Joanne Chen (age 9) wrote:
     I am thankful for my Mom, Dad and Zen Center monks and T.A.s because they help me when I need help. I learned that Buddha is a very special friend. I will like to be Buddha's special friend. I also learned the six Paramitas. The things I like about the AWESOME class is the stories, movies, games and meditation time. I think the AWESOME class will be better if we have a longer meditation time. I really like this great AWESOME class!

Iris Chen (age 9) wrote:
     I'm thankful for my teachers. I am grateful that they give me some kind of knowledge. I learned in AWESOME class that when someone drinks wine, then they can do crazy things. I liked the games and monk's storys the best in AWESOME class. My suggestion for future AWESOME class is to have more movie nights and more field trips.

Surriento Wu (age 11) wrote:
     I'm grateful for my parents, T.A.s, teachers, the Dharmas, pets and my life. I've learned about the Buddha, the six Paramitas, heart sutra and about wisdom, knowledge, greed, anger and jealousy. I like the fun activities and contests in class.

Nathan Lam (age 11) wrote:
     I am thankful for my parents because of their kindness, sheltering, clothing, food and education. I'm also thankful for my ancestors because withou them I wouldn't be here. In class I've learned to follow the Buddha's teachings. I like chanting the best because it feels good.

     Over a 7-week period, we students of the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Program have learned the fundamentals of Buddhist teachings, the causality.  Every week from 7 pm to 9 pm, we learn or review methods of meditation and then chant the “Heart Sutra”, a Buddhist scripture.  We also learned the 4 noble Truths, the 4 Tenants of Chung Tai, and the 6 Paramitas.  If you follow these teachings you will lead a simple but meaningful life, besides that you will earn merits or good karma.  Karma means our actions have some effects on the rest of the world.  If your actions are beneficial you will generate good karma, when the actions are harmful you will generate bad karma.  When we benefit others, we will receive blessings in the future and if we hurt others we ourselves will be hurt in the future.  Now that is causality.

Bryan Ho wrote:
     I think the Zen Center is very fun because the T.A.s are willing to help and I like the games such as answering questions from the story to get prizes.  Also the cartoons teach good lessons even though they are short.  I learned that every living thing will die, there is no use to try to delay the death of one another, it will come sooner or later. 

     It is always interesting to hear JianHu Shifu to tell the story because he tells it with more details and will ask questions.  My favorite story was “The Girl Who Married a Thief.”  I learned that you should not look at a person from the outside, but rather from the inside and that you should first try to use your wits to get away from dangerous situations.

     I like this semester because we have a project in which we e-mail the Pu Tai Junior High School students that are coming to the Zen Center.  We will also be having a gift exchange between we pen-pals.  It will always be a surprise to see what your pen pal will give you for the gift exchange.

Kelly Ruckstuhl wrote:
     At first I was a girl who slightly had a temper problem.  My mom and dad told me to ignore little issues.  I tried to, but no, I failed.  Tiny things used to bother me a lot, even my brother.  But when I got into Zen Class, I noticed everything changed.  Now I feel better of how people around me feel my appearance, posture, and behavior.  The Buddha and monks help other people to learn the way of life.  That is how I feel.  I like Zen Class because the children there are very nice.  I also like Zen Class because the teachers are very nice.  But most importantly, I enjoy Zen Class because I like the teachings and lectures.  I tried hard to change and I hope my parents noticed too.  That is why I like the Zen Class.

Cynthia Day wrote:
     What is the defining line separating coincidence from religion? Or is there truly even one? I think that if you look closely, you’ll find that it is all a matter of faith. So over the past couple thousand years, many who worshipped gods derived from mere coincidence have had their religion proved wrong, as technology shows the coincidences are not an “act of god.” But Buddhism, based on the principle of causality, the avoidance of bad actions, has never had to change. Buddhism is not so much superstition as trying to be the best everyone can be, which, in my eyes, at least, is the most important part.

Tiffany lam wrote:
     Hi my name is Tiffany.  I go to the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. class at Zen Center for 2 years.  In this class we practice meditating, chanting the Heart Sutra in English and Chinese.  My favorite things to do are going on field trips, chanting the Heart Sutra, and watching movies.  I also like when Shifu tells Dhammapada stories.  At the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. class I learned what bad karma and good karma are, the 4 Tenants of Chung Tai, the 4 Noble Truths, and the 6 Paramitas.  At the end of all of the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. classes on graduation nights we usually have a play.  On the plays I’m usually the mom.  I learned how to meditate when I was 3 years old.  The homework from Zen Center is usually easy and they are sometimes hard.  I like going to the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. class because I like learning about Buddhism.

Alina Lee wrote:
     I’ve just started AWESOME Class and I had a lot of fun.  For the first day you shouldn’t worry about what you’re going to do because people will come and teach how to do it the right way.  Have fun, but also be serious since you’re also in a Buddha class.  You might tend to get nervous since it’s your first day but it’s ok because that’s how I felt when it was my first day.  But then I made a friend and I’m sure that you will too.  So don’t worry, stay calm and soon you’ll know what to do.

Joanne Chan wrote
     I like all the TAs for helping us, Shifu for teaching us about Buddha, and kids for keeping me company.  I also like meditation and chanting the Heart Sutra.

