Nov 9, 2017

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 7 Comments

Letter to Disciples No 233: “OLD PATH OLD ROAD”

Letter to Disciples No 233: “OLD PATH OLD ROAD”

Letter to Disciples No 233: “Old path  old road”

Dear disciples,

There still stands a great church with the echoes of the bell ringing throwing back. There is still the old alley of Cao Thang, with zigzag lines of 4 to 5 entrances, but the difference is the cement road, and many houses on both sides are more spacious. I fret with obsessive memories of “old path old road” like the same title of the pre-war music song. However, the main characters in my “old path old road” are not the mothers, the sisters but my friend’s mother and my close friends with both sad and joyful memories of the youth, and since my marriage, we have not met together. There still exits the old alley and the old woman who is 83 years old. She is called Mrs. Quet. She seems healthier than her age. She forgets me because we have not met each other for about 20 years. But when I reminded her of something relating to me, she immediately cheerfully said: “well, is it Ngot?” (she often calls me Ngot instead of Lot). Then she turned thoughtful and did not want to share anthing more with me  but only some greeting sentences. Her behaviors imply her bad family circumstances. The old often suffers from much stress in life, which often causes them to fall in the mood of depression by their own family. They feel alone in their own family. Therefore, most of them often look for the spiritual reliance in the religious agents but they have done something by halves and they find it difficult to be freed from suffering without the right methods. I am very happy because the learners in Song Nguyen Tantra House have been provided with the Buddha means wisdom at the very young age while they practice Yoga of mind training. So they do not need such religious places where do not have right method to practice.

“Old path  old road”

Mrs. Quet

I put money into her hand and I suddenly did not wish to leave the phone number even though I said to her my phone number before. Thinh is my old friend. He lives about 5 houses away from Mrs. Quet’s. I came to see him but he was out. I no longer want to meet him because our favourable circumstances are not enough. Surely, when he come back home and knowing that I do not wait for him, he must be surprised. But I myself understand that as a Tantric Guru, it is very difficult for me to have favourable conditions to meet a non- Buddhist practitioner like him because he is a true Catholic follower even thought I used to stay in his house for weeks when I was in Danang. Perhaps, I am free from the attachment on mundane friendships.

Dear disciples,

Feeling a little bit melancholy, I found the way out along the old alley. I know that this is the last time I come to his house. I will never meet him again. In the afternoon, the bell of the church throwing back echoes reminded me of my role as a Tantric Guru. There still stands the old path, the old people, the old friends and the old sceneries, but my thoughts are now different from the past. The old roads become so new and modern, both sides are crowded and busy with shops or restaurants. In the past, there were rarely such kinds of crowded and busy roads, there were about 50 ones in the city.  One of them was Hung Vuong road where my house had a shop for welding and repairing bicycles at No. 43 but now it is changed No 112 Hung Vuong. I unconsciously drove on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, suddenly coming to the beginning of the road, I happened to remember my old house then I stop there. At the corner of the fork, there are two fronts, those who have shops there are successful in doing business but my family failed in our attempt to earn money due to lack of blessings. My family became bankrupt. Until I practice the Dharma, I understand the reason for our family’s failure.

the present shop

Da Nang restaurant

There are handbags, shoes and many things on sales in the present shop. The old owner of the shop is still alive but her husband passed away when he was so young. How impermanent it is! My neighboring female friend whose name is Van Anh now resides with her husband whose name is Phuc in the United States of America. I borrowed a chair to sit at this corner, fretted with obsessive memories of the years in which I patched the motorcycle in the evening to earn extra money and welded in the daytime to help my family until I worked as a teacher. It was the corner where I had many chances to practice Russian with Russian tourists. It was this corner where I received the first watch sent from Russia by my Russian old friend. It was this corner where every morning I waited for the letter from a Russian friend delivered by the old tall, thin and black skinned mailman who hunched on the bike in a hurry. It was this corner where I sit in wait for the tire to patch every evening and I was deep in thought about my purposeless future. I was concerned with the present of the guy who felt a complex about the family’s situation. No one taught me how precious the life was, who was worthy of making friends, who was the spiritual friend to learn from.

