Aug 23, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 11 Comments

FOUND THE BUDDHA IN GURU (No.2) ( Nhìn Thầy, thấy Phật (bài 2))

On the occasion of Vietnamese teachers’ day, I think about my Guru, Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh, the teaching spiritual advisor, Thanh Tri (Pure mind) lineage, Avalokiteshvara section, Director of Thanh Tri Institute for Psychology Research and Yoga Applications, Song Nguyen Tantra House.

As many Dharma brothers and readers might have read my article named “Found the Buddha in Guru..” published on May 2016 on chanhtuduy.com, this time I would like to repeat what I had confided earlier: As said, through Guru’s speech and action which sometimes are difficult to understand at first, later on I gradually understood and recognized the Buddha’s qualities in Guru! I wanted to share “my understanding” to those who are interested in it. I would like to name this article “Found the Buddha in Guru..(No.2)”, which means I may discover more  “findings” in the future and they will be named with No. 3, 4, and more. 

These are called the “findings” of Buddha’s qualities in Guru’s body-speech-mind that I witnessed or through stories I was told by others. The reasonings are based on the evidence of authority in Buddhist teachings. I must say that I do not have any intention to “divinize” Guru, therefore when I found any of his saying or action are difficult to understand, it is hard for me to obey immediately. Instead, I spent a lot of time thinking hard to analyze “why did he do so?”; in other words, I tended to perform in sequence the process of listening-contemplating-practicing. Afterwards, I found the answers that were affirmed in Buddhist teachings! Having found out the key points, I kept being so delightful in each and every tiny movement in my life as if Guru has been always watching me graciously! I adore this feeling, even though Guru was not there. On the contrary, even when we actually meet Guru, if we don’t understand anything but still want to express an over-exciting feeling to him, it is easy to commit a foul which Guru warned before about becoming a “flatter”, or just a “fool”! For that reason, I would like to share my “findings” as below:

1.    THE BUDDHA’S QUALITIES THROUGH MEANS TO UPHOLD THE PRECEPTS

In those articles that write about the topic “Do not maintain the inferiority complex while practicing Dharma and upholding the precepts”, Guru has offered fearless weapon to his disciples which says “The ones who owned precepts and had their precepts violated are Bodhisattva, the ones who do not own any precept are mortal being”. This was said by a saint, if I am not wrong it was affirmed by Venerable Hsuan Hua. Guru extracted this teaching and provided further explanation as follows: In case someone received precepts, if he committed one of those precepts, he would still compensate by the merits earnt from keeping other remaining precepts. Therefore, he will decrease the bad consequences, which is very much better than those who do not uphold any precepts. This can be seen in case they make any mistake, or commit any sin; without upholding precepts, there is nothing that can rescue them! That is not to mention that once the Buddhist practitioners recite Om Mani Padme Hum, upholding precepts will be automated to the right orbit of Dharma without any difficulties. Following Guru’s teaching, I haven’t felt any pressure or tense while upholding precepts at all. However, I did wonder whether Guru taught us that way just to relieve our tension and stress? Absolutely no! In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana sutra (Vietnamese translation by Thich Tri Tinh), chapter sixteen – the Bodhisattva said as follows:

“O good man! There are two types of human beings: Those from the first type are born with definite karma which will result in the karmic retribution in their current lives, the present karmic retribution continuously results in their next lives’ karma, light karma will be added to heavy karma, which lead to the bad consequence that they will be reborn into hell realm instead of human being realm. The second type consists of those who transform definite karma into indefinite karma, heavy karma will be reduced to light karma, which leads to a better consequence that they will be reborn into the human being realm instead of the hell realm. These two types consist the stupid one, and the wise one. The wise one decreases the karmic hindrances, the stupid one otherwise adds more.

O good man! Supposing that there are two persons committing a sin to the King, the one whose kinship and relatives are powerful will have more advantage, therefore the sin will be extenuated, the other whose kinship and relatives are weak will end up blaming serious crime. The stupid and the wise one are the same: thanks to larger source of good deeds, the wise one may commit serious sin but still result in light karma. On the contrary, having very few good deeds, the stupid one may commit a small sin but ends up heavy karma.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons, one is physically strong and one is sickly. Both of them fell into the mud. The strong one would manage to escape the mud, the sickly one would sink.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons drinking poison. One has a mantra and Agada. The other does not have anything. The first one cannot be killed by poison. The other will die of being poisoned.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons drinking fruit juice: one has strong inner heat, the other has weak inner heat. The first one would easily digest the juice. The other would otherwise become ill because of that juice.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons being busted and tied by the King: one is intelligent and the other is stupid. The first one would manage to get off easily. The other would find it hard to do so.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons walking in a rough and dangerous road. One has good eyes and the other is blind. The first one would find the way without any problem. The other would fall into a deep hole.

