Sep 12, 2015

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 12 Comments

Lesson 1: Five arguments from a profound and rigorous philosopher, Dharmakīrti (Năm luận điểm của một Luận sư)

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of dharma practice

Lesson 1: Five arguments from a profound and rigorous philosopher, Dharmakīrti

His holiness The Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa once said: “dharma must be practiced correctly; otherwise there will occur a problem”. It means that Buddhist teachings are absolutely right, but Buddhists who have wrong method of practicing should get bad consequences, instead of getting the good results. Buddha taught compassionately 84,000 methods to those who have different approaches to the Buddha-dharma in order to attain the ultimate liberation. What does the figure of 84,000 mean? It is necessary that the Guru with a wealth of knowledge about Buddhist teachings has the right pedagogical methods to teach the disciples. Therefore, Dharmakīrti, Indian Buddhist philosopher and logician pointed out five arguments for teaching as follows:
1 / Know exactly all objects which require to be dismissed
2 / Know thoroughly many methods to abandon them
3 / Know exactly all objects which need practicing
4 / Know perfectly all methods to practice them
5 / Transmit knowledge to students with compassion

Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti

Today, the five perceptions for teaching are known as teaching methodology which provides the different pedagogical methods for different educated subjects. Those who study in university of education will understand these concepts. Buddha is the most eminent educator of all ages. The story of old monk Xiao Lu who being good at playing the Sitar during his time at home is the living example of his knowledge about well understanding educated subjects. Practice is like tuning a string on the Sitar. If you get it just right, you will be able to play beautiful music. Buddha summarized his pedagogical qualities are as follows:
1 / Know what needs to know
2 / Renounce what needs to renounce
3 / Practise the dharmas which are worthy of practicing.

Know what needs to know

..then he asserted that he thereby became a Buddha. Thus the gurus often follow Buddha’s teachings with the pedagogy standards, sequential layers, from simple to complex. His holiness The Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa has truly extensive compassion before the actual situation of “right teachings wrong practice” due to the lack of method, so he have stated the above phrase.
When studying the profound meaning of the Noble Eightfold Path we will realize that “Right view” is the forerunner of the entire path, the guide for all the other factors. “Right Speech” deals with the way in which a Buddhist practitioner would best make use of their words in the orbit of right dharma. Also from “Right view”, we will make “Right conduct” and have “Right Livelihood”. We can explain as follows: “Right conduct” means the cultivation to be monks (in the sense of absolute truth is free from 3 fire house including “worldly pleasure”, “sufferings”, and “three realms”), whereas “Right Livelihood” then leads a spiritual life of Right view. Beside, Guru Padmasambhava ( Guru Rinpoche) asserted: “I have not seen anyone who seriously practice is hungry”. The educated object here is Buddhist practitioner not distinguishing Buddhist monk from layman, all obey the Buddhist teachings.

From “Right effort”, “Right Concentration”, “Mindfulness”, Buddha Dharma starts relating to “Right Thought”, which is considered as the wide – open door for the commentators, the holy scholars to make use of his pedagogical method, so that Buddhist practitioners easily enter into the path to enlightenment. From this view point, especially in China there are 10 Buddhist schools (Pure-land School, Intuitive School, Discipline School, Reality School, Esoteric School, The Lotus School, Satysiddhi School, The Garland School, Three Sastra School, Dharmalaksana School). Buddhist practitioners after studying Buddhist doctrine can receive the dharma transmission from a master who has wealth of knowledge about one of 10 above schools, depending on their life conditions and spiritual intentions, particularly on one’s intellectual background. In addition, the practitioner should consult an experienced spiritual teacher to avoid falling into the two following cases:

1 / The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
It means that when practitioners study Buddhism, they often regard “the reputation” of the teacher as “the value” of their spirituality. There are many lay people being proud of saying that they took refuge in Venerable Thich Tri Quang, Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Lama Kusum Lingpa, Lama Kharchen, Lama Hungka Dojee … although they had already gone for refuge to another master. Although the above holy masters are highly virtuous, they cannot do anything for them if they themselves do not practice the Buddha’s teachings. There are many self-proclaimed students learning the Buddhist dharma from a Tibetan lama through the interpreters, when the Master came back India and they did not know how to communicate with him if necessary. If they make a phone call, they also cannot say anything because of the language barrier. If they can communicate on the phone how can they well understand what the master said? If they go to India to ask master for advice on dharma practice, it is afraid for them to damage the family budget, so the poor only bow him in a far distance, they cannot manage to meet him. In Vung Tau, the writer has ever met a dharma brother who admitted to be a disciple of the holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama and another one in Hanoi said that she was one of disciples taking refuge in Dojee Rinpoche. Their dharma name in Tibetan language sounds very fancy and strange. There also are practitioners who claim to practice mediation from Zen Buddhism and take refuge in the Thuong Chieu monastery, why cannot they seat in the lotus position?