At the hotel

As a consequence, my crony at university was a bad guy and played a dirty tricks with me. His name is Hoai and he is now living in Tan Phu district, Ho Chi Minh city. He is snobbish with his wealth and high position in society. He does know when the Messenger of impermanence comes to take his life away and the illness can visit the heavy drinker like him any time. I had met some old friends. One worked in a garment company in Quang Trung Street in Go Vap District last year. Our meeting was nothing impressive just like the dish of grilled fish made by the inexperienced cook. I drove to visit him by chance and I did not tell him about my visit in advance. And like a saying: “good clothes open all doors”, before I left, he was formal in behavior and said some words: “I will call you when I go to Vung Tau.” So far it has been five years of leaves falling, his words were also poured into the rubbish of the eight mundane winds! Another old friend was Phung and lived in Bien Hoa town. I met him the only once in Ha Huy Tap road and we no longer call each other. What is life! I do not understand why the rich friends always talk about their ego when they are successful and on the other hand, the poor friends always complain about their miserable life till saying goodbye.

At the Hotel

Dear disciples,

Thanh Binh, my old friend

It is the sad story from the fellow-countrymen meeting together in the South. I am not sad. I only feel sorry for that I cannot help them like the cases of Mr. Mua and Mrs. Tuyet in Hue. However, during the journey to the hometown in the Central Vietnam, despite the anticipation, I still feel a little bit disappointed when meeting the familiars (I considered them my friends in the past) in Danang. There were 2 out of 3 friends chattering about their success or at least show off their ego. One of them was proud of his good life because he had a good house to live, good children to count on, a beautiful girl friend to make date and have a good health to enjoy the life. The other considered himself as the “Zen master” but he was suffered from being stuffy. He preached the philosophy of that “spending less leads the better life”. I had to listen to their talks because I could not leave. Suddenly, the girl asked me to move the car ahead a little bit in order not to cover the counter of bread. I had to stand up to move the car. And at that moment, they saw my car. How strange it was! Three of them turned their face towards inside. They did not want to see my “high-class” means of transportation.

I stepped back to the table. All of three had no words with me while they had showed their interest in talking with me just a few minutes ago. Obviously, they were not happy with the other’s success, especially with mine and when I had to go away from my home for a living, they had thrown me a sympathy of lip-service or they had made a negative comment that I belonged to the group of failure including jobless, unsuccessful condition, hopeless and illiteracy….and my present success is in contrast with their thought so that their jealousy arises up. Suppose that I fell in the bad situation of failure, then I would get their sympathy and encouragement, of course, they would invite me to have a drink or dinner to show off how successful they were. I understand that psychology. Human beings like meeting the failure people in order that they have a chance to prove their success and show off their wealth. The reverse cases which are not the same as their thoughts like my case, they do the opposite by keeping silent or avoiding talking due to jealousy. They are so strange! Why would they not come to ask me how I become successful in order that they could find the solution for their life’s problems? Do they only wish to show off their ego? If they rejoiced with other success, maybe one of them had a good chance to approach the yoga of mind training for better life. Never! Non of them rejoices with my success even thought I came to see another 10 friends. The Lord Buddha called them the group of wrong view in the sutra of Anguttara Nikàya and saw them as the evil-friends in Singālovāda Sutta (Dialogues of the Buddha). I am glad not to give them my phone number unless I would clean their rubbish from my mind. Thus, I no longer want to meet any old friends.

the Hotel in Da Nang City

Dear disciples,

There is also an encouragement and happiness for me on this journey because there is also someone worthy of “good friends” like Mr. Hung, Mr. Thanh Binh….They were sincerely happy with my success. They are always good friends to me. However, the person whom I paid a honored visit when coming Danang this time is the Buddhist monk – Hue Hung. I drove to Avalokitesvara Pagoda in Su Van Hanh Street, in Ngu Hanh Son District. The entrance was now a paved road with roundabouts and dotted lines. It looked very new and clean. I drove into in a mood of mixed joy with sadness. I saw many new roads and beautiful houses on both sides, I wondered how were the old monks? The car stopped at the end of the road. Directly in my eyes stood an unfinished construction work but the old pagoda was the same. I asked about the monk Hue Hung in a bit nervous manner. And I bursted into happiness when I knew the good news that the monk Hue Hung was still alive. In 2005, I had come to visit him. I had not met him for 12 years. But when seeing me, he brusted into laughter: “It is long time no see you. You look so different, Nguyen Thanh” I was happy to make spiritual etiquette towards him. Two guests left the table, then I and my consort came to sit down.

