Apr 13, 2017

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Letter No.22 to disciples: How to properly transmit the dharma in Tibetan Buddhism?

Letter No.22 to disciples: How to properly transmit the dharma in Tibetan Buddhism?

Letter No.22 to disciples: How to properly transmit the dharma in Tibetan Buddhism?

Mat Hai from Vung Tau Song Nguyen Tantra House ask respectfully:

“Paying homage to my compassionate Guru,

You have taught us: “Only if the practitioner receives the proper dharma transmission from Tibetan Guru, can he practice the dharma effectively”. If anyone read your articles and your method for dharma practice on the site of chanhtuduy.com, then understand and practice, do they get the formal Dharma transmission? If not, do they steal the dharma? What is “the proper Dharma transmission” in regard to the form, content and meaning of dharma transmission? How should they do? Please enlighten me with your compassion about this issue. Thank you!

Om Ah Hum.”

Mat Hai from Vung Tau Song Nguyen Tantra House ask respectfully

To my disciple Mat Hai,

You have followed me for 10 years; you have had wealth of knowledge and experience in Tantric Buddhism and have had diligent practice. So, you must well-understand about this matter. Because of your compassion to the barrier of understanding for those who do not know well about this, you ask me this question for the sake of all sentient beings. Good deed!

Mat Hai is preaching at Thanh Phong Cac

Now, I have relied on the wisdom of the compassionate Guru, Yidam, Dakini, I make clarification about this matter to eliminate the suspicion from those who do not understand about the dharma transmission in Tantric Buddhism.

First of all, I tell you all a story called: “stealing the dharma”. In Tang Dynasty, there was a god named Lu Dong Tan. He heard that holy monk Hoang Long was rich in knowledge of Buddhism doctrine with extraordinary behavior, he used a metaphor to listen illegally his dharma teachings. Holy monk Hoang Long used the divine eyes to see and he spoke nothing. The followers asked the reason, he said: “There is a person who wants to illegally listen my dharma teachings, so I do not make a speech today”. Feeling very embarrassed, Lu Dong Tan returned in true body and bowed him. He smiled.

“There is a person who wants to illegally listen my dharma teachings, so I do not make a speech today”

Here, we analyze the main angles of this question: “If anyone read your articles and your method for dharma practice on the site ofchanhtuduy.com, then think, and practice, do they get the formal Dharma transmission? If not, are they guilty of “stealing the dharma”? “.

First of all, I rejoice with those who practice dharma after reading and understanding through Chanhtuduy.com. However, they are not called the formal transmission of Dharma. They are not guilty of stealing dharma but still accumulate merit if they recite Mani mantra “OM MANI PADME HUM”. Why?

I rejoice with those who practice dharma after reading and understanding through Chanhtuduy.com

Mantra created by Bodhisattva from Samadhi, so he is the owner of intellectual rights.  He teaches compassionately “Those who recite my mantra, visualize my holy body, all ones’ wishes will come true. When they leave the body, I and all the saints will lead them to the Western Buddha land.” (Great Pledge of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva). Thus, if anyone recites Mani mantra, meaning that they are transmitted the popular dharma immediately by Bodhisattva right after the presence of this mantra. The core factor is the Mani mantra only presented to the one with good conditions. Those who have experience in the magic of dharma are worthy of praise because of their intellectual investment in reading Buddhist doctrine.

However, on other aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, the Guru is play very important role in transmitting Buddha- dharma. He is asserted to regard as “channel of transmitting the blessings” from Yidam to disciples. So the role of the Guru is crucial to the practitioners, particularly in Tibetan Buddhism. It is understood that Mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum) implies many meanings needed explaining by the Guru, but for that Mani mantra symbolizing wisdom and compassion turns into the mantra for exorcism.

