Oct 13, 2018

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 12 Comments

Letter to Disciples No.76: THAT EARLY SPRING FEELING (Cảm tác đầu xuân)

Letter to Disciples No.76: THAT EARLY SPRING FEELING

 

Dear disciples,

Dau Chan Phat Pond (Buddha’s Foot-shaped Pond)

The spring had just begun but waves of cold air kept flowing from the mountainous Phuoc Thanh Village to Song Nguyen Tantra House. On the first morning of the Lunar New Year, I went down to feed the fish in Dau Chan Phat Pond (Buddha’s Foot-shaped Pond). The garden was still faintly redolent of the epiphyllum flower (or Hoa Quỳnh as they called in Vietnam) that my disciples, Mat Nga and Mat Mai, offered two days before. The fish wiggled and wiggled like jolly kids gamboling in the water, seemingly feel this special atmosphere. Dozens of baby softshell turtles were lying flat on the pond’s wall, being fully relaxed. Those two old turtles had already come out of their shell calmly waiting for my feeding, then slowly chewing their simple breakfast.

"nhụy sen” là cành sứ vươn cao với chùm hoa trắng tinh tươm ngày Tết

The “lotus flower stamen” is bunches of purely white flowers that branched out from the central stem of plumeria tree

Having watched the pond for many times but this time, I saw a “lotus flower” blooming with its “stamen” being bunches of purely white flowers that branched out from the central stem of plumeria tree. With an astonishing purity and a certain elegance, these flowers were like “lotus seeds” of immaculate white holding on the stamen that decorated the beauty of the pond, bringing it a new fresh look that was far different from usual.

The lotus rises through the murky waters of pond, yet when it blooms and floats on the surface, it remains “untainted by the smelly mud”. Then will the “lotus flower” of this pond produce fragrance? In fact, Dau Chan Phat Pond has the symbolic meaning thus its “lotus flower” has no scent or taste at all. We just can feel it, smell it by our Dharma mind. Buddhist sutra once said:

“The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind

But the Dharma scent of Buddhist practitioners pervades every place”

These flowers were like “lotus seeds” of immaculate white holding on the stamen that decorated the beauty of the pond, bringing it a new fresh look far different from usual.

So what does this “Dharma scent” smell like? None! “Dharma scent” is not something “tangible” because “in emptiness, there is no form, sound, scent, taste, touch and mind-object” (Heart Sutra). Contrarily, it is the sense of “naturalness” thus it “pervades every place”. Should we doubt the Buddha’s teaching? Absolutely not! What we have perceived is just a “leaf” among the “forest” of the Buddha’s teachings that remain beyond our knowledge.

Lotus Flower Estrade at present

The “Dharma scent” given off “naturally” by the “Buddhist practitioner”, as listed by the Buddha, includes the scents of “Precept”, “Concentration”, “Wisdom”, “Liberation” and “Knowledge of Liberation”. These scents are “formless”, “non-fragrant” and “scentless” but anyone can feel it since they absorb the blessings from “the buddhas of the Past, Present and Future by relying on Prajna Paramita have attained supreme enlightenment”. They naturally have the power of “convening the pure power”, “getting respect from others”, “conquering”, “increasing life longevity, health and material achievement” and “reducing afflictions”.

Is it possible for a person to smell “Precept scent”, “Concentration scent”… by nose? But this morning, while admiring the scent of beautiful flowers around the pond, I could feel the “Dharma scent”. Interestingly enough, the practitioner not only feels something externally but also majorly self-reflect, then he can understand that “Existence or Absolute Reality” is already included in “Emptiness”!

Colorful flower shrubs abloom with new charm

Drifting their scent with the wind far and wide

 

Nonetheless, “Dharma is Life, Life is not separated from Dharma” (12thGyalwang Drukpa), we should not overlook the reality but take it as a chance to practice Dharma. I was filled with joy to see Song Nguyen Tantra House, for the first time after eight years of establishment, be gorgeously decorated and surrounded with flowers this Tet. Two days ago, Mat Vien, Mat Tu and I grew shrubs of flowers above and under Nhat Nguyet Lau (Sun-Moon Roundhouse). Mat Nga, Mat Mai, Mat Tu and I selected flowers grown in the garden and those bought from the market to create spectacular touches in the garden. Sitting in Nhat Nguyet Lau, enjoying the taste of tea in porcelain cups, admiring greenery and colorful shrubs of flowers out in the front yard and around the Dau Chan Phat Pond, gave us a springtime feel.