with monk Hue Hung

Hue Hung looked slimmer because of his age but he was still discerning with a ruddy face due to his diligent practice. I respected him because he was the first to declare that: “Practicing Buddhism is the perfect choice, one who does not practice the Dharma loses his own benefits”. I understood and followed his teachings. Also, I would like to remind all of you of this profound viewpoint. You are practicing Buddhism when practicing “Samyagdrsti-prabha Samadhi”, are you? You have practiced Buddhism since you started practicing Yoga of Mind training, haven’t you? With your own experiences, you have got countless benefits from Yoga of Mind training. If you did not practice Yoga of Mind Training, what would you lose? Losing the spirit of fearlessness; losing the right view, losing the power of being respect from others, losing the chance to get benefits and to eliminate the bad karma. If affirming that “practicing the Dharma leads to success in life and vices verse, not practicing the Dharma, nothing works”, then the opposite will be able to prove the proposition.

Hue Hung said that he had experienced on practicing the Dharma diligently in Avalokitesvara Pagoda in Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) for 50 years and he concluded that the sincerity was a measure of spiritual level. I agreed with him, and I added that honesty was a transcendent quality of human beings. In Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism, there were still genuine people, but the true mind of the human beings was based on the right view, was reinforced by practicing the Buddha Dharma, resulting in the ultimate truth, the true self, the Buddha’s nature. Hue Hung laughed out and agreed with my point of view. I was happy because my view was right in accordance with the Dharma. This was the first time I felt harmony with Hue Hung while talking about the Dharma. Conversing with him for a while, I made offerings to him and then left the pagoda. It may be difficult to have a good chance to meet him again because there are not always enough good conditions for meeting.

I would like to end the article here. I understand a saying that “there is rarely good person” but I still pray all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature. I pray the Buddha help me meet all sentient beings and sow the seed of Yoga of Mind Training for them in the next many thousands lives.

Om Mani Padme Hum.

Da Nang City on 01/11/2017

Thinley Nguyen Thanh

Translated by Mat Dieu Hang


Original Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 233: “HỒN CỎ MÙA THU”

  1. Tantramikaya ( Jane) says:
    dear holy guru. Thanks for the wonderful article. This article has touched my heart very much. Yes, we meet many people in our lives. Some people may be around us for a lifetime, but some leave us but we think of these people. I like to describe life as a train traveling. People are getting on the train and we are going on this journey together in this train that is our life. Some people get off the train in between. Some people we miss, and we may not even notice the exit of other people. There are people who accompany and until the end of our journey and people who shape our lives. This coinage I found with you holy Guru and the Sangha and Dharma doctrine. I know that the spiritual path will be with me until the end of my journey. I have found my inner peace through Buddhism, the truth that gives me fulfillment, and I understand that nothing is permanent. I also thought of the past like many other people and I realized that the past was over, it is over and the future is not there yet. I live quietly in myself and do not stick. The here and now is important. I got to know people and saw how they pushed themselves into the foreground and accumulated material things because they were rich but only talked about money and what they do to themselves good. It was not my world because I did not understand these giant egos, the heartlessness of some people and how they talked about poor people or about being scared of losing their money. Then I met people who were poor but always friendly and the little bit that they had shared with others. It shows for me the true charity. Whether other people understand my way is not important. The Dharma taught me and the meditations are part of my life and important to me. When I sit on my balcony and hear buses driving from far away, I get memories of my time back then. Something does that in me. It’s like a wanderlust. I know that I’m not there yet where I feel I have arrived. But I know that the Buddhist path is the one I will go. I am proud to be a member of the Sangha and I respect and cherish our Guru deeply. Each of us has his story and past. There is music that releases something in us or smells. Sometimes they are sad or painful memories, others are full of joy. Suffering can be diverse but we can free ourselves from it. Also, I came to Buddhism (like many people in the western world here) because busy life and suffering made me do research. The answers I found was the Dharma and the spiritual path. The compassion that seems lost in the present time, I wish for all beings back. May all beings be happy and free from suffering. May our holy Guru life long for the sake of all sentient beings. May all sentient 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 Tantra Mikaya (Jane) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết hay này. Con rất xúc động khi đọc bài viết của Thầy.

