Oct 8, 2018

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Letter to Disciples No.65: WHEN AVALOKITESHVARA DOES THE FILL-IN EXERCISES (Khi Bổn Tôn làm bài tập thay thế)

Letter to Disciples No.65: WHEN AVALOKITESHVARA DOES THE FILL-IN EXERCISES

When I was young, I preferred to take the Fill-in exercises from literature subject. This kind of exercise is so simple in which you should fill in one word, or one phrase in the blank. For example, I am looking at the picture (or the house, the river or the passenger, etc.). The student can freely utilize their creativity to fill in the blank.

Avalokiteshvara

For us, the Dharma practitioner, although we haven’t done this kind of exercise anymore, we did the similar exercises regularly without recognizing them. It may be the result of your unthoughtfulness so that you did not concentrate on where have your mind been and how it has been working. You kept practicing Dharma like a robot who was programmed without any function of the brain. In the Buddha’s teachings, he made a metaphor that “though the spoon is inside the bowl of soup, it is impossible for it to feel the taste”. You should know that there is a basic difference between two above cases: In the subject of Literature, there is only the student does this Fill-in exercise; in Vajrayana Buddhism, there are three objects who implement the exercises. They are Guru, disciples, and Avalokiteshvara.

Your first exercise is practicing Bodhicitta mind through 16 daily activities instead of “having your head on the nine clouds…”. Instead of investing your time on those lifetime achievements that engage yourself to the activities contrary to Dharma teachings, you should contemplate on the teaching of Dromtonpa that said: “Don’t be bothered by the affairs of this world”. There are many people who are both monks and laymen cannot handle this exercise. There are times they gave up and believe that it is impossible for them to do this hard task, they think that this ignorance will not lead to bad result after all. Gradually, the habit of not doing the exercise has been formed. They concentrated on listening to the lectures, taking notes (or even taking the record in the “seemingly” focus mood). Then they can’t help facing this exercise again in the final examination. Unfortunately, its ratios shall be doubled and occupied ¾ of the test. It is nothing surprising that they will be suffering from a failed grade. For what reasons? Studying is just like a boat taking its counter-current; if it is not moving forward, the only choice is moving backward. Fill-in exercise stands for practicing Dharma in the right track of Dharma, the final exam stands for the period of near-death karma, failed grade stands for lower realms.

You should know that the Guru is also practicing this Fill-in exercise. Among 11 steps practicing Bodhicitta contemplation, the Guru used the practice of “Exchanging ourselves for others with Compassion” to save suffering sentient beings from birth, aging, sickness, and death. It is said that it takes Atisha 12 years to finish learning Bodhicitta in Sutra island (currently Indonesia). At the later life of Dromtonpa, he transformed the sicknesses of all people from a remote village to him. Finally, all of them then recovered their health, and he was seriously ill and passed away. In Dharmakaya, the practitioner does this exercise by “Changing Karma into Mission”. Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death to protest against the persecution of Buddhists. Your Guru cannot do similar things, I just keep practicing right Dharma and praying the blessings from Avalokiteshvara for me and all sentient beings.

Avalokiteshvara, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), Dakini are those who practice this Fill-in exercises the most. You cannot detect that fact because you are not one of three kinds of individuals that are rare to find in this world (Anguttara Nikaya). Padmasambhava once taught in Dakini doctrine that “While you are diligently practicing Dharma, you are facing with sufferings and sicknesses. It means you are purified.”. Then, instead of being under “fierce fire, mourning, eternal punishment” in the hell, you are now just suffering from (1) nightmares (2) sickness (3) accident (4) money loss (5) gossip of right and wrong. Is it much better? Supposing you have committed a sin that should be punished by a death, but you just have to be exiled to a remote area instead. Is it much better? That was the case of Hanshan Zen master. He was exiled to the South of China throughout ten years, changing karma into mission and finally came back to Wade-Giles gloriously. I happened to think of a civil case of Mai Van Huy. He was so happy and kept a cheerful smile even he was sentenced a life imprisonment because it is thought that he would receive a capital punishment.

It is easy to realize that people would be so happy if their sentence can be decreased so that they can keep their lives, even though after serving the sentence, the bright future may not wait for them. Not to mention about Buddhist practitioners, we acknowledge that the sufferings will come first, and it will be even worse for whom in their purification period, but in the end, the ultimate happiness will be there. It is like a person who finishes paying all the loans. By the thorough understanding, we will not be bothered by the Eight Winds.

