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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ABC 1-Day Retreat Jan & Feb 2015 Schedule

Saturday 1-Day Retreats at Bodhi Center 

Jan & Feb 2015 Schedule

  • Jan 03: No Retreat
  • Jan 10, 17, 24, 31: Conducted by Eng Chew Ang
  • Feb 7: Conducted by Eng Chew Ang (note: Feb 14 Eng Chew cancelled)

Format of 1-Day Retreat:
 - Standing/Sitting/Walking
 - Noon- Bring your own brown bag lunch
 - Dharma Talk/Q&A
 - Everyone is welcome to attend - See you there!

Note from Eng Chew Ang:
"See attached schedule that I prepared for the one day retreats.  I would like to focus the study on the Sutra of Hui Neng (the English translation of the Sutra is online).  I chose the great Buddhist Master Hui-Neng since he showed us a live example of an ordinary person who became enlightened by simply listening to one verse from the Diamond Sutra.  Also, he inspired me to deepened my practice after me reading the sutra when I was about 20 years old.  There are many great teachings we can learn from this sutra and I hope that all who read this sutra will be inspired by Hui-Neng to deepen their practice to search for true realization themselves.  Silence will be observed throughout the day during the retreat.  The lectures will be conducted ONLY in English and no translation to Chinese or other languages will be provided."

Saturdays: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
American Bodhi Center: 29123 Mellmann Rd., Hempstead TX

Questions: call 979-921-6969 - Visit blog at

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Edible & Medicinal Plant Trail Walk 2014

October 25th turned out to be a great day for the ABC Fall Edible and Medicinal Plant Trail Walk. This is a self-learning educational exploratory walk of the about 4 miles of trails at the American Bodhi Center (ABC).  There are total of 12-14 bridges that dotted through out the path in the center (trail map).

The group had an initial preparatory meeting in the dinning hall and started the day around 9:45 am. The following picture highlight the trail we took.  We had lunch around noon in the middle of the forest among cows and horses.  The relaxing day ended back in the dinning hall by 2:00 pm.  After cleaning up and pressing the the plant samples most departed around 3:00 pm.

Geared up and ready.

Lunch after a fun day!

Trail we took Oct 25th 2014 (in red)

The following are some of the edible and medicinal plants that we "believed" we have found and we have collected samples so that their identification can be confirmed.  We came across more than a dozen plants that has potential as edible and medicinal.  This is what we think we have saw and collected Greenbrair (土茯苓), Mugwort 艾草, Honeysuckle 金銀花, Dandelion 蒲公英, American beauty berry, Goldenrod, Mullein, Pokeweed (pokeberry), Wild Persimmon,
Wild Grapes, acorn, bitter weed and others.

We have collected plant samples and would greatly appreciate any help in getting them positively identified.  There are two plants we are using ourselves.  First is greenbrair, dried and powdered form of the rhizome or root had been used effectively is stopping external wounds.  This is natures "quick-clot" medicine and were used on someone that is currently taking warfarin a blood thinner for a heart condition.  The other is is the American Beautyberry, it has been used to make drinks and jam.


Greenbrair (土茯苓)

"Greenbriar is one of the best wild foods available as it can be found in immense quantities all year-round, tastes really good, is very nutritious, and is a source of calories (tubers)." -

Tu Fu Ling (Glabrous Greenbrier Rhizome, Rhizoma Smilacis Glabrae, 土茯苓)

What does it do? In the term of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Tu Fu Ling is sweat and neutral. The channels Tu Fu Ling influences are Liver and Stomach. Action: 1. Eliminates dampness. 2. Resolves toxicity. 3. Unblocks the joints.

Video (in Chinese- 健康之路)

Greenbrair Leaves in ABC Oct 2014
Greenbrair tuber in ABC Oct 2014

Mugwort 艾草

Honeysuckle 金銀花

Dandelion 蒲公英

American beauty berry

Use Medicinal: Native American used root and leaf tea in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria. Root tea used for dysentery, stomach aches. Root and berry tea used for colic.   Crushed leaves makes great mosquito repellent.



