Jun 6, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 29 Comments

Letter to Disciples No.101: IS OLD AGE THE AUTUMN OF LIFE?( Thư gửi các trò 101: Tuổi già là mùa thu của cuộc sống?)

Dear disciples!

Today is June 10, 2014. I came back to the editorial office of Ho Chi Minh City Police to attend the 38th celebration of its establishment. I accidentally read this news in the newspaper while waiting for my drink at a café store. The editorial board invited ex-reporters and ex-staff who worked for the newspaper between 1976 and now (2014) to attend a cordial gathering on the occasion of Press Day of Vietnam this year (June 21, 2014).

Press Day of Vietnam this year (June 21, 2014).

I was so glad to read the news for it has been nine years since I stop communicating with my ex-colleagues and the editorial board to focus on Dharma learning and practice. Lately, as Song Nguyen Tantra House has developed steadily, I suddenly felt want to come back to that old place. Ever since I left the newspaper, no one knew where I live. Well, in fact, they need not know about a person who owns not a piece of land to refuge. Even some of them wanted me to quit the office soon to get rid of a “peculiar guy”: no flattery, no booze-up and…. practice Buddha Dharma! This is also my fault for I did not understand much about Buddhism despite learning Buddhism assiduously. I rigidly followed the long tradition of vegan practice and avoid all parties and social relations, thus no doubt I got disgraced!

I and Tran Tu Van

At the editorial office, some people organized charity activities and invited me to join in. As they got refused, they felt “offended” and caused troubles to me many times. Normally, one sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. Even they were in sheep’s clothing, they could not hide from the causality law. Their bad actions have caused them to suffer: deteriorated fame, physical accident (broken knees). They tried to walk with a portly gait as they did in the past but they failed. They tried to create a stately and successful look but they could not hide the bitterness, just like a carefully made-up woman who cannot conceal the exhaustion caused by life’s harshness.



I was only one of their “victims” and each “victim” has their own “way of practice” to escape from “the cause of suffering”. I chose to move to an isolate mountainous area as my long-time wish to avoid worldly affairs, while others left for other newspapers or opened a store. Nonetheless, they would never want to come back to the place where they were buffeted by an authoritarian boss. Therefore, there were only 35 people come back to the place. I wished to visit the newspaper long time ago but had to wait for a proper time. Thanks to the blessings of the Avalokiteshvara, I came across the invitation in the Ho Chi Minh City Police Newspaper, which I rarely read after my leaving (exactly 11 times in nine years). There’s an old saying: “No one pays attention to you when you are learning hard. But they will immediately know or make friend with you when you got fame or success.” I am not in this situation but merely see it as the chance to contemplate the Buddha’s teaching about the impermanence, causality principle, and the wonder of Buddha Dharma.

Dear disciples!

You may not know that I was considered as “a fool” in the thought of many people. Even my elder sister objected to my decision while friends showed a doubtful surprise. I would assure you that the Ho Chi Minh City Newspaper is a good land for me to live in nearly ten years. I just got hatred from some people for personal reasons, not from the whole editorial board. Many were willing to help me such as Mr. Tran Trong Dung who now is the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. It could be said that even there’s no bad actions caused by bad persons, my consort and I planned to reside in the mountainous area long time before. Anyway, it’s not a deal if someone caused us to leave soon! After all, that is called “manifold dependent origination”.

“…I am foolish so I seek quiet place. Smart people seek busy place …” – Buddhist layman Bach Van

Still the image of an old Dream motorbike slowly riding on the road; a simple house without entrance gate (we had to enter the house through the door of the neighbor’s house); a garden of banana trees with head-high elephant grass; a thick clump of sweet potato buds as our main food in the first two years of living here! Sometimes I felt sad to think about the old colleagues but soon assured myself to remove negative thoughts.

Song Nguyen Tantra House in the time when the entrance remained in wilderness.

Now let’s look at my come back to the editorial office at 10.00am, June 10, 2014, nine years after my leaving: I drove a Kia Morning with my followers, wearing the Dharma outfit instead of a worldly costume; full of vitality of a Nyingma master, no more haggard look of a reporter who was waiting for the daily publishing of printed edition. Everyone looked surprised! Why? Firstly, because they’d never thought of my come back, given my unsmooth resignation. Secondly, I might come back as an unsuccessful man who sought to get the souvenir from the newspaper. Finally, I might take this chance to ask for a position in the editorial office again because of difficulties in earning a living after quitting the job?! With such thoughts, Ms. Kieu Hanh, chief of the Reporter Department 1, suggested me to write again. They subjectively believed that the gathering invitation was my lifebuoy! All felt surprised at my appearance, totally against their deduction!