We could not set up an orchid garden or beautiful flower garden like other pagodas or monasteries did but this is blessing that our Yidam, Guru and Dakini bestowed on us. Here is my advice to you, my disciples! Let regularly feel blessed by the Yidam through the transmission channel of the Guru with “the field of devotion”. Let feel and enjoy but not attach or cling to the two extremes. This early spring feeling I’d love to share with you:

Song Nguyen Tantra House shows its new look

But the heart of devotion remains unchanged

New-Old, Nice-Bad, thoughts may delude

Keep in mind one word “CONTENTMENT”

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

Phuoc Thanh, 1stday of Lunar New Year 2014

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH

Translated by Mat Hue Phap


Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 76: CẢM TÁC ĐẦU XUÂN

  1. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this letter, and I also want to thank Mat Hue Phap for translating it.

    It is nice to read about the descriptions of the beautiful pond and garden.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana

     

    • Mật Diệu Hằng says:
      Kính bạch Thầy!

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

      Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này. Cảm ơn đạo huynh Mật Huệ Pháp đã dịch bài viết này sang tiếng Anh.

      Thật tuyệt vời khi được đọc những đoạn miêu tả sinh động về hồ Dấu Chân Phật và khu vườn xinh đẹp.

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

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con – Tantra Sagovana.

  2. Dr. C H Lakshmi narayan. says:

    Respected Guruji I bow my head at your lotus feet.

    When the spring season dawns  ordinary and common people  rejoice by smelling the fragrant smell of various types of blossoming flowers.!

    Only Dharma Practicioners can feel the smell of ” Dharma scent ” though they don’t have any special sensor receptors other than common man but for their  Spiritual power of sensing.!

    Yes, “Let feel and enjoy, but not attach or clinging to the two extremes” is the important point to grasp and follow in this article.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan

    (Nirvadeva),

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Nirvadeva ( C H Lakshminarayan) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con xin cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân sen của Thầy.

      Khi mùa xuân đến, mọi người thường hân hoan chào đón mùa xuân và hân thưởng hương thơm của nhiều loài hoa đang nở rộ dịp xuân về.

      Chỉ có hành giả Phật giáo mới cảm nhận được hương đạo người tu mà người thường không thể có được. Hương đạo đó tỏa ra từ đạo hạnh và đạo lực tâm linh.

      Chúng con tuân theo lời Thầy” hãy cảm thụ, hưởng thụ nhưng không rơi vào lạc thụ bất cập hoặc thái quá”. Đó chính là điều quan trọng con học được từ bài viết này.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con – C H Lakshminarayan.

      (Tantra Nirvadeva)

  3. Dear Holy Guru!

    I deeply rejoice to read your letter No. 76: “That early spring feeling”. After reading this article, I understood more about the “Dharma scent”, it includes the scents of “Precept”, “Concentration”, “Wisdom”, “Liberation” and “Knowledge of Liberation”. I would like to express my gratitude for your teaching. I am happy in Mat Hue Phap’s good deed of translation.

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

    May Mat Hue Phap 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.

  4. Tantra Amishuta says:
    Om Mani Padme Hum May you be well for the sake of others May we continue our journy to enlightenment. Thank you Dear Holy Guru for this article as well as the other lessons you have given us.
  5. tantra mahavita says:
    Respected Guru … I bow my head to my feet … thank you very much for sharing, this beautiful article from the beginning of spring … I understood more about the smell of the Dharma … which includes … Precepts … Concentration … Wisdom … and Knowledge of Liberation … Deep Gratitude for your wonderful teachings … May our Beloved Guru live a long life happy for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all beings find happiness of the nature of Buddha ..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 xin cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân Thầy.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này, một cảm tác tuyệt vời đầu xuân.

      Con hiểu rằng hương đạo pháp gồm có giới hương, định hương, huệ hương, giải thoát hương,  giải thoát tri kiến hương.

      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những lời dạy tuyệt vời này.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy tôn quý thân tâm an tịnh, trụ thế lâu dài 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.

  6. วรรณภา Pugsley says:
    Thank you all, beautiful descriptive words.
  7. tantraupatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    I rejoice in the beauty of Song Nguyen Tantra House by reading this article and it makes me feel I am missing Guru and Tantra House a lot. Seeing the fishes and softshell turtles in the lotus feet pond it makes me feel as these creatures were your disciples in previous birth and they rejoice in happiness seeing our Guru.

    Lotus flowers in Tantra House gives sweet fragrance to surroundings but they cannot travel in opposite directions of wind. But as explained by Guru Dharma teachings and wisdom can travel in any direction of the world.

