Saturday, November 27, 2004

Chinese Culture is shining in the History of Oklahoma

The report of Buddha Mind Monastery to the Chinese Exhibition in Oklahoma History Center

History is the record of human activities, while culture is the spiritual connection of people. Recently, the Oklahoma History Center (OHC) and the Oklahoma Chinese Culture Foundation (OCCF) opened a one-year long exhibition, “A Scissor Tail Return – The Chinese Experience in Oklahoma” to show the lives of Chinese people in Oklahoma.

The Buddha Mind Monastery (BMM) is the first monastery of the Chan School in Oklahoma. Knowing that a lot of Chinese people are very sincere to Buddhism, Ms. Tinny Chang, the Director of OCCF, especially invited the following; Mr. Michael Bell, the Curator of General Collections of Oklahoma Museum of History (GCOMH), Mr. Rodger Harris, the Oral Historian of Research Division of GCOMH, and Ms. Susan De Quevedo, the Assistant Curator of GCOMH, to visit the Buddha Mind Monastery.

In order to support the Chinese Exhibition and let people have a chance to understand the history, culture, and art in Buddhism, Ven. Jian Tai, Abbess of BMM, provided a New Year Blessing scroll “Xiu Shan Ji Fu”, meaning “To practice good deeds and cultivate merits” by the Grand Master Wei-chueh of Chung Tai Chan Monastery, to their guests. Ven. Jian Tai also donated her old collections: one hundred and eight phoenix-eye chanting beads, a hand bell and a wooden fish to the Oklahoma History Center.

Phoenix-eye bead trees grow in India; every bead has an eye like a phoenix-eye. Beads are very hard and after chanting for a long time, the beads will become shinny and their color will turn darker. “We used to connect one hundred and eight beads together, which means to cut off one hundred and eight vexations and attain one hundred and eight Samadhi” said Ven. Jian Tai.

The hand bell is a percussion instrument used at a Buddhist monastery. It is made of copper and its shape is like a bowl, with a diameter of seven centimeters. The copper bowl is put on top of a 35 centimeter long wooden stem. People use a long copper stick to strike the bell.

There are two fish images in the wooden fish. We all know that fish don’t have eyelids and their eyes are open during sleep. This phenomenon is used to encourage Buddhists to practice diligently. Sometimes people carved a wooden fish with a dragon shape to show that normal people can turn into sages and saints.

Good results rely on wonderful causes and conditions. Through great planning and long term preparation, the exhibition was opened on Sep 21, 2007. Ms. Tinny Chang invited the Shifus and the lay people of BMM to join the opening ceremony. Ven. Jian Tai was also invited to cut the red ribbon. In order to celebrate this Chinese exhibition, the Dharma Support Association of BMM sent a basket of fresh flowers to OHC. Mr. Michael Bell, the Curator of GCOMH, represented the OHC and received the flowers.

There were more than three hundred people who joined the opening ceremony. Every one had high expectations for this exhibition.

There where many samples of Chinese clothing, food, festivals, literature and spirituality in the exhibition. The calligraphy “Xiu Shan Ji Fu” of Grand Master Wei-chueh attracted everyone’s attention. The photos of the Buddha Mind Monastery, and its Grand Opening Purification and Consecration Ceremony showed that Buddhism is propagating prosperously in Oklahoma. All the donation offerings displayed in the cabinets where a wonderful site to behold, proof of the great support by the local communities.

Though there are few Chinese people living in Oklahoma, their diligence and hard work has been affecting Oklahoma communities greatly. In 2004, the Shifus of the Buddha Mind Monastery started to propagate Buddhism and introduce meditation and Chinese culture to local people. For the first time, people who love Chinese history and art have a great opportunity to get to know the Buddha Mind Monastery and enjoy the art that is in Buddhism. We truly appreciate the efforts and time spent by the Oklahoma History Center’s, Ms. Tinny Chang and many volunteers. As a result of the effort and time spent by many people, the Chinese Exhibition is a shinning addition to Oklahoma’s history and proves that the Chinese people are contributing to the culture of this state.



歷史,是人與人活動的記錄;文化,是人和人精神之傳遞。美國奧克拉荷馬州歷史博物館(Oklahoma History Center)與奧華文教中心合作,舉辦「歸來燕,中國人在奧州的經歷(A Scissortail ReturnsThe Chinese Experience in Oklahoma)」展覽,為期一整年。將華人在奧克拉荷馬州生活之經歷,透過歷史的角度來呈現。

佛心寺為奧克拉荷馬州第一座大乘禪宗道場。奧華文教中心主任梁遵燕居士了知佛法在中國人的心目中,占有崇高地位。特邀奧州歷史博物館Mr. Michael BellCurator of General Collections ofOklahoma Museum of History, Mr. Rodger HarrisOral Historian, Research DivisionMs.Susan de QuevedoAssistant Curator of General Collections)來佛心寺參訪與交流。





任何事情之成就,皆需殊勝的因緣才能達成。歷經長時間的籌備,今年九月二十一日,展覽正式剪綵開幕,梁遵燕主任特邀佛心寺法師及居士參加,並請住持法師剪綵。為了表達祝賀之意,佛心寺護法會致贈鮮花一籃給歷史博物館,由Mr. Michael BellCurator of General Collections ofOklahoma Museum of History)代表接受



華人團體在奧克拉荷馬州的數目雖然不算多,但勤奮認真,對地方逐漸顯現出影響力。佛心寺從2004年 開始弘法度眾,接引中外人士認識佛法、學習禪修、了解中華文化。並藉由奧州歷史博物館展覽之因緣,讓愛好歷史文化藝術的人士,有機會和三寶結緣,擴展生活 視野,體會佛教藝術之美。在此要感謝主辦單位,梁遵燕主任及為此展覽付出的所有人員,由於大眾的發心,過去點點滴滴的努力,在這次中西文化之交會中,閃耀 出璀璨的光芒,也為華人在奧州之貢獻,作了最佳見証。