Nov 22, 2015

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Lesson 8: Renouncing what needs renouncing (Xả ly những gì đáng xả ly)

Lesson 8: Renouncing what needs renouncing (Xả ly những gì đáng xả ly)

Right Buddhist teachings, wrong method of Dharma practice

Lesson 8:  Renouncing what needs renouncing

The story telling that there was a layman sitting alone to read the scriptures, in Sanctum, thinking that was what practicing Dharma meant; venerable Dromtönpa saw him by accident, then came closely to him for encouraging. At that time, the layman asked Dromtönpa that if he was doing well or not. Dromtönpa softly replied “it is better to practice Dharma”. The layman nodded to the venerable and paying homage to him. Next time, the layman did not only read the scriptures but he also made prostrate for penitence. And being asked the same question, the Venerable softly replied “Good deed! But it is better to practice Dharma”. The layman felt a little bit surprised, but he seemed understanding then he paid homage to the Venerable. The next day, the Venerable saw that the layman gave up chanting the sutra and prostrating for penitence but sat down cross-legged and closed his eyes to meditate, circumambulated the Buddha instead. The Venerable still softly said “Good deed! But it is better to practice Dharma”. The layman was confused. He couldn’t think of any other way to practice Dharma if it wasn’t circumambulating or reading scriptures or meditating, and so he asked Dromtönpa “I chanted the sutra, then made prostrate for penitence, finally sat in meditation, but you all said “Good deed! But it is better to practice Dharma”, so I do not understand what the core of your teachings is, please give me some revelation”

This time, the venerable looked straight into his face and had the stern voice “My saying of that it is better to practice Dharma means to give up this life in your mind!”. The layman came to understand and paid homage to the venerable then came back home. The venerable looked at him with the smile, because he knew that the lay man now understood what he said.

Master Dromtonpa

Venerable Dromtönpa was Atisha’s close disciple. He was a layman, lived a cultivating life with no monastic practice. He worked as the personal assistant for his master – holy monk Atisha for over 15 years. He never thought of fame, he had more understood about the harm of “a moth plunging into the flame of a glory” and of “baby deer is enchant with the melody of money and god” than anyone else. For he clearly understood about the suffering from worldly life, he advised laymen only one thing “give up this life in your mind!”

“Give up this life in your mind!” is the better way for the layman or monks to practice dharma, which called “renunciation”. The Buddha himself said that to become an enlightened being must complete three factors: (1) Know what needs to know, (2) to renounce what needs renouncing and (3) Practise the dharmas which are worthy of practicing.

Lotus Flower Estrade in Song Nguyen Tantra House

“Give up this life in your mind!” means renunciation in practice. First of all, we should understand the original meaning of “renunciation”. Renunciation means “to leave, to detach, to let it go in literal and figurative meaning”, renunciation means “abandoning, being away from things, phenomena and human being”, which mostly involves in the literal meaning. Thus, what is the right method for renunciation in practice relating to the action of body, speech and mind?

Firstly, we discuss about Buddhist precepts, which help practitioners abandon the bad habits gradually, form the good habits, are of renunciation in practice. Keeping precepts is the good method to practice Dharma which is highly appreciated as the crucial role by Lord Buddha. Right Buddha’s teaching is not enough. It is necessary to have right method of dharma practice. So, Buddhist precepts need applying flexibly depending on the factors of “country”, “ethnicity” and “age”. Having meal, for instance, we cannot apply the method of that monks in the temples are strict vegans to monks in Theravada temple or Tantric temple. I remembered when I had a chance to talk to nun Van Lien in Ngoc Thien monastery in Dalat 8 years ago. I surprised when she said “why Tibetan Tantra permitting practitioners to eat meat is still called Mahayana!” So, the nun considered the vegetarian as the standard to identify the Mahayana while the sutra asserted that Bodhicitta is the core of Mahayana.

Maybe the monks have had a trick vegetarian diet in the temple in Vietnam, many lay people are also doing like them and believe that it is the method of Dharma practice. Then they tie themselves with uncountable relations of society, clans and families.