The role of the Guru is crucial to the practitioners, particularly in Tibetan Buddhism

Mani mantra recitation reveals the extraordinary qualities of the Buddha called “Seven Treasures of Noble Ones” (Confidence, virtue, the sense of shame and fear, learning, bounty, and understanding right) for the purpose of protecting the mind from the evil, or avoiding from doing bad thing for the personal benefit. Most importantly, Mani mantra being praised as a bridge across the Western Buddha land turns into “the magic wand” to pray for the satisfaction of five desires (Desires of wealth, power, and money, Desire of sex or beauty, Desire of fame, influence and praises, Desire of food and drink or eating, Desire of sleep and rest), just as the Catholics sarcastic rhymes:

“I bow down to the God in the heaven

Please help me marry the people I love! “

“I bow down to the God in the heaven / Please help me marry the people I love! “

In previous years, many pupils going to the temple prayed for Avalokitesvara blessings to pass the examination; and tourist and commercial regions built the Avalokitesvara statues in order that the people coming there could pray for good business (such as the stops in Long Thanh, Thuy Duong resort, Ho May, Suoi Tien, Dai Nam …) … All these wrong purposes was due to the lack of teaching from the qualified masters. So they are convicted of “stealing dharma”. It is similar to the government agencies granding guns to people on duty of crime prevention, but they use guns to intimidate or bully and blackmail others. This is the same case that although the mantra practitioner does not attain any achievement, when he comes anywhere, he also scares people that there are evil spirits and they are completely controlled by an evil spirits. Then he suggests them to worship.

I affirm that he is not taught by the good qualified Guru, so he called “a Dharma theft” creates bad karma falling into the lower realms, even reciting Mani mantra. Those who even recite Mani mantra more than one billion times for their own benefit do not get any achievement but the enlargement of exorcism ego, and they become the relatives of the satanic.

Pupils going to the temple prayed for Avalokitesvara blessings to pass the examination – baomoi.com

I recalled that when I was staying in HCMC, I knew the boy named Ph who was formerly a motorbike driver. He later met Chi Nhuan, a mantra practitioner, so he knew little about the mantra recitation. Several years of practice, he specialized in reciting Ksitigarbha pranidhana-Sutra and Great Compassion Mantra. Then coming any house, he always said that there were evil spirits, so he needed to recite the mantra for exorcism. Chi Nhuan himself even complained with me that coming Chi Nhuan’s house – the place of reciting mantra, he still had his say on the existing of evil spirits.  Ph cooperated with some shamen who wearing Buddhist monk’s dress with evil spirits worshiped everywhere.

Again, mantra practitioners going everywhere boasted that mantra could help to have son or daughter and get wealthy. This is the form of “stealing dharma”.

How monstrous it is! The fool often turns nobility into banality while the wise transform impurities into the ultimate end.

Mahasiddha Tilopa

It was the Buddha’s teaching, and what about the dharma practice? I also have comprehensive analysis. Although, we only use Mani mantra as the mean of liberation, I still combine some cultivation methods of dharma at the same time. Depending on the background of disciples, Guru transmits more mudras, the auxiliary mantras, the methods of Yidam visualization; the method generating Bodhicitta and obeying tantric precepts. Like all good remedies, you do not only drink medicine but you should abstain from eating or combine the food in the meal in order to activate fully the drug’s function.

In summary, any one chanting one or more than one mantras should practice parallelly three principal aspects of enlightenment (Renunciation, Bodhicitta and Emptiness). On site Chanhtuduy.com, there are no specific guidelines, so if anyone read, understand and practice, they do not have the proper cultivation of dharma according to spiritual awakening process. Naturally, they cannot make any concrete progress, even get more harm, or have the opposite effect. It is too dangerous for them to get the serious failure directly in fame and spiritual destiny because of improperly dharma practice, and then it is too late for regret. However, if they write to ask for the dharma practice, and I make explanation, we both are lawful. Though they cannot face to face ask for dharma, they have expressed sincerely seeking for Buddhist teachings and Buddha-dharma.

Being  guilty of “stealing dharma” also means that the Buddhist  (monks, nuns, lay men and lay women) who carefully reviewed the dharma methods outlined on chanhtuduy.com or read the books I’ve written,  did not dare to say the origin of these dharma methods. They said they learnt such dharma from the Gurus in India, Tibet, Taiwan and Japan then they transmitted to their disciples because of “holy” ego. Obviously, their disciples believed that they received the Dharma transmission with clear origin. They did not know that their Guru told a lie. This is the critical stealing of dharma called worldly “copyright infringement”. Consequently, they fall into the lower realms because of violating precept No. 2 and precept No.4 of the five precepts.

