Sep 14, 2015

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 11 Comments

Lesson 2: Focusing on the factors of Age, Country and Ethnicity (Tính thời đại, quốc độ, dân tộc)

Lesson 2: Focusing on the factors of Age, Country and Ethnicity (Tính thời đại, quốc độ, dân tộc)

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of dharma practice

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

Standing in front of me was a slim, gentle and naive man who was Thien Hong, named worldly Nhan Hue from HCMC came to Song Nguyen Tantra house in order to ask for dharma on Friday on 08/02/2013. Thien Hong said he has cultivated for 16 years, he spends 6 hours a day on sutra chanting, mantra recitation and sitting in meditation every day.

First and foremost, I noted in his story that Thien Hong recited Great compassion mantra when traveling; then he had accident. Because of this accident, Thien Hong did not recite the mantra anymore. Actually, Great compassion mantra is very miracle but Thien Hong paid too much attention on mantra, which has 286 words translated from Sanskrit to Chinese, and kept chanting in Chinese which is too difficult to remember while riding the motorcycle. So he was distracted on the road, and rode carelessly, resulting in the accidents. This case showed that though the Buddhist teaching is right, the wrong methods of practice did not bring about the success.

Thien Hong also said that he recited sutras for about 1- 2 hours a day. Hong has chanted repeatedly The Lotus Sutra, Emperor Liang Repentance Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Earth Store Sutra (Ksitigarbhapranidhana-Sutra) for a long time. His saying made me anxious because he was too old at the age of 67 to do that work. He cannot be healthy enough to recite the mantra in another 3 years. When I asked him which benefit he got from mantra recitation, he did not know. So, his recitation was the same as spelling the words of mantra, he did not understand the meaning of the mantra at all. In fact, mantra recitation regardless of any of the Buddhist doctrine or mantra has the certain spiritual results. Here are three levels of spiritual results from sutra recitation depending on the degree of understanding from practitioners:

1 / Chant sutras and do not understand the meaning of text, practitioners can only get blessings
2 / Chant sutras then understand the meaning of the texts, practitioners will collect merit
3 / Chant sutras and also understand what is not mentioned in the texts, practitioners will reach the wisdom of enlightenment
This case also shows that right Buddhist teachings with wrong method of dharma practice do not have the good results.

Great compassion mantra

Up once a time, there was a totally enlightened being, a fully awakened one while chanting, but this case is rare among many practitioners. The majority of Buddhists are hard to perceive the profound meaning of Buddhist doctrine while Buddhists only recite these sutras or those sutras a hundred times, a thousand times … then they are puffed up with conceit as the following circumstances:

“There was a monk paying homage to Huineng, the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. When he did not bow closely to the ground (just expressed as giving a perfunctory bowing), Huineng rebuked him:” Do you come here for Dharma or for your arrogance? Why do you perform irreverently? Do you think that you do make the concrete progress in cultivation period?” The monk said: “I am Phap Dat, I have recited The Lotus Sutra repeatedly 3.000 times”. Huineng continuously reproved: “your name means understanding the Dharma but you yourself do not understand dharma at all. Although you have chanted it repeatedly 5,000 times, you do still not comprehend anything”. Then the Sixth Patriarch read the verse to teach him, the monk at once became enlightened after listening and asked for being a servant of the Sixth Patriarch”.

This case is considered as a grievous failure written by the Great Guru Gampopa “To preach religion and not to practice it is to be like a parrot saying a prayer; and this is a grievous failure”

The Great Guru Gampopa

However, reciting scriptures is “right Buddhist teachings”, the practitioner clinging to recitation to be an end rather than the means of liberation, which is known as doing wrong method. Here is the next story:

“The monk Phap Dat revised his dharma mane and bowed Huineng closely to the ground with the respectful performance, then asked:” From now on I have not chanted Buddhist sutras any more”. Huineng stated: “you have still been reciting sutras because Buddhist sutras is skillful means, it is your fault because you have clung to Dharma”.

