Sep 29, 2015

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 15 Comments

Lesson 4: A rich man lost the key of his treasury (Người giàu đánh mất chìa khóa mở kho tàng của mình)

Lesson 4: A rich man lost the key of his treasury (Người giàu đánh mất chìa khóa mở kho tàng của mình)

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of Dharma practice

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

Once my disciples – Mat Ban and Mat Thang from Vinh Long asked me: “Is it right if a monk told that reciting Mani mantra (Om Mani padme hum) needs to add another syllable of Hrih for good result?” Recently Thien Hong also asked the same question. Then there is a Buddhist in HCMC named Ngoc said that the monk from L.Q monastery put the bell over the head of people who were controlled by the evil spirit and chanted loudly the Great Compassion Mantra. Did he do right? And another disciple asked me if it is right that he needed to hold his breath before mantra recitation, then take a breath while reciting mantra and according to deep breath or short breath, he could hold his breath one time or many times. Beside, a disciple thinks that Great Compassion Mantra is more effective than Mani Mantra because of its longer one. Another disciple said that before reciting Cundī Dhāraṇī mantra, it was necessary to speak a verse of praise on mantra composed by Nagarjuna in order to get achievement. Again, Mat Bao wondered when he recited the mantra in defilement places like rest rooms, was he a guilty person?

A sacred syllable – HIRH

There are quite a lot of questions about the mantra relating to the practice and application (method). When I asked which criteria of Tantric Buddhism the arguments based on, no one could answer, and he said the monk at the temple told him so. Then I asked monk in Theravada temple or in Tantric temple taught them such methods. They said monk in the Theravada temple have taught so. Then “when your eyes have problem, do you come to see the doctors on Ophthalmology or on Dentistry?” In the same way, when you consult Tantric Dharma on mantra, should you come to Theravada temple? This event is like a scholar who called himself the practitioner in Pure Land School even writes about Zen Buddhism and teaches others to sit in meditation while he himself could not seat in the lotus position. Needless to say, we all know the result of such teaching and learning naturally makes no sense. Here is the careless view in which anyone used a pen to write about Buddhism without professionalism. Based on the standpoint of imparting knowledge, of transmitting Dharma in higher level, we only need to rely on 5 necessary and sufficient conditions composed by the logician Dharmakitri 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

If they knew 5 mentioned arguments, they will not dare to abuse the pen to write carelessly any more. But why did scholars still write, even write about Tantra. It is sure that they attained arhatship, they dare to trust their own mind. Otherwise they do not use their pen for “transmitting knowledge to students with compassion”, but they use it for their livelihoods (or “for rice” in another word), or they do not have “the sense of shame and fear” (shy with themselves and others). They only want others to admire their thorough knowledge although their knowledge is expressed in letter. However, as Saint Gampopa’s saying in “fourteen grievous failures of a Buddhist practitioner” is following:

“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”.

Saint Gampopa

 I remembered one story of “1001 Zen anecdotes” from Japan:

“… There was a monk with transcendent knowledge; he had made successful arguments with many high-virtuous Masters and Buddhist practitioners. One day, he stopped at a famous temple in Tokyo. Based on Zen tradition in Japan, any monk stopped at any temple, he was made offerings. But he had to make a Dharma talks on Buddhist teachings before his leaving. This monk also needed to obey the regulation before his leaving. He made the Dharma talks and he was warmly applauded by Buddhist listeners. He was proud of himself and had an arrogant glance at the Venerable and said:

–        Dear my respected Abbot, is my dharma talks good?

This monk thought that the abbot would praise him and took great delight in his dharma talks; unexpectedly, the abbot claimed as follows:

–        I am too tired to clean your rubbish of knowledge which you have vomited. All what you talked were the knowledge in theory, just as the cow chews its grass. The difference is the way to the lurid arrangement with fine words. Now say which knowledge you has been “digestive” (understanding). Only one sentence is enough.

The monk stood still and said nothing, suddenly knelt down to express the penitence for conceit attitude towards the abbot and begged for being his servant.

Before being instructed by the abbot, the monk was greatly admired by many Buddhists and he was regarded as the high-ranking monk. However, owning to the abbot’s saying, he immediately revealed “the ruminant knowledge”. If so, a professor of the Department of Philosophy can make good presentation, why do we need a monk with the triple robe to make dharma talks?

Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava

But for ordinary people, the monk brings the dharma light. What makes the faith to others? It is erudite knowledge. It is not thorough and wide knowledge without the comprehending and specialization. So when he faced with the awakening question by the enlightened being, he was embarrassed and kept silence. This is the distinction between a scholar who only praised Dharma without practicing Buddhist teaching as well as without dharma application in their lives with a scholar who had deeply spiritual experience and had the consistency from understanding to practicing.

 What creates the confidence to Buddhists? Prior to the human eye that is the label of “scholar”, “professor”. Then it is due to the famous temple with large door, a large number of benefactors and the Venerable monk who has degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Masters (MSc) from Universities in the foreign countries, not from Buddhist monasteries. The signature of a principal or vice- principal of the University cannot be the means to authenticate the enlightenment for Doctor Buddhist monks or nuns. There are many errors of absurd layout and incoherent arguments in Doctor Thesis printed in books (Please read the article of Devils story No.10)

 Back to the issue of mantra recitation, I have stated in previous articles basing on the teaching of The Great Tibetan Master Padmasambhava. From this reference point of view, these mentioned mantra recitations are practiced in improper methods. I do not dare to abuse his teaching by applying to another mantra. I only discuss about the mantra of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva because I have cultivation of Avalokitesvara Practice. Here is my explanation:

 1/ “Hrih” (read as Phi), a sacred syllable,  is used to visualize external objects, and visualize the Yidam of Avalokitesvara with four arms, which are revealed from syllable Hrih under the process of medium rituals  and long rituals. The syllable Hrih IS NOT used to add to the mantra “Om mani padme hum”. If it is necessary to add the syllable Hrih to Mani Mantra, why did the holy virtue masters call Mani mantra “pure 6 syllable mantra”?

 2/ Hold the breath to recite the mantra is not preached by four- armed Avalokitesvara in Tantric Buddhism.

 3/ Place the bell over the head and chant Great Compassion Mantra for exorcism, which is not specified in Tantric Buddhism, maybe this is its own ritual made from L.Q monastery. It is said that this temple does not belong to Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Vietnam. But we do not apply such a ritual of dharma practice in Song Nguyen Tantra House.

 4/ Before reciting Cundī Dhāraṇī mantra, it is necessary to speak a verse of praise on mantra composed by Nagarjuna, Tibetan Master, in order to get achievement (not a logician Nagarjuna). I do not explain this issue because I did neither study nor practice this mantra. In his work “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand”, Pabongka Rinpoche said that Cundī Dhāraṇī mantra was revealed by Brahma in Hinduism.

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of Dharma practice

 Now, we have more in-depth analysis on tantric teaching methods, we start the “Country”, “Ethnicity” as well as “Age”. In the land of the Snow country (Tibet), it was very cold in ancient time, but most of all Tantric Yogis wanted to practice dharma in their mountain retreat, they learnt confidentially Yoga of internal heat to warm the body and condition the body heat. And countries with tropical climate near the equator like the African countries, or countries with many deserts like the Middle East, the heat is too high, is heat Inner Yoga suitable with tantric yogis?

The Snow country (Tibet)

In Tibet, there are less people with large land, so they prostrate in the form of “5 parts of body closely to the earth”, especially when they make the pilgrims. This method of worship cannot be applied to the narrow countries with crowded population. Moreover, Tibetan people find themselves lying prostrate before the Buddha does not make the women less beautiful, but in our country, lay women who perform such a worship ritual look ridiculous.

Tibetan prostrate in the form of “5 parts of body closely to the earth”

 In Tibet, people have much free time; they have time to be in retreat, worship, mantra chanting, and sit all day in meditation rooms, monasteries or caves. In our country and other developing industrial countries, practitioners cannot apply Tibetan’s method because we do not have enough time for such cultivation method. We have spent too much time on livelihood. It is difficult for us to practice in holy space. The monks or nuns can spend all day to practice in temples, but how can laymen practitioners go to temple for cultivation all day?

 Tibetan people who love practicing their religion, so when they know anyone practicing dharma, they also rejoice in other’s good deeds and make the offerings. In our country, especially for lay person, if he spends much time on dharma practice in the temple or at home, people have a pitiful glance at him, or make a question relating to the existing realities of the practitioner.

Because Tibetans have such many favorable conditions, they just need the attitude and spirit for dharma practice. Whereby their spiritual works have been continuously developing for 20 years without interruption, many retreat (or semi-in retreat) was held for the Sangha and laymen. It also helps Tibetan monks practice step by step under slowly progressive path to liberation. The Tantric practitioners practice from preparatory phase (preliminary) called “Ngondro”, then make proceed in stages of  from Kriya Yoga, Upa Yoga, Tantra Yoga to  Maha Yoga, Anu Yoga, and finally Ati Yoga. However, in the developed countries, practitioners cannot apply such methods. They must have right thought about the methods of transmitting the teachings depending on Country and Ethnicity.