Goldenrod (Solidago) has 50 diff varieties. Most are herbaceous perennial species found in open areas such as meadows, prairies, and savannas. They are easily recognized by their golden inflorescences with hundreds of small capitula; some species have their flowers in spike-like inflorescences and others have axillary racemes. They can grow to a length between 60 cm and 1.5m. Their alternate leaves are linear to lanceolate. Their margins are usually finely to sharply serrated.

Goldenrod is used in a traditional kidney tonic by practitioners of herbal medicine to counter inflammation and irritation caused by bacterial infections or kidney stones. Goldenrod has also been used as part of a tincture to aid in cleansing of the kidney or bladder during a healing fast, in conjunction with potassium broth and specific juices. Native Americans chewed the leaves to relieve sore throats and chewed the roots to relieve toothaches. (source:


Goldenrod by Wisdom Lake in the Bomboo Grove area of ABC Oct 2014


It is a medicinal plant and dried stalks can be used for fire drills, leaves used as lamp wicks. Watch out for the fine hairs on leaves which can be an irritant. Do not consume seeds. This plant has a 2 year life cycle. (ref:

Firat and Second Mullein Plants by S. Bodhi Road across the Organic Garden
Mullein Plant Flower ABC Oct 2014

Pokeweed (pokeberry)

Historically pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy by Native Americans in traditional Chinese medicine as a purgative, an emetic, a heart stimulant and to treat cancer, itching, and syphilis.[citation needed] It was also used for its anti-rheumatic properties and in 1820 the US Pharmacopoeia listed this plant as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Preliminary in vitro studies on a protein isolated from pokeweed indicate activity against HIV and some types of cancer cells, but its effectiveness in human health has not yet been examined. (ref-

Caution: certain part of the plant is poisonous.

Wild Persimmon

Wild Grapes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1-Day Introduction to Zen Meditation (7/11)

The one day Zen retreat held at the American Bodhi Center was Saturday, July 11, 2014. The retreat was a great opportunity to experience this type of mediation. Many of us on there had never meditated in the Zen Tradition before. One of the differences noted about Zen tradition was that we would all move into walking meditation every 30 minutes. We walked for 10 minutes all together as a group and then we returned back to sitting meditation.

As we sat in our meditation positions, the teacher talked us through many Zen teachings. The teachings brought up all kinds of insightful thoughts for me. As a Buddhist it is always refreshing to learn a new way to meditate. I look forward to another Zen retreat sometime in the near future.

With Metta,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Memorial 3-Day Retreat

3-Day Insight Meditation Retreat

Great weather, beautiful surroundings of the American Boddhi Center and the guidance of Ven. Katapunno made for an exceptional 3-day insight meditation retreat for all those who attended.

For many, it was a first for meditating with a group. Focusing on intention and mindfulness for multiple days is no small feat for most of us, not just the newbies. But it was inspirational to see a relatively new group of meditatiors approach the meditation retreat with eagerness and dedication.

Lectures by Ven katapunno on understanding the different types of joy one may experience during meditation were insightful and helpful.

But one has to say that the one of the most poignant moments was when practitioners shared their thoughts and realized that they share the same hurdles as others do and that coming together to practice meditation as a group can be a great support as we strive to practice what we have learned.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Samatha & Vipassana Meditation - The Right Balance

April 12, 2014 TBA IMG 

Under the Beautify Tx Spring Weather at ABC 

As yogis, we sometimes have questions like;
  • where should I start? 
  • what is Samatha (Tranquillity), Samadhi (Concentration) and Vipassana (Insight)? 
  • Which on should I start first? 
  • What do the Sutta actually say about the 2 topics.
  • Is Samatha same as Samadhi or Jhana?
  • Sama-samadhi is the 4 Jhana, therefore Samadhi is same as Jhana? Is this correct?
  • What do the Sutta tell us is the Function of Samatha and Vipassana.

