayana monastic women worked tirelessly for eons years to help living beings from suffering in samsara (circle of rebirth). They are allowed to take three vegetarian meals a day. The main meal is the lunch meal. Breakfast and dinner are light meals, however, many take only 2 meals a day. They are the teachers and the servants to living beings and work selflessly to benefit others. They vow to delay entering nirvana until the end of other’s sufferings, they don’t mind if it takes many life times. Besides helping others, they have been also enjoying meditation, chanting discourses and mantras, and studying the Buddhist philosophies and keep “body; verbal and mind” for enlightenment. To the end of their life, most of them will take reborn in the Pure Land, where the will practice and become a Maha Bodhisatva or a Buddha and return to Earth to teach others.
Varajyana School began in the seventh century. Women monastics in Varajyana practice have not had a Bhikkhuni order. They practice to serve the Dharma and follow the Bodhisatva path of humility, keep their minds pure, generate Bodhicitta and help other sufferers. Their practice is chanting hundreds of millions of mantras, such as “Om Mani Padme Hung” “Um Ah Hung Varjaguru Padma Sidhi Hung” or Om Monimoni Mahamoni Shakiyamoni svaha” do millions of prostrations (be thankful and repentance), practicing offerings to Buddha and deities such as of water, food, smoke, and body prostrations and serving the root-teacher whole heartedly. Their main practice is chanting a mantra and learning literature from many enlightened or realized scholars’ text books for wisdom and realization. They are trusting of the guru who gives them ordination or accepts them as monastic novices. They will take refuge in the guru (root teacher and then the Buddha and then the Dharma and then the Sangha. The living teacher (guru) is the one important influence who guides them through the enlightenment techniques for them to practice. They vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, to become a Buddha and return to Earth to help sufferers.
The three schools of Buddhism, Theravada, Mahayana and Varjayana are similar. The only difference is that Theravada’s practice would possibility reach nibana sooner than the other two schools. The difference from other religions is that Bhikkhunis independently perform all services and rituals such as conducting funeral services, weddings and prayers for peace as equally as Bhikkhus. (Monastic males.) Also allowed Bhikkhunis to organize a platform for Maha Sanghakarma for ordination monastics.
Kính Thưa Qúy Vị
Đức Phật dạy rằng, Chúng Sanh Bình Đẳng. Bình đẳng vì đều có sống chết, Bình đẳng vì cùng phải chịu trách nhiệm từ những hành vi do chính mình làm. Và đồng thời cũng nhận được những phần thưởng từ những việc tốt mà chính mình làm.
Khi Phật nói lên chân lý đó, ngài không phân biệt bất cứ một điều gì, người hay vật, nam hay nữ, già hay trẻ đều bình đẳng như nhau. Nhưng con người ta lại tạo ra sự phân biệt giữa nam và nữ và người phụ nữ luôn luôn ở về phía bị thua thiệt. Ở trong gia đình phải phục tùng chồng, ra ngoài xã hội làm việc thì lương ít hơn. Sự bất bình đẳng nam nữ rất rõ rệt, mặc dù ngày nay tại nước Mỹ nó đã giảm đi 1 phần nhưng nó vẫn tồn tại, không thể chối bỏ được.
Xã hội loài người áp đặt sự bất bình đẳng lên người phụ nữ, nhưng nó không thể áp đặt sự bất bình đẳng trên việc làm điều thiện, điều tốt của người phụ nữ. Nói một cách chính xác thì trong việc làm điều thiện, người phụ nữ có ưu thế hơn người đàn ông vì người đàn ông không thể có bàn tay từ ái của người mẹ hiền. Người đàn ông không có sự kiên nhẫn, sự chịu đựng của người phụ nữ, cái tối quan trọng trong công việc phụng sự xã hội, hay trong chăm sóc bệnh nhân, nạn nhân…. Bàn tay từ ái của người phụ nữ như chiếc đũ thần đã xoa dịu đi, đã làm tan biến đi biết bao đau thương của cuộc đời này.
Cái gì sẽ xảy ra nếu chúng ta không có bàn tay từ ái của người phụ nữ?
Câu trả lời là thế giới này sẽ xấu đi rất nhiều, nhân loại sẽ đau khổ hơn rât nhiều, và có lẽ tất cả còn lại của loài người là sự tuyệt vọng.
Chúng ta, những người phụ nữ dốc lòng giúp đỡ người khác, hãy tự hào vì chúng ta là phụ nữ, hãy tự hào là vì có chúng ta mà thế giới này tươi đẹp hơn trăm ngàn lần. Hãy tự hào là vì có chúng ta cuộc đời này, dù là tạm bợ, đã đang và sẽ đẹp lên hơn rất nhiều, rất nhiều nữa. Những phụ nữ
International Faith Women for Peace Conference
37538 Second Street, Fremont CA. 94536
May 5th, 2013
Lunch: Vegan Buffet 12:00 P.M to 1:30 P.M
Salad By Upasika Duc An
Sushi By Upasika Chon Man
Imperial Rolls By Upasika Duc An
Vegies/Tofu Noodles By Upasika 10 vows Mallika
Fried Rice By Upasika Hien Ngoc
Fruits – Sweet – Clear Water – Tea