Jun 17, 2021

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 15 Comments

Letter from the USA: LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Ánh sáng cuối đường hầm)

I want to begin by paying my respect and giving honor to his holiness Gautama Buddha. I also want to give honor and respect to the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Especially, I would like to give honor and respect and my deepest appreciation to his holiness Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh, director of Thanh Tri Institute for Psychology and Yoga Applications. Finally, I would like to thank Dharma Friend, Violet Tran for her sharing.

Robert Clayton Jr

I live in a rural area in South Central Kentucky in the United States.  In case you are not familiar with the area, I will just say that Buddhist are difficult to find in these parts. I did not find Buddhism and Buddha’s Dharma by chance. I once was tempted to think so, but I have had the benefit and insight of having done a couple in-depth spiritual biographies in the past 5 years.  I will not give a detailed account of how I arrived at the path Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha point to. However, I will give enough to shed light on the treasure Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh as given the world.

I was raised in a very authoritarian atheist family. At no time in my childhood was religion, spirituality or any related topics discussed.  Of course, no person or family can escape the dominate religion of their region.  So, on the occasion the topic of religion, God, spirit, soul, after-death, etc. did come up, it was quickly squashed by my father who said all that stuff was nonsense and that when you are dead, you are dead, period.  As a result, I did not give any thought to a soul, karma, or the nature of self. That was until I was 8 and got extremely ill with pneumonia. I was so sick that the doctors did not expect me to recover and was having family come to the hospital to say their goodbyes. I was unconscious by this point.

Needless to say, I did survive, and I did recover. But I also had an experience that I could not quite understand or grasp. In short, I “saw” the natural flow of existence. I “saw” the connection between and among all things. I “experienced” a oneness and a divine consciousness or awareness that was bigger than I.

This was the event that started my personal journey, my personal seeking, of things spiritual.  I was young and I needed to understand what I experienced. My family was no help. Through their ridicule and scorn of what I tried to describe and of my sudden interest in the bigger meaning of life, they put me on a solo, private journey.  My late grandmother was a devout Christian and was the one sympathetic ear in my family. She provided me with an easy-to-read Christian bible, which I hid and read late at night.  It was fascinating to say the least. But it really did not quite address or sit well with what I had felt and experienced in my illness.

I was a bookworm as a child and spent a great deal of time in the school library. I began to look at books in the religious studies section.  Being this was the USA; Christianity was the dominate topic. However, I did run across a small book on Buddhism.  I do not remember the name of it, just that it was very short book. It gave a short history of the life of Gautama Buddha and a short summary of his teaching including the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Noble Path, the Wheel of Samsara, Dependent Origination, and other basic teachings without a lot of explanation.  This, I remember, resonated with me, and excited me.  I really wanted to learn more, but I hit a brick wall due to lack of information and teachers. This was the 1970’s after all and things were vastly different for a small boy in a small town back then than they are today.

Robert Clayton Jr. with his family

Life went on. My interests and energies went to other things as is normal for a young boy growing up. But I never lost this “knowing” in the core of my being that we (everyone and everything) are connected and that there is more to life and existence than what we are experiencing in our daily life. I also never forgot the Buddhist Dharma I had read as a child.

My spiritual biography has many twists and turns. I will just jump to two years ago when I found myself a member of a local Christian church and going through what may be the worst string of losses and sufferings I have ever experienced. I became completely dismayed with attempting to deal with my situation by praying to, and trying to turn over my troubles over to, some external “God” figure in some mystical “heaven.”  I am not trying to be negative towards anyone’s beliefs. I am simply stating that it was not working for me. It provided no answers and no escape.

At some point I remembered the benefits I once enjoyed from meditation. I began meditating daily and during one of my mediations I remembered the Buddha’s teachings I had read.  It was now 2019 and information was readily available. I began to research Buddha and Buddhism. I read “The heart of Buddha’s teachings” and the English translation of the Dhammapada and some of the English translations of the Pali Canon. I subscribed to a couple English Buddhist journals.  I read, I studied, I contemplated, I meditated, and I found the source of my suffering and the way to end it for each of the situations I was facing and had gone through.  I saw the answer was within.  In some cases, the suffering was brought on by my expectations. Other cases, it was in my clinging to people, places, and moments in time. And, of course, in many cases, the suffering came from desire for permanence in non-permanent people, things and times.  Each time I was able to dig deep into the internal source of my suffering for each matter, I was able to change my view and put an end to my suffering.  As a simple example, and to steal a line from Dr Suess, sometimes it was as simple as changing my view from being sad something was over to being happy that it happened.

