Nov 10, 2018

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 7 Comments

Letter to Disciples No. 270: EUROPEAN SKY – Part 6: Getting Lost in the Way like Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao but Standing Firm with Bodhicitta (Lạc bước Lưu Nguyễn nhưng vững bước Bồ đề)

Letter to Disciples No. 270: EUROPEAN SKY

Part 6: Getting Lost in the Way like Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao but Standing Firm with Bodhicitta

Dear disciples!

– We’ve arrived, sir!

The road leading to the area

The voice seemed to pull me out of my dream. Getting down from the car, still that floating feeling lingering in me. After 45km driving from Riga, I arrived at a small street named E which locates in a segregated area. Both sides of the road leading to this area were grown with birch trees surrounded by vivid green paddy fields. Here and there, European-styled houses stood delicately like countryside flowers. They evoked pleasant memories of European costume drama I’ve seen with usual scenes such as a prince getting lost in the wood, a princess captured in an isolate area by a poltergeist, or jolly weeny dwarves with naïve look. Just like the movie, this place was so isolated that it’s hard to find people who were walking or doing farming works.

Resembles Song Nguyen Tantra House?

Catching glimpse of houses far away

Yes, that’s the beauty of the wild and lonely suburb of Riga, a heartrending beauty but without human warmth. I seemed to be like Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao (劉晨, 阮肇) who entered the Tientai mountain and met a beautiful girl. Her beauty and heart-wrenching natural scenery made them forget about returning home. However, one day they started feeling homesick and decided to come back to their homeland. This is not my case. The beauty of nature though dazzling like the summer rainbow is merely an ephemeral illusion; with wrong view though how many people there are has no good affinity for meeting. That’s why I simply dwelled happily in the present moment. Nonetheless, I started to remember my disciples in Song Nguyen Tantra House who stood by me through hard times until we’ve attained miraculous achievements today. I remembered my cats who loved to follow me around, among whom Mat Hum (name of a cat) sat on a chair next to me when I was writing articles. But unlike Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao whose emotions derived from worldly attachment, mine came from the aspiration on leading them on the path of ultimate liberation.

Row of oak trees

-Look at the row of oak trees, sir!

Mr. Vu

Vu lightly touched my shoulder, pulling me back to the reality. “Wow, is that oak tree?” Remember the time when I was learning Russian, the “Winter Oak Tree” by Paustovsky had painted wonderful literary colors on the oak tree, making a student like me desire to see with my own eyes. Now all I see was a naked tree line along roadway manifesting the impermanence through the natural circle of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. In fact, without understanding four aspects in Buddhism, including (1) Dharma has no self, (2) Mind is impermanent, (3) Body is impure, and (4) Feelings are suffering, one easily feels sad or distressed while that phenomenon is the obvious law of nature. So let nature take its course! Do not consider things as failures! It’s just the matter of opportunity, moment and situation.

Naked oak trees

Impermanence

Shiny road surface

Dear disciples!

Green street lawns

Different house roofs

The road leading to E street is really scenic. European styled houses with multi-colored roofing materials stand on the two sides of the road; the road surface is shiny as if it was just covered in asphalt; rows of trees, grass lawns and especially yellow leaves falling on the ground – all have painted a colorful and tranquil picture. From here I saw a teacher who was guiding the kids to practice gardening skills on the grass playground area. Learning to be resilient and self-reliant is important to be taught when a child is at young age so that it can develop as they grow older. That’s what we should learn from the European culture. This comes from the fact that many young people in Vietnam today are still relying on their parents though they are in their 30s. I saw my disciple, Mat Hue Phap, who was sweeping the garden yard while her daughter, Mat Minh Anh, just stood there watching. So how can she teach her child to stand on their own feet in the future?

