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Ullambana is Sanskrit. It means “rescuing those who are hanging upside down.” It’s very painful to be hanging upside down, and so now we are going to rescue those who are that way. Rescue whom! We are going to rescue our parents and other ancestors from previous lives. We don’t know whether our past relatives created merit, in which case they may have been reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, or in the heavens, or among people as presidents or emperors; or whether they created offenses in which case they may have fallen into the hells, into the realm of hungry ghosts, or into the animal realm.

The fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month is the anniversary of the day when the Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana saved his mother from the hells. When his mother was alive, she didn’t believe in the Triple Jewel. She killed many fish, turtles, shrimp and crabs and she was stingy and unwilling to give to those in need. Because of these offenses she fell into a hell of hungry ghosts. The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana quickly sent her a bowl of food. She shielded the bowl with her left hand and used her right hand to take the food. However, once in her mouth, the food turned into burning coals which were impossible to eat. The Venerable One went to seek the Buddhas’s help, and the Buddha told him to make offerings to the Sangha of the ten directions during the Pravarana (the last day of the summer retreat when Sangha members repent of their offenses before the assembly). Because of the Sangha’s great virtue and awesome spiritual power, if one makes offerings to the Sangha, his parents and close kin in this life and seven lives past, will escape the three evil paths.

If you feel you have a big temper and too much “fire of ignorance,” it is because your parents and other relatives from the past have not left suffering and attained bliss. Every day they help you get angry, and encourage you to commit offenses so that you can hurry up and join them. If you feel that this may be the case, you should take advantage of this opportunity to do merit and virtue to cross them over. That will cause all those in difficulty to leave worry and suffering and to eradicate obstacles from offenses. Moreover, on this day the merit and virtue derived from making offerings to the Triple Jewel is several million times greater than that on ordinary days.

In the West, there has rarely been a Way-place which held this kind of celebration. Every one of us should act as a filial descendant for our parents and ancestors of former lives.

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua,
Vajra Bodhi Sea, 1994

*** See the Buddha Speaks the Ullambana Sutra text here

Earth Store Session, Emperor Liang’s Repentance & Offerings to Heaven

Earth Store Session, Emperor Liang’s Repentance & Offerings to Heaven

During the Earth Store Session (August 3 – September 2, 8:00am – 3:30pm), there will be lectures during lunchtime. The monastics will introduce 4 Great Monks from the Ming Dynasty in detail – Masters Lian Chi, Ze Bo, Han Shan & Ou Yi. May all living beings bring forth the bodhi mind and advance forward together.

During the Emperor Liang’s Repentance (September 3 – 10, 8:30am – 5:00pm), there will be insightful lectures during lunch and evenings. May all living beings enter the door of compassion, may their bodhi roots grow and may faults be repented.

Offerings to Heaven will take place on September 11, 7:00-10:00am.

You’re all cordially invited to join us in these events.

2016 Lecture Series – The Ebb & Flow of Life (FREE)

2016 Lecture Series – The Ebb & Flow of Life (FREE)

In our long journey in life, is it smooth sailing, or is it full of obstacles and difficulties?

Let’s face it and discuss it together!

Speakers and Topics:

John Vu, Professor 武親道教授

Professor Vu was Chief Software Engineer of Boeing Commercial Airplane (Retired). He is the Director of the Master’s Program in Biotechnology at School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

8/6 (Sat 1-3pm) – Issues with college admission, career planning and work life balance
8/7 (Sun 1-3pm) – Issues with parent – children relationship

Raymond Yeh, Ph.D. 葉祖堯博士

Dr. Yeh taught at several universities. He was chairman of the Computer Science Department at both University of Texas at Austin and University of Maryland. He served as a consultant to several nations as well as many corporations. He co-founded two professional societies as well as two software companies.

8/20 (Sat 1-3pm) – How to Make Sense in a Turbulent World
8/28 (Sun 1-3pm) – How to Make Changes in Life

Priscilla Yeh, MBA 周瑞芬女士

Mrs. Yeh holds a MBA degree from University of Illinois. She managed two software companies co-founded with her husband, Dr. Yeh, for over 20 years. She has also been counseling parents, students, cancer patients as well as giving leadership workshops with her husband.

8/21 (Sun 1-3pm) – How to Create Your Life Journey
8/27 (Sat 1-3pm) – How to Build Harmonious Relationships

Lectures will be given in four languages simultaneously —English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

Avatamsaka Sutra Session & the 21st Anniversary of VM’s Entering Nirvana

Avatamsaka Sutra Session & the 21st Anniversary of VM’s Entering Nirvana

Commemoration and Gratitude

The Venerable Master Hua had visions as vast as the Dharma Realm. He had endeavored himself through various levels of communities, trying endlessly to promote mutual harmony between religions and bring peace to living beings.

The kind and compassionate vows of the Venerable Master has pervaded the Dharma Realm. Living beings are obstructed by their stupidity and ignorance and are unable to see their true nature; therefore, the Venerable Master constantly taught and transformed, sympathized, and benefited living beings until they reach Buddhahood.

