IBS Prison Library Program

國際菩薩僧伽會是美國聯邦政府批準的非牟利宗教團體。宗旨是以菩薩慈悲的精神弘揚佛法普度眾生。菩薩寺幸得有發心贊助人士捐贈幫忙。令本會能夠在加州監獄裡教授佛法,人生的道理,念佛及修禪。 讓罪犯學習棄惡從善,有重生機會。以佛法的明燈點亮一顆無明的心。

特別感謝Mrs. RAme Chiu居士慷慨解囊。讓菩薩寺能夠訂購以下法寶的教科書。

  1. 大般若經全套

  2. 華嚴經

  3. 法華經

  4. 大智度論

  5. 金剛經

  6. 禪宗傳承的解釋

  7. 中國佛教的解釋

  8. 入中論

  9. 中觀論

  10. 入菩薩行論

  11. 菩提道次第廣論

  12. 菩提資糧論

  13. 成佛之道

及許多現代大德寫的英文佛法介紹的書籍。

歡迎有心人士共襄善舉,詳情請聯絡如下,功德無量,阿彌陀佛。

International Bodhisattva Sangha

12584 Sora Way San Diego CA 92129

Phone: 1+619-450-3699

E-mail: zhongibs@hotmail.com

菩薩寺秘書處

譚巧嫦合十

Prison Library

Recently we received donation of 150 Dharma books and 20 CDs +DVDs from Mr. and Mrs. Hsiao in San Diego and 80 Dharma books from Dr. Frank M. Tedesco in Florida.  IBS would like to thank you very much for your kind support. The brothers in the prisons will be very happy and honor to receive your wonderful dharma gift for them. We are in the process of setting up the libraries in three different state prisons in California. We are going to take all your books to prison in June. If anybody would like to donate books CDS and DVDS for prison library, you will be very welcome to help those practitioners in state prisons. Please contact us on the below address.

International Bodhisattva Sangha (IBS)

12584 Sora Way

San Diego CA 92129

Phone: 1+619-450-3699

Fax: 1+858-484-1889

E-mail: zhongibs@hotmail.com

IBS Annual Fund-Raising Dinner Poster.

IBS Invite you to The 16th Anniversary Fund-raising Dinner.

International Bodhisattva Sangha (IBS) has been doing prison visitation programs in California for many years. There are hundreds of inmates in the prisons willing to learn and practice the Buddha Dharma. IBS only visits once a month to help and offer the Dharma, but once a month is not sufficient to teach enough information about Buddhism for their daily practice. We did some research about their practices, and it brought us more insight about how to benefit the practitioners. They desperately need library materials.

Therefore IBS trying to set up a library in each yard of different state prisons that will be beneficial for those practitioners. If you have any Buddhist books, CDs, DVDs or Buddhist magazines and would like to donate them for the prison library, please contact us.
Thank You,

International Bodhisattva Sangha
12584 Sora Way
San Diego CA 92129
Phone: 1+619-450-3699
Fax: 1+858-484-1889
E-mail: zhongibs@hotmail.com

放生最好的方法; The Best Way to Release those Captured Animals.

Why do we want to release a captured animal? What should be our motivation to release it?

There could be many reasons, but the most common and important reason is to free them from the suffering they experience when they are killed. When you physically release an animal of course you free that animal from being killed, but at the same time you ignore the conditions that will result in killing the next one.

As some people will rescue animals from being killed at shelters, they will still eat meat at their next meal.

So the wise way to release a captured animal is to be a vegetarian. This is especially true now when it is common for people to eat many different kinds of animals.

If there are people who eat meat then there will certainly be those people who kill for them. If everyone quit eating meat, fish, chickens or those living beings, then naturally the killing will stop. That is why I think the best way to release the captured animals from the prospect of being killed for food is for everyone to fully become vegetarian.

Research has shown that vegetables are healthier then meat for our body. Of course that is a bonus for us. But those who practice Buddhism need to generate our loving kindness and compassion. For those who practice Buddhism being a vegetarian should not be based on the health benefits that accrue to the vegetarian.

For the practitioner of Buddhism the bottom line is to cultivate our compassion towards sentient beings. It is true that this is very hard for many people to do. Because our bodies get used to this kind of non-vegetarian diet it may be very difficult to become a vegetarian immediately. However, if we are willing to change our diet to a vegetarian one, we can change our lives, but it may take a longer time.

If you want to practice eating a vegetarian diet in order to become a vegetarian, you can choose to be a vegetarian once a week or twice a week with the right and genuine motivation. Gradually your system will accept the new diet and can eventually become fully vegetarian.

From the Buddhist point of view, the proper motivation is the most important thing. So if our motivation is releasing those suffering beings, once we start to be vegetarian we are releasing these beings from suffering every day. When we have the right and wholesome motivation it most certainly will lead to wholesome rewards and retribution.

The Heart Sutra

Vodpod videos no longer available.

OPEN-MINDEDNESS

By Raymond Tam

My very first visit to the Calipatria State Prison in 1995 was not only a pleasant but also a forever memorable and valuable experience. When my father asked me to accompany him to the prison a few weeks prior to the trip, I admitted that I was at first a bit reluctant. Teaching the Dharma to a group of convicted criminals would not only be difficult but also seemingly absurd and fruitless. How could people like that comprehend and practice the teachings of the Buddha if they did not even possess a prudent sense of morality? Did they even have a basic foundation to grasp the concepts and accept the precious truths that lay within the Dharma? Did they request our presence just to break the daily routine and monotony of everyday prison life?