Children doing gardening

Grass playground

Yellow leaves rustling in the wind

Apartment buildings

In this street, apart from houses, there are small apartments may be for just married couples. In Latvia or the whole Europe or America, I guest, men or women are expected to leave their parents’ house after getting married and buy their own house. To some extent, this is good for them to live independently, avoiding potential family conflicts like the cases of three disciples in Song Nguyen Tantra House faced with recently. But to another extent, this may leave a consequence. When the couple grows older, at a certain age, they cannot take care of themselves. Watching the elders walking slowly and heavily on the path or sitting on the wheelchair staring into space recalling memories of effervescent youth, I couldn’t help but fret with lives tossed in the waves of birth, aging, sickness and death. One day, their children will become parents and then grandparents and again, they will fall in the swirl of rebirth like their parents before. An endless cycle through deluded lives! Right in the very heart of splendid Paris, I saw small tents of homeless people, majorly the elderly, scattered on grass lawns. In Riga, I met and gave money to three street beggars who earn money by playing music, doing make-up or just sitting with a dog. This scene touched my heart but also evoked a pride in me as in Song Nguyen Tantra House, though we don’t share the blood bond relation, there is a wonderful relationship bond among us while outside there, still many people are poorly treated by their family members. This is a difference between Samsara relatives and Bodhi relatives!

Row of houses in the suburb of Riga

Greenhouse with external white shading

Fence

Then I came to think that if they learn Thanh Tri Yoga (Pure Mind Yoga), such suffering will become conditions to accumulate merit. As they understand that eight sufferings come from deluded mind, they will transform them into conditions for practicing Dharma. Eight sufferings include birth, aging, sickness, death, being separated from the loved ones, not realizing aspirations, suffering from the raging of the five skandhas, and encountering the objects of hate. As they realize that the eight worldly winds (Gain-Loss, Fame-Disrepute, Praise-Blame, Pleasure-Pain) will yoke people to samsara, they are worth nothing to be concerned, aren’t they?

Byway

Road

Street lamp

Dear disciples!

Looking from above where Vu introduced the house

I “lost in my way” but I dwelled happily in the present moment, realizing the true nature of objects and phenomena. I met many people in my journey and wished to meet them again but in a totally different relationship – it is between Guru and disciple. Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao returning to their homeland is likened to a practitioner who has entered the gate of holy Dharma but returned to the life of a householder. They had no chance to come back to Tientai mountain and died of old age for losing the assistance of deva’s magical power. I could not lose mindfulness from  worldly emotions and attachment like them but contrarily, see them as Dharma lessons: “Enjoy worldly pleasures without attachment. Surrounded by five poisons but being not lured by them” or like the motto of Song Nguyen Tantra House: “Enjoy worldly pleasures but don’t be lost in pleasures. Renounce worldly life inwardly but not outwardly.”

I ended the article with a quote from Master Padmashambhava: “You may have entered the Mahayana path but you are not a Dharma practitioner if you don’t try to benefit sentient beings. You may act for the welfare of beings but you are not a Dharma practitioner if your deepest aims are not embraced by Bodhicitta. You may have understood the view but you are not a Dharma practitioner if you don’t heed the ripening of karma” (from Advice from the Lotus-born: A Collection of Padmasambhava’s advice, page 164).

May all sentient beings be relieved from sufferings and pains.

Om ah hum phat!

 

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van mountain

November 8, 2018

Thinley- Nguyen Thanh

Translated by Mat Hue Phap


Vietnamese version: Bài 6: Lạc bước Lưu Nguyễn nhưng vững bước Bồ đề

  1. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    I am happy reading about your travels in Europe, and I hope I can visit Europe myself one day.

    Also thank you for including photos. I like the appearance of the European buildings.

    Thank you so much for guiding us on the Path to Enlightenment.

    May Guru, Guru’s consort and Guru’s disciples be free from suffering and become enlightened.

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and become enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

    • Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)  sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này. 

      Con hoan hỷ được đọc những trải nghiệm của Thầy trong chuyến đi châu Âu lần này. Con mong ngày nào đó con có dịp đến Châu Âu vì nhìn những bức ảnh trong bài đẹp quá. Con thích những tòa nhà kiến trúc châu Âu. 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã hướng dẫn chúng con bước đi trên hành trình giác ngộ. 