Buddha taught: “I teach you the path to liberation. Know that liberation itself depends on you” (Mahaparinibbana Sutta). In Vung Tau, the writer went to the Nyingma vegetarian restaurant on Thong Nhat road. The owner practiced Tibetan Tantric, but I sit on the table for meal, I suddenly felt uncomfortable when seeing hundreds of meditating Buddha images embossed around the wall. There were some Buddha embossments in lower positions than our knees. Could we eat in front of them? The owner claimed to be one of Kharchen’s disciples, and she often called his mane euphemistically “Saint. Kharchen”, and said that the saint assigned the monk called Tr. Kh who had studied in India to help the sentient beings. I have heard his name, but I have not yet read his articles in any formal Buddhist forums, I only heard my students – a reporter from Hanoi Television, talk about the monk Tr. Kh who got involved in the scandal of a northern tantric temple.

The Nyingma vegetarian restaurant on Thong Nhat road

2 / Cultivation of inappropriate Buddhist school.
Each school has its cultivating methods which are appropriate for certain disciples. Therefore, if the practitioners are relevant to those spiritual approaches, they will feel comfortable on the enlightened path. Likewise those who like worshiping Buddha for concentration, or like chanting Buddhist sutras to get the concentration cannot practice in Zen Buddhism, which ask the practitioners to meditate all day and sit thoughtfully on a cushion. However, in Vietnam, aside from the monasteries and monastics of Theravada Buddhism, Buddhists often assume that they practice “the mixture of Pure Land and Meditation schools”, or they perform the Buddhist rituals with the mixture of different schools like chanting, mediating, and bowing. In the same way that they recite Great compassionate mantra to increase the spiritual power, they chant the sutras for blessings, they worshiped Buddha for genuine repentance, they repeat the name of Amitābha Buddha to be reborn in the Pure Land, and they meditate in order to have the concentrated power. After all, no matter which schools they practice, spiritual energy does not focus on one center point, it will be scattered. You should remember that magnifying glass burn the straw out because of focusing sunlight.

It seems that the majority of Buddhists have the same way of thinking as follows: they want to go the temple in which the abbot pays them compliments, does what they want, and says what they like to listen. Also, he pays attention to their parents’ death anniversary and occasionally makes worshiping for his family. Although such spiritual activities are not right Dharma practice and the abbot repeatedly violates the monastic disciplines, or does many wrong things, they still come there to perform spiritual rituals. So they cultivate to pamper their ego only. If things go contrary to their wishes, they are ready to leave the temple and only think that temple is “not appropriate to me”, I do not have affinity with the abbot”, but they have never asked themselves if they deserved the position of his disciple. This is actually contrary to the very beginning time when they said that this was the good temple, this was the abbot that they expected, they were pleased to get along with good dharma brothers and sisters … and they would make persistent efforts in dharma practice for the ultimate enlightenment. Remember that saying: “the fire burns the straw in a second”, or “passionate love is easy to fade unlike the jasmine’s fragrance lightly scented keeps long”. Then they entered into another temple, their ego psychology was still exposed, and they continue to go. Finally they go back home and console themselves “the most difficult thing is cultivation at home, the second is cultivation in the market and the third is cultivation in a temple”.

Therefore, before entering into the path of cultivation, be sure to follow the right process of Listen or Read, Thinking and Practice, you will achieve good results. Belief should not only rely on listening or reading, but it should also rely on understanding. Believing in the existence of dharma is not enough; you should believe the enlightened one. Such faith is complete. However, if you want to have solid faith, no matter which schools you follow, you need to practice. Practicing right dharma requires having right teaching methods, and right teaching methods should rely on “Right thought”. I will talk about the teaching methods in the next lesson.

Phuoc Thanh Village
Date: August 9th 2013

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang

Original Vietnamese post: Bài 1: GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG, PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI (Năm luận điểm của một Luận sư)

Related posts:

Lesson 1: Five arguments from a profound and rigorous philosopher, Dharmakirti)

Lesson 2: Focusing on the factors of Age, Country and Ethnicity

Lesson 3: Abandoning the subjective opinions

Lesson 4: A rich man lost the key of his treasury

Lesson 5: One Mantra, one Bodhichitta

Lesson 6: Admiration but independence on formality

Lesson 7: Mantra with its phonetic symbol

Lesson 8: Renouncing what needs renouncing

Lesson 9: Attaching to dharma resulting from clinging to ego

Lesson 10: Practice Dharma in daily activities (Tu trong trạng thái động)