There are many Buddhist families, where parents prepare vegetarian dish with their own bowls and chopsticks separating from their children’s meat dish. In the company’s party is held on the 1st or the 15th Lunar month, it is difficult to for Buddhists to have vegetarian diet in this occasion, let alone being a strict vegan. The writer myself with my short-minded thought, I clung to “the formality” resulting in the unhappiness in the agency where I worked in. In this Hungry Ghost Festival, there are many people volunteering to have vegetarian diet all month while 10 spiritual activities in Buddhism including offerings, praying, repentance, dharma listening, dharma talking, sutra giving, mantra chanting, reciting the name of Buddha, meditation,..) accumulate merits and make filial duty for all sentient beings but no vegetarianism. Why do people think that having vegetarian diet is the method of dharma practice both for short time and for long time? Because everyone has to have meal every day, so if you have vegetarian diet, everyone all know that you are cultivating, you are making filial duty, you are compassionate, you have Mahayana background. This is just to fall into the worldly wind of praise and blame and boasting ego.

Why do people think that having vegetarian diet is the method of dharma practice both for short time and for long time?

While the flexibility of applying the Dhrama in accordance with the factor of “age” has been ignored in many temples. The fifth precept of the Five Precepts; for instance; says that the Buddhist is forbidden to drink alcohol, but they ignore the harms of tobacco, therefore most monks and nuns in the temple have broken this precept because of their smoking. At Buddha’s time there was not any tobacco, so, we must understand that the proposed 5th precept implied the ban on abusing addictive substances. Why were they not prohibited smoking? The temple has responsibility for the answer!

Why were they not prohibited smoking? The temple has responsibility for the answer!

Again, the precept of being prohibited alcohol is strictly only for monks; however; in the case of healing we can use alcohol to enhance the activity of the drug. Therefore for layman Buddhists, they are only prohibited abusing, but are not banned on using. For the monks in the temple must not drink alcohol, do they want to apply for the layman? 10 years ago , I helped a guy who was in HCMC take refuge in the Three Jewels in Lieu Quan 2 monastery in Tan Hoa 2, Tan Thanh district, Ba Ria Vung Tau province. The nuns as the abbot transmitted the 5th precept which asked the Buddhist to be prohibited alcohol even a drop of wine, made the guy feel being tied.

khucgotroi1

Buddhism, is the middle-way, why is there a ban on the wrong subjects harshly?

Buddhism, is the middle-way, why is there a ban on the wrong subjects harshly, while Buddha was an eminent educator? Did he not understand about the educational object? And this is one of the barriers which prevent people from taking refuge in the Three Jewels. One of my old friend confided: “Buddhism is very interesting, but I like drinking wine so I cannot become a Buddhist!”. Poor them! The monks and nuns in the temples have applied the regulation on vegetarianism (at least for 2 months) and the prohibition of alcohol for ages, many people who like Buddhism do not dare to become Buddhists because of their inferiority on that they still eat meat and drink wine. Those who like drinking do not understand that the precept can be kept partially or fully; or the monks ordaining rigidly precepts and having inflexible lectures makes those who are interested in wine feel guilty and keep them far from the temples. Here again, we understand about right dharma, wrong approach. Hence, it is necessary to remove the unreasonable imposition in order that layman can be easy to take refuge in the Three Jewels. We should not blame why layman keep away from monks while monks do not open their hearts and apply wrong methods during their propagation. All monks should blame on themselves first, then blame on others!

If having [merely] the appearance of a practitioner, one does not investigate one’s own mistakes, it is possible to act contrary to the Dharma. Therefore, constantly examining one’s own errors and abandoning them is the Bodhisattvas’ practice.

If having [merely] the appearance of a practitioner, one does not investigate one’s own mistakes, it is possible to act contrary to the Dharma. Therefore, constantly examining one’s own errors and abandoning them is the Bodhisattvas’ practice.

We should not only renounce the appearance, we should use the right method to practice dharma according to the venerable’s advice on renouncing in term of our mind. So he use the imperative: “give up this life in your mind!”, we should understand that we never mind on the appearance. What do we mind on this life? Too many! However, there are 8 worldly winds in brief, which make our mind wavering, obscure our mind more. The eight worldly winds are Gain – Loss, Fame- Disrepute, Praise- Blame, Pleasure – Pain. “Give up this life in your mind!” means not to let your mind sink in the vortex of the eight worldly winds. However, we should not understand that you come to temple to avoid the society, you have vegetarian diet to avoid killing or live in the mountain to be far away from the unpeaceful mind. This is being far away from but renunciation. The author total agrees with the verses made by Mat Kien:

“Enjoying the life but not sinking in worldly pleasure

Giving up this life but body is not out of the life”

In Buddhism, mind is the central factor and wisdom is the target to cultivate; so it is important for practitioners to renounce the mind from worldly things. Likewise, the holy Vimalakirti who lived a lavish life still instructed all sentient beings leisurely; the Queen Mallikà liked music and singing all night but was not regarded as breaking the precepts; great master Marpa who lived a comfortable life of the rich farmer still liked drinking beer, but he trained the famous disciple as Milarepa to become the enlightened one in one life… Layman though cannot be compared to the holy beings even in small aspects, their examples taught us the lesson of renouncing with right method. I will talk more in next lesson.