O good man! Supposing there are two persons drinking alcohol. The first person eats a lot. The second one eats very little. The first one would not be harmful by alcohol. The other would be sick because of the alcohol.”

That is to see, the Buddhist practitioners who own precepts are much nobler than the mortal beings who don’t have any precepts.

2.    THE BUDDHA’S QUALITIES THROUGH LEADING BY EXAMPLES

Among five moral precepts, there is one that says “Not indulging in intoxicants”. There is a related story in which I was an eyewitness. On the occasion of one Dharma festival at the Tantra House, we, including one married couple Mat Cuong – Mat Huyen, me and other Dharma brothers were given a “retreat” by Guru. While we were waiting in the restaurant, Guru drove his car somewhere else for a while and turned back giving us three train tickets which were paid by him. We were so touched and asked Guru for giving us the chance to pay him back the money. Afterwards Guru gladly gave us a profound lesson: “Don’t do that. I am having money now and I want to share it with you all, we should not indulge in these kinds of intoxicant things!”. Such an impressive lesson that was taught in an unexpected situation that we would never forget, which makes us realize that intoxicants include not only alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, but also money..

By great example from Guru’s generosity, I learnt the lesson of practicing renunciation in reality and realizing the real meaning of “not indulging in intoxicants”. At another event, I witnessed Guru’s leading by examples through an act of … saving! Guru, and several Dharma brothers including Mat Hai, Mat Thuy, Mat Nga, Mat Cat Van were on a Dharma trip to Central Vietnam. One morning, I came to the hotel asking Guru for permission to treat everyone breakfast at a nearby restaurant; however, there was only Guru who stayed up early so we two came there first. Guru asked me to order only coffee, then we could eat green rice cake which was actually almsfood that Mat Cat Van brought from Hanoi as an offering. I felt concerned about letting Guru eat something sweet and cold in the early morning. However, as I already knew Guru, I did not ask or suggest anything but quietly obeyed and ate the cake with Guru. It is easy to predict the quality of those cakes which had been in the car several days, and simultaneously were preserved in “not so cool” weather. Amazingly, with the energy from Guru, I still ate them well. There were many rice cakes, so Guru handed out several packages to each disciple, the remaining was utilized during several days, and finished them all in one picnic. Later on I got to know that Guru did not do so to “utilize” the cakes for money saving purposes, but for the disciples to utilize the chance of gaining merits when their offerings were used/eaten by Guru. If Guru received the almsfood without using, the disciple’s merits are accordingly limited! One type of normal cake which came in large amounts, lasted for days and was still patiently used by Guru for the sake of the disciple’s merits. That gives me more understanding of Guru’s immense compassion. I recognized this is another quality of the Buddha in Guru, in which Guru was not concerned about either good or bad taste, but used it as a means to practice Bodhicitta through which other beings could accumulate merits. Because Guru is the FIELD OF MERITS CULTIVATION, which was mentioned in “THE HEART ESSENCE OF THE GREAT PERFECTION, Van Hoa Sai Gon Publishing house, page 208-209” written by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava that:

“To Vajrayana Buddhist, Guru is considered as a field of pure merits as Shri Guhyasamaja’s teaching mentioned:

At the core of making offerings,

Put aside all other types of offerings

Only focus on offering to your Guru,

Because pleasing Guru will lead you to great achievements,

The ultimate state of enlightenment.”

This explains the reason Guru used wrathful method when one Dharma brother carelessly offered a watermelon to Avalokiteshvara firstly but not Guru, because at that time that that person did not “put aside all other types of offerings/Only focus on offering to your Guru” as Guru Rinpoche affirmed.  

From this story, I recalled another one. On the occasion of Dharma festival at the Tantra House, when Guru was about to eat a cup of porridge which was cooked from one night earlier, one Dharma brother (possibly the one cooked it) asked Guru in a worried tone:

–       Guru, Is the old porridge a bit sour, isn’t it?

Guru shouted loudly immediately:

–       You are stupid!

Seeing everyone being frightened and dazed at the same time because they could not figure out what had been done so “wrong”, Guru said:

–       If you said this porridge was sour, it means you confirmed the thought that I was eating impure/unclean food, didn’t you?

