yellow citizen

temple diaries

Today I’ve been feeling under the (very rainy) weather on the first day of moon time. The precious rainfall of heavy clouds rolling off the mountains reminds me of standing rock, and the special time that we were told our bodies were a ceremony unto ourselves, thus to stay away from the morning rites. My roomie has been caring and reminding me to drink congee and an auntie monk is telling me to drink 黑糖熱水♨️ I’ve been listening to the dharma talks of the monk and learning the method and xin to chant 南無阿彌陀佛 from examining a sage’s poem. The 道理 from self examination, not the 感應 that gives a confidence as an outside guarantee. I’ve told many of the senior monks that I won’t chant it to go to some mythic heaven as this chant has been treated by many self-soothing practitioners, monks and lay people alike. It’s that memory of this chanting as an empty artifact that repels me. For example, we praise Weito Bodhisattva each morning, yet how often does his spirit enter our daily xin as we go about acting in ways that don’t protect the dharma? I see more and more how distracted I am by the foolish vageries of an unsubstantial nature. I’m grateful to have relations to dialogue with and learn from. After all, my friends and I are in hell of individual and collective delusions and ignorant bliss seems to be a shallow hell masked as heaven. neither seem liberatory. What I’m learning is that focal point allows for examination of faith. My questions remain: why this 佛號? why not any other blessed chant? As it prepares us for a place beyond death, how does it shape our ethics to our current world?

temple diaries (dear olivia)

Sending much love back! I got “promoted” to “jingren” a candidate for ordination. Though under slightly awkward status because this previous person here was telling me all this shit about the elders here and how they weren’t shit for not having superpowers. She also talked a lot of weird voodoo stuff like “you have heart troubles cuz you butchered hearts” before and don’t go to the stupa because it’s too yin. All non legit stuff. I pointed this out and they had a mediation process and asked her to leave after a year. Watching her left me to reflect a lot on the grandiosity I engaged in and what I was truly trying to accomplish. How it’s harmful even with good intentions to people’s paths. And the necessary reverence to have for teachers or else learning is impossible. Olivia, we used to grouse about how we don’t have elders–I want to treasure this opportunity to learn well!

I had to write all chinese for my application (still gotta write my bio for the seniors *stress*) which took hours but I’m very proud.  Though my mother always warned me from being too political, I decided not to hold back.  Rei Shifu, the community organizer professor nun really enjoyed it, which made me happy.  As she said, “colonization was wrong, it shouldn’t have ever happened. this isn’t too political at all.”  I’m in the right place ❤

When I envision the future, I imagine a safe and tranquil and welcoming space for beings to come together to heal and take care of their hearts. In this sanctuary, people can practice, grow in dharma, participate in rituals and ceremony to honor elders and ancestors, dedicate this space to diasporic and refugee people. For their cultural preservation and growing in the dharma, people need a place free from white supremacy, imperialist, capitalist, patriarchy. I hope to decolonize the dharma so Buddhism returns to the hearts of many young people and connect liberation from hearts to the collective body.

temple diaries

From the hills of east Taiwan now 🙂 I’ve moved to the “women’s” practice center. Had a moment of affirming in queerness when the master said to my mother that he couldn’t expect to teach me like a woman because I thought in vaster/“more masculine” ways. Capricorn influence perhaps? Experiencing reconfigurations of queerness in spirituality. I’m mostly studying, everything is in Mandarin Chinese so I feel left between languages most of the time. The lucky thing is quite a few of the monks are younger 20-30ish and from other countries like Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, and one of them is Taiwanese who lived in New Zealand and Japan (she’s so funny and able to speak with me in English and had a career in psychology in Japan before taking these vows. She empathizes with my doubts of whether or not this path is out of our childhood vocation/family influence/Buddhist organization participations or true calling). I enjoy asking and hearing how these women came to this lifelong commitment while re-understanding what it could look like for myself. I don’t see myself here sealed off forever, definitely thinking daily of my friends in the west who could really benefit from being able to connect with this vaster cosmology of Northern Chinese, more progressive Mahayana Buddhism with deeper methods that emphasizes the Bodhisattva practice compared to the shallower capitalist commercialized forms of western Buddhism.

