Okay, I don't have a clue what to call the group. I was thinking along the lines of "English Language Dharma Group" but then that started to sound too, I dunno, academic or something. Plus, I didn't like the idea of using "English Language" in the name of the group, out of fear of alienating the non-English-speaking devotees.
I suppose, of course, that if someone doesn't speak English, there's not much chance of bothering them by choosing the wrong word in English. But, see, that's the whole reason for the group in the first place.
Buddhism, in general, is still in its first century, really, in North America - and as such, it's sometimes difficult to find quality, locally-based guidance in English. Usually, the reason for this is that the Buddhist instruction that does exist locally, if it's there at all, is intended for the benefit of the Buddhist community, meaning the immigrant-from-a-Buddhist-country community. So the instruction that is available is in whatever other language. In our case, here in the Houston area, it's hard to find Chinese Buddhism that's not in Chinese.
So we've put together the Buddhism in English group. English-Speaking Instruction in Buddhism class. I dunno. But we'll figure it out.
What I do know is this: It's a free, two-hours-a-month Dharma discussion, that will meet from 7PM to 9(ish)PM on the fourth Friday of each month at the Chung Mei Buddhist Temple in Stafford. Check out the link below (or the one for the temple on the right, somewhere) for directions. The group will be led by my teacher, the Venerable Reverend Miao Hong, a Buddhist nun of the Fo Guang Shan order from Taiwan. I hadn't really settled on what kind of group meeting to have, what format to use, etc - but Rev. Hong has it down to a science, and she has all the materials in place and ready to go! She was just waiting for someone to show some interest.
Fo Guang Shan, one of the largest and most influential Buddhist orders in the world, exists for the purpose of propagating the Dharma worldwide. The Chung Mei Temple was built as an extension of that tradition, and exists, really, for the purpose of providing a place for Houston's Taiwanese/Chinese community to meet and observe its Buddhist tradition, and to introduce us Americans to it.
Toward that end, I'd like to invite anyone and everyone in the Houston area who has any interest at all in Buddhism, even if it's just a bit of curiosity, to join us tomorrow evening at the temple. Rest assured that we are not looking to win converts (not something we do), and we're not out to compare our religion to yours, or anything like that. So here's all that same info, packaged differently:
WHAT: an informal English language Dharma study and discussion group, open to all
WHEN: fourth (4th) Friday of each month (that's tomorrow), 7PM to around 9PM
WHERE: Chung Mei Buddhist Temple in Stafford (see www.houstonbuddhism.org for directions)
FOR WHOM: Everyone. Anyone with an interest in Buddhism.
BY WHOM: Reverend Hong, a Buddhist nun, will lead the group.
COST: free, although of course the temple will be happy to accept donations of any size.
WEBSITE: Well, I'm glad you asked. There's this one: http://foguangshan.blogspot.com/, which a simple blog for the group, maintained by me but accessible to all; There's the site for the temple, www.houstonbuddhism.org; and then anything major will also be announced here at Tengu House. You can also call the temple at 281-495-3100 (or even fax them at 281-495-6622). Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
There - that should be any last bit of information anyone should ever need. If you're here in the area and would like to drop by, I invite - nay, implore - you to do so. If not, I may be able to post some of the material covered. Thanks!