Minmin Fu wrote:
     I like the A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Class because the stories and cartoons.  I think they give out too many prizes!  Doing projects and activities are really fun.  I think homework should be more challenging.
Ellen Wu wrote:
     What I want to say is that I like when Shifu tells a story.  I like to write the homework.  I like coming here to learn.  I learned a lot.  I have fun with my friends and I like when we had the Buddha Birthday Card Contest.  I had fun.  I like the snacks very much.

Vincent Ho wrote:
     These Zen Center classes have all been interesting classes to attend.  All of the Zen Center TAs are all nice and willing to help.  The Little Monk cartoons are short but interesting.  These cartoons all teach short important lessons.  For example, in “The Wealth Of The Saint,” it says that money is useless in the eyes of the saint and that wisdom is the real wealth of the saint. 

     The Dhammapada Stories that the Shifu tells are always interesting.  I have learned many lessons from the stories such as “It is unwise to do things that end up in remorse or sorrow,” or “Doing evil will make you suffer,” or “Never think of not doing good (even a little) because the good you do all add up.”  For example in Bilalpadaka, The Selfish Rich Man, the lesson is “Always do good, even if it is a little because it adds up to a lot.”

     The lessons about the Noble Eightfold Path and Five Precepts that the Shifu taught us were taught in an interesting way.  In the Noble Eightfold Path, for example, he told us what was a right thing to do and what was a wrong thing to do.  For example, he said that a right livelihood was being a monk and a wrong livelihood was being a butcher.  He also explained that if you break one of the Five Precepts, (which are No Killing, No Lying, No Stealing, No Sexual Misconduct, and No Intoxication) you may go to hell.

     This semester was especially interesting because we have a pen pal project with the Pu Tai Elementary and Middle School students in Taiwan.  It was interesting because we got to send the messages through emails.  I feel even more interested because we can actually meet our Pu Tai pen pals and have a gift exchange with them!

Edward Yeh wrote:
     Out of the three years I have been at the Zen Center, it has been fun.  The field trips and movie nights were the best.

Christopher Lam wrote:
     I wish we had more time for AWESOME Classes.  I really like the field trips to the museum and Lafayette.  I wish there were more movie nights. 



A) I really enjoyed your presence.  It's so ironic because before my class studied Buddhism, and before you came I was really interested in the religion The compassion and non-violence of Buddhism really appeals to me. My god mother is Buddhist and is sending me a book about it. Thanks again. 
P.S. I just recently became a vegetarian.

B) I think that it's great how you dedicated your whole life to being a monk, I know that I wouldn't be able to dedicate my whole life to being a monk! That's why I appreciate what yu do. You're so calm and some how it makes everyone else around the room calm. I could tell that everyone loved how you made us all think. Thank you for coming to our school and giving us the chance to meet you!

C) I really enjoyed your visit because I was sort of inspired by Buddhist beliefs, even though I am already a Catholic.. Thanks again for teaching us about Buddhism, I can see now why Siddhartha wanted the world to be rid of evil especially after the September eleventh attacks. I hope you are doing well and are healthy. Your monastery sounds like a fascinating place, maybe I will go there some time. Thanks again. 

D) I learned a lot about reincarnation. Are you reincarnated? If so what was your life before? How long have you been Monk? Do you think you would stop being a vegetarian, monk, and get married? I wish that we were all reincarnated, so we could have more than one life. Could that ever happen?  

E) When I was younger, I used to think my dog might be my grandmother, but now I'm in sixth grade, I think reincarnation is foolish. But, after learning what reincarnation means, I understand it more, thanks to you. 

F) Can monks eat beef-flavored instant ramen? 

G) Are most monks as tall as you? 
H) You probably already know how much we all enjoyed your visit. I  was thinking, what you do is kind of hard. Not killing spider, even if they freak you out, not eating meat, sleeping on a hard bed...."Ouch!" But anyway what you do is really, really, really cool!   

I) I had a great time listening to your fascinating stories. It must  be fun living in a small room. When you come out of your room, is the monastery big and tall ? I really like your robe. I have a robe at my house, but it is blue. 

J) The way you sit is awesome and I wish I could sit that way for even 2 seconds. I respected how you were willing to talk about Buddha and Buddhism to help us understand it better. Thank you for coming and I really enjoyed being able to ask questions to an expert. 

K) I really enjoyed your visit. I thought it was weird that you have to shave your head to become a monk. I thought that being reincarnated was cool. 

L) The story that you told was very interesting. I can't believe that you can't swim or bike or any games. I couldn't do what you do for one day.
I think the non-violence is very good for the world. I bet when Buddhism started, the death stopped some.

M) I was really happy to see a person like you. I had never seen a monk before in my life except for the monks in some movies. I really enjoyed the story about how people eat in heaven and hell that story was amazing!     

N) I like the beliefs of Buddhism. they are peaceful and I think they make a good point. You helped me understand the religion, because I didn't get it when we read it in the book. 

O) I liked the way you were eager to answer our questions. It seemed like you cared very much about your job, and that you were good at it.  Thanks to you I understand and am interested in Buddhism. I also understand more about vegetarians and the importance of compassion and non-violence. Thanks again for your teachings and efforts.


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