      Đọc bài này con hiểu rằng chúng con gặp rất nhiều người bạn trong cuộc đời. Có những người bạn sẽ đồng hành cùng chúng con trong cuộc đời này và cũng sẽ có những người đến rồi lại đi nhưng chúng con vẫn nghĩ về họ. Cuộc đời như một chuyến đi. Con người lên một chuyến tàu và họ cùng đi với nhau trên chuyến tàu đó. Một vài người sẽ xuống tàu giữa đường. Một vài người làm cho chúng con nhớ nhưng sẽ có những người  không để lại chút hình ảnh nào trong tâm trí chúng con. Có người đồng hành với chúng con đến hết chuyến đi, có người giúp chúng con định hướng cuộc đời. Và chính Thầy tôn quý  là người định hướng cho cuộc sống của con dựa trên giáo pháp Phật đà. Các huynh đệ kim cang động viên sách tấn con trên con đường Phật pháp này. Con hiểu rằng con đường tâm linh này sẽ đồng hành với con trong suốt cuộc hành trình của cuộc đời này. Con cảm thấy bình an khi được thực hành Phật pháp. Đạo Phật đã giúp viên thành ước nguyện.

      Và con hiểu rằng cuộc sống này không có gì là thường hằng. Bản thân con cũng nghĩ về quá khứ như nhiều người khác và con hiểu rằng quá khứ đã đi qua, tương lai thì chưa đến. Con sống bình lặng và khỏe mạnh, an trú trong hiện tại vì điều này mới quan trọng. Con đã từng quen biết nhiều người và cũng đã từng chứng kiến cảnh họ lao vào công việc và tích lũy để giàu có. Khi gặp nhau họ chỉ nói về tiền và khoe khoang những thành công họ đã đạt được. Và họ cho rằng mình tốt, tài giỏi. Đó không phải là thế giới của con bởi vì con không hiểu tại sao họ có cái tôi to như vậy, họ vô cảm, tại sao họ nói chuyện về người nghèo với thái độ như vậy và tại sao họ cứ mãi lo sợ mất tiền. Con cũng gặp người nghèo, họ thân thiện nhưng ít chia sẻ với người khác. Và con cảm thấy thương họ.

      Con hiểu rằng thực hành pháp và thiền định là điều quan trọng nhất với con dù người khác có hiểu được con đường con đang đi hay không không quan trọng. Khi con ngồi trên ban công và nghe tiếng xe buýt chạy từ xa, những kỷ niệm về một thời đã qua lại ùa về trong con. Có một vài điều lại chợt đến trong con như một giấc mơ. Và có những điều chưa xảy ra với con nhưng con cảm thấy như đã tồn tại. Nhưng có một điều con chắc chắn đó là Phật pháp là con đường mà con sẽ đi cho đến điểm cuối cùng.

      Con tự hào được là thành viên của Mật gia Song Nguyễn. Con tôn kính Thầy và hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh của Thầy. Con người ai cũng có quá khứ. Nghe một bản nhạc có thể làm cho con người hoài niệm về quá khứ.  Quá khứ có thể là những ký ức vui hay buồn. Đã là người ai cũng đau khổ, phiền não theo một cách nào đó. Và khi học Phật, con người sẽ đoạn trừ được khổ đau, phiền não. Con tìm đến đạo Phật (như bao nhiêu người khác ở Châu Âu) bởi vì con  bận rộn với cuộc sống mưu sinh và từng chịu nhiều đau khổ. Con tìm thấy giải pháp để có được hạnh phúc cho cuộc đời con thông qua đạo Phật, thông qua con đường tâm linh.