I and Truong Anh Tuan


I and Tan Chinh

I and Khiem

I and Gia Minh

I and Khuong Hong Minh, who remains in office

I and Lan Anh, who remains in office

I and Xuan Hong and Then, who got retired

A cordial party: I, Ngan Linh, Dinh Manh, An Hoa, Dinh Chi and Quang Vinh

Feeling blessed with the support of Yidam, Guru and Dakini, I shook hands with each of them and was welcomed by them, from Minh Tan, Tan Chinh to Mr. Tam, Ngoc Quang, Lan Anh… . Mr. Tran Trong Dung rubbed his eye for could not believe that a former Nguyen Thanh was standing in front of him. I deliberately greeted everyone with a poise and equanimity. Why so? Because the communication done with a non-attached mind will become more easily. Tran Tu Van could not help but feel surprised looking at my manner and gesture, especially my equanimous look. Other ex-reporters, as I looked back at them, seemed to be over the hill, trying an unusual effort as if the last flame makes one weaker flicker before it dies. Quite right! Who can avoid the effect of old age as time goes by?

What makes old age the autumn of life? Because it regards “retirement”! But you should not think that this only refers to those who have worked for a company or an organization. Retirement is a common conception which refers to anyone who is no longer in good condition of working, thus have to retire though they don’t want to! Everyone loves to rest at home but is sad to retire. People often try to make a career when they were young with a hope to enjoy leisure after retirement. But is it possible to enjoy leisure? There’s an old saying that goes: “You are unable to live a life of ease if you still have your mind disturbed. A leisured person is not an ordinary one”. This implies those who get retirement with peace in mind, no more struggling with current life.

I was at the meeting hall of the Ho Chi Minh City Police Newspaper on the celebration of traditional day

Those who are doing office work are worried about the day they got retirement decision since they will no longer live and work in a social environment that has been familiar with them for dozens of years. For those who are keeping a high position, retirement causes them a psychological downfall: less personal visits from the subordinates, fewer parties and events, their idea gradually attracts less attention. For bad bosses, even their words are considered worthless as a torn paper. Everyone is afraid of getting retired. This is the most distasteful verb towards a man who is keeping a high social position.

Dear disciples!

I am lucky to “get retired” early. Soon after taking the retirement decision, I entered a new company located in Mount Potakala whose director is the Avalokiteshvara and colleagues are Dharmapala and Dakini; the manager is Padmasambhava, and the representative office is Song Nguyen Tantra House. My job is to practice Dharma; my salary is merit; my commendation is wisdom; my scope of performance spreads through all sentient beings; and my work ethic is Bodhicitta.

After nearly nine years of working, you have witnessed the  development of our office. I have become the act-manager who takes the accountability to guide you in Dharma practice – a noble spiritual activity. So far, things have been going on well as you see. I am now “retired” from worldly affairs but still working in the field of spirituality. The age of 60 is not the time of retirement but still I work until the ultimate emancipation. I often get phone calls and offerings from my disciples. I recognize and highly appreciate the enthusiasm and sincerity of Mat Thang, Mat Linh, Mat Quang Loi, Mat Dieu Duc, Mat Thai Duong, Mat Hoa, Mat Khai, Mat Lan and Mat Tue, who took care of me during my three-day stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

I conclude this letter by emphasizing that I shall never get retired unless I no longer exist in this life. Still I guide you on Chanhtuduy.com through articles each day and week! May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha-nature!

Phuoc Thanh Village, June 13, 2014


Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 101: TUỔI GIÀ LÀ MÙA THU CỦA CUỘC SỐNG?

  1. Tantra Mashita says:

    Dear compassionate guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this letter with us, I really liked it.

    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 Padme hum

  2. John says:

    Dear Guru,
    This article has been an interesting anecdote about your life.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Tena says:

    Dear Guru, I understand your article  “Is Old Age the Autumn of Life?” much better than you might expect: I am 61 years old and have worked at the same place for 30 years, although in different departments. I want to find the peace and calm that comes from practicing Dharma and meditation. Thank you for your guidance.

