Jul 4, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 18 Comments

Letter to Disciples No. 140: PRACTICING BUDDHISM WITH A DELUDED MIND, THE BUDDHA TURNS OUT TO BE EVIL! ( Tâm si tu Phật, Phật thành ma)

Dear disciples,
buddha-lotusA reader named Hoang Ba Linh sent me an email presenting his spiritual issue and asked me about the phonetic aspect of the Mani mantra, how is it practiced and the duration of recitation… . After getting my answer, which was based on the Buddha’s teachings, Hoang Ba Linh responded as follows:

Dear Guru! I came across your book “One Life, One Mantra” quite by accident. Then I decided to practice following the guidance in the book. The purpose of my decision is to step-by-step remove my bad habits, greed and attachment, treat people around me better, more purely and further reach to a Bodhi mind. Thanks to that, I had a better feeling of peace and serenity and could help others more. I don’t know if my spirit of seeking the truth is right or not, please counsel me about that.

Hoang Ba Linh
Before I responded to Hoang Ba Linh, Mat Nguyen Tanh had given him a warning. Not to mention about right or wrong, sincere or arrogant, I can say that Mat Nguyen Tanh has broken the 1st vow of 24 Tantric vows: “Showing disrespect to Guru”. From now on, you are not allowed to answer the question of any reader without my response first, except for counter-argument. Mat Nguyen Tanh has yet been a disciple of Song Nguyen Tantra House, therefore I won’t impose pure rules on him.

Dear disciples!
a-nan-thinh1By this spiritual accident, I have some words to Hoang Ba Linh. Through your email, I realize that Ba Linh has mistaken between “seeking the truth” and “practicing the truth”. The first action, in fact, is to petition the Guru to teach him the Dharma, while the other is to offer spiritual support/guidance to others in practicing Dharma. According to Ba Linh’s email, he is removing greed, hatred and delusion (self-attachment), having better treatment of others, helping people around more… . Those are your good deeds, which no one can deny. I myself feel delighted to see you have obtained a spiritual realization from the book “One Life, One Mantra” that leads to your mind transformation and consequent behaviors. However, this is not the spirit of seeking and learning Dharma, but rather be the practice of Dharma (applying Dharma in mundane life). Besides, it’s not right when you said this is the development of Bodhicitta. Relying on the power of Yidam, Guru and Dakini, I would help you and other readers to distinguish between “seeking and learning Dharma” and “practicing Dharma”.

Dear disciples!
Since the Buddha found out the ultimate truth (Four noble truths), we have luckily inherited the path of Liberation from him, which today is known as Buddhism. Hence, any Buddhist needs not seek the truth (path) but seek and learn Dharma. The Buddha Dharma has up to 84,000 methods of practices which are available to everyone. Thanks to the holy saints and patriarchs, we have been able to seek and learn Dharma from ten schools (Pure Land, Zen, Mantrayana, T’ien-t’ai, Avatamsaka, Vinaya,Yogacara, Jo-Jitsou-shu, Koucha-shu…) and three yanas in Buddhism (Therevada, Mahayana and Vajrayana). Each school has its own dharma essence such as T’ien-t’ai school with six wonderful practices of breathing meditation, Mantrayana with Guru Yoga of Padmasambhava, six yogas of Naropa, four dharmas of Gampopa, Lamrim Chenmo of Tsongkhapa, and Tong-len (giving and taking) of Atisha…

Upon experiences from the Dharma propagation and their Dharma essence, holy masters have established basic spiritual conditions for the learner in order to get a progressive cultivation in the right orbit of liberation. Master Agvagosha is known with the supreme spiritual poet “Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion” while Master Atisha is known with “The Lamp on the Path of Enlightenment”. The next generations of Tantrayana masters, irrespective of lay or monastic, have relied on these instructions to transmit Dharma to those who are of full conditions and capability, which I have written in my response to Hoang Ba Linh. In short, the person who is seeking and learning Dharma needs the guidance from a spiritual teacher because he himself cannot deal with problems arisen on the path of cultivation, which may affect his spiritual life. From these references, you look back at your spirit of seeking and learning Dharma.