I remembered the dharma brother named Chanh Thai in District 9, HCM City, with the worldly name of Nguyen Minh Quan at the age of 65. Like Thien Hong, he has been highly spiritual in cultivation of reciting mantra, chanting, meditation and repeating the name of Buddha for over 15 years. As a result, Chanh Thai has still wondered about his liberation path because his master, Venerable Thich Phat Dao already came back Sweden. Therefore, Chanh Thai came to Song Nguyen Tantra House for Dharma, which was written in the article “Seeking Dharma” on this website. Since then, Chanh Thai and his dharma wife Chon Hoa said that they have made much outstanding progress. On these days, Chanh Thai and Chon Hoa have diligently kept chanting “The guidance to practice Tibetan Buddhism” composed by Song Nguyen Tantra House. How strange it is! Chanh Thai has practiced Tantric Buddhism while he is still guiding the follows of 15 dharma brothers and sisters to recite mantra, sutra chanting on their own way of the so-called Pure Land practice.

So what is Pure Land School in essence? The Buddhist ashram in which the practitioners recite mantra, chant the sutras and sit in meditation at the same, how should it be called The Pure Land School? This is called “Right Dharma with wrong approach”. Because the right method is to be consistent from teachings to approach (the conformity in the application of theory and practice), but their cultivation has not been consistent. Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava called it as one-sided dharma with the following comment: “Dharma without being quintessential is only one-sided”. Being one-sided in any worldly sectors has not still got any success, let alone be one-sided in spiritual field relating to the ultimate liberation. It is clear that renunciation of spiritual life is the most difficult. On the contrary, in all the grasping, the spiritual clinging has the most grievous effect.

Thien Hong was at Song Nguyen Tantra House 

Lord Buddha foresaw this situation, he always recommended high-ranking monks that wherever they traveled to guide the sentient beings for the enlightened path, and they needed to focus on the factors of Age, Country as well as Ethnicity whereby later in China, after the Sixth Patriarch’s age, there appeared 10 Buddhist sects basing on common ground of Buddhist teachings (Right Buddhist teaching). Every sect revealed their own approaches to the complete and perfect path to awakening so that individuals of all capacities would be able to benefit (right method). Hence, the mixture of many sects in the ritual of dharma practice is lack of specialization in cultivation (known as being unprofessional today). Such as Chanh Thai in his Buddhist ashram, he has chanted Great Compassionate Mantra 21 times and Dhàranïì mantra 10 times with loud voice. In contrary to Guru Rinpoche‘s teaching in which the practitioners need to (1) chant it like a whisper so that you will only hear it; (2) recite mantra silently without moving lips according to your breath; (3) recite it silently without moving lips according to the holy rosary; (4) chant it silently and focus your attention on holy words of mantra as well; (5) recite it silently and visualize the holy body of Yidam at the same time. Reading silently mantra is called mantra recitation in Tantric Buddhism. Reading sutra loudly with little rise and fall of the pitch of the voice is called sutra chanting in Theravada. Please remember that “dharma must be practiced correctly; otherwise there will occur a problem” stated by His holiness The Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa. You also should know that when you recite mantra with loud voice, inhuman species (evil spirits) cannot be still or at least scared (stated by Guru PADMASAMBHAVA from Dakini Teachings). They cannot stand hearing the chanting voice, they will feel uncomfortable, and as a result, they find the way to harm the practitioners.

Moreover, on the aspect of professionals, we consider that if a person wants to get medical advice, who can he look for? If you want to get legal advice, who do you look for? If they do not have professional experience in medical and law, will they undertake those works? Even in the modern society, specialization is much required in every areas and agencies. In medicine, patients with eye problems should be counseled by an ophthalmologist, – Dental department…

Let us return to the subject of dharma practice, the schedule of the spiritual rituals themselves in many temples simulated from Chinese monks are applied in textbook ” merging with two spiritual timetables” from Guangxu King’s reign of the Qing dynasty, combining the characteristics of Zen, Pure Land Buddhism and Tantric Buddhism on an elaborate timetable in temples. Remember: Dharma without being quintessential is only one-sided!
Thus, although the absolute level of the Buddha’s teaching is beyond conception, it is essential to have teaching methods from a master. This is called pedagogy with its educated subjects and its pedagogical psychology. All of which revolve around the axis of Age, Country and Ethnicity. The Guru now plays a crucial role in the success of the disciples on the enlightened path. Such an approach in terms of education is called “Teaching Methodology”, in Buddhist terminology is called “means of wisdom”. The details of this process will be presented in the next lesson.

