The Buddha Mind Monastery is located in an unlikely place for a Buddhist monastery ” an old Pentecostal church on S. Anderson Road between Interstates 40 and 240.
Two Taiwanese nuns live and work there. The abbess, Jian Tai, arrived from Taiwan last September. Jian Xiang, one of the founding nuns, has been in Oklahoma City for three years now. Both wear the simple robes of the Buddhist ascetic, and both have shaved heads, also a mark of the monks and nuns of Chung Tai Chan Buddhism.
Chung Tai Chan is the Taiwanese equivalent of Zen Buddhism. Since its 1987 inception, Chan has expanded to 90 Buddha Mind centers in many countries. Oklahoma City’s temple is one of only six in the United States.
Buddha Mind, like Zen, teaches the principles of sudden enlightenment and gradual cultivation. Since it is an ascetic branch of Buddhism, the nuns have renounced all possessions, and they practice the five precepts of Buddha Mind:
” no killing,
” no stealing,
” no sexual misconduct,
” no lying and
” no intoxication.
The “no killing” prohibition extends to animals, and the nuns are vegetarians.
“We have many visitors,” Jian Tai said. “Christians, pastors, many people. We will visit their churches, as well.”
This openness has served the nuns well, as they have made many friends in Oklahoma, a state they admitted to knowing little about before being sent here.
“We know this is the Bible Belt, but we decided that if only a few heed the teachings, we will come,” Jian Tai said. “Greg Horton