Sep 18, 2015

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Contemplation on “Fourteen Grievous Failures of a Buddhist Practitioner” – PREFACE

Contemplation on “Fourteen Grievous Failures of a Buddhist Practitioner”

Lesson 1: PREFACE

Through the article “A Chance to Meet Dharma”, my disciple, Mat Thai Duong, had told a story about painful failures in her life. However, she felt thankful for such adversities for having brought her to the door of Holy Order. Mat Thai Duong has now been living a happy and peaceful life as a Buddhist practitioner.

Often an ordinary person and a practitioner have different view of the failure, also known as a kind of suffering (dukkha). So what does failure mean? There exists no common definition as people have different perceptions of what failure is. One may possess worldly fame and success but under the prism of Buddhism, he falls on extremes of either “Nihilism” (Ucchedavada) or “Eternalism” (Sassatavada), which is considered a failure of the Buddhist practitioner, and vice versa.

By this point, the practitioner needs use “Àgama” (one of Five Sophisticated Means of Debate of Buddhism (Pramàna)) as a prism to check out whether such views or deeds are wrong or right. During his practice and spiritual experiences, Gampopa had summed up fourteen serious mistakes a Buddhist may make, as listed below:

Tibetan Guru Gampopa

14 GRIEVOUS FAILURES OF A BUDDHIST PRACTITIONER

  1. If, after having been born a human being, one give no heed to the Holy Doctrine, one resemble a man who returns empty handed from a land rich in precious gems; and this is a grievous failure.
  2. If, after having entered the door of the Holy Order, one return to the life of a householder, one resemble a moth plunging into the flame of a lamp; and this is a grievous failure.
  3. To dwell with a sage and remain in ignorance is to be like a man dying of thirst on the shore of a lake; and this is a grievous failure.
  4. To have a spiritual practice that is not used to remedy four kinds of evil karma (killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconducting, and speaking of untruth) is to be like leaning an axe against a tree trunk; and this is a grievous failure.
  5. To know the moral precepts and not apply them to the cure of obscuring passions is to be like a diseased man carrying a bag of medicine which he never use; and this is a grievous failure.
  6. To preach religion and not to practice is to be like a parrot saying a prayer; and this is a grievous failure.
  7. The giving in alms and charity of things obtained by theft, robbery or deceit, is like trying to wash a sheepskin coat in plain water; and this is a grievous failure.
  8. The offering of deities of the meat obtained by killing living beings is like offering a mother the flesh of her own child; and this is a grievous failure.
  9. To exercise patience for merely selfish ends rather than for doing good to others is to be like a cat lying in wait for a mouse; and this is a grievous failure.
  10. Performing meritorious actions in order merely to attain fame and praise is like bartering the mystic wish granting gem for a pellet of goat’s dung; and this is a grievous failure.
  11. If, after having heard much of the Doctrine, ones nature will be unattuned, one is like a physician with a chronic disease; and this is a grievous failure.
  12. To be erudite in precepts yet ignorant of the spiritual experiences which come from applying them is to be like a rich man who hath lost the key of his treasury; and this is a grievous failure.
  13. To attempt to explain to others doctrines which one hath not completely mastered oneself is to be like a blind man leading the blind; and this is a grievous failure.
  14. To think an experience resulting from a technique is supreme is to be like a man who mistakes brass for gold; and this is a grievous failure.

The above 14 grievous failures are quoted from the book of “Life and teachings of Tibetan Guru Gampopa” (12th century). It should be clarified that those failures are in reference to Buddhist devotees only, not for laymen (ordinary person).

OVERVIEW OF GAMPOPA’S SPIRITUAL BIOGRAPHY

Gampopa, also known as Dagpo Lharije or Sonam Rinchen, is a leading disciple and a great spiritual successor of Jetsun Milarepa. He has been likened to the sun while Rechung, who recorded the incidents of Milarepa’s life for posterity, was compared to the moon. Gampopa was a great father of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His spiritual career began in the previous life when he was a Bodhisattva named Chandra Prabha Kumara or “The light of the New Moon”, one of the disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. The Buddha prophesied in the Samadhiraja Sutra the coming of “The Light of the New Moon” in the Dharma-ending age who would spread his teachings in the sutra – the Mahamudra. From his manifestation which was blessed by the Buddha Shakyamuni, Gampopa was reborn in Tibet and is the first one who founded Kagyu lineage systematically.

The name Gampopa also refers to him as being the reincarnation of Srong-Tsan-Gampo, the first Buddhist ruler of Tibet who died in A.D. 650.

Gampopa (1079-1153) was born in the central of Tibet and practiced as a physician. His family was stricken by an epidemic. He had promised with his wife before she died that he would devote the rest of his life to the Dharma. By the time he was 26, Gampopa had mastered the teachings of Kadam Lineage founded by Atisha and was given an ordination name of Sonam Rinchen. He then met and become the foremost disciple of Milarepa, the Tibet’s great yogi, who received special transmissions of Kagyu Lineage from the great translator Marpa. The one who passed spiritual knowledge to Marpa is Naropa, who systematized Six Yogas which are considered a central theme in the Kagyu Lineage. Naropa is the outstanding disciple of the great yogi Tilopa who lived in Northern India sometime around the 10thcentury A.D.