Consequently, they fall into the lower realms because of violating precept No. 2 and precept No.4 of the five precepts.

On the other hand, with the same Mani mantra, it is essential to make clear the difference in practice between The eastern esoteric and Tibetan Buddhism, between Nyingma lineage and Kagyu lineage ….Hence, the practitioners need to get the dharma transmission from the Tantric Guru who must have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the cultivation of dharma in order that the practitioners can comprehend fully Buddha’s teaching and dharma practice. Otherwise there happens the confusing, ambiguous and complex possibility originated from the mixture between this dharma practices with the others in the same mantra. So, it is essential to have the authentic transmission of dharma from a Tantric Guru for the purpose of putting dharma practice into effect.

Then you all ask: “what is the form, content and the meaning of the authentic Dharma transmission?” According to the secret meaning, truly transmitting Dharma is “Guru’s blessings” called Tantric empowerment (Initiation). Reading “Guru’s blessings”, you immediately understand that Guru play a very important role in transmitting Dharma. In the 11thcentury, Lama Atisha coming from India was chosen by Tibetan King Yeshe Oe, after thorough investigation to be invited to Tibet in order to restore Tibetan Buddhism which had declined. He wrote the Buddhist masterpieces called “the lamp for the path to enlightenment”. He stated the initiation from the Tantric Guru in verse 64 as follows:

“Then, to receive the preceptor initiation,

You must please an excellent spiritual teacher

Through service, valuable gifts and the like

As well as through obedience”

Great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha

The Guru gives you initiations and oral teachings and transmits the unbroken lineages that come from the Buddha himself. He inspires you to attain his state and helps you materially when you need it. Without loving respect for your guru you will never become enlightened; if you don’t respect the state of Buddhahood he represents, how can you hope to attain it?.

Now, you all well understand that the authentic dharma transmission is “Guru’s blessings”. Initiation
is
the
doorway
to
tantra. You
should
receive
initiations
from
a
qualified
master.
 It is
best if heis
holding full ordination vows, is completely renounced, completely compassionate. Accordingly, in the beginning you have the Guru who is an ordinary unenlightened Guru, but that Guru is virtuous and serious, he observes the pure precepts, generates pure aspirations, and is profoundly wise. Then also, the Guru must have ability to teach and transmit Dharma. Thus, we choose the qualified Guru to follow him on the path to enlightenment. When
you
 receive teachings
from
a
qualified
Guru, there
is
the
blessing of
Yidam transmitting to you through the Guru. Then, “You must please an excellent spiritual teacher through service valuable gifts and the like”. You
shoulddevote
to
the
Guru
through
making
offerings, performing
serviceand following
his
advice
which
is
Dharma. It’s
not only
aboutphysical
closeness and giving
material
things, but
it
is
aboutdeveloping
the mind
and heart
inaccordance
with
Dharma
and
thereby
please
the
Guru. You
should
not only have
attachment
to
Guru
at
the
physical
level
but merge your’s
heart with the
Guru
in
one’s
effort
towardsBuddhahood. (Read Fifty verses Guru Devotion). In ancient time, in the 11th century, Lama Atisha got the initiation of bodhicitta from the saint in Sumatra, Indonesia. He donated countless treasures. The saint was pleased to teach him the bodhicitta for 12 years. It is not donated treasures that make the Guru pleased, the Guru is delighted with the sincerity of Dharma seekers expressed through valuable gifts.

I can’t help disappointing with the receiving attitude of initiation from practitioners today. They consider getting the noble dharma transmission as visiting the temple to hear Buddhist teachings with superficial offerings. Tantric “”Gyuyasamaya” convinced that the profound and powerful methods of the tantra should not be entrusted to those who are not ready to be in respect of getting Tantric empowerment through offerings, dharma seeking and dharma listening; it will be impossible for them to attain any of their enlightened goals when receiving the Tantric empowerment without dharma appreciating attitude no matter how diligent they are in practicing.