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô thân tâm an tịnh. 

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ phiền não và đạt được giác ngộ. 

      Om Mani Padme Hum. 

      Con – Tantra Sogavana (Ahmed Khan) 

  2. Dear holy Guru!

    How beautiful the article is! I feel like being in the “heaven” of natural beauty you describe with the poetic writing. I seems to touch the yellow leaves, and  see the colorful rainbow. But your warning makes me awaken at present. I learnt that I should enjoy the life but should focus on every moment at present and never get lost in the past or think so much about future.

    In this article, I have learnt the precious lesson about the impermanence in life. The samsaric relatives leads nothing but the suffering in the circle of existence. It is not by chance Gyelsay Togmay Zangpo wrote on 37 practices of a Bodhisattva that “You will separate from long-time friends and relatives; you will leave behind the wealth you worked to build up; the guest, your consciousness, will move from the inn, your body. Forget the conventional concerns — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.” Only the bodhi-relatives can brings me the happiness this life and the ever-lasting bliss next life under the Guru’s guidance.

    I would like to thank you for your firm step of Bodhicitta to guide us on the path to enlightenment. Thanks to your bodhicitta, many beings have a good chance to practice or do an intership Pure Mind yoga for the inner happiness, success in life and social achievement this life and ever-lasting happiness next life in Pure Land.

    May you and your consort have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  3. Tantra Kasila(Vivek S) says:
    Dear holy Guru

    It’s very nice that you are giving lessons through a travelogue.Actually our life is a journey.Though we think it is a very long journey it’s infact very small.An average human being live here may be some 3 lakh seconds.When we consider this whole universe our life span is nothing more than a drop in ocean.Once we realise this it will automatically kill our ego.Self realizareal is the first thing that one needs to lead to the path of knowledge and wisdom.Nothing stays permanent.That is cosmic law.

    May the Guru live long and all sentinel beings have the peacefulness and calmness achieved by Buddha.

  4. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh của huynh Mật Huệ Pháp cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì cầu mông tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hum.

  5. tantra mahavita says:
    Dear Saint GURU. Thank you very much for sharing your trip. Help your disciples to have the correct vision. To our mundane attachment, to see the Dharma, in the ephemeral life, and to be in the present moment. Remembering the absence of self and the impurity of the body. And putting into practice the 37 practices of the Bodhisattvas Caring for our deceiving mind moment by moment resting in consciousness. I would like to thank you for your Bodhichita to guide us on the path to enlightenment. Your Bodhichitta many beings have the opportunity to practice the yoga of the pure mind for inner happiness and eternal happiness in the Pure Land. May our Guru have a long and happy life for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings find the happiness of the Buddha nature. OM MANI PADME HUM
    • Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mahavita sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý! 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã chia sẻ cho chúng con những trải nghiệm của Thầy trong chuyến đi này để giúp chúng con có được chánh kiến. Đó là giữa những dính mắc thế sự trong kiếp sống phù du này, Thầy dạy chúng con chánh kiến để nhìnthấy Pháp và học cách an trú lạc pháp. Thầy dạy cho chúng con hiểu không có cái gì là của chúng con,  kể cả tấm thân tứ đại bất tịnh này cũng theo luật vô thường. Chúng con nên làm theo những điều được khuyến cáo trong 37 pháp hành Bồ tát đạo. Hãy quán xét tâm ta đang ở trạng thái nào và sống an trú trong thực tại và tỉnh thức. 

      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì Thầy đã bồ đề tâm hướng dẫn,  chỉ dạy chúng con bước đi trên hành trình giác ngộ. 

      Nhờ tâm bồ đề của Thầy mà nhiều hữu tình có được cơ hội thực hành,  diễn tập yoga Thanh Trí để có được hạnh phúc tự tâm và và hạnh phúc chân thật nơi Tịnh độ. 

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

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

      Om Mani Padme Hum. 

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