In order to practice any Dharma of any Buddhist schools, the practitioner needs take the first but extremely important step by taking refuge in the Three Jewels. If Hoang Ba Linh has yet taken a refuge ceremony, you will be like an observer in the clas who may not be allowed to attend the graduation exam. You may self-justify that the mantra is the true nature of the Buddhas so anyone can recite and get results. That’s true, but instead of obtaining quick and lots of result, they get slow and little result, just like bicycle vs car, while life is too short. What’s more, if there’s no need to take refuge, why should holy saints create this ceremony? On the other hand, we take refuge in the Three Jewels with the aim of practicing eight dharmas of refuge, not just attending a ceremony in the pagoda and getting a certificate of refuge (listen to the sermon “Where to rely on?”).

Tantrayana or Vajrayana sees Bodhicitta the corpus of Mahayana. It’s not by chance that Master Atisha asserted: “Stirring 84,000 Dharma practices all together will turn out an essence – that is Bodhicitta.” Hoang Ba Linh has mistaken the true meaning of Bodhicitta. There are two aspects of Bodhicitta: Aspiration Bodhicitta and Application Bodhicitta. The first one means to pray for all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood while the second one means to introduce, guide or teach others to practice Dharma to attain Buddhahood. It’s not like what you think or define Boddhicitta as to help other people! Furthermore, silently reciting mantra with a hope that others will escape from poverty is also not Bodhicitta (as what you responded to Mat Nguyen Tanh), because this is kind of showing magical power in bad manner. If that recitation brings in results, the reciter may easily fall in arrogance and abuse magical powers, which is a taboo in Buddhism. Esoteric texts said that the mantra needs to be transmitted by a Tantric master in order to promote its ordinary and ultimate powers, as what I wrote to you. From these points on, all thoughts of Hoang Ba Linh about your actions of body, speech and mind (in terms of Dharma practice) are subjective because none of your thoughts is in accordant with the teachings of Buddha and holy saints.


One may say that the Buddha is in our Mind, our Mind is the Buddha. This is only true in Theoretical aspect, but how to do it, how it will develop and how to protect that mind against demonic obstacles so that THE MIND IS THE BUDDHA remains questionable. That’s the reason why the practitioner needs rely on a kalyanmitra (spiritual teacher) on the path of cultivation. It’s not by chance the Buddha manifested in this Saha world to show us the knowledge of liberation while holy saints had set up Buddhis schools or divisions! If Hoang Ba Linh said the “Buddha is in our mind”, why should you ask about mudras and the duration of mantra recitation?

On the other hand, I found that Hoang Ba Linh is mistaking between tu tập (self-cultivation) and tu hành (engaged practice). A Buddhist beginner needs self-cultivate for at least three to five years to pacify his body and minds before helping others (which is called engaged practice). During that period, he needs accrue spiritual energy from practicing Renunciation, Aspiration Bodhicitta and Sunyata (initially is Right View). He step-by-step completes himself under the guidance and teachings of his Guru, then got Guru’s permission to introduce and guide others to enter the path of Buddhism. He must not do it without Guru’s permission since the Buddha taught that “One should not rely on his subjective mind if he has yet got enlightened!” (Forty-two Chapter Sutra). Why so? Because “practicing Buddhism with a deluded mind, the Buddha will turn out to be devil”!

