Oct 10, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 21 Comments

Letter to disciples No.170: IS IT A MUST FOR A BUDDHIST TEACHER/A GURU TO STAY IN A BODHIMANDALA? ( Thư gửi các trò 170: VỊ THẦY, ĐẠO SƯ PHẢI CÓ ĐẠO TRÀNG Ư?)

Dear disciples,
Considering the result from the 1st and 2nd exercise, I am glad that you have done 90% correctly, especially the 1st one (Fill in the blanks exercise). In regard to the 2nd exercise in which you had to choose between Right or Wrong, most of the mistakes were made in the 9th question (Is it a must for a Buddhist teacher/a Guru to stay in a Bodhimandala (a holy site)?). 76.9% of the answers for this question were wrong. It is because of your perception of a Buddhist teacher as a person who sits on a lotus throne in a holy place (pagoda, monastery, etc.). This tradition creates a fertile ground for those who are bhikkhus to establish their spiritual privilege; in other words, to “use religion as an excuse to take self-advantage”. A Buddhist teacher should be recognized by his taking the wisdom as life’s purpose, instead of being advertised by a place, or a location.

lien-hoa-sanh-dai-si-web1

Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava

This kind of thought is totally wrong! Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava asserted that a Buddhist teacher/a Guru is the one who satisfies three spiritual factors (cultivating mind practices, maintaining omniscience, and the ability to transform the disciple’s mind). It can be seen that Guru Rinpoche did not mention Bodhimandala, or any place. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama confirmed whoever can thoroughly deliver the teaching of “The Four Noble Truths” can be called a Buddhist teacher/a Guru. If we keep believing Bodhimandala as a place to gather Buddhist practitioners, and that place must be decorated with altars, curved roofs and red tiles; is it relevant that all the abbots in the whole country can be considered as true Buddhist teachers/Gurus? This logic definitely goes against the Buddha’s teachings!

Dear disciples,
Looking back to the old days, Indian master Tilopa used to be a poor lonely old man who lived by the Ganges river. He pounded sesame during the day to make a living, and worked as a procurer in the night. Tilopa did not have any house, or any Bodhimandala; but Indian master Naropa (who was the Guru of Marpa, a great Tibetan Buddhism teacher) always moved to tears every time he thought and recalled the great virtue of his master. Shri Shimha, who resided in a corner of a mountain, in a simple thatched roof; but why did his disciples including Vikramashila and Jnanasutra become two of the most excellent scholars, Buddhist successors in India? Bodhidharma, who sat in meditation facing only the wall in Shao-Shih cave, Dengfeng, China, had never ever had any Bodhimandala; then why is he still considered the legendary Buddhist monk and the founder of Ch’an Buddhism in China?

22.TILOPA

Indian Master Tilopa

So how should we understand Bodhimandala in regard to the noble position and definition of a Buddhist teacher/a Guru? According to the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Buddha asked Glorious Light Bodhisattva : “On my behalf, you should go and visit Vimalakirti”. Glorious Light replied : “World Honored One, I am not qualified to call on him to enquire after his health. The reason is that once while I was leaving Vaishali, I met Vimalakirti when he had just entered the town. I saluted and asked him:
– Where did the Venerable Upasaka come from?
Vimalakirti replied: “From a bodhimandala.”
Then I continued to ask him: “Where is the bodhimandala?”
He said : “The straightforward mind is the bodhimandala, for it is free from falsehood. The initiated mind is the bodhimandala, for it can keep discipline. The profound mind is the bodhimandala, for it accumulates merits. Bodhicitta is the bodhimandala, for it makes the main difference with non-Buddhism. Giving alms (dana) is the bodhimandala, for it does not expect reward. Discipline (sila) is the bodhimandala, for it fulfills all vows. Patience (ksanti) is the bodhimandala, for it has access to the minds of all living beings. Diligence is the bodhimandala, for it eliminates the laziness. Meditation is the bodhimandala, for it trains the mind. Wisdom (prajna) is the bodhimandala, for it discerns all things. . Kindness (maitri) is the bodhimandala, for it treats all living beings on an equal footing. Compassion (karuna) is the bodhimandala, because of its great forbearance. Joy (mudita) is the bodhimandala, for it is pleasant to practice all Buddhist methods. Indifference (upeksa) is the bodhimandala, for it wipes out both love and hate. Transcendental efficiency is the bodhimandala, for it perfects all the six supernatural powers (sadabhijna). Liberation is the bodhimandala, for it turns its back to all phenomenal conditions”
Through what I have taught and gave instructions to practice, you must have understood that when you sincerely sought to learn and practice Dharma in order to attain liberation, the bodhimandala in your mind has already been established. It is unnecessary to visit any pagoda, monastery, or any other holy spaces!