I, personally and privately, took refuge in the three jewels.  However, while I now had information that was not available in the 1970’s, I still had no teacher. I had no practical ways to practice my faith. In some ways Buddha’s teachings are simple and straight forward, but there is a reason Buddha taught the need for a Sangha.

My prayers were answered one day online. I met a wonderful spirit by the name of Violet Tran from Vietnam. She invited me to join an online class on Vajrayana Buddhism and the six-spiritual practiced as taught by the holy Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh.  This course has been a lifeline and a magnificent blessing.

My heart was filled with joy each time the class met.  I could see a large numbers of students from all over the globe, especially in English speaking countries.  The pandemic was going on worldwide. Seeing all these people wanting to learn the path of enlightenment that leads to liberation was heartwarming.

The course itself was also a lifeline to someone who had become serious about wanting to achieve his Buddha nature and help others do the same.  Instead of just studying, contemplating, meditating, and trying to be mindful in my daily life, I learned steps I could use to turn my entire day, my entire life into a spiritual activity.

Through these classes I have learned ways to turn everyday activities such as walking, opening a door, eating, getting dressed, sitting down and every other activity into a spiritual activity, into Dharma. I have teachings by our Guru available any time day or night on his site chantuduy.com. I have his one mantra, one life teaching of the Lotus Walking Dharani and the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. The list goes on.  These are very real, very practical methods all sentient beings can put into practice to achieve merit and wisdom and, most importantly, enlightenment.

Robert Clayton Jr is sharing his OneOutCards story in a sales trainining in Nashville Tennessee

I am aware of the importance of Bodhicitta and the method to develop Bodhicitta along with daily life. The methods by Guru are so simple and easy to practice, which helps us to live a peaceful life. Master Santideva said: “in comparison with other merits, anything done with Bodhicitta is like a bodhi seed that becomes the large forest with plentiful harvest year after year, not just as limited as a banana tree which can only bring forth fruit once in its lifetime, whereas anything good done with Bodhicitta is limitless.” And The Guru Rinpoche said: “If Yogi does not practice Bodhicitta, the Buddhist practitioner will go into the lower path. Those who do not accumulate enough merit and wisdom cannot have a good chance to practice Bodhicitta” (Dakini’s  teachings, chapter: Bodhicitta)

It is Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh who helps an ordinary person like me to have a good chance to practice Bodhicitta for myself and others. And it is Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh who brings me the Great Path by learning and practicing Bodhicitta through Meditation on Bodhicitta, Lotus Walking Darani, Read and Comment on chanhtuduy.com. I am grateful to have such a good chance to learn about Guru’s spiritual methods and I pay respect to Guru for what he has been doing for the sake of all sentient beings.

I recite the five remembrances each day. As the fifth remembrance says, our actions are our only true belongings. I have read about our Guru’s extensive travels throughout his time as a teacher. I am grateful that our Guru was wise to see the benefits of the internet in reaching people on an even larger scale, reaching people around the globe. The Holy Guru Thanh’s actions in sharing these six spiritual practices have reverberated throughout his school, throughout his country, and now, throughout the globe and I am absolutely sure they will reverberate throughout time as well.

May Guru have good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Guru and cats

May all sentient beings be peaceful and live with ease. May all sentient beings be happy. May all sentient beings be healthy. May all sentient beings awaken to the nature of their true being. May all sentient beings be free.

Honor and glory to his holiness Gautama Buddha! Honor and glory to the Three Jewels! Especially, Honor and glory to his holiness Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh! Be happy with all good deeds of all Dharma friends and all sentient beings everywhere!

May the covid 19 pandemic end soon.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Robert Clayton Jr.

Kentucky in the United States on 15th June 2021.

  1. Tantra Tanshami says:

    Great to see Dharma is thriving. Thank you

  2. Hafiz says:

    Comment

  3. Robert Clayton Jr (America) says:

    I am humbled and honored by our holy Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh for publishing my letter. I am forever grateful for all the Guru’s teachings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum
    Praise and honor to the three jewels!
    Praise and honor to our holy Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh!

    Thank you!