Finally, I shall brief what Hoang Ba Linh have misunderstood as follows:
1/ The goal of Buddhist cultivation is Liberation which means we live happily in the present life and get a rebirth in the Western Pure Land next life. It’s totally different from what you wrote: “The purpose of my decision [to practice following the guidance of the book] is to step-by-step remove my bad habits, greed and attachment, treat people around me better, more purely and further reach to a Bodhi mind.”
2/ Hoang Ba Linh is mistaking between “seeking and learning Dharma” and “practicing Dharma”, “self-cultivation” and “engaged practice”. It’s like a bad swimmer hoping to save a drown person that may lead to bad consequences.
3/ Hoang Ba Linh thinks that his experiences resulted from a technique supreme without thoroughly understanding the true nature of things and phenomena, by saying “Thanks to that, I had a better feeling of peace and serenity and could help others more.”
4/ The word “chỉ giáo” (“指教”, counsel) should not be used toward a spiritual master because it is the word used in martial arts stories. You should use Buddhist terms like “khai thị” (discern), “giáo huấn” (instruct) or “dạy bảo” (teach).
5/ Finally, this is my advice: anyone who wishes to seek and learn Dharma should begin from READING (listening to or reading sutras), then CONTEMPLATING (thinking or musing on the true meaning in the right orbit of Dharma) and PRACTICING (practicing step-by-step under the guidance of Guru). You should read and listen to following sermons on Chanhtuduy.com, which are seen as a simplification of Buddhist sutras based on the teachings of Buddha and holy saints:

MUST-READ ARTICLES ON CHANHTUDUY.COM
1/ Rich-Poor
2/ Dependent Origination of Illness
3/ The Praise-Blame Wind
4/ Practice Lots of Charity, Gain Little Virtue
5/ Divine Pride
6/ What is Tibetan Yoga?
7/ Mind Prospers
8/ How to Properly Transmit the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism
9/ What is “Dharma Transmission Fee”? How Is It Paid?
10/ Worldly Pleasures from the Perspective of Thanh Tri Yoga
11/ A Few Words on Chanhtuduy.com
12/ Why Do We Call Him “The Buddha”?
13/ The Extraordinary Meaning of the Vesak
14/ Is the Buddha’s Treasure Money?
15/ Death Anniversaries of Ancestors
16/ Do Parents Give Birth to Us?
17/ Fortune and Fortune God
18/ Buddhism is the Path of Compassion, Why Worship the Killer?
19/ Essential Meaning of the Practice of Refuge Dharmas
20/ From a Worldly Party: A Few Thoughts about Meatism and Veganism”
21/ Hue’s Friend
22/ Dharma Practice: Where to Begin?
23/ How to Have Eternal Life?
24/ What Make You a Buddhist?
25/ Guru as the Jeweler
26/ How to Stop Feeling of Burdened by a Complex!

MUST-LISTENED SERMONS ON CHANHTUDUY.COM
1/ Where to Rely on?
2/ The Spiritual Wall
3/ Preparation for a Buddhist Practitioner
4/ True Spiritual Meaning of Making Offerings
5/ Spiritual Insurance
6/ Worshipping and Bowing
7/ Facts about rituals of peace and liberation
8/ Don’t be tense in practice
9/ Taking Advantage of Life
10/ Pilgrimage
11/ The Roar of Lion King in the Forest of Wrong View
12/ Me – Don’t Misunderstand
13/ Tantrayana – A Four-in-One Practice
14/ Why and How to Stay away from Papamitra?

Above are some of my words that you, Hoang Ba Linh and anyone with similar questions should contemplate and reflect yourself. My warm salutation!
Phuoc Thanh Village, October 21, 2015
Thinley- Nguyen Thanh


Vietnamese version: “TÂM SI TU PHẬT, PHẬT THÀNH MA”

  1. Tantra Mashita says:

    Dear compassionate guru,

     Thank you so much for sharing this letter with us, that’s so kind of you that you always reply us, answer our requires, offer all of the methods that put us on the right path, thank you so much again I bow my head down for youI express my gratitude to youI devote myself to youI bow my head down for your lotus feet  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 natureMay the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end Om Mani Padme hum 

  2. Klara says:

    Hello please help. For three years now I’ve been tortured by demons, tricking me and talking to me constantly. Saying illuminati runs the world and so on. They say I will go to hell with all of humanity almost and I need help. They control my daily life and have at one point taken over my boyfriends body and made him eat human flesh. Please contact me on [email protected] with what I should do.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Please, read series of my article about demons (on chanhtuduy.com)so you shall understand what and how do you do!