Gampopa had established a monastery at Mt.Gampodar where he continued his activities of teaching, meditating and benefitting beings by laying down the monastic tradition of the Kagyu Lineage.

It was the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, who received the complete Mahamudra transmission from Gampopa. He began the lineage of the Karmapas at Tsurphu Monastery, which continues today. The current Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, is the 17thKarmapa.

Gampopa had written valuable treatises on Mahamudra and Kagyu’s traditions, including The Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, The Jewel Ornament of Precious Liberationand The Four Dharmas of Gampopa.

In these books, Gampopa entreated those devotees of generations yet unborn, who will honor his memory and regret not having met him in person, to study his works. The result will be equivalent to that of an actual meeting with himself.

April 21, 2014

Phuoc Thanh Village

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH

Translated by Mat Hue Phap


Original Vietnamese post: Bài 1: Đôi điều về “14 thất bại trầm trọng” – Dẫn đề

Related posts: 

Lesson 1: PREFACE 

Lesson 2: The Bitter Taste of the Drug

Lesson 3: TO RETURN EMPTY-HANDED FROM A LAND RICH IN PRECIOUS GEMS – AND THIS IS A GRIEVOUS FAILURE 

Lesson 4: DO NOT RETURN TO THE LIFE OF A HOUSEHOLDER 

Lesson 5: To Die of Thirst on the Shore of a Lake

Lesson 6: LEANING A SHARP AXE AGAINST A TREE TRUNK

Lesson 7: Contemplation on “Fourteen Grievous Failures of a Buddhist Practitioner” – LITTLE BOM AND THE HYPOCRITE

Lesson 8: Contemplation on “Fourteen Grievous Failures of a Buddhist Practitioner” – A PARROT SAYING A PRAYER 

Lesson 9: Contemplation on “Fourteen Grievous Failures of a Buddhist Practitioner” – TO WASH A SHEEPSKIN COAT IN PLAIN WATER

More about Lesson 9: THINKING ABOUT ALMSGIVING, CHARITY AND OFFERINGS TO TRIRATNA (VÀI CẢM NIỆM VỀ BỐ THÍ, TỪ THIỆN CHO THA NHÂN, CÚNG DƯỜNG TAM BẢO)

Lesson 10: TO OFFER A MOTHER THE FLESH OF HER OWN CHILD (CHO NGƯỜI MẸ THỊT CỦA CHÍNH ĐỨA CON BÀ)

Lesson 11: A CAT LYING IN WAIT FOR A MOUSE (Mèo giết chuột)

Lesson 12: THINK ABOUT THE TEACHING OF MASTER GAMPOPA FROM THE SCANDAL OF BO DE (BODHI) PAGODA (Từ sự kiện chùa Bồ Đề suy ngẫm lại lời dạy của tôn giả Gampopa)

Lesson 13: A PHYSICIAN WITH CHRONIC DISEASE (BÁC SĨ GIỎI BỊ BỆNH KINH NIÊN ĐÁNH GỤC)

Lesson 14: A RICH MAN WHO HATH LOST THE KEY OF HIS TREASURY (KHI NGƯỜI GIÀU ĐÁNH MẤT CHÌA KHÓA MỞ KHO TÀNG CỦA MÌNH)

Lesson 15: A BLIND MAN LEADING THE BLIND (NGƯỜI MÙ DẪN DẮT MỘT NGƯỜI MÙ)

  1. Mật Diệu Hằng says:
    I deeply rejoice in your translation. It is very interesting. I have read your translation, I feel that word is not only the combination of many letters, it is presented the gratefulness from the disciple to the Guru. It makes the translation more inspiring and more incisive. I hope all readers around the world have a good chance to read your translation in order that they can have more understanding on Buddhist teaching and find the right path to get the ultimate happiness.
    Thank you very much for your noble work.
    May you get not only temporary happiness but also ultimate liberation.
    May our Guru long live for the benefit of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature!
    Om Mani Padme Hum.
  2. thu trang says:
    Thưa thầy
    Con đã đọc bài dịch này rồi ah
  3. Mật Tuệ Phúc says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc bài này ạ!
  4. Kanji says:
    Dear Guru,
    I’ve read through this article.
    May our Guru and Dakini live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient being achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    Om ah hum
  5. Sangay Dorji says:
    Thanks viotet for share la…it’s vry helpful to me and it will benefit others too…..may our guru live long life for the sake of sentient beings. May his teaching flourish across the world and bring our world from dark to the brighter place la…
    • Thank Sangay Dorji for your reading my article. Welcome to chanhtuduy.com.
       
      I hope you continue reading other posts. I see this as my happiness which encourages me to finish the Bodhisattva Path.

