Oct 19, 2015

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 15 Comments

Lesson 6: Admiration but independence on formality (Ngưỡng mộ nhưng không phụ thuộc hình thức)

Lesson 6: Admiration but independence on formality (Ngưỡng mộ nhưng không phụ thuộc hình thức)

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of Dharma practice

Lesson 6: Admiration but independence on formality

My honourable compassionate Guru,

I have read your lesson 4 and lesson 5 presented on “right Buddhist teaching, wrong method of Dharma practice”. Relying on the wisdom of Guru, Yidam, Dakini, I would like to write some aspects which I have the same opinion on what I have understood.

The model of “high- ranking monks and virtuous Masters” still is of the expression from harsh elements such as: Appearance; The name, Hierarchy, Position, Qualifications (in Buddhism and in Life) … In fact, the nature of these things is very good if they provided invaluable support for the teaching of all beings, just as the Lotus Sutra said that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of the different social sectors to help different kinds of people in harmony with all what they “like”. For instance, people in modern society like diplomas and dignitaries, the monks just are the embodiment of having many qualifications and high position in Buddhism for the purpose of convincing and being instructive to all beings. How admirable they are! The problem is the fact that many people (both disciples and masters) see it as the only “qualified” way to instruct all sentient beings, even worse is their transforming of means into purpose.

At Buddha’s time, there were neither the title of Venerable, Meditator, Lama nor Master, Doctor, rather, there was only the name of monks as Sangha referring to those who live a monastic life; or Fourfold Disciples referring to the assembly of monks, nuns, laymen and lay women; or Honored Ones referring to virtuous beings; or practitioners referring to those who have cultivation. The Sangha lived and cultivated in (simple) Vihara  at that time instead of  (monumental) “Temple” or “ Monastery” in the modern life.

Say-so does not mean that we want to “boycott” the tittles or the practices appeared after Lord Buddha entering into Nirvana, for this was the development of a layered system in a hierarchical arrangement from the Buddhist organization being strengthened chronologically which is regarded as one Dharma in a thousand ones. The titles or the ways to practice themselves are not worth of discussing, provided that their ultimate goals is the enlightenment for all beings ( the long- term goal), or at least there is not the clinging to the formality causing the deviation from Dharma orbit (Immediate objective or the short – term goal)

It is clear that a majority of Buddhists rely on these formalities which are outside factors in order to measure the spiritual levels which are the nature factors. An extraordinary character  such as “seller of fish” in Banaras with no title or no name became a Tantric Master who taught Dharma to Disposing of Hindrances Bodhisattva (Sarvanivaranaviskambhim); or just as Hue Nang, who could not read, became the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. Taking these characters for typical examples breaks the way of thinking about the titles or names in Buddhism. In our daily life, there is also the far difference between “the title” and “the ability”. For instance, Edison, who was a great scientist, made everyone surprised at his answering to the president’s question about his graduating on engineer in America or in Europe by means of showing the quadruple paper including the comment lines of the principal as follows: “T. Edison, your son, is an ignorant, lazy and spoiled child. It is the best way that you let him feed pigs because we think that much though he learns, he cannot get any progress in the future”. This ended the time of three months to his studying at school.

Thomas Edison

In Vietnam, all candidates knew the character of Tu Xuong who did not though have his name in the list of passing the examination, he was a great literary talent. He was so good at literature that one of his friends gave him the poem: “there are no worthysuccessful applicants in literary/ There is only Tu Xuong being worthy of a baccalaureate”. For people in society in general, for practitioners who seek the path to enlightenment in particular, it is perfect if they have all “position” and “ability”, if they have to choose between “position” and “ability”, they should choose “ability”.

Tu Xuong

Many people have the conception that a Guru or a well-known monk is certainly a virtuous holy being. Whoever has this conception sees a famous master or monk as a holy monk or virtuous master during his meeting them. So what does “high-ranking monk or virtuous master” mean? They are considered the famous monk with high virtue or being excellent all over the world. Whoever has this view point thinks that such monks are virtuous holy beings. In fact, the mentioned monks may or may not be holy beings. Even some monks among them just are ordinary people.

Those who would prefer to trust in someone’s position rather than trust in the ultimate truth. When we listen their dharma talks out of the dharma orbit, we do not rely on “Four reliance principles” and “Four Dharma Seal” to recognize such errors; also, we do not apply the principles of Buddhism to judge whether their saying is right or wrong. We only think simply that their Dharma talks must be true as a consequence of their noble clergy or their high position in Buddhism.

Some people think that any spiritual practitioners wearing kasaya or monk’s robes are the holy being who should be absolutely respected. There is a piece of cloth like red robe of Tibetan monk or the yellow fabric of Mahayana monk on the ground, whoever has this conception will definitely pick it up and put it on their altar. They will respectfully prostrate before the robe or the cloth with the same color as monk’s kasaya. This is grievous mistake. What do they think if that clothing was worn by a demon or a bad guy? How erroneous they are if they worship such kind of clothing. Moreover, there are many kinds of clothing with the same color as monk’s kasaya in the fabric stores. Can we prostrate before the clothing with the same color as monk’s robes whenever we enter into such a store? Do not do that! That is just superstition, not ultimate truth. We should be respectful to the robes worn by the true virtuous beings.