Phuoc Thanh Village
Date: August 8th 2013

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang

Original Vietnamese post: Bài 2: GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG, PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI (Tính thời đại, quốc độ, dân tộc)

The same Topic: 

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 Viễn says:
    Mật Viễn hoan hỷ tán thán công đức tinh tấn dịch bài viết của Thầy sang tiếng anh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng.
    Cầu nguyện cho những ai có duyên lành với Phật pháp trên thế giới, sẽ đọc được những bài dịch này, để tìm được nơi nương tựa chân thật và con đường giải thoát khỏi khổ đau sinh tử luân hồi- an lạc đời này – cực lạc đời sau.

    Cầu nguyện cho Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng có nhiều sức khỏe và điều kiện thuận lợi để dịch nhiều bài hơn nữa!

    OM MA NI PAD ME HUM

  2. Kanji says:
    Dear Guru,
    I’ve read through this article.
    I’ll continue reading the series.
    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
  3. Tantra Kasila(Vivek S) says:
    Dear respected holy Guru,
    I am happy to read lesson 2 focusing-on-the-factors-of-age-country-and-ethnicity.
    After going through this i have understood that there is no use in preaching religion without practice.You can chant mantras 24 hours a day.But without knowing what is being chanted and it’s purpose there is no use.Practicing dharma will bring positive outcome.
    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.
  4. Jeffrey Bernard Forest says:
    Dear Holy Guru,
    Yes, it is very important when chanting Sutra that one fully understands the deep hidden meaning, within its beautiful syllables and verses. We all strive for the wisdom of Enlightenment and by understanding right Buddhist teachings with correct method of dharma practice, it leads us on the proper path to the ultimate Pure Land. A person indeed falls into a false sense of security and misunderstanding when they do cultivation for many years and have nothing to show for it. A person’s age, country and ethnicity also plays a roll in one’s spiritual progression. I believe that by chanting Mani mantra with right view of understanding keeps one eternally young and happy. Thank you, Holy Guru for these excellent lessons in right Buddhist teaching and wrong method of dharma practice. Many blessings indeed, Master. Om Mani Padme Hum ❤️
  5. Akshay kumar says:
    Dear Guru
    I have read this article. It is a very interesting one. Thank you so much. Do still evil spirits wonder in this world??  I understand right reciting of mantra in wrong method is dangerous. Hope all beings reciting mantras may understand this.
    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.
    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được 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 vì bài viết hay. Sau khi đọc bài, con tự hỏi liệu tà lực có thể mê hoặc thế giới này không? Con hiểu rằng thực hành trì niệm thần chú với  phương pháp sai là rất nguy hiểm. Con hy vọng những ai thực hành thần chú đều hiểu điều này.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô 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”

  6. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerable Guru;

    Yes we need the right approach to practice the Holly Dharma in the correct manner; that way allway’s i say that our spiritual guide is our doctor and he knows the perfect therapy for is patients to follow.

    Also once unexpected of the most rispect ed Lama in Tibet said that;

    Wan a mantra is wespered or recited with out moving the leaps;

    The entire universe will ear et.

    Thank you venerable Guru for passing your noleg to os.

  7. Steve Rogers says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    i thank you for this teaching. I have much to learn but I believe I am learning the ‘right’ teachings through your lessons.

    My knowledge of Mantras is poor and recite only one or two, I know this is not ‘right’ and hope to improve. I seek greater understanding on this aspect of my life, especially of how and when I should recite. I believe your understanding of age, country and ethnicity will help my practice and I await your guidance especially of this practice in a non Buddhist environment.

    i continue to practice the Dharma and read so that I will become a balanced buddhist, with your guidance Holy Guru, and thank you for the opportunity to learn under you.

    The path enlightenment is a new and bright path that I’m finding great happiness in undertaking.

    Con cảm ơn!

    May the holy Guru have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha ‘s nature.

    Om mani padme hum

  8. Tantra Mahavita says:
    Querido Guru : Realmente usted es un Gran Maestro …Muchas Gracias por compartir estos articulos . Somos tan afortunados de que comparta con sus discipulos su tremenda sabiduria y compasion . Que el Guru tenga salud y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sintientes. Que todos los seres esten encuentren la felicidad y sus causas .OM MANI PADME HUM
  9. Jennifer says:
    Dear holy guru,

    I love this lesson. Learning without practice makes us soon forget what we learn. It’s useless knowledge of we are not going to practice the lessons we learn. Thank you for carrying about your disciples and spending your precious time  teaching us.  For sake of all sentient beings may the world find peace and may you live long and healthy

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