      • sangay Dorji says:
        Lama la chapsu Cho ….I am very happy to read which is written by guru…la…I hope guru will keep on teaching us and we will very thankful to guru la…lama la chapsu cho
        • Kính bạch Thầy, con xin tạm dịch comment đáp lời Thầy của Sangay Dorji như sau ạ: ” Con rất vui được đọc những bài viết của Thầy. Con mong rằng Thầy sẽ tiếp tục dạy chúng con. Chúng con rất biết ơn Thầy!”

    • Các Đạo huynh, đạo hữu thân mến,
      Mật Diệu Hằng cảm nhận ý nghĩa sâu xa uyên áo của “14 thất bại trầm trọng của một đời người” qua bài luận giảng và phân tích của Thầy nên đã giới thiệu cho bạn đọc bốn phương, nhất là những nơi có đạo Phật phát triển, nơi Kim Cang Thừa phát triển. Vừa qua có đạo hữu Sangay Dorji, là một hành giả Mật tông lâu năm tại đất nước Butan đã bày tỏ những lời tán thán đối với bài giảng của Thầy, Mật Diệu Hằng xin dịch lại bằng tiếng Việt như sau:
      “Cảm ơn đạo hữu Violet đã chia sẻ bài viết này.
      Bài viết của Thầy rất hữu ích cho con và lợi lạc cho nhiều người khác.
      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi của chúng sanh.
      Con cầu nguyện những giáo huấn của Thầy sẽ được lan tỏa khắp thế giới và khai sáng thế giới vô  minh, tăm tối của chúng con.”
      Mật Diệu Hằng nhận thấy một người tu ở Butan, là đất nước được coi là tinh hoa của Mật giáo mà phải công nhận học thuật của Thầy, điều đó là niềm tự hào của Mật gia Song Nguyễn.
      Mật Diệu Hằng có đôi lời chia sẻ như vậy. Mật Diệu Hằng chân thành mong các Đạo huynh, đạo hữu tiếp tục chia sẻ về comment này.
      Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô vì sự lợi lạc của chúng sanh.
      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.
       
      Om Mani Padme Hum.

    • Mật Từ says:
      Dear Sangay Dorij,
      I am happy to read your comments and to know that from the other side of the world, you are sharing the same happiness with us, for having chance to read our Guru’s lectures and finding it beneficial, not only for us but also for the sentient beings. Hope to share more of that happiness with you in many lectures and writings of our Guru on chanhtuduy.com.
      May all the sentient being attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.
    • Dear Sangay Dorji,

      I am delighted to read your comments and you find our Guru’s teachings helpful for you and others. I also feel very happy when I have a good chance to learn from our Guru’s teachings through chanhtuduy.com.

      I hope you read more our Guru’s lectures and share your happiness with us.

      May our Guru live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

      May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

       

      • Dear Sangay Dorji
        Thank you for visiting our page and having beautiful words for the Guru and his precious teachings. I really appreciate his teachings with specific explanation and examples that have saved us from falling in grievous failures on our way of practice. Hope you find more valuable teachings of him through other sermons in this page.
        May the Guru live long for the sake of sentient beings
         
        May all sentient beings be surrounded by the blessings of Enlightened Ones.

    • Mật Chánh Tấn says:
      Dear Sangay Dorji,

      I am happy to read your comment and find our Guru’s teaching helpful for you. I hope you will keep reading other posts and spread your happiness, your knowledge gaining from our Guru’s teaching to other people.
      May our Guru live long for the sake of all sentient beings
      May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
       
      Om Mani Padme Hum.
       

    • Mật Thủy says:
      Dear Sangay Dorij,
      It’s nice to read your comment to show your thanks to the Guru for the helpful lecture. There’re many other beneficial ones ready for foreign readers. They’re all written with the compassion and wisdom of the Guru for the sake of sentient beings in an easy way. Hope you share more on your next comments.
      May our Guru live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
       
      May chanhtuduy.com spreads everywhere and reaches more and more people.
  6. Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc comment mà Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng đã dịch của bạn đọc Sangay Dorji. Con thật hoan hỷ và vì sự công nhận của bạn đọc người nước ngoài ở đất nước gọi là tinh hoa Mật Giáo về học thuật của Thầy.
    Cảm ơn Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng đã dịch lại.
    Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô.
    Con cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh uống được tinh túy cam lồ.
    Om ah hum!

  7. Dear Guru,

    I have read through the fourteen grievious failures. I will continue to read the following articles to get a deeper understanding of the subject. Also, I have learnt more about Gampopa’s biography and I am looking forward to learning more about his teachings through your analysis.

    May all the sentient beings tighten the root of good thing.

    Om mani padme hum.

  8. Akshay kumar says:
    Dear Guru
    I have read this article. It is a very interesting one. Thank you so much.
    May the Guru live long for the sake of all beings.
    May all beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.
    • Mật Diệu Hằng says:
      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Akshay Kumar sang tiếng Việt ạ:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con đã đọc bài này rồi ạ. Đây là bài viết rất hay.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy!

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của chúng sanh.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

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