Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Rev. Heng Sure's Awakin Talk, Dec 2014

Rev. Heng Sure's Awakin Talk, Dec 2012


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About Rev. Heng Sure

At gun point, the last thing you would do is bow to the man holding the gun. That's exactly what these monks -- Heng Sure and Heng Ch'au -- did. Three times. Of course, bowing came a little easier to them because they'd been doing "three steps and a bow" for 800 miles. Yes, 800 miles for 2 years and 9 months straight. They were on a peace pilgrimage along California's highway 1, a pilgrimage to bring peace within and without.

That journey to boundless compassion never ended, though. "To make peace on earth we must want it. To stop harm and fear in the world we must change our ways. To change our ways we must change our minds," Rev. Heng Sure says. "The power is ours. Evil and good, selfishness or compassion all come from the mind first. If more people care for others, the world will spontaneously grow brighter."

Originally from Ohio, Christopher's life changed with a random phone call while pursuing graduate studies at UC Berkeley. Through a series of serendipitous events, he met a Chinese master who inspired him to dedicate his life to understanding and building virtue. He became Rev. Heng Sure.

Today, 25 years later, Rev. Heng Sure is the abbott of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastary, founding board member of United Religions Initiative (represented in 200 countries), a recent PhD from UC Berkeley, author of many books, a disciple of Master Hua and a jolt of pure, high-voltage inspiration!

On Wednesday, Dec 30th, it is our absolute privilege to such a revered, eloquent and energized speaker in Rev. Heng Sure, as we kick off the holiday season with stories of his awe-inspiring personal journey and the universal principles that have lighted his way. Everyone's invited! This event is hosted in our home and there is no cost to attend; please RSVP for more details (unfortunately, we can only accommodate the first 80 RSVP's).

"Constantly Real"

Words simply can't describe Rev. Heng sure. You have to actually hear his riveting, wisdom-filled stories with his animated story-telling voices. You have feel his humility and how he can relate to and inspire just about anyone, from prisoners to monks, from recovering dot-commers to Macintosh fans, from kids to parents. You have to see how he moves entire audiences to tears with simple songs on his guitar.

Still, here's some Q&A's from a recent gathering ...

Q: What does your name -- Heng Sure -- mean?
A: Constantly real.

Q: Why do you eat just one meal a day?
A: So there's more for other living beings. I have survived ok for 26 years, eating just one meal a day. :)

Q: How do get your food?
A: Offerings from kind people. If you don't serve others, you won't have the blessings and you'll go hungry ... physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Q: Is the joy of giving also transient?
A: Yes. But it's inexhaustible. There's giving and then there's giving. :) You have to know how to give selflessly. It's an art.

Q: Can you tell us more about giving?
A: There are three kinds of giving: material gifts, offerings of reverence, and the most potent, understanding of Dharma.

Q: Why does one chant?
A: Chanting can bring blessings. But that's not enough. You have to use the blessings to cultivate wisdom.

Q: What advice do you have for parents?
A: Kids learn from parents. Don't preach. Show by example. Cultivate dharma yourself.

Q:Q: What is dedication of merit?
A: When you gain reward from a wholesome action, you selflessly give that away for the benefit of all beings. You don't lose it, though. It comes back many-fold. (also: see the lyrics)

As he left, I took my five year old cousin, Neil, to see him. He was confused about what to do. So Rev. Heng Sure spontaneously bows down and touches his feet. Neil bows down and touches his feet. Funny how we learn by example. Not just kids, adults too.

Despite an entire lifetime of service, Rev. Heng Sure still says: "How will the world be better if I don't change myself?" It hits home -- the world is better because this person has changed himself.

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