Phuoc Thanh village

Date: 16th August 2013

THINLEY- NGUYEN THANH

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang


Original Vietnamese Post: Bài 8: GIÁO PHÁP ĐÚNG, PHƯƠNG PHÁP SAI (Xả ly những gì đáng xả ly)

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

Lesson 16: DO NOT FEEL INFERIOR

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

    This time I have a chance to review what our Guru has taught about “Giving up this life in your mind!”. This is the best way for the layman or monks to practice dharma, which called “renunciation”. I now understand that giving up this life in your mind means do not let the eight winds of Gain – Loss, Fame- Disrepute, Praise- Blame, Pleasure – Pain control your mind though you live with them everyday. I can see typical examples of “the holy Vimalakirti who lived a lavish life still instructed all sentient beings leisurely; the Queen Mallikà liked music and singing all night but was not regarded as breaking the precepts; great master Marpa who lived a comfortable life of the rich farmer still liked drinking beer, but he trained the famous disciple as Milarepa to become the enlightened one in one life…”.

    Thanks for reminding me the teaching of the Buddha as he said: “To become an enlightened being must complete three factors: (1) Know what needs to know, (2) to renounce what needs renouncing and (3) Practice the dharmas which are worthy of practicing.”

    I really appreciate your efforts in translating our Guru’s discourse for readers all over the world to be able to access the light of Dharma.

    With all respect for and devotion to our Guru
    May all sentient beings fully achieve happiness of the Buddha’s nature
    Om Ah HUm

  2. thu trang says:
    Thưa Thầy
    Con đọc bài này rồi ah
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc phật tánh
    Om mani padme hum
  3. mat nguyen says:
    Thua thay con da doc bai nay, cau cho thay co song khoe lau dai, de dieu dac chung con tren con duong tu hoc. Om ah hum ! .
  4. Mật Tuệ Phúc says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc bài này!
  5. Kanji says:
    Dear Guru,
    I’ve read through this article.
    I enjoyed reading the articl and I was partially able to get the point of the article here.
    I think if we understand the reason why there are certain teachings and the background of the teaching then having flexibility in our action and adjusting ourself to others , middle way, will be something natural.
    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
  6. Akshay Kumar says:
    Dear Guru
    I have read this article. It is a very interesting one. Thank you so much. Even if someone is drinking wine or eating flesh but still trying to follow the dharma we need to help him, as he may help other beings to get enlightened as we have seen in case of a rich farmer whose disciple was enlightened.
    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 dịch comment của đạo hữu Akshay Kumar sang tiếng Việt như sau ạ:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con đã đọc bài viết này rồi ạ. Con cảm ơn Thầy về bài viết rất sâu sắc ạ. Con hiểu rằng thậm chí nếu ai đó uống rượu hay ăn mặn thì họ vẫn thực hành được Phật pháp và chúng con nên trợ duyên giúp họ được biết đến Phật pháp, vì họ vẫn có thể giúp người khác đến với con đường giác ngộ, như trường hợp một gia chủ vẫn có nhiều đệ tử được giác ngộ.

      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.”

  7. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerable Guru;

    My name is Tantra Siramitra.

    Very interesting article, and a very good explanation on the flexibility of the proper Dharma practice, like the Venerebol GURU said in previous article, injoy but with out atchment.

    OM MANI PADME HUM……

    Faithfully.

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Siramitra (Salvatore Antonio Fois) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con là Tantra Siramitra.

      Bài viết của Thầy sâu sắc và rất lợi lạc ạ. Thầy luận giảng rất rõ ràng, minh bạch và sinh động về sự linh hoạt trong việc áp dụng phương pháp đúng khi thực hành pháp. Con ghi nhớ lời dạy của Thầy tôn quý, con hân thưởng cuộc sống nhưng không bám chấp.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy!”