Moreover, in Saddharma-pundarika-sutra (The Lotus Sutra), the Transcendent Powers of the Tathagata, the Buddha taught that: “..Those who accept, recite, explain, and copy it, and practice according to the teaching, in whichever land they may be, in a place where the sutra abides – either in a garden, a forest, under a tree, in a monk’s chamber, in a layman’s house, in a palace, on a mountain, in a valley, or in the wilderness – in all of these places they should erect and pay homage to a monument. Why is this? Because you should know that these places are the terraces of enlightenment where all the buddhas have attained highest, complete enlightenment. That place is called Bodhimandala.” Then, it can be seen that any place where a Buddhist teacher/a Guru gives Buddhist teachings is itself a bodhimandala.

lotus

When you sincerely sought to learn and practice Dharma in order to attain liberation, the bodhimandala in your mind has already been established

Dear disciples,
By my explanation, I hope you understand the real meaning of bodhimandala, accordingly you will avoid assessing your surrounding phenomena through the worldly eyes, or through samsara tradition that goes against the right views as the Buddha warned in Kalama Sutra. The ultimate truth of all phenomena can only be seen through the Buddha’s teachings.
Phuoc Thanh Village, 25 November 2016
Thinley – Nguyen Thanh
Translated by Cao Dieu Mat Tu.


Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 170: VỊ THẦY, ĐẠO SƯ PHẢI CÓ ĐẠO TRÀNG Ư?

  1. tantra mahavita says:

    Dear Holy Guru : Thankful for your publication of this article. May the Guru have health and long life for benefit for all sentient beings. May all beings find Budhha Nature . May the pandemic end soon . OM MANI PADME HUM

  2. Mật Tấn Sơn (Đỗ Trường Giang) says:

    Dear Guru,
    I read this article.
    Thank you so much.
    May Guru have good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    May Covid-19 pandemic soon be over.
    Om mani padme hum.

  3. Tantra Aradhana says:

    Thank you so much Guru for another wonderful article and beautiful teachings please stay safe from covid-19 its been a pretty hard year for us all

    Thank you again
    Om mani padme hum

  4. paul yawney says:

    Dear Holy Guru, I bow head to Lotus feet. Thank you for another great article. the self is the place to meditate from that is with you always. it is from the heart. The material place is not the answer it comes from within. May Holy Guru and Consort live a long and happy life. May this virus end soon. OM MANI PADME HUM.
    Tantra Himataru

  5. Mật Phước says:

    Dear Guru,
    I have read this article.
    Throughlythere, I understand that, a Buddhist teacher should be recognized by his taking the wisdom as life’s purpose, he unnecessary in the pagoda or monastery. Guru is arrive from the Bodhiscitta, he doesn’t come from a place or any location, and that place must be decorated with altars; curved roofs and red tiles, this kind of thought is totally wrong.
    Thank you, Guru, for your interpretations.
    May Guru have good health and longevity for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May the covid 19 pandemic be soon over.
    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  6. Mật Bích Thủy. says:

    Dear Guru!
    I am very happy to read your article.
    I am very touched that your Bodhicitta has given us.
    Thank you very much for the teaching and guidance.
    May you have good health and long life for the benefit of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature.
    It is possible that the 19 covid pandemic will soon end.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Mật Hoàng Như says:

    Dear Guru!
    I read this article already. Thanh you so much for the useful article.
    May you have good health and long life for the benefits of all sentient beings
    May the all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature
    May the covid 19 pandemic will soon end
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  8. Mật Thái Hòa says:

    Kính bạch Thầy.
    Con đọc bài này rồi ạ.
    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã từ bi luận giải dạy cho chúng con bài pháp lợi lạc.
    Qua đó, con hiểu được. Một vị Đạo sư chân chính là người luôn mang đến sự lợi lạc cho chúng sanh, giáo hóa chúng sanh lìa mê về giác bằng tâm từ bi của nhà Phật(Bồ đề tâm), cho dù Ngài ấy có ở trong hang đá, trong rừng hay sống trong một túp liều đơn sơ.
    Ngược lại những vị Đạo sư có chùa to, tu viện lớn, có đạo tràng hoành tráng nhưng luôn gieo rắc tà kiến cho chúng sanh thì họ chỉ là tà sư với lốp vỏ bọc đẹp đẻ bên ngoài.
    Như vậy, đạo trạng của một bậc Đạo sư chân chính chính là Bồ đề tâm chứ không phải là ở chùa to cổng lớn. Chính vì vậy mà Đại sĩ Liên Hoa Sanh xác quyết rằng:” Bậc trí hiện thân với hình dáng bất định, kẻ lừa dối đội lớp tu hành là bọn đạo đức giả, các con đừng lầm cạn là vàng”.
    Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh.
    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch Covid19 sớm được tiêu trừ.
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    • Mật Pháp Ngân says:

      Dear Guru!
      I have read this article.
      Thanks to the teachings of the Guru.
      May Guru have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings.
      May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
      May the epidemic of Covid-19 come to end soon.
      Om Mani Padme Hum!

