Posts Tagged With: buddhist

Goddess of Mercy’s Birthday Celebration


While most of the Christian population celebrates Easter, Buddhists celebrate the birth of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin). Guanyin is an East Asian spiritual figure of mercy associated with compassion.

Amsterdam, New York’s World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Guanyin’s birthday today in the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi spoke to a gathering of both Buddhist monks, students and followers from all parts of the world where he encouraged the monks to teach the Dharma practice and spread peace and health throughout the world. He also spoke of his successor who would lead the Sangha in Amsterdam as he prepares to retire. There was singing and demonstrations of Tai Chi as the members shared their talents in honor of Guanyin. The celebration was joyous and the members left invigorated from the new mantra they practiced during the celebration.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

The Year of the Ram


Amsterdam’s World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Chinese New Year today at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street.  2015, according to the Chinese astrological charts, is the year of the Ram. Visitors from as far as New York City as well as Amsterdam residents attended the simple ceremony. Guests were invited to light an incense stick and make a wish for the new year on front of an ornate wall composed of over 1000 images of Buddha. After the incense lighting, guests gathered around a table of traditional sweet treats that all had symbolic meanings. Jennie Wong explained the cultural tradition of the Chinese New Year celebration after which, guests travelled to the Five World Buddha Temple on East Main Street to receive a 2015 Chinese calendar screen printed on bound bamboo.  Buddhist Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi was noticeably absent from today’s ceremony.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, WPHO | Tags: , , , ,

A Dragon on Grove Street


It’s not everyday that you see a dragon slithering down your street but that is exactly what happened today as the World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Buddha’s Birthday. The opening ceremony started at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street in Amsterdam, NY with Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi sounding the drum and summoning their ceremonial dragon. The celebration continued at the Five Buddha Temple on East Main Street where a ceremonial bathing of the Buddha took place.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, WPHO | Tags: , , , ,

Buddhists Move Forward Despite Jesuit Roadblocks


On April 8, 2013, I wrote the story Angry Jesuit Blocks Entry to Buddhist Temple . This story evoked a lot of passionate responses because people have very strong emotional attachments to their religious faiths and often respond without rational thought. This incident could have been prevented if the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization and the Jesuit Director of the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, George Belgarde were able to communicate. There were attempts made on the part of the WPHO to meet and discuss these issues but they went unanswered.

The issue arose when Shrine Road leading to the Buddhists residence and Temple was blocked without warning by maintenance worker Larry Steiger at the direction of Belgarde. This gave the impression that the Buddhist Temple was closed and also prevented the US Post office from delivering mail. The Buddhists purchased this property from the Shrine in 2005, signing an addendum to the deed stipulating they build their own access road and water source. They complied with the agreement creating their own well and building Friendship Road extending from Ripley Road to the Western Supreme Temple (see map). This road was used for all construction traffic, however the paving material of loose stone made passenger vehicle traffic difficult, with vehicles getting buried up to the axles in stone. To prevent people from driving around the logs, two metal signs were placed in the lawn indicating that was the end of Shrine Road, despite the fact that the Temple address is 174 Shrine Road.

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A few weeks ago, a contractor was hired to grade Friendship Road and pave it. He was met by a once again angry George Belarde and a County Sheriff threatening arrest if they proceeded. The Jesuit claimed Friendship Road that had been in place for five years was a few feet on the Shrine property.

The World Peace and Health Organization attempted to resolve this situation through local governmental channels, meeting with Town of Glen Supervisor, Larry Coddington, Town of Glen Fire Chief, JD Downing, Mayor of Fultonville, Robert Headwell and Amsterdam Police Chief, Gregg Culick who lives nearby. They all had suggestions, which mostly included I would just move it out of the way, but don’t quote me on that, but none had any answers, until WPHO board member Yik Cheng filed a civil lawsuit against the Shine of our Lady of Martyrs, Fr George Belgarde and Larry Steiger.