I understand what Guru meant. Guru did not want the disciple to lose their merits by asking “stupid” questions, especially when Guru was having the food in a good mood. Therefore, it is a must to use strong words so that at a loss of merits’ situation, the disciple would be purified of the bad deeds as soon as possible. That is to acknowledge that, Guru’s outward expression may seem to be fierce, but the inner nature is compassion, which is a quality of a Buddha! Any food that is eaten by a virtuous Guru is amrita (nectar) at its “nature”, no matter which kind of “form” it may be. Therefore, asking such irrelevant question would result in losing merits, which was mentioned in Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra (Vietnamese translation by Thich Tri Tinh) by the Buddha that:

“O good man! All the food that is eaten by Tathagata becomes miraculously tasty.

O good man! Supposing those rough things such as clods and stone tiles, etc. that are eaten by Tathagata will also become miraculously tasty”

So we now understand how Guru had to “suffer” almsfood for the benefit of the disciples, while unexpectedly we offered foods that affected negatively to Guru’s health. Therefore it is necessary to think carefully to avoid doing that!

3.    THE BUDDHA’S QUALITIES THROUGH FLEXIBLE MEANS OF TEACHING

Regarding those events that I was an eyewitness, in which Guru shouted angrily, I could not help being surprised and wondering why..  

That happened to a driver to whom we signed a transportation contract to be in charge of our Dharma trip from our hometown to the Tantra House. Before the Dharma festival ended, the driver wanted to drive back as soon as possible for him to get another extra contract. Guru shouted at him immediately “You are a crooked person. You hindered the Buddhist practitioners while they attended a Dharma festival. If you signed the contract with your customer but you did not respect the terms, you would end up facing a car accident sooner or later”. Sincerely, I was very shocked at first, I wondered whether it is correct if a Buddhist practitioner uses “slanderous speech”, while Buddhist teachings in general and Guru’s teachings in specific also taught that we must avoid creating bad karma of the mouth?

An explanation for this incident was found in Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra, when the Buddha said “O good man! You should keep in mind that Tathagata, the Completely Enlightened One acknowledges exactly the mind stuff of all sentient beings: To those who need to use slanderous speech, Tathagata uses slanderous speech. To those who need to use the means of silence to transform them, Tathagata keeps silent. To those who need to be abandoned to transform them, Tathagata abandons them. To those who need to lecture on Dharma teachings, Tathagata will lecture them. To those who need to utilize Buddha’s mind to transform them, Tathagata will use his mind to gather up all sentient beings. To those who need to see the Buddha’s appearance to transform, Tathagata lets them see the holy appearance. To those who needs to hear or touch to transform, Tathagata utilizes the sound and touching contact to teach them”

The above excerpt explains Guru’s manifestation through anger, wrathfulness, slanderous speech, expulsion or anything else is not limited by any normal standards, but are actually means of transforming sentient beings and helping them to be back to the right orbit of Dharma.

From Guru, I understand more deeply the saying that was said by Guru Rinpoche: “It is hard to detect the wise/enlightened ones because their forms/appearance are indefinite/unknown; on the contrary, those defrauders who pretend to be real practitioners are hypocrisies. Do not mistake copper for gold”.

Mat Kien.

Translated by Mat Tu.

  1. tantra mahavita says:

    Dear Holy Guru : From the depths of our Hearts we Thank and Love our Guru…May he have a long life for the benefit of all sentient beings . May all beings find the Nature of Mind.Pandemic end soon. OM MANI PADME HUM

  2. Tantraupatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article. Also thanks to Mat Kien for writing this article and Mat Tu for translation. By reading this article I came to know the compassionate heart of Guru and his different ways of teaching which a normal practisoner may take some time to understand. We are lucky to have taken few percepts and recite Mani mantra taught by Guru which helps and protects us in difficult situations.

    May COVID 19 come to an end.

    May Guru live long to uphold Dharma.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  3. Mật Thúy says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy.
    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ .
    Mật Thúy hoàn hỉ với bài viết chia sẻ của đạo huynh Mật Kiên , và hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của đạo huynh Mật Kiên sang tiếng Anh của đạo huynh Mật Từ Mật Thúy cầu nguyện cho hai huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì con cầu nguyện sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của vị Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh con cầu nguyện cho vi khuẩn corona xóm ngày được tiêu trừ Om Ah Hùm.

  4. Tantra Mashita says:

    To my light in darkness, the compassionate guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us, I really admired it, and I highly appreciate the feelings of the student who wrote it, it seems that his / here devotion is big to you, and it’s a huge pleasure for me to see the students have a devotion like this towards you,

    Dear honorable guru,

    We’re nothing without you, we can’t be on the right path without your teachings and your instructions, you’re our and only guide on this path, thank you so much again dear bevered guru for all the things that you did for us without waiting anything from us in return, you’re always ready to bear our sadness, grief and pain in order to see us live happily and achieve our dreams, finally I have to admit that I didn’t ever meet or see anyone like you, and I think that I won’t meet or see!