Today learned that monks don’t bow to emperors or kings or parents…radical. And mowing the wide fields and lawn, carrying the machines, badass nuns.

temple diaries

got accepted to go train for 6 months this weekend and saw my mother off. #Blessed

The timing is amazing, head monk, Master DaHeng, is a rare monk with incredible openness and global world view. He doesn’t force traditions, rather insists on bringing the heart, the original spirit into whatever form fits. He’s about to go on sabbatical too so isn’t trying to take on new work. Originally he wasn’t so sure to meet with me, but we found out that we had so many serendipitous shared traits such as a philosophy background and an affinity with and determination to bring dharma to oppressed peoples in the spirit of Dizang Pusa. He’s willing to reason with me directly and dialogue, which is rare among big masters. In fact, he’s agreed to mentor me directly since he sees I could become a great translator.

Gratitude yes, and looking forward to decolonizing and humble and honest inquiry🙏🏽

coda: interview with a master

so many conversations lately on calling with my wise older sisters. what we continue, what fate we resign ourselves to…how to travel lighter and lighter…how be that pause between breaths.

in the pause, i feel the raking in of the love that bloomed and busted in spring-summer, the composting weight of dreams of many more seasons, the stretching of germinating seeds.

Benjamin Clementine, Condolences

So that when I become someone one day

I’ll always remember I came from nothing

No wonder why you’ve been buggering me

Cause this walk it’s a previous journey

And no wonder why the road seem so long

Cause I have done it all before

And I won

three times, people urged me to watch the Chef’s Table episode on Jeong Kwon. this last time, with a sore and joyful heart, i watched this Bhikkuni radiate a life joyfully devoted to the triple gem’s true freedom.

it’s been a summer of reconciliation with my mother, who gave me a mold of Dizang Pusa. she’s bringing me along to meet with a Master in the mountains where i first learned to meditate. how do i prep besides prayer for this interview?

after a time of being held in reflection/unable to accelerate ahead or away, i wonder: what is the work, the gift in re-direction? exploring this push, watching what pushes within.

breath in. pause.

breath out. pause.

temple diaries

I’m gonna explore getting some training in temple. After our last talk, I reconnected with my mother after 3 years. So while she’s pushing me for a lifetime commitment and trying to make me do it her way, I’ve been able to convey my spiritual aspirations to the person who influenced me so much. I’m not attached to being in that mode forever, but it feels like a good opportunity to explore the place women have gone for spiritual solace.

imperial purgatory

well well, this legalistic deathliness reaches another milestone. i remain seeking citizenship in my own ancestral land that remains under a flaccid Chinese colonial rule. still, this is strengthening, this small, hagridden and expensive work to correct the betrayals from colonial violence that forced my father to flee and patriarchal violence that chased my mother even into the west.

staying alive thanks to daring connections with the queerest and bravest dynamos…living, connecting are all in restructuring as my basic legal rights stay stripped away and i exist outside the comforts of the integration for tourists and citizens.

I will keep all lines of the wind open

And place all my days free and empty

And reenvision what it means to be unencumbered

Or bereft

Not crying but the expanse of numbers

That go beyond the grave to what is left

behaving (what I was taught to perceive as) badly on the borders…shifting understandings of surviving and thriving. staying curious in obscenities–thrumming agony that releases into blooming pleasure…

as of late, certain connections ring full of deep deep inquiries…an intensity to go thru and go deep into what lays underneath us…seeking pleasure hidden for far too long…these adventures…2am  啤酒🍻 full of delicious summer heat and liquid cool…soothing delight as it goes until it goes…

grateful to celebrate kindness and queerness that enlivens my dark heart so often in-tension with forced enclosures…lifted to a world away in a dream or haze.

It was true without a set of things like letters

It was true the air was free and open

And I saw things as they were

Without violence

For the first time

MILK, Dorothea Lasky