There are feigned monks relying on sound, appearance, and on the rough elements (diplomas, degrees …) to preach Dharma for the purpose of enticing the disciples for their ego, Dorje Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu warned them “the notion shows that whoever preaches Dharma with a mellow voice is of an authentic Bodhisattva. Those who have this conception think that whoever makes Dharma talks with a gentle voice and compassionate melody is the true Bodhisattva. You should remember that some Buddhists make Dharma talks with a deliberate attempt by changing their voice to make their saying gentle and compassionate. Many people are deceived by listening to such gentle and compassionate voices from preachers and see them as the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva. In reality, they deliberately make a mystical space with mercurial pattern during their Dharma talks with their pretending compassion. However, all what they preached contain the pagan nature rather than the ultimate truth and this is contrary to the Buddha’s teachings. Hence, you should not think whoever preaches in a gentle voice is certainly a Bodhisattva.  Be his voice gentle or loud cannot be the decisive factor of whether he is a Bodhisattva or not. The real or fake Bodhisattva are determined by the criteria from Buddhist principals”

My honourable compassionate Guru,

Lotus Flower Estrade in Song Nguyen Tantra House

According to your writing, basing on the factors of “country”, “age” and “ethnicity” finds it incapable of applying mechanically the methods practiced by Tibetan to all countries or to all ages or to all practitioners. As your saying: “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 temples or at home, people have a pitiful glance at him, or make a question relating to the existing realities of the practitioner”. For this view point, Dorje Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu also pointed out this mistake as follows; “there is the notion that a practitioner has to give up all his work for cultivating himself and studying Buddhism. Some people say that they simply give up their job to cultivate themselves and research on Buddhism. They think that only by abandoning the work, can they pay their attention to dharma practice and cultivate themselves well. This is a wrong perception. A true practitioner will take action in accordance with the Buddhist teachings in any circumstances. It is unnecessary to think that only by giving up his job and focusing entirely on cultivation, is he taking action in strict accordance with Buddhist teachings”

So, Buddhists need to equip themselves with the Bodhyanga of discrimination in order not to be appealed to the formality as well as the perception of wrong view. I would like to pay homage to you.

Mat Kien

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang

Original Vietnamese Post: Bài 6: GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG, PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI (Ngưỡng mộ nhưng không phụ thuộc hình thức)

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)

Lesson 11: Bodhicitta development, mantra recitation with footsteps

Lesson 12: The superiority of Bodhicitta (Ưu việt Tâm bồ đề)

Lesson 13: Bodhicitta: meditation of focused attention and visualization (Bồ đề tâm: chỉ quán song hành)

Lesson 14: Approach Prajna Paramita (acorrect view of emptiness) by Yidam visualization (Tiếp cận trí huệ bát nhã trong thiền quán Bổn tôn)

Lesson 15 : 3 Ultimate means, 7 Ornaments and 9 Characteristics relating to Yidam visualization


  1. Mật Viễn says:
    Mật Viễn hoan hỷ tán thán đạo hữu Mật Diệu Hằng với bản dịch bài viết của huynh Mật Kiên sang tiếng anh.
    Cầu chúc đạo hữu Mật Diệu Hằng có nhiều bản dịch sang tiếng anh hơn nữa để tâm bồ đề của vị Thầy đưa ánh sáng chánh pháp đến với chúng sanh thông qua trang mạng chánh tư duy được nhiều hơn, nhanh hơn, rộng hơn.
    Cầu chúc đạo hữu Mật Diệu Hằng hanh thông đường đạo và đường đời – Tấm gương Phật hóa gia đình ngày càng tỏa sáng.
  2. Mật Giác Phương says:
    Mô Phật!

    Pháp đệ xin được hoan hỷ tán thán thiện hạnh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng. Mặc dù bận rộn với công việc thế sự nhưng Đạo huynh vẫn thường xuyên dịch bài của Vị Thầy và các Đạo huynh khác sang tiếng Anh, đồng thời huynh còn viết bài, comments đều đặn.

    Đệ cầu chúc Đạo huynh cùng gia đình sức khỏe và tinh tấn tu tập.
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.

    Om Ah Hum.

  3. Mật Huệ Pháp says:
    Dear Mat Dieu Hang,

    A sincere thanks to your admirable effort in converting our Guru’s discourse text into English. The more I read, the more I feel grateful to our Guru for helping us distinguish true or false in the sphere of spiritual activities. “It is clear that a majority of Buddhists rely on these formalities which are outside factors in order to measure the spiritual levels which are the nature factors.” It is this commonplace thinking that has been leading many practitioners into the trap of fake or impurely-minded monks. This will cause harmful effects on the practitioners both this life and in many lives after.

    So the best way to avoid such mistakes is to rely on the Bodhyanga of discrimination such as “Four reliance principles” and “Four Dharma Seal”, an extremely important methods that our Guru has taught.