If a person was clearly on the path of depravity or is not noticeably zealous in the cause of good, then one doubted whether he would be capable of basic decency. However, since I had always prayed that all sentient beings, especially those who had strayed far from the truth, could be as fortunate as I to have had the opportunity to hear the Dharma which had had a profound effect on my life, I decided that I should do something to gain my wish rather than the mere act of requesting it. This visit would indeed provide me with that opportunity to fulfill a long awaited wish of mine.
When I arrived that day, the dreary and inhospitable-like atmosphere of the surrounding caused me to have second thoughts in my mind. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. The smell of manure coming from the nearby fields and the sight of high-voltage fences and barbed wires monitored by armed guards looking through the elevated towers were quite intimidating and, to say the least, not a very welcoming sight. Then I asked myself, “How else would a prison look like?” and thus I persisted and continued on.
My reassurance did not get any better upon entering the complex. Once inside, the officers explained to us about the rules, regulations, and warnings such as the possibility of theft within the prison. In regards to the hostage policy, which stated that if an inmate were to have us at knife point and demanded to be released, under no circumstances were the officers to comply, made the situation seemed even worse. Even what appeared to be a trivial matter at first became an issue. I was not allowed entry and had to change my pants due to its resemblance to that of the inmates. My father sacrificed his pants for me and had to endure the embarrassment of wearing thermos underneath his black Buddhist robe. I was even less assured of my safety within the compound when I first laid eyes on our chaplain guide who was a frail and feeble looking individual himself. The best outlook I could conjure up at that point was that hopefully everything would go smoothly and that our mission would be a success.
The feeling of tension reached its climax when we first came into contact with the prisoners face to face. But to my utmost surprise, most of them appeared exceedingly friendly and courteous. They all put their hands together to their heart and bowed to us with a hint of reverence as apparent in the expression on their faces, which were endowed with a genuine compassionate smile. This display of hospitality eased my initial feelings of tension and distress dramatically. As the day progressed, the congregational event went extremely well. The inmates received the Dharma with utmost attentiveness, serenity, and veneration, which seemed to have had a pervasive effect on them.
By the end of the day, I felt so much at ease with them that I would not be hesitant one moment to invite them to come to my house and spend a night with my family. Deep within my heart, I truly felt their strong sense of good nature regardless of the past sins they had committed. At the very least, they were willing to sincerely reform after acknowledging their past misdeeds. In a sense, they were just unfortunate not to have had the opportunity to listen to the Dharma earlier in their lives, which would have provided them with the profound means to conduct their livelihoods and lead them along a more virtuous path. I felt as though they were actually my brothers – as though we were “one.”
A very valuable lesson that I learned from this whole experience was that we should not perceive things with a closed mind and be prematurely judgmental. My very first notion of the inmates was a somewhat typical stereotype of them having minimal or no sense of morality. I learned that we should not dwell on their negative qualities, but rather we should extend our hands to them and exhibit empathy for those who had trodden the wrong path. We should not abandon those who are genuine in their endeavors to attain a better life while manifesting repentance and remorse. Otherwise, despondency would make them feel their frustration all the more acutely and might ultimately result in their further downfall in life. We should observe neither with judgment nor with any preconceived assumptions. That way, our compassion would be limitless containing no boundaries. As Master Hsing Yun clearly asserted, we should be “perfectly willing” to help those who ask for our help.
What imbued upon me the most that day was the sincere and genuine sentiment displayed by the inmates in the realization for having the fortuitous opportunity in receiving the teachings of the Buddha. It was readily apparent in their earnestness and expression. Their display of appreciation and gratitude for our presence was profoundly felt. Indeed, the riches contained in sacred knowledge are also the principal ingredient of that eloquence which in good company has the charm of a gift. Put to use, the riches contained in sacred knowledge would provide them a clear means to success, and those who take heed of them would pursue a virtuous life along a path free from begetting sins. Following such a path, they would behave in strict conformity with the sacred precepts and would surmount the difficulties of life with ease. My utmost hope would be that their being exposed to the Dharma would calm their minds, reaffirm their yearning for salvation, and enlarge their wisdom so that the gloom of ignorance would vanish. In a hostile environment where they languished in captivity and where cultivation of good was difficult to achieve, I prayed that the Dharma could eradicate any thoughts of bewilderment and confusion in their minds so that the teachings of the Buddha could clearly be seen in its true light.
The prisoners had realized that they had committed immoral deeds and were deeply regretful. They truly wished to give up such a worthless existence for which they have forfeited goodness, happiness, and a chance to make notable contributions to society. They realized that their salvation laid in the teachings of the Buddha for which they must have had planted the seed in their previous existence to have the opportunity to listen to the Dharma and, of all places, in confinement. Ignorance was their enemy and also all beings that exist on this earth. I had deep commiseration for those inmates who had a long sentence ahead of them and had barely reached adulthood with many more years to serve ahead of them. I hoped their lives would be much better in the future and subsequently in their future lives to come. May the Dharma be in their hearts forever even during difficult times in imprisonment where life seemed so bleak and hopeless. This experience for me was truly uplifting and fulfilling and I hoped to see my “brothers” again in upcoming visits.