  8. Steve Rogers says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    I am Tantra Haramitra

    I thank you for the explanation in your teaching. The precepts are a wonderful guide to lead my life, I manage most things although the eating of meat is a struggle following my upbringing and life in Australia. I have reduced the amount and will endeavour to continue to reduce but I now understand that it is more important to give up the thoughts and practice the Dharma the right way than to refuse to eat something that is part of my family’s life style and diet.

    Practicing the Dharma is becoming an essential part of my life and this must take priority for me rather than struggling with something that would consume time and cause difficulties.

    I want to follow the right path and give up unnecessary thoughts and I ask for your guidance in this

    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

  9.  Tantra Mahavita says:

    QUERIDO GURU :  Profundamente agradecida por sus enseñanzas. Practicar el Dharma se esta convirtiendo en una parte esencial de mi vida y esto es prioridad para mi . Practicamente no como carne y alcohol casi nada . Pero lo mas importante en la practica del Dharma es renunciar a los pensamientos innecesarios y para esto pido orientacion al Guru.  El transfondo de las enseñanzas entonces es tener flexibilidad y ajustarnos a nosotros para que sea algo natural. Que el Guru tenga salud y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sintientes . Que todos los seres esten libres de sufrimiento y sus causas . OM MANI PADME HUM

  10. Tantra Mikaya says:

    dear holy guru. I have read your article carefully. thank you very much. I have understood the article as follows. The right way to experience Buddhism is the middle way. Reading alone does not lead to success. The right practice. Buddha taught us all life is suffering. Greed and blindness lead to this suffering and lead to attachment to the suffering life. The way out of suffering is also the overcoming of desires and desires through to renunciation and self-control. For us, the middle way is a promising path for us. The abandonment also means that we ourselves again perceive through mindfulness and meditation. In today’s busy modern world, we are often as foreign-taxed so that we may have material things, but when we practice and practice meditations prayer songs and knowledge, we will experience a clear mind. Through meditations we awaken our mind. I have learned that the renunciation is very salutary for body and mind. Suffering is not an eternal doom, but it is conditioned and may pass away again. And it does not arise through the influence of any one which is unaffected by us outside of us, but arises in ourselves, in our desire, our life-sorrow, and our own. Renunciation does not mean that we will not feel comfortable, but on the contrary develop us. Me fulfill the prayers, the meditations and reading your article holy guru. Thank you for your generous Dharma Teaching May all creatures be happy. May our holy Guru be in good health for the sake of all.  Om Mani Padme Hum

  11. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear Holy Guru,

    I liked this article. It made a lot of sense. This is much like tayloring teaching to fit the educational needs of the person learning. Thank you for your lesson. I know for me, I was very concerned about being vegetarian when I first began practicing Buddhism, The things I had read before coming to this site had all said you had to be vegetarian. In my country it is much cheaper to buy meat than it is to buy vegetarian foods. I can get several meat filled meals for my husband and myself for only a few dollars and to get the same amount of meals in vegetarian meals I would spend three or four times as much. My budget is tight and this concerned me. I’m glad to have lessons like this to ease my mind. Thank you holy Guru. May you be well for the sake of all sentient beings. Om Mani Padme Hum

  12. Lan Trần says:
    Dear Guru,

    I have read this article already. Thank you for your beneficial teachings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  13. Elana Dower says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you for this. I have a question about letting go of personal attachments. I have seen stated many times that we must even let go of our personal relationships. Are there exceptions to this? The bond and attachment Mothers and fathers feel for the children is possibility the deepest connection possible and it lasts for life even after the children are grown up with their own families that love and bond remains. Is the teaching

    Also the bond between a husband and wife is very strong and it is necessary in order to care properly for children.

    There is a strong attachment within those relationships. Please share what. Buddha’s specific teaching on family if it possible.

    Thank you.

    may all sentient beings be closer to enlightenment today

    om mani padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành says:

      Ìf you will read more ơn chanhtuduy.com; you will understand. There are many answers for your question!

      • Elana Dower says:

        Thank you Guru

        Mat Diệu Hằng was kind enough to discuss my message with me this morning. She send me an additional article and I understand clearly now.

  14. Elana Dower says:

    Thank you Guru for taking the time to reply to my question.

    Mat Diệu Hằng was kind enough to discuss this with me by text message this morning and helped me understand better. She also sent me an additional article and I understand clearly now.

  15. Elana Dower says:

    Thank you Guru for taking the time to reply to my question.

    Mat Diệu Hằng was kind enough to discuss this with me by text message this morning and helped me understand better. She also sent me an additional article and I understand clearly now.

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