  4. Mật Huệ Bích (8 tuổi) says:

    Dear Guru,

    I have read the whole article,

    Thank you, Guru,

    I pray for the health and longevity of Guru and your consort for the sake of all sentient beings,

    Pray for the coronavirus disease soon to be eradicated,

    I pray that all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature,

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  5. Tantraupatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this beautiful article. Reading this article I am able to feel the blessings of Yidam, Guru and Dakini on you because of your true devotion and sincere practise of Dharma. May you keep showering your teachings and blessings on your desciples and other beings so they can walk on path of enlightenment and make the world peaceful and better place to live.

    May COVID 19 come to an end.

    May Guru and his consort live long for upholding Dharma.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum…

  6. Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Dear holy Guru,

    Thank you so much for your article.

    I have learnt the impermanence of the worldly life without practicing dharma in this article.  And I have also got the true value of a Buddhist from your bright example. You stopped the worldly affairs to pay attention to experiencing in spiritual path to liberation so that there is an outstanding Guru with six marvelous spiritual innovations at present and there is the teacher of gods and human beings,  who guides all beings to lead to the city of liberation.

    The time passes day by day,  year by year,  the impermanence appears all over the world. Everything is affected with the law of nature. Human beings are also affected by the endless circle of birth,  agedness,  sickness and death. Everyone in this saha world has experienced the autumn of life but the people with secular life feel the clear appearance of impermanence by agedness,  sickness and death surrounded with sufferings. On the contrary, the wisdom and bodhichitta of a Guru is never affected by the time of impermanence. Your presence in this world brings the true happiness for this world and enlightens all beings to be free from suffering. The autumn of dharma life of an outstanding Guru leads all beings to enjoy the true beauty in this Saha world. You teaches us the method to find out the pure bliss in this suffering world thanks to pure mind yoga.

    Thank you so much for your guidance and kindly support,  which leads us to keep forward to the city of liberation.

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

    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature.

    May covid 19 pandemic soon end.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Mật Nhị Khang says:

    Dear Holy Guru!

    I am excited to read the Guru article on chanhtuduy.com. The Guru shall never get retired unless his no longer exist in this life. The age of 60 is the time of retirement, those feelings upset and regretting about the time’s passed. Although that’s, the Guru can “work” steady until the ultimate.

    Thanksgiving to Guru and his consort longevity live for human beings.

    May covid 19 pandemics come to the end.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!

  8. Dr C H Lakshminarayan says:

    I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guru.

    Old age is one step behind the death in the course of human life !.  Although  a man is not having the teeth and not capable, the human desire is but natural that be wants to eat the the sweet  groundnuts and almonds and to have the company of fairsex !That is why Nature  has seen and taken back his power, lest nobody would control him in this world !. So Nature has made this old age fit for spiritual activities or a fertile land to sow the seed of spirituality knowing that we reap what we sow and knowing the limitation of impermanence of life !. So old is gold they say with this point of view to memorize the past golden days of youth of so many speculations and imaginations which were not achieved and fulfilled at this oldage, for a few it is inevitable to opt solely to involve in spiritual field as the left over time is too short !.But  he is a great spiritual Master whose  inclination starts from young age and grows in all the four stages of a growing man and becomes fruitful in his old age ! Without any deviation to worldly winds from the beginning of Young age till the old age.!

    Loka samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu.

    May all be sarva bhootha hithe rathaha

    Om Mani padme Hum

    Tantra Nirvadeva

  9. Mật Phê Rô says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con hoan hỷ khi đọc bài viết : TUỔI GIÀ LÀ MÙA THU CUỘC SỐNG.

    Qua bài viết con hiểu được không ai tránh được cái già, già thì sẽ khổ bởi tấm thân tứ đại đang rệu rã đi. Danh từ nghĩ hữu thật khó có thể chấp nhận với những người đang nắm giữ chức vị cao trong xã hội, tuy nhiên dù đã nghĩ hưu nhưng tâm không ngơi nghĩ, không được bình an thì đó vẫn chưa phải là nghĩ hưu. Chỉ khi tâm được bình an trước tám ngọn gió thế gian mới là nghĩ hưu thực sự.

    Con cảm ơn vị Thầy đã viết bài.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô sức khỏe, trường thọ vì đại nghiệp phổ truyền Yoga Thanh Trí, làm lợi lạc tất cả chúng sanh.

    Cầu nguyện dịch bệnh corona sớm được tiêu trừ.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!