    May Guru and his consort live long and protected and get enlightened.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  8. Mật thúy says:
    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.

  9. Tantra Sutradaka says:
    Revered Gurujee

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    I bow before the kind compassionate and pious personality of our Gurujee

         These days I am in Delhi along with my wife staying with my son in law and daughter. We have come here for the dental checkup of my wife. Since my daughter is a dental surgeon, we both are here. In the morning we, except my wife, go for a morning walk in a nearby park where very many people come for the same purpose. The park becomes lively in the morning with the influx of the morning walkers and becomes very vibrant. The entire scenario becomes very soothing and pleasant even in the dean and bustle of very many people for five simple reasons. 1. The fragrance of the flower and trees. 2. By doing meditation by 10–20 people collectively at one part of the park. 3. By performing collective yoga exercise by a few people. 4. The chirping of the birds, and 5. By running, jogging, skipping and walking fast in the park. And thus create bio- diversity, a small replica, of our our mother earth. It not only the story of the park where go for walk, but also of all the places wherein such diversities co-exist as a harmonious whole.  I found such rather better harmony in Song Nguyen Tantra House at Phuoc Thanh village wherein the spiritual vibration provides perfection and sublimates the situation. The basic thing is that I become so emotional that I crave to come here again. I too want to visit my Guru’s place the Song Nguyen Tantra House again and again. I retain these memories of Vietnam and the the places I visited there all the time like a nice fragrance. Where ever I go it comes with me. I am still attached to Gurujee, my Dhamma friends and Vietnam because of the sweet memories, pious interactions and friendly behaviour of the people I met there irrespective of caste creed and ethnicity. These are the fragrance that I am carrying with me thousands of Km. against the wind and waive of the earth and ocean. And when I narrate these to others this fragrance spreads in the air of India.

    My mother-in-law too has come to Delhi to stay with her son’s family, as she is emotionally close to her grand- son and daughter-in-law. My wife’s younger brother / her son is expected to come in the Dussahra festival, she thought it proper to come to Delhi from Kolkata. In fact the sweet memories of the kith and kens and emotions attach to them travels with a person, that often pulls one in the past often takes one to the future in imagination and expectations. It happens only because of the fragrance of the good behaviour and and sublime thoughts that sticks to the people where ever one goes. It does not stick to one time and space it transcends these. In the same way we always remember the warmth of emotion, kindness, friendliness and compassion of the Buddha that is keeping us glued to Him and his teachings.

    Ones I happened to visit the house of one of my father-in-law’s friend’s house. He is a retired Judge of Patna High court. He is a religious man and regularly engaged in religious and social activities. Several times he has helped me in distress and so with others even to the unknown people. He has become popular not only in India but also abroad particularly in Nepal for his pious thoughts but also for his social reforms and helping attitude. His presence generates serine joy among all the people who are present there. And thus the fragrance of his sublime quality has spread in India and abroad, where ever he has gone.

     Once I had been to his house and found him very delighted. I asked about the reason of it. He spontaneously said, in my pond a lotus has bloomed. Curiously we went to see there and found two blooming lotus. It was pure from within having a sublime elegance and mind capturing beauty. These were nice to look at. He narrated very many qualities of the lotus flower. I shall narrate only one here. He said, lotus grows in and from mud and water but is quite unaffected of it. He poured some water on its petals but it could not stay there and the petals remain dry.In the same way a nice and pious people remain detached and unaffected of the evils of the  society and the people with whom they are surrounded. This reminded me a verse of the Dhammapada wherein it is said the person who is like a lotus who is not attached to the hatred, anger, ego, passion and discursive reasoning. He is the Brahmin and he is the noble person. And the name and fame of such persons are the fragrance of his nobility, thought and practice, that travel in all the directions.