The preliminary hearing for that complaint was held in the Montgomery County Supreme Court on June 19, 2013, with Judge Felix J Catena presiding. The judge heard opening statements with attorney Carmel Greco representing Belgarde and Steiger who were present in the courtroom. Yik Cheng presented the opening statement for the World Peace and Health Organization who were not represented by an attorney.  Judge Catena postponed the hearing and strongly suggested a meeting be held within the next 30 days to come up with an agreement that would satisfy both parties. If no agreement is met, the next date for the proceeding is July 18, 2013.

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Meeting with Larry Coddington, Town of Glen Supervisor

Montgomery County Supreme Court Hearing Jennie, Elise, Regina Nacki

Montgomery County Supreme Court Hearing
Jennie, Yik, Regina Nacki

Group speaks with Attorney Carmel Greco to arrange a meeting.

Group speaks with Attorney Carmel Greco to arrange a meeting.

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Categories: Equality, Human Rights, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Buddha’s Birthday 2013


East Asian cultures celebrate the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The birth of the Supreme Buddha is thought to be 563 BCE and marks the beginning of Buddhist tradition.

In Amsterdam, New York, the World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Buddha’s Birthday on May 17, 2013, at the Goddess of Mercy Temple, The Five Buddha Temple and the Supreme Western Shrine Temple. This blogger was graciously given the opportunity to photograph the lavish and detailed ceremony and performances from the vantage point of the balcony at the Goddess of Mercy Temple. The photos, equally lavish and detailed, may take a while to load, though they are well worth the wait. The ceremony began with a procession of Buddhist Monks singing and chanting as they encircled the interior of the temple. This was followed by greetings to and a message of religious harmony and peace given by Holy Buddhist Master Ziguang Shang Shi. There was also song, dance, Tai Chi, opera, Chinese lions, an American Marine/Buddhist monk singing in Chinese and two Mormon missionaries singing Mormon hymns. After the conclusion of the Goddess of Mercy ceremony, the celebrants were invited to the Five Buddha Temple where they participated in the symbolic bathing of the Buddha.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Music, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

A Very Buddhist Christmas


The World Peace and Health Organization, led by Buddhist Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi and his Monks, put on a very elaborate Holiday celebration this evening at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. Accompanied by the most recent class of Buddhist students, the public received two solid hours of entertainment followed by refreshments. The celebration was a blend of eastern and western cultural traditions. There was a Chinese Dragon, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer and Santa accompanied by an elf passing out candy. There was caroling and Chinese Opera, dance and Tai Chi. There was even an American Marine singing in Chinese! The event ended with the audience joining in on stage for a last dance Gangnam style. Words just cannot adequately express the cavalcade of entertainment, so here are the pictures.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Photography, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Meet Liu Nai Hui – Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach


One of the many stars that make up the constellation that we call the World Peace and Health Organization is Liu Nai Hui a World Class table tennis champion. She now holds the title of 2012 US Open Women’s Doubles Champion having won the title in July with Jenny Zhao. In 2011 Liu was the US Open Women’s Single Champion and has won Table Tennis Championships around the World. As a Table Tennis Coach Liu had the pleasure of seeing her student Michele Luo win the 2012 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

Today the World Peace and Health Organization celebrates Liu Nai Hui by opening The World Table Tennis Championship Training Center at 10 Main Street in the village of Fultonville, New York. The building a former Masonic Temple, was completely renovated with regulation lighting and tables that occupy two floors of the building. They hope to provide world class table tennis instruction for the public in the near future.

Of course the grand opening included a traditional Chinese Lion accompanied by gongs, drums and cymbals to ward off any residual evil spirits left in the century old building. A formal introduction was given by Buddhist Holy Master Zinguang Shang Shi and the Table Tennis tournament began. The Center also had a visit from Fultonville Mayor Robert Headwell. There was truly a sense of joy and accomplishment that was palpable in the center today. At one point I felt as if I no longer needed the service of my wonderful translator Jennie Wong as the communication was understood on a higher level. This is really the beginning of something greater, a starting point that is fully supported by the local community who appreciate the opportunity presented.