Tibetan nomadic life

 In ancient time and on these days, Tibetan people have not habitually used dharma’s documents through researching information on Internet. They are taught orally from their masters in the case of being far away, material shortage or no Buddhist sutras. Today, in the developed countries in the Age of information technology, we can sit at home to read all documents and sutras through Internet. Therefore, practitioners need to connect with internet to enhance understanding of Buddhist knowledge, without having to undergo arduous journey as Tang Tripitaka for Buddhist scriptures.

 From these view points, we realize that the right Buddhist teachings need the right method of dharma practice, concerning with the “Country”, “Ethnicity” and “Age”, which can promote every aspect of dharma practice. Then how to practice for Tantric practitioners and how to transmit for Tantric Guru certainly all need Right Thought. I will present in the next lesson.

 Phuoc Thanh Village

Date: August 13th 2013

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH

 Translated by Mat Dieu Hang


Original Vietnamese post: Bài 4: GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG, PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI  (Người giàu đánh mất chìa khóa mở kho tàng của mình)

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 Phước says:
    Mô Phật
    Pháp đệ hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh,dịch bài pháp của vị Thầy từ tiếng Việt sang tiếng Anh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng.Để cho chúng sanh hữu duyên trên thế giới đọc được mà tìm đến sự tu tập và tự giải thoát cho mình.Cũng như giúp đệ được ôn lại và hiểu hơn trong bài pháp nhủ mà vị Thầy đã ban cho.
    Kính Bạch Thầy
    Tà sư nhiều như các sông Hằng,đầu tròn áo vuông,chùa to cổng lớn ,nhưng chỉ đa phần chỉ vì bản ngã,cái lợi danh tầm thường của thế gian mà lạm bàn vào dòng phái khác trong Phật Giáo để chúng sanh biết mình rất uyên thâm,nhưng am hiểu được gì, thật ra chỉ nhai lại mà không có tiêu hoá,cũng giống như lời dạy của Đạo Sư Mật Giáo Mật Tông Tây Tạng GamPopa”Tìm cách dạy Giáo Pháp cho người khác mà tự mình không trải nghiệm cũng giống như một người mù dẫn dắt một người mù (trong 14 thất bại trầm trọng).
    Con cầu nguyện sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của Thầy,Cô.
    Cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh tỉnh thức với trạng thái giác ngộ.
    Om Ah Hum.
  2. Karma Sonam Yeshe says:
    Homage to Guru. What qualities do we need to have to study Guru’s teaching? Om Mani Padme Hum.
  3. Nguyên Thành says:
    Dear Karma Sonam Yeshe!
    1/ You pull all faith in Guru’teachings
    2/ Hold in hight esteem
    3/ Practise often Dharma what you studies
    • Karma Sonam Yeshe says:
      1: Taking refuge in Buddha is to take refuge in Guru, Dharma and Sangha. All four are one. Without Guru one could be taking refuge in delusion. Without Buddha there is no end to suffering. Without Dharma there can be no right view. Without Sangha how can one know brotherhood?
      2: High esteem, low esteem, both are empty and have no substance. For whom is there high and low? If there is faith in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, there is faith in Guru. Like branches of ome tree, Guru is the roots.
      3: Every moment strive to live life in wakefulness. When one sleeps it is not possible to practice Dharma. When one sleeps, it is not possible to hear the Buddha. When one sleeps sangha is far away.When one sleeps how can it be possible to follow Guru? Strive to be awake as if your life depended on it as if there was no other choice.
      • Nguyên Thành (Chánh Tri) says:
        Dear Karma Sonam Yeshe,
        All the theoretical points that you have mentioned have been practicing successfully by Song Nguyen Tantra House’s disciples. However, it is required to have an appropriate method to practice Dharma. When I can see you directly by person, you will be transferred the methods of Tibetan Buddhist practice. At the moment, I would like to give supplementary ideas as below:
        1. Faith is the basis of the Path, the mother of all virtues.
        2. In order to penetrate to the heart of the matter of emptiness, you had better acknowledge what is the “fullness”. Before starting to explore the “nature”, you had better be aware of “Svalaksana” (marks – or appearance). The nature shall be good if it is accompanied with a perfect mark.
        3. If one person is able to keep awakening in their daily life, they will also be able to do the same things in their dreams. The most important thing is METHOD. There is a quote from Descartes – a famous mathematician that says: “Without method, a genius may make mistakes. With method, a normal person can become an extraordinary one”.
        As a whole, I just share a few things as above. Please read “Fourteen Frievous failures of a Buddhist practitioner” to have further understanding (http://chanhtuduy.com/contemplation-on-fourteen-grievous-failures-of-a-buddhist-practitioner-preface/)
        P/s: My English skill is limited so I will have my disciples ( Mat Dieu Hang and Mat Tu) to interpret my thoughts into English for you next time, of course they will type under my detailed consultancy and supervision.
  4. Mật Đạo Pháp says:
    Kính bạch Thầy !
    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã từ bi khai thị cho độc giả trong và ngoài nước nói chung, cho con nói riêng bằng bài viết song ngữ GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI
    Ở nước ta không biết có bao nhiêu chùa, nhưng gần như ở vùng nông thôn thì làng, xã nào cũng có Chùa gắn với Sư trụ trì và những tăng sĩ , khi nguoi hành hương vào chùa thì cũng MỖI NƠI MỘT KIỂU, MỖI CHÙA MỘT DẠNG ? đó là điều chưa đồng nhất dẫn đến Đúng và Sai trong giáo pháp và phương pháp tu mà chưa được phân minh chưa được biết là mình đang đi Chánh hay Tà?
    Bằng công hạnh của vị Thầy đã cho con biết sự so sánh những pháp tu giữa người Tây tạng với những ngưoi ở nước khác , làm sao phù hợp với tính Quốc độ, tính Dân tộc và Thời đại.
    Con cầu nguyền Thầy Cô sức khoẻ trụ thế dài lâu để hoằng dương Phật pháp!
    Nguyện cho chúng sanh sớm đạt được giác ngộ và giải thoát !
    OM MANI PAD ME HUM!
  5. Mật Tuệ Phúc says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc bài này ạ!
  6. Kanji says:
    Dear Guru,
    I’ve read through this article. I’ve been enjoying reading each articles and it’s nice to know there is flexibility of teaching methods based on the circumstances of each individual.
    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
  7. Akshay kumar says:
    Dear Guru
    I have read this article. It is a very interesting one. Thank you so much.