    May you have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings
    May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    May the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end
    Om Mani Padme hum 🙏🙏🙏

  5. Tantra Sutradaka says:

    Revered Gurujee
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    I bow my head on your lotus feet

    I read the interesting and thought provoking sharing of Mat Kien, a dedicated disciple of our fold, Pure Mind Buddhism, founded by our Holy Guru. I admire rather crave his dedication towards the Guru. First I extend him my congratulation from the core of my heart for writing this wonderful article saturated with the rational devotion towards Gurus of the world in general and our Holy Guru in particular.
    Ti is true that for a beginner in the spiritual path, a Guru is necessary. To light a candle, you need a burning candled. Even so, an illumined soul alone can enlighten another soul. Some do meditation for some years independently. Later on, they actually feel the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a Master A Guru is absolutely necessary for every aspirant in the spiritual path. It is only the Guru who will find out your defects. The nature of egoism is such that you will not be able to find out your own defects. Just as a man cannot see his back, so also he cannot see his own errors. He must live under a Guru for the eradication of his evil qualities and defects, as under the guidance of a Master or Guru is safe from being led astray. Hence one must have unwavering confidence in him.
    Mat Kien has drawn our attention to a very very pertinent question i. e. to see the Buddha in the Guru. To my mind every one is a potential Buddha ignorant of his inherent divine qualities. Since in Guru the Buddha hood actualized in highest of its form he is the Buddha, we must see in him the Buddha as he is endowed with the Dhamma too. And unless and until this type faith is aroused in the heart and mind of a disciple he will not advance a single step on the holy path of mundane happiness and final emancipation i. e. Nirvana.
    Om Mani Padme hum
    May this pandemic COVID19 be away from the earth
    Long live our Guru
    TANTA SUTRADAKA (AVINASH KUMAR SRIVASTAVA)

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment! You have shared deep empathy with Mat Kien based on the same foundation in regard to Guru devotion.

  6. Mật Thuận Nguyên says:

    Dear Guru
    I read this article
    I rejoice with the deep feeling that contains the immeasurable devotion to Guru of brother Secret Kien in his next article “Found the Buddha in Guru”. we are so fortunate to find a Guru who converges all the of a Buddha who are dedicated to the cause of the Dharma and giving us good means for us to accumulate merit, wisdom eliminates mistakes. With a transcendent wisdom, the Guru also uses transcendent means to teach us , the Guru adifferent from the high priests and great virtues of the great temples and pagodas that only flatter the benefactors as well as dress happily on nefarious coins are earned from blind people because of the smell of smoke as well as panic at the mistakes they have made.
    May Guru have good health anh live long for the sake of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    May Corona will end soon
    Om mani padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      “Mat” in Mat Kien does not have the same meaning with “secret”, so you should keep it as “Mat Kien”.

      • Mật Thuận Nguyên says:

        Kính bạch Thầy
        Con xin xám hối về lỗi lầm bất cẩn của con ạ.
        Om mani padme hum

  7. Phan thị Bạch Tuyết says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con Mật phong Tuyết đã đọc bài viết này rồi ạ.Con rất hoan hỉ ,tán thán thiện hạnh chia sẻ những cảm xúc sâu sắc về phật tánh trong vị Thầy của đạo huynh Mật Kiên.Cảm ơn đạo huynh Mật Từ đã việt dịch bài viết.
    Con thành tâm cầu nguyện cho vị Thầy luôn mạnh khỏe ,thân tâm an tịnh và trụ thế lâu dài vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh.
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của phật tánh.
    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch covid 19 được tiêu trừ.
    Om mani padme hum.

  8. Mật Khải Nguyên says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    I have read this article. I am rejoiced to learn such meaningful lessons about Guru’s true qualities.
    Reading through the article, I was fascinated and touching to know that Guru’s compassion is indeed boundless and undoubted. Through many surprising acts and situations, Guru always finds the chance to teach us, disciples, in a way that helps us to gain merits or suffer less from bad deeds, even if it means that Guru has to endure lack of comfort, and hardship.
    I express my admiration for Guru’s compassion and thoughtfulness. It was indeed proven by Guru Rinponche long ago “It is hard to detect the wise/enlightened ones because their form/apperance are indefinite/unknown. On the contrary, those defrauded, who pretend to be real practitioners are hypocrisies. Do not mistake cooper for gold”.
    Thank you, Guru. I pray for the health and long life of Guru for the sake of all sentient beings,
    Thank vajra brother Mat Kien for writing the article.
    Thank vajra brother Mat Tu for translating the article.
    May all sentient beings attain happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

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