  10. Mật Phước says:

    Dear Guru,
    I have read this article.
    Guru is one of the victims of a authoritarain boss, and everyone has a way to escape the cause of suffering there. I understand that, one can’t live a comfort life if the mind being in disorder. Therefore, soon after taking the retirement decision, Guru entered a new company located in mount Mahakala where director is the Avalokiteshvara and colleagues are the Dharmapala and Dakini ; the manager is Padmasambhava and representative office is Song Nguyen Tantra house. Your job is liberation labor.
    Oppositely, other people entered to other companies, they accept different sufferings and struggle with their current lives which can’t liberate like Guru’s life.
    May Guru and your consort have good health and longevity for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May the Covid 19 pandemic be soon over.
    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  11. Tantra Mitsharuma (Petra) says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    I have read this article and I thank you for sharing this from your life.

    May Guru be blessed and peaceful and may all sentient beings be free from suffering

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  12. Tantra Mashinaga says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for this article. I am so glad that you have chosen not to retire from your dharma practice. Many students and disciples would be lost without your guidance.

    May Guru and his consort live a long and happy life

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and attain happiness

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    Tantra Mashinaga (Mark Hamilton)

  13. paul yawney says:

    Dear Holy Guru, I bow head to Lotus feet. thank you for this post I enjoy the fact you went on to do what you wished no matter what others thought. Age is only important if you make it so. Age is the affliction of the physical body the spirit is ageless.As I mentioned before I am retired from work but now enjoy what I like learning and Helping people.  I am happiest now.. May Holy Guru and consort enjoy a Happy healthy Life. OM MANI PADME HUNG.

    Tantra Himataru.

  14. Mật Tấn Sơn (Đỗ Trường Giang) says:

    Dear Guru,

    I read this article.

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

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

    May Covid-19 pandemic soon be over.

    Om mani padme hum

  15. Mật Hoàng Trúc says:

    Dear Guru

    I am delighted to read this article.

    May Guru and his consort have good health and live long for the sake of all beings.

    May all sentient begins attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

    May the Covid-19 pandemic will be soon over.

    Om mani padme hum.

  16. Mật Thanh Phương says:

    Dear Guru, 

    I am delighted to read this articles

    May Guru and his consort have good health and live long for the sake of sentient being. 

    May all sentient beings attain the Buddha nature’s happiness.

    May all sentient beings free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  17. Phan thị Bạch Tuyết says:

    Kính bach Thầy !

    Con Mật Phong Tuyết đã đọc bài” Tuổi già là mùa thu của cuộc sống “. Bài viết đã cho con hiểu được sự vô thường của cuộc sống trần tục ,chỉ có thực hành pháp mới giúp cho chúng con thoát khỏi vô minh , đem lại hạnh phúc tự tâm ,hanh thông thế sự và thành đạt xã hội, an lạc đời này ,cực lạc đời sau.

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy , con cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô vì lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.

    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh được thành tựu hạnh phúc của phật tánh.

    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch covid 19 được tiêu trừ.

    Om mani padme hum.







  18. Anla tan says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you for sharing this article, it does touch my heart. I really loved it.

  19. Mật Hoa Pháp ( 9 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 dịch bệnh Corona sớm được tiêu trừ.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  20. John Budan says:

    Dear Guru,
    I love this article, as I plan to never retire but just gracefully participate in life’s joy until no longer possible and slip peacefully away into whatever comes next!
    Grace and equanimity is the best we can do as we let go of what society and ego says matters, to more fully honor the present, as we are.
    Excellent pointing, thank you!

    Om mani padme hum 🙂

    John Budan

  21. philip pugsley says:

    Dear Guru

    I was interested to read this, I am now 63 years and still working,my health is not perfect but managed for now.
    I would retire but am not in a position to as yet.
    It seems like some of your former colleagues were surprised at your outcome !
    Bless you for doing what you felt was the correct path.

    Regards Guru.


  22. Tantra Pramitdhita (Josh Hacker) says:

    Holy Guru,

    I bow my head before your lotus feet!! Thank you for sharing “Letter to Disciples No.101: IS OLD AGE THE AUTUMN OF LIFE?” I am very grateful that you decided to leave worldly affairs behind to teach all sentient beings the path to enlightenment. Through your articles we may eat the Dharma food!! May you have a blessed and peaceful day

    May Guru live a long and healthy life for the sake of all sentient beings

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

    May the global pandemic caused by the corona virus soon end

    Om Mani Padme Hum

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