  3. Thank you so much for another great read so wonderful

  4. Ashish Bauddh says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this letter with us, that you always respond to us, respond to our need, offer all ways to put us on the right path…… I owe myself to the apple to express my gratitude……

     

  5. Randy says:

    This article(while being wonderful) brings a thought to mind. No matter where you are on the path, simply walking it can bring forth enlightenment to SOME certain people. I am in no way claiming to be a Master, but now I realize that should you simply BE a true Buddhist, others(in this MASSIVELY populated world) can always pick up tips from you. To simply study people always brings forth a lesson.

  6. Tantra Amishuta says:

    Dear Holy Guru,
    I truly appreciate this article and I thank you for sharing it. As I learn more each and every day and continue learning to free myself from false securities ( all securities are an illusion) I appreciate this article even more. The differences over time in how I have accepted each article and how I have understood each article I’ve read are undeniable. With each article, I learn while experiencing a reality of choicelessness and inspiration. Thank you kindly for sharing your knowledge and watching over all of us as we continue to strive to find enlightenment. I do wish that all sentient beings find Dhamma and all beings seek and accept to be taught the ways and laws of Buddha. Thank you again Holy Guru for your time and devotion to helping us strive for a Buddhist existence. May you be well.
    Om Mani Padum Hum

  7. paul yawney says:

    Dear Holy Guru, I bow head to Lotus feet.Thank you for another wonderful article.In the past I studied on my own as there was no place here for me to learn plus my circumstances at the time did not allow for it. Some things I understood and some I did not. since being with holy Guru and doing as instructed I am learning more and it is much more clear Guru is always there to instruct and teach. I value the teachings Thank you. May Holy Guru and consort Live long and Happily. OM MANI PADME HUNG.
    Tantra Himataru.

  8. Tantra Mashinaga says:

    Dear Guru,
    Thank you for this article. In this article you teach that there is a difference between self cultivation and engaged practice. I also learned that there is a difference in seeking and learning the dharma.

    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)

  9. Mật Chánh Tấn says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    I have read this article. Thank you Guru for your guidance in this article, which helps me to understand more about the distinction between “seeking and learning Dharma” and “practicing Dharma”.
    From the article, I know that there are different schools and yanas in Buddhism with different practicing methods, which are suitable to different people. There are also many teachings, such as “Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion”, “The Lamp on the Path of Enlightenment” or even in Mat gia Song Nguyen, the holy Guru also invented Yoga Thanh Tri with 6 practicing methods. Thus, there are many practicing methods for me to “seek and learn Dharma” from. However, if I want to go to the right orbit of Dharma and get full benefits from the right view during the “seeking and learning Dharma” process, it is necessary to have permission and guidance from the holy Guru. About the “practicing Dharma”, the first step, which I should take, would be taking refuge in the Three Jewels with the aim of practicing eight Dharams. To the next level, it would be practicing Bodhicitta with guidance and permission of Guru in two aspects: Aspirational Bodhicitta and Application Bodhicitta. By diligently practicing Samyagdrsti-Prabha Samadhi and Meditation on Bodhicitta with foundation of Guru devotion, I could be able to live happily in the present life and gradually achieving my main goal, which is to rebirth in the Westen Pure Land in next life.
    Thank you holy Guru for your teaching in this article. May Guru and your consort have good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May the epidemic of Covid-19 come to end soon.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  10. Phan thị Bạch Tuyết says:

    Kính bạch Thầy !
    Con Mật Phong Tuyết đã đọc bài viết này .Bài viết đã giải đáp được những thắc mắccho chúng con, những hành giả trên bước đường tu học.Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã từ bi ban cho chúng con những bài pháp thật là hữu ích.Con thành tâm cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy Cô .
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của phật tánh
    Cầu nguyện cho đại dịch covid 19 được tiêu trừ.
    Om mani padme hum.