    May our Guru and his spiritual consort stay in peace and contentment.
    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of the Buddha’s nature

    Om Ah Hum

  4. Mật Phước says:
    Mô Phật
    Pháp đệ hoan hỷ tán thán thiện hạnh chuyển dịch từ tiếng Việt sang tiếng Anh những bài giảng của Thầy và bài chia sẽ của các huynh đệ kim cang của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng. Đệ cầu chúc huynh có nhiều bài dịch từ pháp nhủ của vị Thầy đưa đến chúng sanh toàn thế giới hữu duyên được biết đến tu tập Phật pháp đúng theo quỹ đạo chánh kiến nhầm lợi mình, lợi người.
    Con cầu nguyện sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của Thầy, Cô.
    Cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật Tánh.
    Om Ah Hum.
  5. Mật Đức says:
    Mô Phật
    Pháp đê vô cùng hoan hỷ và tán thán với thiện hạnh của Đạo Huynh Mật Diệu Hằng đã chuyển Pháp ngữ của Thầy và bài viết của Đạo Huynh Mật Kiên sang tiếng Anh để những ai có duyên với phật Pháp trên toàn thế giới có thể tìm hiểu và tu tập
    Con xin cầu nguyện cho sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô vì lợi lạc chúng sanh
    Cầu mong cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật Tánh
    Om Ah Hum
  6. Mật Thiệu says:
    Kính Bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi thưa Thầy.
    Cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh tỉnh thức với trạng thái giác ngộ.
    Om mani padme hum.
  7. Mật Lễ says:
    Mô Phật!
    Pháp đệ xin được hoan hỷ tán thán thiện hạnh này của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng đã dịch bài viết của Đạo huynh Mật Kiên sang tiếng Anh.
    Cầu chúc Đạo huynh và gia đình luôn vui tu và an trú lạc pháp!
    Cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh hữu duyên sẽ tìm gặp được chánh pháp.
    Om Ah Hum!
  8. thu trang says:
    Thưa thầy
    Con đọc bài này rồi ah
    Om mani padme hum
  9. Mật Hồng Vân says:
    Mô Phật.
    Pháp đệ hoan hỉ và tán thán thiện hạnh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng.
    Đệ chúc huynh luôn tinh tấn tu tập và có thêm nhiều bài dịch nữa.
    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.
  10. Mật Tuệ Phúc says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đọc bài này rồi ạ!
    Con xin Quy y Đạo Sư, Quy y Phật, Quy y Pháp, Quy y Tăng cho đến khi giác ngộ tối thượng.
    Con cầu xin Bổn Tôn thông qua sự vận chuyển của vị Thầy gia hộ cho chúng sanh, mọi người trong gia đình con được hanh thông thế sự.
    Hỡi Đại sư Liên Hoa Sanh xin hướng tâm con về Phật Pháp,
    Hỡi các Bậc Toàn giác đừng để con lạc vào tà đạo thấp kém,
    Hỡi vị Thầy từ bi cùng với các Ngài chẳng khác xin để tâm đến con!
    Om Mani Padme Hum!
  11. 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
  12. Akshay kumar says:
    Dear Guru
    I have read this article. It is a very interesting one. Thank you so much. May all beings stop believing in superstition. They may be able to recognise the true guru or monks. They may be able to practice dharma all times irrespective of their circumstances they are surrounded by.
    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 ơn Thầy bì bài viết sâu sắc. Con cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh không lâm vào mê tín dị đoan. Họ sẽ được hạnh ngộ vị Thầy chân chính. Họ có được cơ hội tốt để thực hành pháp liên tục bất kể trong hoàn cảnh nào.

      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”

  13. Tantra Mahavita says:
    Querido Guru : Muchas Gracias por compartir estos maravillosos articulos. Que nuestro Guru viva muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sintientes. Que todos los seres sensibles disfruten de la felicidad y de la raiz de la felicidad . Puedan ser libres de sufrimiento y de la raiz de sufrimiento. Que no esten separados de la gran felicidad carente de sufrimiento. Que habiten en la gran ecuanimidad , libre de pasion , apego y aversion . OM MANI PADME HUM
  14. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear holy Guru,

    I really appreciated and enjoyed this article. Because I do not see you I do not associate you with a robe color, I do look to your title but I test you as Buddha suggested to be sure what you teach is true. I respect you and your knowledge and I love the teachings. You have not taught me wrong yet and I hope that continues. You do not seem to be full of ego but instead teaching from a sincere place of wanting to help. I appreciate that and for that reason I call you dear holy Guru. I appreciate the time you take to teach each of us and they methods you use because they fit into the average joe’s life not just the nuns or monks who have the time of all day to chant and pray for Buddha. I thank you for your commitment to Buddha and to your students. I also thank you for not allowing the title to go to your head. This is something I will have to learn. I am going to school to be a therapist and am not legally allowed to practice unless I have the title and the schooling though I believe anyone can counsel anyone else when they just need to listen and offer honest helpful information. When I receive this title I will be no different from those I counsel except maybe with more debt because of the schooling. Thank you holy guru for all you do for us. Om Mani Padme Hum

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