The substitution for a situation, a problem, an issue named A will be B. B’s value will be equivalent or larger than A’s value for sure, but the Buddhist practitioner cannot realize the difference because he is facing the reality with his mundane eyes and mind. The matter of discrimination lays in the faith in Dharma (practice), in the Scriptures (the role of the Guru, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha), in the right method (the experiences learned from the virtue of many saints before). I would clarify by an example. Assuming that Mat Thang quit his job, how can he afford his daily accommodation? This fill-in exercise will be handled by the Avalokiteshvara as Avalokiteshvara has been being reincarnated into countless hundred million beings for the great vow of saving the sentient beings. Assuming Mat Thang’s daily life will be lessened in spending, but he earns lots of merits indeed, is it much better? Please be noticed that the merits can bring along money (Practicing Dharma makes everything go right); however, money is not able to do the opposite.

Another case that happened recently related to the construction of Nhat Nguyen Lau. Two days ago, I accepted Nien and two other helpers coming here, together with Hien, Thang and Mat Nguyen to work on the construction. If I acquired more people, not only the cost would increase (the main builder costs 250.000VND, the helper costs 150.000VND) but also the work would not be effective as the more redundant people we have, the more ineffective the work will be (as Hien’s experience). At last, I did not refuse Nien because he contacted me many times previously. The last time he made a call is two days ago, he took care with his son who was so sick in Ho Chi Minh city. There were times we did not have enough manpower for the construction. This time, it is excess. And our budget is limited. However, I believe in the arrangement of Avalokiteshvara in every situation in life whether they are in our possible inference or not. Furthermore, Nien’s difficulty is something we cannot act thoughtlessly. I rather see the work getting inefficient than skip his situation as we consider the importance of practicing the first teaching of Paramita.

Suddenly, on Monday morning Tam and two helpers stopped working and never showed up again. In that situation, we have Nien and two other helpers coming. If I was busy worrying about the cost or getting confused by prosperity and decline, how can I handle the lacking of manpower? This is how Avalokiteshvara doing the fill-in exercises. It is the blessing comes from the mind that have faith in right Dharma. Similarly, if you keep practicing Dharma diligently, building your faith on the right Dharma, getting a deeper understanding on Buddha’s teachings, I will always concern about you, even that is your private issues. On the contrary, you must be the one who actively works on the fill-in exercises in order to attain merits grade. Generally, the disciples find it hard to do the exercises as they rarely go to the class for a lecture, or else they listen unintentionally to the lecture like a cracked, or dirty, or breached vase.

A few sharing from me in the hope that all of you will know how to utilize the results of fill-in exercises not only by yourself but also by the help of Guru, Padmasambhava, Avalokiteshvara, Dakini. So that the complex problem of your life will be solved simply and you will achieve a satisfactory result in the Western heavens of Amitabha.

Phuoc Thanh, 16 March 2013.

Thinley Nguyen Thanh.

Translated by Mat Tu


Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 65: KHI BỔN TÔN LÀM BÀI TẬP THAY THẾ

  1. Dr C H Lakshminarayan says:
    Respected Guruji I bow my head at your lotus feet.

    Bodhicitta is as all of us know is one of the important steps in the path of Buddhism to get Enlightenment.

    It is not suffice if we have ‘Aspiration bodhicitta’ but we must put this  into ‘ Action bodhicitta’ as is the saying ‘ do as you say ‘.In this context, Buddha’s  teaching :  “though the spoon is inside the bowl of soup, it is impossible for it to feel the taste.”

    Unless one gets into the Action bodhicitta, ‘ aspiration bodhicitta ‘ is not fruitful. As Dromtopa’ s teaching ” Don’t be bothered by the affairs of the world”  one has to put into practice this aspiration bodhicitta into Action bodhicitta, as in Vajrayana done by Avalokitheshwara, Guru Rinpoochi, disciples and Dakini.

    This is done by the following way :

    * ” Exchange of ourselves for others with compassion”  to save suffering sentient beings from their sufferings.

    * In Dharmakaya, the Practicioner does this excercise by ” Changing  Karma into Mission.”

    Avalokitheshwara, Guru Rinpoochi, and Dakini are those who practice this most.