     In the month of October Guru shared this lesson to me through my friend when I was at my daughter’s house in Delhi along with my wife in connection with her treatment. There It was a pleasant surprise for me as for last a few days I too was thinking on this line.   While giving a cursory glance on the Dhammapada once I came across two verses and I was struggling to understand it properly. I wrote almost half of the comment, but in the mean time I have to run to Lakhnau for attending a seminar, leaving my wife in my daughter’s house.  I came back to Biharsharif after attending it. After a few days I again received an invitation from an institution of Banaras Hindu University in connection with delivering lectures on Buddha and Buddhism and the modern problems with which humankind is struggling round the globe. Though I am not at all competent to deliver lecturers on such a grave topics, since I am a learner of Pure mind Buddhism and read several lessons shared by the Guru and sent by my friend, it helped me a lot to ponder over the problem in hand and seek the solution from the Buddhist text and tradition. Secondly my personal talk with my Guru in the foreign land and his popularity all over the world made a path way for me to solve this riddle.  I came back from there after finishing my task. But this hectic journey told upon my health adversely. I was having cough and cold. Thereafter, the famous festival of Deepawali came. I came to Patna house. My wife too came. We celebrated this festival together. There I received reminder of my friend to complete the half written comment. This reminder compelled my mind to be active for arriving at the completion of the comment. Though the regular activity of my mind related to this peculiar problem, generated by the lesson No. 76 kept me engaged even in my journeys. I came back to Biharsharif and resumed my job, but my health was not in order. I came to Daltongunj again yesterday morning. But my mind was searching the explanation of the riddle of lesson No. 76. I kept on pondering on the problem till late in the night because for me truth has to be explored within till the last breath. Truth is a riddle but still to be explored as man being inquisitive, for anyone knowing the ultimate truth makes one complete. The riddle creates inner conflict or identity crisis which could only be resolved within the inner-self. So long truth is not unveiled one faces existential crisis from within. So was with me. I was feeling sleepy and mentally tired. In the mean time I received a few massages from my friends of face book, “Good Night, Sweet Dream”. Adhering to their advice I went to sleep but consciously or unconsciously my mind was struggling with the problem in hand, very stealthily.

       The thing bizarre happened with me. In the night I found Ananda practicing Vipassana . His mind went to the flowers and started thinking about its sweet and pleasant fragrance that were mind freshening and generating  joyous and elevating sensation in his entire mind and body too. He was wonder stacked to find that these are coming through the direction of the blowing wind. The question emerged in his inquisitive brain that this fragrance should spread in all over the direction not in one only. Why are these fragrances not going against the flow of the air? He further thought that the Buddha, his Guru, has informed about three types of smell 1, odour of the root, 2, fragrance of the essence and seeds as well as 3, aroma of the flower. But all the three do not travel against the wind. Pondering over this problem he approached the Sasta, the Buddha, who was staying at Jetavana, Sravasti.  

      The Buddha was a clairvoyant. He could foresee Ananda’s perplexed mind and his question. Smilingly He replied, “Ananda, besides these three types of smell there is another odour too which spreads in all the directions, even against the blowing of the air, and that is fragrance of the virtue (Seela Gandh). He further added, the person who takes refuse in the Triple Jem i. e. Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha and inculcates Five precepts, abstinence from killing, abstinence from theft, abstinence from sexual activities, abstinence telling lies, abstinence from taking intoxications, in his life and performs pious acts or works as well purged of all sorts of ill habits and is free from mental defilements, his popularity and aroma of his spiritual and moral qualities spreads in all the directions, across the country, here and hereafter, even when he is a householder. The person, who is contented from within, helps the poor people with his wealth without pride, prejudice and expectations is praised by gods even. The sweet aroma of such persons travels in all directions even against the wind. The person who is firm in virtue (Sila), sound in meditation (Samadhi), and endowed with wisdom (Panna), he commands respect all over the world by all. The fragrance of such persons moves through the wind and against the flow of the wind. In the same way the pure scent of the Buddha, Pcceka Buddha, Arhat, pure monks and perfect Guru who have gone to the higher realm of morality, meditation and wisdom travel all over the world even in the other superior or inferior Lokas. This clearly indicates that the reputation of the virtuous persons, a person who is endowed with transcendental wisdom, meditative serenity and firm in virtue, travels in all the directions even against the wind’s direction.

       I was happy from within because my riddle was solved, I am thankful to our guru that he has spotlight on this vital issue and drawn our attention that the virtue, knowledge and meditation born serenity command respect from all as its fragrance is the sweetest and approaches to all the persons irrespective clan, caste, creed, colour, state or religion. No fragrance can be compared with it. Buddha in the last had rightly said that the scent of flower or sandal wood does not travel in the opposite direction of the wind but the reputation based aroma of a virtuous person travel in all direction.

       My riddle was solved, the tension of deciphering the real meaning and the import of the lesson was released and I was happy from within. The outburst of the inner joy resulted in clapping and laughter. Suddenly someone shook my body vigorously. I opened my eyes and found it is my wife, who smilingly enquired of, have you seen any sweet dream that made you happy from within? I spoke nothing, smiling I entered into the Bathroom and returned to the mundane existence.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    May all sentient beings be happy. Long live our Guru along with his consort.

    Reverently yours

    Tantrasutradaka

    (Avinash Kumar Srivastava)

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