Namaste

Categories: Celebration, sports, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,

A Hike in Fultonville


A two-hour hike in Fultonville, NY along a ridge overlooking the Schoharie Creek, provided a great opportunity to get some exercise and take some photos. Jennie Wong of the World Peace and Health Organization was gracious enough to invite me to join the Buddhist group as they hiked along their property line. We were able to see the damage done by last year’s flood. Large sections of land were wiped out as the creek’s ravaging waters uprooted century old trees.

Categories: Photography, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday


The public was invited to celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday today at the Five Buddha Temple in Amsterdam, New York. The World Peace and Health Organization sponsored a celebration that included an introductory discussion about Memorial Day and Buddha, followed by costumed dance, ballet, Chinese Opera and a demonstration of Tai Chi. Refreshments were served after the performances. It was a great way to start the day.

Update:

Thanks to everyone who read this blog entry today, it has the highest one day viewing of any of my other posts with 1,480 total views!

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Media, WPHO | Tags: , , ,

Perseverance


With great perseverance, the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization continues their mission of health and peace in the City of Amsterdam.

per·se·ver·ance 
[pur-suh-veer-uhns]  noun
1. A steady persistence, course of action, purpose, state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. Theology . continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

The happiness and peace you see in the faces of the members of the WPHO is a reflection of their inner beauty. Despite rejection by some members of our community, religious property exemptions taken away by Amsterdam City Assessor Calvin Cline, $6,485 in fines from the City of Amsterdam and repeated burglaries and vandalism of their properties, they continue forward. With the main group continuing their mission in San Francisco and Hong Kong, a core group steadfastly moves from property to property, securing, cleaning and renovating buildings.

I want to introduce you to some of these dedicated people that have become my neighbors and friends.

Regina Law and Juliana Leong

Regina Law, Angus, Joshua Rosenstein and Mo Ming Che

The rectory building of the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street (seen in this August 2011 photo) was boarded up because of several previous burglaries, one I documented here.

The group decided it would be beneficial to move some of their members in this rectory building. To prepare for the move, they have been performing daily renovations. Boarding up a building may help prevent theft but it also sends a signal to would be thieves that the building is unoccupied.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at about 1:40pm Angus and Juliana were working on renovations in the rectory while the rest of the group worked elsewhere.  Suddenly they heard the sound of breaking glass on the second floor. Juliana ran up to the third floor and called the Amsterdam Police. She knew dialing directly would get them there sooner than calling 911.  Angus not realizing what had happened responded to the second floor bedroom where she heard the noise and was confronted by two male burglars who she described as dark-skinned but not black, thin and tall with dark hair.  She estimated the intruders at around 16-18 years old. Upon seeing Angus, the burglars fled back through the second floor window,where they gained access to the building by climbing on a trash can and scampering over the walkway roof and throwing a paint can through the window glass. The storm window slammed shut as the second male exited. Angus noticed a third similar looking male on the sidewalk outside the window.

I noticed two police cars respond to Grove Street as well as the rest of the WPHO work crew. I went over to the rectory building to photo document the incident. The following photo shows the second floor storm window with clear handprints on the outside. The burglars slid the storm window up before breaking the inner locked window.

The next photo shows the second floor bedroom where the burglars entered the building.

Amsterdam Police Officers took statements from the two WPHO members while two Amsterdam Detectives collected forensic evidence.

This incident was particularly disturbing because it happened near my home in broad daylight, yet it was not reported in the local media. The public needs to be aware of the increasing incidents of burglary in the City of Amsterdam.

Two weeks ago the WPHO property at 10 Leonard Street was burglarized once again.  A hole cut in an outside fence and a rope used, allowing  access to the second floor where burglars entered by breaking a window, taking machinery and scrap metal.



Both properties were once again boarded up, secured and padlocked. While the constant repairs may temporarily delay rehabilitation efforts, it does not deter the WPHO mission.

Through all of this adversity the WPHO members remain cautiously optimistic, using training in meditation to find that calming spiritual center that allows them the consciousness of being.

Categories: Amsterdam, Human Rights, Law, Media, Photography, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,

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