    ” Nudidanthe Nade,

    Nadedanthe Nudi ”  is the quote from “Basvanna navara vachanagalu “( Hindu Dharma script) which means  say as you do and do as you say.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan.

    (Tantra Nirvadeva)

     

  2. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article, and thank you to Mat Tu for translating it.

    Buddhist practitioners must do Fill-in exercises (practicing Dharma) in the best way we are able to.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum

     

     

  3. Abrar Bhatti says:
    Dear Guru,
    I learned new things in this article. We are common people, most of us feel alone in deep inside. We look such things in our lives that can fill-in these blanks. But we choose the wrong paths, and consider what pleases others and to our senses, indeed we fill-in these blanks with various conceits and prides. We practice Dharma like a programmed software, and continue to suffer. But if we fill-in these blanks with guidance of our Guru, who can help us to understand Dharma, as well we ask Buhhisatvas to protect us and seek their compassion, we can reach to the destination, freeing our mind from delusion, that cause suffering and eventually can born in Pure Land, a land of Bliss.
    Metta,
    Abrar Bhatti
    • Mật Diệu Hằng says:
      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Abrar Bhatti sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con đã học đươc nhiều điều mới trong bài viết  này của Thầy. Chúng con là chúng sanh vô minh, bình thường, hầu hết mọi người trong chúng con đều tự cảm thấy cô đơn, buồn bã trong lòng. Chúng con tìm kiếm những cách thức trong cuộc sống để thoát khỏi sự phiền não này. Nhưng chúng con đã chọn sai con đường, và chúng con nghĩ rằng chúng con làm mọi cách để làm vui lòng người khác, để thỏa mãn các giác quan bằng sự tự mãn, kiêu căng thì chúng con sẽ thoát khỏi đau buồn. Nhưng điều đó là sai lầm.

      Chúng con thực hành pháp một mình như một cái máy, như một phần mềm được lập trình sẳn thì chúng con vẫn tiếp tục chịu khổ đau. Chỉ đến khi chúng con  được thực hành pháp dưới sự hướng dẫn của Thầy, người giúp chúng con hiểu về pháp, thì chúng con mới nhận được bảo vệ và ơn phước của Bổn tôn, được Bổn tôn làm bài tập thay thế thông qua kênh vận chuyển của vị Thầy, nhờ vậy mà chúng con về được đến đích, đoạn trừ vô minh, cái gốc của phiền não và được về Tây Phương cực lạc quốc.

      Con – Abrar Bhatti.

  4. Dear Holy Guru,

    I am happy to read this wonderful article. I highly appreciate your wisdom and compassion to create the pattern for us to practice Dharma daily through the six marvelous practices invented by Guru in order that we get the fill-in exercise made by Avalokiteshvara through your transmission.

    I have learnt that “practicing Dharma makes everything go right”. The importance lies on how to practice Dharma on the right track of the path to liberation. Because only practice Dharma on the right path, practitioners can balance the bad karmas and with the devotion towards Guru, Avalokiteshvara is able to make the fill-in exercises for practitioners to change the serious karmas into small minor mistakes and purify the bad karma. The reason is that practitioners can accumulate countless merit to make everything go right. Developing Bodhichitta is the fastest way to get countess merit, which leads the inner happiness, success in life and social achievement, making the foundation to the temporary happiness this life and ever-lasting bliss next life.

    Thank you so much for your precious lessons.

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

    May Mat Tu get all legitimate wishes and get joyful on the path of enlightenment.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  5. Dear Holy Guru!

    I very happy to read your letter no 65: “When Avalokiteshvara does the fill-in exercises”. I have learned a lot of precious things after reading this article. I would like to express my gratitude for your teaching. I am happy in Mat Tu’s good deed of translation.