      Con nhận thấy trong đời sống hiện tại, con người dường như vô cảm hơn và lòng bi mẫn dường như không còn. Con mong sao con người sống yêu thương nhau và quan tâm đến nhau. 

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy tôn quý trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ khổ đau và thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  2. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:
    Venerebol GURU;

    My name is Tantra Siramitra.

    I read the article, and I injoy it’s nice to meet hold friend and Sher the adventure of life.

    OM MANI PADME HUM……

    Faithfully.

  3. Tantra Mahavita says:
    Querido Santo Guru : Muchas Gracias por compartir tan maravillosos articulos. A lo largo de nuestro viaje de la vida,conocemos a muchas personas .Hay algunas que nos acompañan hasta el final y otras ,simplemente , se van, sin ni siquiera notar su salida. Pero otras que dan forma a nuestra vida. Ellos los encontre en el Santo Guru, Sangha y en el Dharma. Se que el camino espiritual estara conmigo hasta el final de mi viaje. He encontrado la paz interior a traves del budismo . La verdad que me da satisfaccion y entiendo que nada es permanente. Tambien al ver al pasado , veo que ya se termino , y el futuro , aun no estaba alli. Solo el aqui ahora es importante . Se que todavia no estoy alli ,.donde siento que llegue .Pero se , que el camino budista, es mi camino. Estoy muy feliz de ser miembro de la sangha y respeto y aprecio profundamente a nuestro Guru. Cada uno de nosotros , tiene, su pasado , recuerdos tristes o dolorosos , otros alegres. El sufrimiento puede ser diverso, pero podemos liberarnos de el . El sufrimiento , me hizo llegar al budismo. Y encontre las respuestas en el Dharma y el Camino Espiritual. La compasion que parece haberse perdido en el tiempo presente…Deseo profundamente , que los seres regresen a ella.Que nuestro Amado Guru ,tenga salud , y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sintientes. Que todos los seres esten libres de sufrimiento, y de sus causas. Que todos los seres encuentren la felicidad , y sus causas. Que todos los seres vivan en ecuanimidad , libres de apego y aversion . OM MANI PADME HUM
  4. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear holy Guru,

    It sounds to me that you have grown past the relationships you once had. They were meaningful once but now they are going in the wrong direction and you have no need for that. Your needs are pure and sincere and these relationships, being impermanant do not provide that any longer. It is sad to say good bye to a relationship especially one with a history but you can not make yourself less of a person so that you can be in a relationship. Thank you for this lesson and all the lessons you give us. Thank you for taking the time to teach me. I hope that one day I can meet you may you be blessed and enlightened for your sake and the sake of all sentient beings.

  5. Dr.C H Lakshmi narayan says:
    Respected Guruji, I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guruji.

    I am Tantra Nirvadeva.

    Who will not emotionally excited, where ever they be, in any corner of the world  when they get the chance to see their Home town and their old house where they lived in the past childhood days and youth life with their parents, relatives, neighbours and old friends ?

    OH ! Sweet are the remembrances of past life of pleasure and Joy amidst the hard days of struggle for earning  bread and butter !. Our  beloved Guruji, with his habit of outreach  ‘ Tour and Travels ‘ created one such cance  and travelled to his Hometown to experience the present new atmosphere and  reactions of his old friends and relatives, neighbours ,he went by his colour full and comfortable  car with his consort and also to enjoy the modernised beauty of his Hometown!

    As he was passing in the  “old Path and old roads” of his Hometown Guruji could notice a tharough radical change of Facelift with big mansions, shops and restaurants on either side of the roads near his old house due to modernization! What he experienced was just like the story of Rip-van-winkle who slept for a long period of 10to 15 years and got up to  see the  transformation of the surroundings into a new World !

    Guruji’s experience with his old friends, neighbours and relatives and their interactions were mixed with both joy and sorrow !