  9. Mật Phê Rô says:

    Dear Guru!
    I have read article.
    Thank you so much!
    Pray Guru good health, live long because benefit of all beings.
    Pray covid 19 end.
    Om Mani Padme Hum!

  10. Mật Thiệu says:

    Dear Guru!
    I have read this article.
    Thank you Guru for giving us precious dharma gift. Through this article, I understand that a Buddhist teacher should be recognized by his taking the wisdom as life’s purpose, instead of being advertised by a place.
    May Guru have good heath and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    May the covid – 19 pandemic be soon over.
    Om mani padme hum.

  11. Mật Hoàng Trúc says:

    Dear Guru
    I have read this article.
    Thank you Guru
    May Guru have good health and live long for the sake of all beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    May the covid 19 pandemic will soon over.
    Om mani padme hum.

  12. Mật Khánh Thảo says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con đã đọc xong bài rồi ạ. Con cảm tạ ơn vị Thầy đã ban cho chúng con bài pháp vô cùng lợi lạc.
    Con thành tâm cầu nguyện cho sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của vị Thầy vì sự nghiệp hoằng dương Chánh pháp.
    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc Phật tánh.
    Cầu nguyện dịch bệnh Covid 19 sớm được tiêu trừ.
    Om Mani Padme Hum

  13. Cao Diệu Khải Nguyên says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    Thank you for enlightening me with this wisdom. This article helps me to understand what is a true bodhimandala.
    Thanks to your teaching, I understand that the true bodhimandala is not those so-called “large temples with high gates”, and a guru need not stay in a physical bodhimandala. The truth is, true bodhimandala is in the mind of those who practice true dharma and acquires the supreme qualities of Buddhists since their minds are free from falsehood. With this understanding, I understand that where a Guru appears, that place should be called a bodhimandala, since every actions of a guru are for the sake of all sentient beings to reach true liberation. A bodhimandala, therefore, is unlimited and unobstructed.
    Thank you for this great lesson,
    I sincerely pray for the health and longevity of Guru for the sake of all sentient beings,
    May all sentient beings achieve happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      That’s right! A bodhimandala is unlimited and unobstructed. It is not framed by a physical place!

  14. Cao Diệu Tuyết Hoa says:

    Dear Guru,
    I am delighted to read this article.
    I am thankful for Guru’s explaining the true bodhimanadala. I will keep in mind the teaching that “When you sincerely sought to learn and practice Dharma in order to attain liberation, the bodhimandala in your mind has already been established”. This means anywhere, anytime Guru who helps you attain liberation by teaching Dharma. I understand that Guru doesn’t need to stay in a physical place (holy place) because when Guru teaches disciples and make them transfer mind to the liberation so at that place, at that time which is called a Bodhimandala. I am grateful to Guru.
    May Guru have good health and live long for all the sake of sentient beings.
    May all the sentient beings will attain Buddha’s nature.
    May the Covid 19 will end soon.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  15. Mật Ly says:

    Dear Guru.
    I have read this article.
    Thank you so much.
    May Guru have good health and live long for the benfits of all sentient beings.
    May all sentient beings attain the Buddha natures happiness.
    May Covid 19 pandemic end soon.
    Om mani padme hum

  16. Mật Thúy says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy .
    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ.
    Con rất hoan hỉ với công hạnh luận giải của vị Thầy , con cầu nguyện sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của vị Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh con cầu nguyện cho vi khuẩn corona xóm ngày được tiêu trừ Om Ah Hùm.

  17. Phan thị Bạch Tuyết says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!
    Con Mật Phong Tuyết rất hoan hỉ được đọc bài viết này ạ.Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã luận giảng cho con hiểu về bodhimanadala thật.Và con hiểu một đạo sư chân chính luôn mang lợi ích cho tất cả đệ tử và chúng sinh với tâm bồ đề,bất kể vị đạo sư đó ở nơi đâu ,xuất thân như thế nào(chùa to ,cổng lớn hay một nơi nghèo nàn , thâm sơn cùng cốc).Con sẽ luôn ghi nhớ “Khi bạn chân thành tìm cách học hỏi và thực hành pháp để đạt được giải thoát, thì bồ đề tâm trong bạn đã được thiết lập rồi.”
    Con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh.
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của phật tánh.
    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch covid 19 được tiêu trừ.
    Om mani padme hum.

  18. Tantra Amashuta says:

    Dear holy guru,
    Thank you for writing and sharing this article. I do understand that teaching and learning cam be done anywhere. Practice and faith is held within and the entirety of our beings can be used anywhere to practice if done so correctly. I look forward to each new guided step from you I take toward liberation. I look forward to each new article further explaining and sharing aspects of buddhism. Om mani Padme hum.
    May you br well, safe, and live looking for the sake of all sentient beings

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