  11. TantraMikaya (jane) says:

    dear holy Guru My sincere thanks for your article Practicing Buddhism with a deluded mind. This article teaches us how we should learn properly and what mistakes we often succumb to. Suffering is unnecessary because it is based on deception
    We live in a state of permanent delusion about the very existence of ourselves and the world. As a result, we always get into painful situations. But this suffering is unnecessary because the deception can be ended with wisdom. We need a wise teacher to teach us to follow the right path. Just as we learn from your wise articles how we properly train our minds. We believe that the self that we grasp in connection with this changeable body and mind is truly existent. This wrong view creates desire, hatred, and other grievous mental factors, and this in turn leads to negative actions.
    Ignorance is not something that is inherent in nature that cannot be changed, but a state that arises from an error. The illusion is that you mistakenly think that things are self-contained. There is a direct antidote to this, namely the realization that all phenomena are empty of such a self-nature because they are dependent. Wisdom is in direct contrast to the wrong view that things exist by themselves. Both assumptions cannot be correct at the same time. A thing cannot be independent and dependent at the same time. As soon as we develop the knowledge of dependency, ignorance is weakened. Your wise article and dedicated guidance helps us on the way to enlightenment. . Just as we came into this world and learned to walk and recognize dangers through our parents, we learn from your extensive knowledge how we should train our minds. May our holy Guru life long for the sake of all sentient beings. May all beings achieve the Happiness of Buddhas nature. May Covid 19 go away soon. OM MANI PADME HUM

  12. Mật Hòa says:

    Dear Guru,
    I have read this article already.
    Through this article, I comprehend the important role of Kalyanmitra (Spiritual Teacher) towards each and every Buddhists who walk on the path to Enlightenment. I realize without a Kalyanmitra, there are a lot of traps what can lead a person to wrong thoughts, such as misunderstanding the supreme goal of Dharma practicing for worldly aims, or relying on his subjective mind when he has not got enlightened yet,…
    The above makes me imagine the image of a boat on the vast ocean, not knowing where to turn with the image of a practitioner without the guidance of a Guru. Sure that the boat would get lost instead of landing in the Western Pure Land. Such a pity!
    I am grateful for your teaching.
    May you 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!

  13. Mật Phước says:

    Dear Guru,
    I have read the letter to disciple no. 140 .
    Thank you, Guru, for your interpretation article helps me has realized the spirit of “seeking Dharma ; learning Dharma ; practice Dharma” in the right orbit of liberation.
    May Guru and your consort have good the health and longevity for sake of all senteint beings.
    May the Covid 19 pandemic be soon over.
    May all senteint beings achieve happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  14. Admin
    Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    Thank you so much for sharing this meaningful article. I have learnt some precious lessons from your teachings. The most important points in practicing Vajrayana is to pay attention to the Guru Devotion with pure perspective, which supports the dharma and cultivate wisdom and merit for the benefit of self and others, leading to the ultimate state of enlightenment. Every actions of body, speech and mind still falls in Samsara, resulting in the sufferings. On the contrary, every actions of body, speech and mind leading to the enlightenment will bring the holy fruits.
    From your teachings, I also know that we need to end the actions related to “by me”, “my” and “myself “, I should do the actions for the liberation from sufferings, and practice Guru Devotion needs the pure mind and wisdom.
    Thank you so much for your teachings.
    May you and your consort have good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May we pay attention to right mindfulness, awareness on the right orbit of Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for the progress on the path of enlightenment.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature.
    May covid 19 pandemic come to an end soon.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  15. Mật Nhất Nguyên says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    I’m grateful for the lessons. Often time people make mistakes because the of the lack of knowledge. Similarly, in Dharma, “One should not rely on his subjective mind if he has yet got enlightened!” (Forty-two Chapter Sutra).” Because “practicing Buddhism with a deluded mind, the Buddha will turn out to be devil!”

    In this letter, the Guru has stated several common mistakes that new practitioners might find. The Guru has set a clear goal — to be Liberated, clarify some confused definitions — seeking Dharma, practicing Dharma, self cultivation, engaged practice…, and layout a path for new practitioners — reading, contemplating, practicing — starting with read and comment on Chanhtuduy.com.

    I also find the list of articles helpful for me to get the basis. Thank you for your guidance.

    I pray for the longevity and good health of the Guru and His Consort for the benefits of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature.

    May the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be over.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

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