    ” Old is Gold “- When he met Mrs ‘ Quet’,83 years old lady, her reaction was cardial and generous though there was partially loss of memory because of missing contact  for 20 Long years !

    When  he met with some evil friends, they reacted with an air of Ego, after coming to know the present high status of Guruji seeing his magnificent Car, remembering his past life of cycle repairing in day time and BV patching motorcycle tyre in the evening to earn more in order to get bread and butter and to look after his family members until he became a teacher! Egoism and jealousy was overflowing from their hearts as Guruji could analyze their psychological feelings !

    Though it is in imaginable, with blessings of Buddha , Guruji attained  the present status after stepping in to Buddhism and Dharma practices as compared to  such contemporary old friends with jealousy and Egoism who remain in the same state of poverty or still worse and miserable conditions in their life !

    Guruji also met an  another unique old friend who called himself as ‘ Zen Master’ and preached him the philosophy that :

    ” Spending less leads the better life ”

    Guruji patiently  heard this and experienced all of the vicarious attitudes of some of his old friends towards life !

    As is the saying ” There is rarely good person”,  Guruji also met some good friends like Mr.Hung , Mr Tang Binh who were sincerely happy with his success and achievements !

    Later on  Guruji  specialy gave a respected visit  to meet the Buddhist monk Hue Hung at Avaflokitheshwara Pagoda in a dilema whether he is alive or not! Guruji felt happy that he was still alive! Guruji respected and offered him, because he was the first to declare that : ” Practicing Buddhism is the perfect choice, One who does not Practice Dharma loses his own benefits ! ”

    Understanding  and following his teachings  Guruji is fortunate  to attain this present high status in the society !

    Hence, the theme is ,” Practicing the Dharma leads to success in life & vice versa , not Practicing the Dharma nothing works !”. After making Offerings to the Monk, Guruji left the Pagoda.

    Thus, Guruji’s present Journey  is full of thrilling experiences which throw a beam of light and open the Eyes  of those Laymen who are in the dark !

    As narrated above, when the evil friends were reacting  to Guruji with an air of Ego and Jealousy, in that context, I recollected an incidental in the life of Buddha :

    Some one asked Buddha :

    ” I   want Enlightenment ”

    Buddha said :

    ” Remove  that ‘ I ‘( Ego)

    ” Then, remove that ‘ want'( desire)

    ” And you are left with  ‘  Enlightenment ‘ only.

    ” It is within you. Don’t search Elsewhere !”

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Long live our Guruji for upholding Dharma.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan.

     

     

     

  6. Neerajkumar Sumaran says:
    Dear Respected Dhamma Guru,

    Thank you for your wonderful guidance by this article. What I get from this article I want to share here with you permission with due respect.

    Life is a series of choices, choices leads to action, actions carried consequences & action plus is what we call kamma. The result of many of our action affect not only us but others as well.

    The consequences of many of our grandparent’s & our parent’s actions reverberate in our life today. This is to say one generation after another may repeat a pattern of action & suffer or enjoy the inevitable consequences that follow those actions.

    These are the fictitious stories that we allowed & our ego to create in our head. Jealousy & ego can be very destructive. We all have ego & jealousy however, we must learn how to control it. If we let our ego go unchecked, it can cause tremendous loss in our life particularly with partner, negative feeling, such as anger, fear, jealousy are all the children’s of the ego.

    When we become aware of the consequences of our action, we become more aware of our motivation, As we become more aware of our motivation we learn more about our intentions, as we learn more about our intentions a window opens into a deeper level of our inner world.

    To understand all these things, there is a urgent need of a kalyanmitta or Dhamma Guru like you, who played very important role to overcome from these issues. Who guide us on the path & also refer to peers that travel the path along with us & supporting us in the work of awaken.

    A wise man like you Dhamma Guru, knowing the character of instability, as a tree in the midst of sand (Uses every efforts) to change his friends whose mind is unfixed & to bring him back from impurity to virtue (Purity).

    Thank you once again Dhamma Guru.

    Yours,

    Neerajkumar Sumaranji.

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