  1. Mật Tịnh Tâm says:
    Mô Phật,
    Pháp đệ tán thán thiện hạnh dịch bài của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng.
    Đệ cầu nguyện chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc Phật tánh!
    Trò đảnh lễ Thầy mình.
    Om Mani Padme Hum
  2. Mật Huấn says:
    I am very joyful when I reread our Guru’s discourts in English.
    I overpraise all of co-riligionists, Mat Dieu Hang, Mat Tu, Mat Hue Phap, translated our Guru’s discourses into English.
    I hope that all discourts of our Guru gradually will tranlate into English so that the lucky readers in the world can find the true teaching.
    May our Guru have a long life for benefit of all sentient beings.
    Om Mani Padme Hum!
  3. thu trang says:
    Thưa thầy
    Con đọc bản dịch này rồi ạ
  4. Kanji says:
    Dear Guru,
    I’ve read through this article.
    Thank you for taking me to this article and I always appreciate your kind feedback.
    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
    • Dear Kanji,
      You’ve read through the first article of series “Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of Dharma practice”.
      I would like to repeat these words once again “practicing right Dharma requires having right teaching methods, and right teaching methods should rely on Right thought”
      Hopefully you will enjoy reading next article of this series. Here is link you can refer

  5. Tantra Kasila(Vivek S) says:
    Dear respected holy Guru,
    I am happy to read lesson 1: .Five arguments from a profound and rigourous philosopher.After going through this i understood that there are numerous ways to attain ultimate liberation through Buddhism.It is not about the number of ways but it’s​ how we travel through those ways.Simply practicing dharma is the method to travel that path.Even if it is a guru if he/she doesn’t practice dharma they won’t get liberation.
    I am thankful for your great article.
    May the holy Guru live long for the sake of all beings.
    May all beings achieve the happiness of Buddha nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.
  6. Jeffrey Bernard Forest says:
    Dear Holy Guru,
    Buddhist teachings are absolutely right, but if Buddhist’s don’t practice dharma correctly, they will end up with bad consequences, instead of receiving good results. Us fellow disciples and students at Song Nguyen Tantra House are blessed to have a wise and compassionate Guru, with the wealth of knowledge about Buddhist teachings and the right pedagogical methods, to exercise his talents and skills, as a true Master. Dharmakirti was correct when he pointed out 5 arguments for teaching. Objects to be dismissed, the many methods to abandon them, which objects need practicing, knowing the perfect methods to practice, and transmitting the knowledge to students, with compassion in his heart. The Buddha summed up these qualities by knowing and saying what a person needs to know, renouncing what is determined to be bad, and practicing the dharma’s, which are shown to be worthy of practice. By following our Holy Guru, with right thinking and practicing, listening and reading, we enter the path of cultivation, knowing that our faith is complete, and that we are on the right road to the promised Pure Land! Blessings to all my fellow sentient beings. Om Mani Padme Hum 😊
  7. Tantra Mikaya ( Jane) says:
    Dear holy Guru
    Thank you for your article nr 1 after reading the article I understand that there are many ways to teach the Dharma according to the student’s knowledge. Philosophy is the doctrine of the structures and determinations of the life of the world and of knowledge. Thank you for being able to teach us the Dharma in a simple and effective way. The simple method makes it possible to receive the wise way of the Buddha and his Dharma May the Guru have a long peaceful life with great health. May all beings be free from suffering
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    • Mật Diệu Hằng says:
      Kính bạch Thầy!
      Con xin phép được dịch những dòng comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mikaya (Jane) sang tiếng Việt ạ:
      “Kính bạch vị Thầy tâm linh tôn quý,
      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã viết bài 1 này ạ. Sau khi đọc bài 1 con hiểu rằng phương pháp truyền dạy giáo pháp đa dạng phù hợp với căn cơ của từng học trò. Giáo lý Phật đà dạy bản chất của sự vật hiện tượng và cách hình thành thế giới này cùng như lột tả dòng chảy của nhận thức. Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã dạy cho chúng con phương pháp thực hành pháp đơn giản và hiệu quả nhất. Phương pháp đơn giản Thầy ban cho chúng con giúp chúng con phát triển tuệ tri Phật đà.
      Con cầu nguyện Thầy thân tâm an tịnh.
      Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy.
      Cầu nguyện đau khổ của tất cả chúng sanh được lắng dịu.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.
      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.
  9. 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 dịch comment của đạo hữu Akshay Kumar sang tiếng Việt như sau ạ:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con đã đọc bài này rồi ạ. Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã viết một bài hay.

      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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