    I understand right method of practice should be taught to disciples depending upon their place of living, conditions around them, and their lifestyle.
    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.

    • Nguyên Thành says:

      That’s all right

    • 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. Bài viết rất hay. Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy.

      Qua bài viết, con hiểu được rằng phương pháp thực hành đúng khi truyền dạy cho đệ tử cần phải phù hợp với tính quốc độ, điều kiện sống và hoàn cảnh của học trò.

      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.”

  8. Tantra Mahavita says:
    Dear Guru . Thank you very much for sharing these article.The correct Buddhist teachings need the correct6 method of practice of the dharma and primarily ,compassion and bodhichita.That the Guru have health and to live many years for the benefit of all sentient beings. OM MANI PADME HUM
  9. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerable Guru;

    My name is Tantra Siramitra.

    Thank you for your articles.

    Offcours if we are following Tanrism teachings, and then you go to a teravadin tempol and ask questions the are not the same teachings.

    It’s like a fish man instead of going to the sea it goes on the top of a mountain to catch fish it doesn’t make sense.

    Also it’s well explained that some theachengs the are exclusive to the cicret mantra teachings only the ight veicol so called.

    OM MANI PADME HUNG……

    Faithfully.

     

  10. Steve Rogers says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    I am Tantra Haramitra

    The blessings I receive from your teaching are great I thank you and give you respect.

    The wonderful thing about following the Buddha’s teachings is that wherever we live we can practice the Dharma within those conditions according to country, ethnicity and age. Through this site we come from many different areas but all with one purpose and I thank you, Holy Guru, for that.

    The benefit of being born as a higher being is that we have the inner thought of what is right and wrong. Alongside the Holy Guru’s teaching we can walk the ‘right’ path and practice the Dharma in the right way.

    I learnt from a early stage of my learning with you, when I asked my blessed friend am I making sense when I leave comments. I was instructed if I was wrong I would be corrected. I now understand that this was more my ego than an intrinsic need. I humbly thank my friend for her instruction and I have learnt to trust my Holy Guru to teach me.

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

    for your consideration Holy Guru

    Om mani padme hum

  11. Tantra Amishuta says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank you for our lesson today. I appreciate your teachings. I look forward to our next lesson. May you be well and enlightened for the sake of yourself and all sentient beings.

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