What we're about
Upcoming events (1)
Dear Cultured Bodhisattvas! We'll be visiting 4-5 Buddhist temples in Chinatown PLUS we've ask the resident American monk of Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple, Venerable Benkong Shi, to give us a quick intro plus Q&A. 9:15am-Grand Daddy Cafe 9:45am-leave for Buddhist temples. 11:00am-Dharma Talk at Grace Gratitude Temple 12:15pm-MAYBE Veg Dim Sum TBD Depending on the time available, we plan to visit four (or five) Buddhist temples, including the oldest in the East Coast, a statue of Eleven-Head Thousand-Arm Avalokitesvara. These temples have served the local community for nearly half a century. We'll go inside the temple if we can, however if there are any service at the temples, we will stay outside. Wears warm clothing and comfy walking shoes. TEMPLES: American Society of Buddhist Studies (Chan, 1974) Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple (Chan & Pureland, 1974) Eastern Buddhist Association (Chan & Pureland, 1973) The Eastern States Buddhist Temple (Pureland, 1962) OPTIONAL: PLEASE DONATE TO TEMPLES! _/|\_ Eddie -- Venerable Benkong's Bio --- Venerable Benkong Shi has been a resident monk at Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple 佛恩寺, 48 East Broadway, NYC, Chinatown, since Nov 2005. He is presently training interpreters and translators of Buddhism in his workshops called Buddha Dharma Translation Teams (BDTT) 佛法翻譯同好會. He is a volunteer Chinese Medical Interpreter at NY Presbyterian Hospital - NY Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also working with health organizations to screen people in Chinatown for Hepatitis B and C and offers them case management and support. He provides Buddhist services at a local federal prison. Ven. Benkong has been a monk since June, 2001. He became a monk in Africa where he lived for 12 years prior to returning to NYC. In 1993, he established an NGO, (non-profit) in S. Africa, called Center for Positive Care (www.posicare.co.za), which offers HIV/AIDS programs and services to the HIV+ community in Limpopo Province of S. Africa. Ven. Benkong believes that his work in AIDS led him to a spiritual life and finally becoming a monk. He practices Chinese Mahayana Maitreya Pure Land Buddhism emphasizing the Bodhisattva Path, which is cultivating oneself by helping others. Ven. Benkong was born in Jersey City, NJ, USA, in 1952. He began studying Chinese at the age of 16 at a Seton Hall University summer program for high school students, and went to Taiwan at 17 in 1969. He then studied in the Asian Studies Dept at Seton Hall Univ., and then Fu Jen Univ. in Taiwan where he studied Chinese history and philosophy. Ven. Benkong returned to the USA in 1986 and worked in the San Francisco with children of Chinese immigrants in youth homes for severely emotionally disturbed children/adolescents. Then at the height of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, AIDS was impacting new immigrant Mandarin speaking Chinese population in the San Fran. Bay Area. Ven. Benkong became one of the first Mandarin speaking HIV educators. He worked at the Univ. of California, San Francisco, AIDS Health Project beginning in 1990. During this time he also acquired an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology. A return visit to S. Africa in 1989 convinced him that his mission was to set up an HIV/AIDS NGO there. While on his mission in S. Africa he became convinced that Buddhism offers solutions to the suffering we experience in the human realm. He then dedicated himself to Buddhist practice along with his AIDS work. After spending 27 years in Africa and Asia, Ven. Benkong was accepted by the abbess of Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple to concentrate on his Buddhist practice and as well as training translators and interpreters of Buddhism. His training sessions are available in the USA, Taiwan, South Africa, Malawi and Scotland via the internet. He is active in Chinese immigrant HIV education, Hepatitis B programs, outreach and advocacy. He continues to support the work of AIDS organizations in Africa.