    May you and your consort live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May Mat Tu have a good health and make progress on the path to enlightenment.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  6. tantra mahavita says:
    hello
  7. tantra mahavita says:
    I bow my head to the feet of the holy guru … always grateful for his articles, which he shares day by day, in the teaching of the Dharma. As ordinary people, we commit. many mistakes, pride, one of them. But with the wisdom and compassion of our Guru, we realize, and so, we go, changing our misperceptions. Bodhisattva’s aspiration, the exchange of oneself for others, to save all suffering beings in the ocean of samsara. Therefore, deep gratitude, that we can, change our karma. Avalokitesvhara Guru Rinpoche and dakinis, practice like this. May all beings be free from suffering and find the Buddha nature. May our Guru live happy for the benefit of all sentient beings.OM MANI PADME HUM
  8. tantra mahavita says:
    I bow my head to the feet of the holy guru … always grateful for his articles, which he shares day by day, in the teaching of the Dharma. As ordinary people, we commit. many mistakes, pride, one of them. But with the wisdom and compassion of our Guru, we realize, and so, we go, changing our misperceptions. Bodhisattva’s aspiration, the exchange of oneself for others, to save all suffering beings in the ocean of samsara. Therefore, deep gratitude, that we can, change our karma. Avalokitesvhara Guru Rinpoche and dakinis, practice like this. May all beings be free from suffering and find the Buddha nature. May our Guru live happy for the benefit of all sentient beings.OM MANI PADME HUM
  9. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank you for sharing your article and lesson today. Yes we must do fill in exercises that’s for sure May you be well for the sake of all others and May we continue on our path to liberation Om Mani Padme Hum

  10. tantramahadeva says:

    Greetings Holy Guru

    Thank you for this meaningful article. Yes, we need to remind ourselves about the fill in exercise. It’s truly important to remember the imperative need to hold on to dharma during the high tide of life. Remaining equanimous and practicing diligently is the core of the practice.

    Thank you for this gentle reminder. May all beings be happy and at ease.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

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

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con xin được thỉnh an Thầy.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã viết bài viết ý nghĩa này.

      Chúng con nên tự nhắc nhở chúng con về bài tập thay thế mà trân quý cơ hội thực hành pháp. Điều quan trọng nhất là chúng con nhận thức được khi gặp khó khăn trong cuộc sống, chúng con cần thiết phải mạnh mẽ để tiếp tục thực hành pháp. Giữ tâm quân bình và tinh tấn hành pháp trong mọi hoàn cảnh là điều cốt yếu trong việc thực hành pháp.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã nhắc nhở chúng con.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được bình an và hạnh phúc.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

  11. tantraupatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article. This article brings a strong belief in me that “in whatever situation we are, we should have always have faith in our Dharma practice and Avlokiteshwara and Buddha’s. We should not worry about the result, everything will happen in a good way”

    May Guru and his Consort live long for benefit of other beings and get enlightened.

    May Guru’s disciples and other beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  12. Kính Bạch Thầy.

    Pháp đệ  hoan hỷ tán thán thiện hạnh của đạo huynh Mật Từ đã chuyển ngữ bài viết của Thầy sang tiếng Anh, nhằm giúp cho những chúng sanh hữu tình được tiếp cận với ánh sáng chánh pháp của Đức Phật, ngang qua những bài viết trên chanhtuduy.com và được cơ hội thực hành yoga Thanh Trí tại Mật gia song Nguyễn.

    Con cầu  nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô vì hạnh phúc của chúng sanh.

    Cầu mong cho tất cả chúng sanh thức tĩnh với trạng thái giác ngộ.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  13. Mật thúy says:
    Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh của đạo huynh Mật Từ, 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.

  14. Alphonse Kpehonou KOI says:

    Om Mani Padme Hum !
    Dear Guru, let me thank you alot about the hard and important work you
    do for the hole world. I particulary notice that the more I read the
    lessons and pay attention to them, the more I understand what exactly
    i have to do, I mean practice Budha’s common exercices to spiritualy
    grow.
    Long life to Guru !
    May light be !

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Alphonse Kpehonou Koi sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Om Mani Padme Hum

      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì công hạnh và sự nhiệt tâm của Thầy trong lao động giải thoát cao cả này vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả hữu tình trên thế giới.

      Bản thân con nhận thấy rằng con càng tinh tấn và tập trung trong việc đọc bài và viết comment nhiều thì con càng hiểu được chính xác con cần phải làm gì để có được hạnh phúc. Con hiểu được thực hành pháp hàng ngày giúp con tiến bộ trên con đường tâm linh.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài.

      Cầu nguyện ánh sáng chánh pháp lan tỏa khắp muôn nơi.

  15. Pamela Burridge says:
    Dearest Guru

    Again you have brought up a topic that is very important. How can we not Exchange ourselves for others with compassion? I think of the lifetimes of kindness that I have recieved, how can I truly practice the dharma without compassion for my fellow sentient beings.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

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