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Frequently Asked Questions

About the DRBA


The Way-places (monasteries, centers, and offices) of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association offer a range of practices and opportunities to study Buddha Dharma. You are welcome to join our cultivation. We welcome all sincere individuals at any level of committment: beginners, devotees, and advanced cultivators can all find a door into the Dharma Realm and the support of a dedicated community, leading, we hope, to ultimate liberation and Wonderful Enlightenment!

Who we are:

    We are the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA). We are monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen, elders and kids. The DRBA is a religious community with members in the United States and Canada, in Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. The link we share is our connection with our founder and teacher, the Ven. Master Hsüan Hua (1908-1996). From so many different walks of life we each heard the sound of the "lion's roar" of Dharma and followed our hearts towards the Path of cultivation taught by the Ven. Abbot.

How to find us:

    You will find us at any of twenty-some institutions. Some are convents, residences for nuns; some are monasteries where men cultivate the Way. Some large centers, such as the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, near Ukiah, California, contain both men and women monastics, as well as lay families. Soon our webpage will offer you detailed maps for finding directions to the largest of our Way-places. You can also find us in our schools which we devote our time to, in our Sutra translations, and in our periodicals, magazines and newsletters. More on these below.

How we practice:

    We follow the "Five Schools" of the Mahayana style, that include:

  • Precepts, moral rules, called the Vinaya School;
  • Meditation, called the Chan School; our teacher is the 9th Patriarch of the Wei-yang lineage.
  • Studying Dharma-teachings, called the Scholastic School;
  • Mantras, called the Esoteric, or "Secret School"; and
  • Chanting the Buddha's name, called the Pure Land School.
    1. We celebrate Buddhist holidays year round, and live a rigorous, wholesome, ascetic life that has been part of the Sangha's style dating back to the Buddha's time.

    Our normal day:

      We get up early! We recite "morning recitation," at 4:00 AM and get to sleep somewhere after 10:00 each night. A selection of schedules for our individual Way-places is available to whoever would like.

    What we eat:

      We are strict vegetarians; some of us are vegans. We take the Buddha's injunction to be compassionate seriously. We enjoy pure, nutritious vegetarian cuisine. Our diet is simple, but visitors to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas report that our food fills the stomach in a delightful way. In combination with the unsurpassed flavor of meditation we aspire to "take the bliss of Chan as our nourishment," and be "replete with the joy of the Dharma."

    How we talk:

      Our community is truly international; sometimes the office sounds like a miniature United Nations. We reflect the world-wide scope of the Buddha Dharma. Our group is largely of Chinese ethnic origin, but we also include many Vietnamese, Americans and Canadians, Malaysians, Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese, and folks from Europe, South America, and all corners of the USA.

    What you won't find:

      At our Way-places you won't find people asking for money; we do not charge for our Dharma-events. You won't find hugs and back rubs, or hot tubs, you won't find bullies or cliques, you won't find televisions, radios, dancing, gambling, alcohol or cigarettes. The CTTB is a game preserve, you won't find animals being killed or eaten. The attitude of cherishing life - - nothing has died in anger or hatred on the property for twenty-one years - - makes for a peaceful and secure atmosphere.

    Our attitude:

      We operate from and revere certain hallmarks and standards, namely:

      Five Precepts,
      Six Great Guidelines,
      Three Principles,
      and Eight Rules for Translators.

    The Sangha:

      Our teacher made his priority, along with lecturing on Great Vehicle Sutras every day for thirty years, the creation of a traditionally ordained and qualified monastic Sangha. Sangha means "harmoniously united assembly," and refers to the "four-fold Sangha" of monks and nuns (Bhikshus and Bhikshunis), and Laymen and Laywomen (Upasakas and Upasikas). The monks and nuns have embarked on a lifetime of following the precepts. They each hold over three hundred training rules, including several ascetic practices. They renounce the ordinary householder's life style and practice renunciation of career, family, personal wealth and comfort in order to go forth into the world as teachers, pilgrims, peace-makers, mendicants, healers and vessels of the Dharma.


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