I was introduced to Buddhism through my wife Christina. Growing up, I have never been associated with a particular religion. When I was little and living in Taiwan, my grandma and my aunt took took care of me. My parents was in the United States making a living and then sending money they had made back home to my grandma, my sister, and I. I believe my grandma and aunt practiced some form of Taoism as I remember visiting many temples and worshiping many different deities. Then after finishing first grade, my parents moved my sister and I to the United States to a small town in Nebraska.
I grew up in Kearney, Nebraska, a very small town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by acres and acres of corn fields. While we where growing up in Nebraska, I remember there were a lot of churches in a big Christian community. Some of the Christian community members invited us to get us involved in Christianity but my parents were very busy at work and was never able to attend. Then in college, I went to Creighton University, a Roman Catholic school. I remember on the first day of orientation, we attend mass in the school’s church. It wasn’t until I moved to California and meet my wife that I become involved with Hsi Fang Temple and Buddhism.
My wife Christina was more involved at Hsi Fang Temple and took me to the weekly prayer services. Since I can’t read Chinese or following along with the chants, I never really got involved in the payer services but I still went to support her and stayed for the vegetarian lunch/social gathering after the service. I become more involved in Hsi Fang Temple through many of their projects. One of them was the temple’s bookstore. I created a Point-Of-Sales software system for the bookstore since the bookstore really did not have any system in place, plus its what I do at work and a side hobby.
When it comes to religion and religious beliefs, I don’t ready have a particular one. I’m open to any ideas and religions, as long as it does not take to the extremes. I do like the Fo Guang Shan’s Humanistic approach to Buddhism, in that we incorporate Buddhism and its principles to our daily lives. I’m a practical person and anything that can be applied in real life appeals to me. For example, Buddhism talks about the Eightfold Path and The Middle Way. The Eightfold Path are some of the things we can do to relief suffering. Suffering is something we all experience in life and what Buddhism refer to as the “Four Noble Truths”. These concepts really appeals to me in real life. If we practice right view, right action, right thinking and not go down the extremes, are lives will be better. I think it’s part of society and way people should interact with each other. The phrase “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you”. If you don’t want others to do to you, you should not do it yourself to others is what I believe the phrase is trying to imply. I think this is the proper attitude and thinking when interacting with one another.
I think the word “right” can be different from person to person. That may seem right to one person might seems not right to others. I think your experiences in life have a large part in shaping what it right for you and what is not right for you. For example, there is a demonstration in which two person are on the opposite side of a ball each looking at the same ball. One person standing on one side sees a blue ball and the other person on the opposite side sees a red ball but they are all looking at the same ball. Both see the same ball but different color of the ball depending on which side they are standing on. I think people need to have sympathy toward each other and try to stand in the shoes of the opposite person to see where that person is coming from. This demonstration also shows that we should see things in its entirely or the whole truth and not just part of the truth.
We should be very carefully of others who only want you to see one side of the truths, or even worse, non-truths or lies. People who spread lies often have their own personal agenda. We see this with a lot of totalitarian governments, a form of government that attempts to assert total control over the lives of its citizens. “It is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life though coercion and repression.” This form of thinking and behavior is very dangerous to society.
Fo Guang Shan’s Humanistic approach to Buddhism really appeals to me. I’m not a religious person I think a lot of its teaching can be applied toward life. This is the reason I got into Buddhism with Hsi Fang Temple.
PS – They also serve up the best vegetarian meal at the temple. I never knew vegetarian meals can be this good. I would become a full time vegetarian if the vegetarian meals I cook can be this good.
通過我的妻子克里斯蒂娜，我被介紹給佛教。 在成長過程中，我從未與特定的宗教聯繫在一起。 小時候住在台灣，奶奶和姑姑照顧我。 我的父母在美國謀生，然後把他們賺到的錢寄回家給我的奶奶、姐姐和我。我相信我的奶奶和姑姑修煉了某種形式的道教，因為我記得參觀了許多寺廟並崇拜了許多不同的 神靈。 然後在讀完一年級後，我父母把我和姐姐搬到了美國內布拉斯加州的一個小鎮。
我在內布拉斯加州的科爾尼長大，這是一個偏僻的小鎮，周圍環繞著數英畝的玉米田。 當我們在內布拉斯加州長大時，我記得在一個大的基督教社區中有很多教堂。 一些基督教社區成員邀請我們讓我們參與基督教，但我的父母工作很忙，一直無法參加。 然後在大學裡，我去了克賴頓大學，一所羅馬天主教學校。 我記得在迎新的第一天，我們在學校的教堂參加彌撒。 直到我搬到加利福尼亞並遇到了我的妻子，我才開始接觸西方寺和佛教。
我的妻子克里斯蒂娜更多地參與了西坊寺，並帶我參加了每週的祈禱儀式。 由於我看不懂中文或跟著唱誦，我從來沒有真正參與過付款服務，但我仍然去支持她，並在服務結束後留下來參加素食午餐/社交聚會。 通過他們的許多項目，我更多地參與了西坊寺。 其中之一是寺廟的書店。 我為書店創建了一個銷售點軟件系統，因為書店確實沒有任何系統，再加上我在工作中所做的和業餘愛好。
我認為“正確”這個詞可能因人而異。 這對一個人來說可能是正確的，但對其他人來說可能並不正確。 我認為你的生活經歷在很大程度上決定了什麼適合你，什麼不適合你。 例如，有一個演示，其中兩個人在一個球的另一側，每個人都在看同一個球。 站在一邊的一個人看到一個藍色的球，而站在另一側的另一個人看到一個紅色的球，但他們都在看同一個球。 兩者都看到相同的球，但根據他們站在哪一邊，球的顏色不同。 我認為人們需要相互同情，並試著站在對方的立場上，看看那個人來自哪裡。這個論證也表明，我們應該看事情的全部或全部真相，而不僅僅是部分真相。
我們應該非常小心那些只希望你看到真相的一面，或者更糟糕的是，非真相或謊言的人。 散佈謊言的人通常有自己的個人議程。 我們在許多極權主義政府中看到了這一點，這是一種試圖完全控制其公民生活的政府形式。 “它的特點是強大的中央統治，試圖通過強制和壓制來控制和指導個人生活的各個方面。” 這種思維和行為形式對社會是非常危險的。
佛光山對佛教的人文主義態度真的很吸引我。 我不是一個宗教人士，我認為它的很多教義都可以應用於生活。 這就是我在西芳寺接觸佛教的原因。
PS – 他們還在寺廟提供最好的素食餐。 我從來不知道素食可以這麼好吃。 如果我做的素食可以這麼好，我會成為一名全職素食者。