You all should read the book named “84 Mahasiddhas”, you will know that   Mahasiddhas acquire great faith and place a high level of commitment to their Gurus and how they devote to the Guru and appreciate Buddha- dharma after gaining the dharma transmission from the Gurus. There are the significant examples of dharma appreciation and Guru devotion from Mahamudra Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, yogi who have, within a single lifetime, attained direct realization of the Buddha’s teachings and gained the enlightenment.

Lastly, you must understand “You must please an excellent spiritual teacher through obedience”. Otherwise, as the rainfall does not go into the gutter, how can water fill the jar? Also, not through the dharma transmission from the Tantric Guru, how can the disciples receive the blessings from Yidam through Guru? So all disciples should introspect much about your own actions of body, speech and mind and ask yourselves whether or not you make the Guru pleased. If the right time getting the initiation when the practitioners cannot make the Guru pleased through Dharma appreciation attitude and offerings, how can they intensely concentrate on practicing dharma? From this point of view, we can conclude that no Guru devotion and no dharma appreciation mean “stealing dharma”.

ask yourselves whether or not you make the Guru pleased

This is why many practitioners do not get any achievement no matter how much they have cultivated dharma. On the contrary, many practitioners accumulate much merit although they have little cultivation. Only through practicing proper Guru devotion, the practitioners can collect extensive merit from dharma practice after getting Tantric empowerment. However, in this article, I don’t mention what is the Tantric empowerment (Initiation) because it is the different category.

May all disciples diligently practice dharma, deeply Guru Devotion according to the teaching of “50 Verses of Guru Devotion” by Ashvagosha.

Phuoc Thanh Village 29/06/2013

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang

Original Vietnamese post: THẾ NÀO LÀ SỰ TRUYỀN PHÁP ĐÍCH THỰC?

  1. Mật Tịnh Tâm says:
    Dear my brother Mat Dieu Hang,
    I must appreciate your work. How could I list down the benefits of your interpretations? It helps us re-read the article from our Guru, re-think of our Guru’s lessons and …study English. Reading again and again the articles on our website is never a redundant job, because every time we revisit the articles we will have a chance to improve our Dharma knowledge and practise experience. I wouldn’t name your work a translation, better see it as an interpretation. Why? Because it is obviously not a word-by-word switching, the huge knowledge of Dharma was embedded, in both respects: theory and practice. I would say without a deep respect to our Guru, I don’t think anyone could deliver such a nice piece of work. I couldn’t figure out where you got energy from to implement such a this mighty work and other article interpretations, because I got to look up Mr. Google Dictionary until my fingers got tired, shame on me! It is a saying “like writing, like man!”, it’s you.
    Probably, our readers would feel strange because this is 1st time many productions of a Vietnamese Guru being translated into English, more valuably it is a Dharma production. Our Guru is a pioneer on this trend and so proud of we are. Is it because of the reason that Mat Gia wanted to show off? Never! But the compassion of our Guru who would like to open more opportunities for those who would like to go back to Amitabud country.
    Our Guru confirmed that practicing the Mani Tantra is not committed to stealing Dharma crime as long as it resides within the Dharma orbit, but off the path, it is guilty. However, the most importance is that the coaching from a qualified Guru is the key-success of students’ cultivation. For those who doubt if our Guru is a qualified one, I don’t think we need to answer such a question, because it is a careless question which has not been vetted through the standard process of Reading – Thinking – Practicing. Those people should read the productions of our Guru and many articles on Chanhtuduy.com. How someone call a coaching useful if a teacher with a good looking, nice appearance and having many students, but he is not able to improve his students’ knowledge and characters? an easy question for the doubtful ones.
    Reading your interpretations, I believe that many of our brothers including myself will ask ourselves where we stand with the respect to our Guru? Do we really respect the principles substance over the form in the Dharma of respecting Guru? It is a kind of a wake-up call for all of us.
    Thank you again and keep your good job up my brother!
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    • Mat Dieu Hang says:
      Dear my vajra brother Mat Tinh Tam,
      I am deeply touched by your writing. My translation is not as good as you said. It still has some errors. I only try my best to help those who read English as the first language and as the second language can understand the content of our Guru discourse.
      Our Guru with vast compassion and a wealth of knowledge in Buddhist teachings, he has spent all life to find out the method by means which all sentient beings can approach the right dharma to save themselves from the suffering to have temporary success and happiness and attain the ultimate happiness of liberation and enlightenment. It is very useful for anyone who has affinity with Tantric Guru to learn from his teachings.
      I know that I am not worthy of your appreciation. Your Buddhist quality impress deeply on me. You rejoice in others’ good deeds. Rejoicing is a truly great virtue because it is hard to do. According to Lord Buddha, if we rejoice in others good deeds instead of being jealous, we receive the same benefit as they do. I sincerely admire your Buddhist quality.
      May you have a happy life and make progress in the enlightened path.
      May our Guru long live for the benefit of all sentient beings.
      May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of the Buddha’s nature.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.
  2. Mật Thủy says:
    I rejoice with this translated discourse. Thanks to Guru, Buddha Dharma is easier for laymen like us. I pray for more and more people could have the proper transmition of Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism for effective practise in Dharma.
    Thank Mat Dieu Hang for this translation.
    May our Guru long live for the sake of all setient beings!
  3. Ahaa, its good conversation on the topic of this article at this place at this weblog, I have read all
    that, so now me also commenting at this place.
  4. Vivek S says:
    Dear respected holy Guru.
    I would like to express my thank to you for your meaningful discourse.
    After reading your article, I understood that devotion to Guru is the most important aspect.If we pray only for our personal benefits it’s of no use.We have to please our guru always.It need not be by presenting any materialistic gifts.But by having a deep spiritual devotion. There is no point in stealing dharma and if there’s no blessings of our guru then our dharma practice will go in vain.
    May the Guru live long for the sake of all beings.
    May the Guru’s teachings flourish all over the word for the happiness of all beings.
    May all beings free from suffering and its causes.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.
    • Nguyên Thành says:
       