  4. Hafiz (Iraq 🇮🇶) says:

    Yes thank you my friend from US
    Iam beginning with my research Buddisim as you happend with u no have master or teacher only VIOLET
    Send to me always articles about buddasim teachings and have present the class by zoom program
    Thank you holly Guru I bow to you
    Om nami padem hum

    • Robert Clayton Jr (America) says:

      Violet is tireless in her desire and effort to share Dharma and help others achieve enlightenment. As it is and has been with our Guru, as well.

      Thanks to our holy Guru and Violet, and their enlightened embracement of technology, we, my friend, do have a teacher. That is a reason to be joyful!!

      Om Mani Padme Hum
      May all sentient beings travel the path of enlightenment that leads to liberation!!

  5. Aaron Kravetz (America) says:

    Very similar my experiences in discovering Dharma. I first found the Dharma from asking myself what would I believe if I could believe anything I chose. I decided to believe that everything, everywhere and everyone are connected and that compassion is the reason for suffering.
    This is of course the short story.
    I became a Shaolin Buddhist Monk meditating daily and learning teaching and passing on Life and movement as also meditation.
    I then learned Dream Yoga and developed the habit of waking in my dreams and it’s twin awakening in the day, meditating of course And making every step a meditate to the best of my ability. Sharing the Dharma.
    I created the FB group Buddhism Today which is over 1000 members and grows by ten to twenty people daily.
    Be blessed with wisdom, light and the path to the Lure Land.
    Thank you to Violet for her tireless sharing of the Dharma
    Om Mani Padme Hum

  6. Tantra Mashita (Euro) says:

    Dear compassionate guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this letter with us, it’s so kind of you that you always give your disciples the ability to write and share their opinions and experiences on chantuduy.com, I really admired this letter and I enjoyed reading it as well.

    Dear honorable guru,

    I have to admit that before I knew you I searched a lot about the buddhism but I didn’t ever find anything related to the bodhicitta and the lotus walking dharani, I discovered these two things here on chantuduy.com and I got more information about them in the pure mind yoga course which I took with Quynh Le “who sent me this article today to read by the way” before I knew you I was wanting to meditate with the regular way but I wasn’t able to do so because it requests a specific conditions, but after I knew you I learnt how to meditate on bodhicitta and I found out that this type of meditation doesn’t request any specific conditions and it’s so easy to practice it’s just a prayer with every activity, also I learnt how to practice the lotus walking dharani which is another type of meditation and doesn’t request any specific conditions too just reciting Mani Mantra while you’re walking om Mani with the left leg and Padme hum with the right leg

    Dear holy guru,
    Since today is the Guru Rinpoche day, and it’s the first time for me ever to celebrate this day I’d like to wish you a happy guru Rinpoche day and I wish I could celebrate it with you many years and years, you can’t imagine how thankful and grateful am I to you ! Your teachings are like a non stop river and your noble efforts are endless I really appreciate and respect you and finally I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity and thank my friend Violet “Mat diêu hang” and my instructor Quynh Le “Cao diêu” and thank you so much again dear compassionate guru before all

    I bow my head down for you
    I devote myself to you
    I express my gratitude to you

    May you have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings
    May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    May the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end
    Om Mani padame hum