Under the guidance of Ven. Katapunno, we listened to the 2007 audio lecture by Ven. Aggacitta's Dharma talk on this important subject of the basic understanding of the Buddha's meditation method.  

What is Samatha and What is Vipassana (your understanding)?
Anguttara Nikaya (AN) 4.94 (The Further-factored Discourses Samadhi Sutta: concentration (Tranquility and Insight) ). {AN 4.94: Samadhi Sutta — concentration (Tranquillity and Insight)(}

Buddha said that there are 4 kinds of individuals.
There is the one who has attained:
  1. Samatha no Insight (Vipassana);
  2. Vipassana no Samatha; 
  3. neither Samatha nor Vipassana; 
  4. both Samatha and Vipassana.

One can have Vipassana w/o Samatha. Buddha advise: The individual who has attained internal tranquility of mind but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, should approach an individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment and ask him:- - how should fabrication (sankara/conditioned phenomena) be regarded, - how should they be investigated, - how should they be seen with insight'.

The person who has attained Vipassana or insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, will answered in line with what they have seen and experienced. And for those individuals who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened wisdom. He should approach the individual who has attained internal tranquility of awareness and ask him - how should the mind be steadied, - how should the mind be remained settled, - how should it be unified and, - how should it be concentrated.

 Is Samatha same as Samadhi or Jhana?

AN 4.41 “Samadhi Bhavana Sutta” Monks there are four development of concentration.

What are the four.
  1. There is the development of concentration (Jhana) that when developed and pursued leads to the pleasant abiding into the here and now. 
  2. There is the development of concentration that when developed and pursued leads attainment of knowledge and wisdom. 
  3. There is the development of concentration that when developed and pursued leads mindfulness and alertness 
  4. There is the development of concentration that when developed and pursued leads ending of Asava/effluents or defilement.

Functions of Samatha and Vipassana

Anguttara Nikaya 2.32. Vijja-bhagiya Sutta (Vijjā-bhāgiya Sutta/Conducive to knowledge) [vijjā+bhāgiya]) {(} (Here the Buddha relates Samatha with rāga and cetovimutti, and Vipassanā with avijjā and paññāvimutti.)

These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Samatha and Vipassana.

When Samatha is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. Then when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned. Passion is a translation of the Pali word raga. Raga is also sometimes translated as lust, or intense desire, or attachment.

When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment or wisdom is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment or wisdom does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness, is there - here Ven. Thanissaro translates awareness-release, which is cetovimutti (liberation of the mind).

From the fading of ignorance there is discernment-release, or, there is "liberation through wisdom," paññavimutti ( From the fading of ignorance, there is liberation through wisdom. So, both are needed. You need both Samatha and Vipassana.

So for liberation, both are essential. The mind cannot be released from its bondage to our sensual objects because it is defiled by attachment and passion. But attachment or passion is just one of the hindrances in our spiritual quest.  

April 12, 2014 Program:
  • 9:00am Introduction 
  • 9:15am 30 min sitting 
  • 9:45am audio: group discussion 
  • 10:50am break 10 min 
  • 11:00am 30 min sitting 
  • 11:30am Lunch 
  • 12:30p mindful working meditation 
  • 1:00p walking meditation 
  • 1:30p sitting meditation 
  • 2:00p finish 35 min of audio 
  • 2:50p 10 min break 
  • 3:00p sitting meditation 
  • 3:45p transference of merits 
  • 4:00p tea break, tour of ABC and mindful departure

Monday, April 7, 2014

One Day Saturday Meditation Retreat (4/12/2014)

Venerable Katapuno will lead the discussions on the practices and techniques of both Insight and Tranquillity Meditations.