      Your standpoint is correct. Having deep spiritual devotion to Guru is the most important for disciples to get the path to enlightenment. The pure perception towards the Guru is ultimate devotion.
      I have written in letter No.22 to disciples. It is good for everyone to read and write comments articles on chanhtuduy.com because of my wish.

      However, in order to practice 6 methods of dharma practice issued by me, you need to receive  the proper initiation from the Guru according to Atisha’s teachings in the Buddhist masterpieces called “the lamp for the path to enlightenment”

  5. Vivek S says:
    Dear Respected Holy Guru,
    I am thankful for your teachings. I am happy to have a golden chance to read and write comments to get more understanding about Buddha Dharma.It has been so far a relavation in my life.Waiting for more lessons.
    May the holy Guru live long for the sake of all beings.
    May all beings free from suffering and its causes.
  6. Mô Phật!
    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng anh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được thành thông thế sự cầu mong tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hùm

  7. Mật Giác Đức says:

    Con thưa Thầy Cô
    đệ hoan hỷ tan thán thiện hạnh dịch bài của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng”, con cầu nguyện sức khỏe sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh
    Con cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh
    Om mani padmehum

  8. Mật Định Châu says:
    Mô Phật!

    Pháp đệ hoan hỷ tán thán thiện hạnh của Đạo huynh Mật Diệu Hằng đã dịch bài viết Thư gửi các trò số 22: Thế nào là sự truyền pháp đích thực? của vị Thầy sang ngôn ngữ  tiếng Anh giúp cho bạn đọc biết tiếng Anh trên Thế giới có duyên lành đến với trang mạng Chanhtuduy.com.

    Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy, Cô vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh.

    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  9. Dear Guru,

    The Dharma is a generous gift that benefits the world. May all who have known about Song Nguyen Tantra House and chanhtuduy.com will receive a proper transmission of the Dharma by our Guru.

    Thank you my brother, Mat Dieu Hang, for translating our Guru’s teaching into English. May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Budha’s nature!

    Om mani padme hum!

  10. marta irene guagliana says:
    Dear Guru … Dharma is the gift most precious wich can have a human being .Thank you for sharing Guru.Have health and a lonf life .That all sentient beings attain happiness and its causses .OM MANI PADME HUM

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