The Venerable Master was humble and selfless, and with unconditional great kindness towards all. For the sake of living beings in the long, dark night of the Dharma-ending Age, he raised the torch of wisdom.

To express our deep gratitude & remembrance of the Venerable Master Hua, the Commemorating Ceremony and Great Meal Offering Ceremony will be held on June 12, 2016. GBM will also host the Avatamsaka Sutra Recitation Session from June 12- July 2, 2016. We will recite the Avatamsaka Sutra 8am-4pm daily. You are all cordially invited to attend this event.

Remembering the Venerable Master’s Virtue, Universally Turning the Great Dharma of the Flower Adornment

The Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra is the Sutra of the Dharma Realm. It is also the Sutra of Infinite Space. To the ends of infinity space and pervading the Dharma Realm, there is not a single place where the Flower Adornment Sutra is not present. Any place where the Flower Adornment Sutra is found is also a place where the Buddha is, a place where the Dharma is, and a place where the Sangha of sages are.
──Venerable Master Hua

Because the Venerable Master Hua deeply understood this inconceivable state of the great Flower Adornment Dharma and wanted his disciples to begin at the most basic level, he frequently told his disciples to recite the Flower Adornment Sutra and even to memorize it. In his final instructions, the Venerable Master also said, “After I leave, you can recite the Flower Adornment Sutra.” Therefore starting on June 12th, GBM will host a 21-day Flower Adornment Dharma recitation session, hoping to offer everyone the opportunity to steep themselves in the Great Flower Adornment Dharma, understand a little bit of its flavor, and plant limitless good roots.

The Venerable Master often said, “The Flower Adornment Sutra is just like an auspicious cloud in empty space, pervading the three thousand great thousand worlds and giving water of life to all living beings. His disciples solemnly and with proper deportment recite four rolls of the Flower Adornment Sutra daily. So they can cleanse the body and mind and purify their actions, speech, and thoughts with the rains from Flower Adornment Dharma. This is what the Venerable Master had hoped his disciples would do.

Meditation Retreat

Meditation Retreat

Let’s have a taste of ch’an
An interesting stillness and quietness

In a time of uncertainty and hectic everyday life, try experiencing the serenity and self-realization of ch’an meditation. Gold Buddha Monastery will host a one-week sitting meditation retreat starting on the evening of May 9 to the evening of May 16. During this week, everyone will observe silence.

Please register at GBM’s front desk if you’re interested in participating.

Instructor: Dharma Master Heng Xing from Cixing Monastery, Hong Kong.

Meditation 4:00am-9:30pm (detailed schedule
Lecture and Q&A period 7:15-8:30pm

Medicine Master Jeweled Repentance

Medicine Master Jeweled Repentance

If we constantly think of shame and remorse everyday
Arrogance can be melted away even if it is as high as a mountain,
Dharma water will flow everywhere.

If we can repent first before doing anything else,
The fire of three poisons will be extinguished instantly.
Compassionate light shines through pervasively.

The first Sunday of Every Month / 8:30 am ~ 4:00 pm

Medicine Master Repentance

2016 Chinese New Year Events

2016 Chinese New Year Events

Chinese Sutra Copying
February 7 (Sunday)

Lamp Lighting Ceremony
February 7 (Sunday)
Starting at 8:00pm

Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance
February 8 – 14 (1st to the 7th of the lunar month)
8:30am – 4:00pm daily

3-Day Amitabha Session

3-Day Amitabha Session

We will host a 3-Day Amitabha Session on December 25 – 27, 2015

December 27 Schedule:
8:30am Celebration of Amitabha Buddha’s Birthday
10:00am Liberation of Life Ceremony
1:00-4:00pm Amitabha Session, Transference of Merit

During the Amitabha Session, we will single-mindedly recite Amitabha Buddha’s name to purify our body, mouth and mind and to perfect our faith of being reborn in the Western Pure Land. May we take this special opportunity to cultivate together and gain benefits of this dharma practice.

If you recite the Buddha’s name, reciting without cease,
The mouth recites “Amita” and makes things of a piece.
Scattered thoughts do not arise, samadhi you attain.
For rebirth in the Pure Land, your hope is not in vain.

Mindful of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
One is born in the jeweled lotuses of the pure lands of the ten directions.
When the lotus blossom opens, the Buddha manifests and one attains full realization.
One is then free in each moment to come and go.

Everyone is welcome to join us, single-mindedly reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name.

Shurangama Sutra Study Group (in Mandarin Chinese)

Shurangama Sutra Study Group (in Mandarin Chinese)

Lecturer: Dharma Master Jin Yu
Every Monday & Tuesday, 7:30-9:00pm

Unless you read the Shurangama Sutra, you won’t know the key to cultivating the mind and awakening from confusion.


The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s said in one of his talks:
The Great Master Han Shan (Silly Mountain) once said: “Unless you read the Shurangama Sutra, you won’t know the key to cultivating the mind and awakening from confusion.” This says it exactly right, because every dharma that exists is found within the Shurangama Sutra, so there are no potentials it fails to attract. It is the essential Dharma for all generations: It is the right seal for becoming a Buddha or a Patriarch.