** When & Where
This Saturday / April 12th, 2014
American Bodhi Center: 29123 Mellman RD, Hempstead, TX 77445

9:00 AM- What is Tranquillity (Samatha) Meditation? What is Insight (Vipassana) Meditation? Meditation Practice
12:00 PM- Potluck lunch, bring vegetarian dish!
1:00 PM- How to overcome problems of Meditation. Meditation Practice
3:00 PM- Support for Meditation. Meditation Practice

RSVP and indicate if you can bring a vegetarian dish.

Monday, March 3, 2014

7-Day Loving Kindness (Metta) Retreat

Opening the Doors to Happiness

With the thorough teaching approach by Venerable Kaizhao (開照法師) and Venerable Kaiyin (開印法師) and skillful English translation from Ven. Zhihan (智翰法師) many of the yogis experience first hand the benefits of Loving Kindness (Metta) Meditation.

Venerable Kaizhao and Venerable Kaiyin are well respect monastics from East Malysia Santavana Forest Hermitage (temple website in Chinese).  The 7-Day retreat covers extensive material from the fundamentals to the exhaustive practices of Metta Meditation.  The fundamentals  gave everyone a solid base of understanding, such as that expressing anger is healthy, missing the important point that often time we are the first causality of the acts of hatred.

Bhikshu Zhihan ( 比丘 智翰 ) provided effective instant English translation.  Venerable Zhihan is fluent in many languges including English, Chinese and more importantly Spanish.  For Spanish speaking people you can visti his web sites FUNDACIÓN BODHIYĀNA and Dharma Translation Organization.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Notice: Meditation Retreat Schedule Changed for Feb 22 & March 2014.

The 1-Day Meditation retreat at ABC for Feb 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 are temporary discontinued due to scheduling.  The 1-Day Meditation Retreat will resume in April, 2014.  Thank you for your understanding.

Four Foundation of Mindfulness Meditation Workshop
March 8, 15, 22 & 29 
Satipatthana Sutta or Four Foundations of Mindfulness is one of the 2 very important Sutta that the Buddha taught on the subject of meditation.  We are using videos, class material and guided meditation based on the teaching by Venerable Aggacitta's class (  Ven. Aggacitta is the Abbot of Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary ( and a well experienced monk both in meditation and Pali.

Contact us if you are interested in developing deeper understanding of meditation, interested to learn Pali and committed.  In order for you to gain full benefit you will have to commit to attend the entire course.

Workshop details:
Workshop website:
Dates: Saturday (March 8, 15, 22, 29)
Time: 8am to 5pm
Lunch: bring your own brown bag
Location: contact us

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

FOOD: First IMG Retreat of 2014

Feeding the Factors for Awakening

The Buddha taught, in the Ahara Sutta (SN 46.51) Food or For the Factors for Awakening translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, how to feed & starve the five hindrances & of the seven factors for Awakening.

In our first 2014 weekly Saturday 1-day retreat lead by Venerable Katapunno, the yogis got both "Food for the mind and body". 

Food for the Mind:  Dhamma lecture after sitting and walking meditation sections.

Food for the body: We had a delicious "hot pot" prepared by the wonderful kitchen members and volunteers at the center.

Venerable Katapunno preparing the Malaysian salad.

Come join the 1-day retreat every Sat of the week 9am till 4pm.  Do RSVP

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Metta Meditation at ABC

Seven day Metta meditation retreat lead by experienced masters Ven. Kaiyin, Ven. Kaizhao and Ven. Zhihan from 2/22 to 3/1 2014.  The masters will lead us step by step to develop soft, kind and forgiving heart and to achieve concentration, calm and peaceful mind.  Participation of all seven days is required.   Call the front office at 281-498-1616.

Date : 02/22 - 03/01/2014
Requirement: full course participation
Download: Application
Contact: 281-498-1616
Benefits of Metta: There are 11, some of them are: bright & pleasing complexion, sleeps & wakes easily with no nightmares, dear to human beings, animals & non-humans, protected by angels & spirits, gain concentration quickly, peaceful passing on.