To the south of Los Angeles is a lively independent suburb named Garden Grove. This small city with a population of around 170,000 is home to the Little Saigon of the Los Angeles region, named for the large number of Vietnamese refugees that immigrated there during the 1970s. Garden Grove has long been known as a conservative bastion with a well-run political machine that kept a tight leash on who ran the city. On 4 November by a margin of just 15 votes, Bao Nguyen beat incumbent mayor Bruce Broadwater to become one of a growing number of Buddhists now engaging in public political service in America.
In doing so, Bao Nguyen became not only the second Vietnamese-American mayor in US history, but also the first to serve in an American city with a population of over 100,000. In addition, at the sprightly age of 34, he became the youngest mayor in the history of Garden Grove. His path into the arena of public service was accompanied by a journey deep into the heart of the Buddhist faith. His Bachelor’s degree, which was in Political Science, came from the University of California in Irvine, but after graduating he turned to Naropa University, where he received a Master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies, studying under the guidance of Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown.
Having been highly active in civic service since his youth, he did not take his studies at Naropa as a call to become a recluse; rather, he took the ideas of Buddhism as a call to benefit others through public service.
When asked how his faith and Buddhist Studies have influenced his experience, he says that Buddhism guides him in his belief in good government. He is highly influenced by the Vimalakirti Sutra, specifically the The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture, a translation of the sutra by Robert Thurman. In a telephone interview, Bao said, “Vimalakirti showed that there is a way for a lay person to benefit many beings—one does not have to be a monastic. He shows that as a lay person one can help many beings see reality and engage in non-judgment . . . one can develop tolerance through recognition of the non-arising of phenomena.”
Bao emphasized being influenced by the principle of anutpattikadharmakshanti, which Vimalakirti says is the “entrance into non-duality” and Judith Simmer-Brown explained as “tolerance for the birthlessness—or incomprehensibility—of all things, which allows one to experience joyful patience within ambiguity and have a direct curiosity into the unknown.” Bao believes that someone who has dedicated their life to public service will find that this helps to free them from a divisive view and to engage with people from a place of openness, enabling them to hear others’ needs.
When speaking of his education at Naropa, he fondly remembered his time there: “I was able to develop a very strong moral compass. I am grateful for the education that I received there,” he said, adding that when people ask him how he finds Buddhism useful, he replies that it is “extremely useful. I used it every day during my campaign, and now I use it in governing.”
Bao Nguyen winning the election to govern Garden Grove is not just a sign of Americans accepting a new generation of youth into the realm of governance—it is a sign that the Dharma is starting to be well accepted in American culture. Bao’s election indicates that Buddhist thought is beginning to shape and influence American political thinking, and in doing so, is bringing principles of compassion, openness, and integrity into an area of life that is well served by good motivation and intention.
- In 1937: ordained by Most Venerable Thich Hong Xung at Van Linh Temple, Tịnh Bien District, Chau Doc Province, (today known as An Giang Pronvice), given Dharma name Nhat Binh, posthumous title Thien Chanh, under 41th generation of dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Gia Phổ.
With my heart full of my beloved Rinpoche, I would very much love for you to come to TBI so that we can commemorate the life and times of our Precious Teacher.
Please come and feel the spirit, held in the lotus of compassion, of our cherished and adored spiritual guide and mentor, to TBI on Saturday 31st May, 2.00 – 5.00 pm. In our sacred gompa you will be able to pay homage to our dear founder and mentor Kybje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, who passed away peacefully on 22nd January 2014 in his home at Sera Jey Monastery, South West India.
There was once the son of a Brahmin (the highest "priestly" caste in India) in the court of King Pasenadi of Kosala, whose name was Ahimsaka. He was sent to Taxila for his studies. Ahimsaka was intelligent and obedient to this teacher; therefore he was liked by both the teacher and his wife. This made the other pupils jealous of him. So they went to the teacher and falsely accused Ahimsaka of having an immoral relationship with the teacher’s wife. At first, he did not believe them, but after hearing it a number of
He is an Ocean of Wisdom and we are so very fortunate that he has once again made the commitment to travel all the way to Australia and share his inexhaustible compassion and wisdom with us.
As His Holiness will be 80 on the 6thJuly 2015, the Ocean of Wisdomvisit will see His Holiness visit only three cities in this great land of Australia – Sydney, Brisbane & Perth - lessening the impact on him and the program of events he is offering.
His Hiloness Thich Tri Tinh, the First Supreme Patriarch and the Executive President of National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, after a healthy longivity, died peacefully at His Van Duc Temple, Thu Duc District, HCM city. The bell was rung 108 times at his Van Duc Temple today while the Sangha sat in zazen.
Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An came to Southern California in the summer of 1966 as an exchange professor at UCLA. Soon his students discovered he was not only a renowned scholar, but a Zen Buddhist monk as well. His students convinced Dr. Thien-An toteach the practice of meditation and start a study group about the other steps on the Buddhist path, in addition to the academic viewpoint.
Venerable Ajahn Chah was born on June 17, 1918 in a small village near the town of Ubon Rajathani, North-East Thailand. After finishing his basic schooling, he spent three years as a novice before returning to lay life to help his parents on the farm. At the age of twenty, however, he decided to resume monastic life, and on April 26, 1939 he received upasampada (bhikkhu ordination).
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July 6, 1935 to a peasant family in the small village of Taktser in northeastern Tibet and was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of His predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion, who chose to take rebirth to serve humanity.
Yae-Hong Hsu, better known by his Buddhist name Chin Kung Shi, was born in February of 1927 in Lujiang County, Anhui Province of China. He attended the National Third Guizhou Junior High School and Nanjing First Municipal High School. In 1949, he went to Taiwan and worked in the Shijian Institution.
Marie Beuzeville Byles was born in 1900 into a Christian family in England. At the age of eleven years, she migrated with her family to Australia. She was one of the first women to graduate in Law from the University of Sydney and certainly the first to set up practice as a solicitor after graduation. At that time, the best that a woman graduate in Law could expect was employment in a Law Office as a solicitor's clerk. This, Marie could not accept so she established her own practice at Eastwood, a Sydney suburb.
Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường, nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.
May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland, Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below, may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma, the Land of Ultimate Bliss.