  7. Tantra Aradhana (Kim Johnson) says:

    Guru
    I want to take the time to say is that me too I as well grew up in house that we didn’t go to church or had nothing other religious part of my home life but both my parents did and thing that is why went did not was I was a child but my parents was great when it came to stuff they dint force it on my brother and I but they us choose that on our own and me I aways that was the right thing to do and that was what we as humans did was go to church my parents didn’t do that kind of thing with going to to church but the allowed us to go if our friends went to church so if we were invited they never stopped it or told us no the first time I ever remembered going to church was when I was about 7 years old and my friend called asked if could and of course my parents say yes incpuld my got up and dressed me in one of my dresses to look nice and respectful I always just it was fun didn’t go to much then I just would go vacation bible school that always took place in the summer time when and it lasted week and it was fun with arts and crafts then move to to going with all the friends I grow up with to this once a week class then I became a teenager and want to have to fun skating swimming and going to the mall then I didn’t go to church for years then my 30s I gave it a shot again went for about year or so but it just was not my thing I want more and the church telling me how I had to live they even told me how to vote and how much to give to them so did my own thing just being there for anyone who may need to help in their need I have been like since I was i was child i am the kind of person that will drop anything to help someone and most the it is to help friends with their children cause skip ahead to this past year with covid-19 pandemic and how i was able to find who I really was cause you couldn’t do much we had lockdowns and had to masknup only do essential things only and I was just fine with it all put it really made me look in to Buddhism and buddha more and it aways been there it started reading quotes and the more read they made more sense then any I ever learned in church or even the bible just reading the quotes was peaceful and they also made feel more peace as well then my grandmother passed away and my dad sent me a few things of hers and that was so sweet and nice I wasn’t expecting anything I had alot of great memories with her but the tow things he sent me was to Buddha’s that my dad got for her as gift and get them start me think more of the Buddhism path then not long after that i started looking to pages on facebook and joining groups for asking and learning more and reading and then I ask how to I get in to Buddhism and everyone I has come across was so kind and loving explained everything to me how to go about things and that is how violet and I met as well she is so kind and such a good friend so patient in her teaching and so sweet and I started ordering books has well and gotten a few more Buddha’s as well like having them alot I feel at peace having them I don’t ever since I started going in this direction I have felt more at peace within my self as well there us just beautiful over coming feeling well in this all this i was talking to my cousin we don’t live in the same state her America and I told her what I was interested in and she laughs and she was oh my goodness I been leaving there as well and she was reading and learning and the funny thing is we both already had few Buddha’s and we didn’t know that each of was doing and going in the route at the exact same time so she and I talk about it together it was just do funny how this happened to both of us around the same time frame but in that process I start getting rid of things as wellthat I was attracted to for some odd reason and I can’t really explain that just things mostly thinks people would gift me like tin can with candy or little trinket that I wod hang on to cause a friend gave to me and I didn’t want to be rude amd just toss it out I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings ever I do have more to do in the department too I just doing slowly and the articles that violet sends me are are so wonderful and beautiful i teachings I love the pictures in the articles and you already will see a kitty here there I love animals as well I have dog his name is Harley and he too as well he is my little buddhist boy he is so smart and he understands as well he loved the classes and listening to violet read alot I told tell its class night violet is going to read he would go to bed and relax so much he almost 7 and he has high anxiety to loud sounds and or fast moving thing like bikes or some people that are too loud theand the loud noises would never bother him when violet would read and even after class he would so relaxed and at peace its so cute and in the day time if it was just him and I at home my mom and roommate would be out and about with her dog he would get anxiety with her here so I can say to him do you need to love on buddha I have little pocket one that I can take with me if I for night to friends house and he will kiss it and calms down and relaxs and will just go lay down he likes Buddhism music too I know I am now on the right path to who I should have been and I wish ibwould found and learned Buddhism years ago it also helped me in so many ways

    Thank you Guru
    For you’re teaching and for teaching me

    Om mani padme hum

    Guru Rinpoche Day

    Thank you so much Guru

    May covid-19 be gone soon praying for that

  8. Lee Samuel USA says:

    Thank you Robert for sharing your experience, it is quite uplifting. Years ago I backpacked through the Andes mountains and at camp I would read The Tibetan Book of the Dead which I carried with me. A few years later a monk was passing through Gainesville Florida and led meditation practice and eventually initiated many of us. I have met many wonderful beings on this Path and I consider Sister Violet who helps transmit the Dharma very special…OM MANI PADME HUM

  9. Mật Hoa Pháp ( 10 tuổi ) says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy.
    Con Mật Hoa Pháp đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ!
    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy.
    Con cầu nguyện cho đại dịch Corona sớm được tiêu trừ.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  10. Matthew Schumann (USA) says:

    Thank you for this article! I very much relate to this man’s experience. I also grew up in an ideologically vacuous family that does not understand spiritual living or trying to live with integrity. I am a christian who is greatly helped by becoming more and more a buddhist everyday. I am thankful for the opportunity to take classes conducted by Violet Tran, who is a very kind person.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment! I hope you will keep reading more articles so that you will understand more about Buddhism. I am looking forward to reading more of your comments!

  11. Tantraupatissa (India) says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article. I feel so realistic and true feeling by reading Dharma brother Robert feelings in this article. Thanks to Violet for helping him to introduce to tantra house and our respected Guru. It’s good to see Dharma brother Robert practicing Guru’s teaching in his daily life. Hope he gets success in spiritual and personal life.

    May Guru live long to uphold Dharma.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    May pandemic situation of Covid come to an end.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  12. Vivek S (India) says:

    Dear Guru
    As usual well written. Really inspired by his journey. I wish such stories motivate more and more people to choose and preach dharma.
    Let the Guru live long and all the sentinel beings have the peacefulness and calmness attained by Buddha.

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