Apr 26, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 15 Comments

Letter to Disciples No. 64: ASK YOURSELF! (Thư gửi các trò 64: HÃY TỰ HỎI MÌNH)

Letter to Disciples No. 64: ASK YOURSELF! (Thư gửi các trò 64: HÃY TỰ HỎI MÌNH)

Dear disciples!

On the evening of November 25, 2013, I just finished the practice session when Mat Tu called me asking on how to avoid family affliction caused by her father? A question arose in me: Who am I? A Guru or a consultant of family or legal issue? Many of you have been pouring out your complaints about love, unfair treatments in the office, losses in business and ending with asking for my advice. I can list some of them, like Mat Nga (business affairs), Mat Hien (about her husband), and most recently is Mat Khoi (her couple life) and Mat Tu (this evening: family affair). Even some asked me to give legal consultation on land dispute!?

Dear disciples!

Although your Guru is knowledgeable in many fields and has ever guided a lot of disciples get through hardship in life, such cases normally are those who practice with serious attitude and have had remarkable contributions to the growth of Song Nguyen Tantra House. When facing difficulties in life, these disciples practiced Dharma and prayed for the blessings of the Yidam through the transmission channel of Guru. I know them well, thus voluntarily gave them necessary advice which come from my own experiences. Thanks to the benevolence of the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, almost all of them had overcome hardship easily, typically are the case of Mat Hai, Mat Thuy, Mat Thang.. . Their successes come from a principle: self-help practice will obtain powerful support of the divinity!

Mật Hải - Mật Thủy trong buổi lễ Hằng Thuận năm 2011

Self- practicing, divine supporting, Mat Hai- Mat Thuy in the Buddhist wedding ceremony 2011

Then, other disciples should ask themselves what you have practiced or contributed to our organization? Many of you don’t chant or read sutras, no connection with Guru, regularly absent at Dharma meetings, even not any comment or just a handful of comments on Chanhtuduy.com. They, meanwhile, are considered as intellectuals with lots of certificates and degrees, or at least graduated from high school. Some even are teachers and journalists!

But when troubles knock at their door, they all phone Guru to throw their mind rubbish at him. Just by seeing their phone number, I know there’s nothing else other than complaints or grievances about life issues, in contrary with the wish of any spiritual teacher to get calls for questions on dharma or methods of practice. In the meantime, Song Nguyen Tantra House is starting the construction of spiritual works, and few of them call to ask about it or sharing their thoughts through comments. What do you think about your selfishness and unthoughtfulness? Every day, I am busy sitting on the computer writing articles and answers for questions on Buddha Dharma, but you just ask me to listen to and understand your “personal issues”, and not forget to ask for my advice. I was thinking to remind you of the article No.10 in the Song Nguyen Tantra House’s code of rules and regulations: “Do not ask Guru things that lie outside the scope of Dharma” when Mat Hai wrote a comment this evening (November 25, 2013, although at 23.27pm) which incidentally speaks out what I’ve thought. I see this letter, which was written from his heart, as a self-admission of faults in the representation of fellow dharma brothers, and also a reminder for followers and disciples to have self-reflection if they fall in these cases. I would like to introduce the heartfelt sharing of Mat Hai…

The heartfelt sharing of Mat Hai

Namo Buddha, 

Thank you for benevolently giving us your precious teachings.

Dear Guru,

Any spiritual progress or success in the life of my fellow brothers and I is thanked to the blessings of the Three Jewels through the transmission channel of Guru poured down on our mind.

The merits of Dharma, the Victorious Ones, and the Supreme Compassion Ones are boundless; Their wisdom is unsurpassable and inconceivable. Even hundreds of thousands of great kalpas are not enough to praise such wonder by limit words of ordinary people.

Sometimes, I feel a shiver when I contemplate the Buddha’s teaching! The treasures of Buddha Dharma are vast and without limit, but how can I possess and use those treasures to benefit myself and others?! Like the merchant who seeks for the wish-fulfilling gem in the middle of the vast ocean, knowing that big treasures are being hidden in the ocean but don’t know which direction to go. Thus, he needs maps, compasses and a skillful captain who is experienced in treasure hunting. Likewise, we have to rely on the guidance of Guru in practicing proper dharmas that accord with our capacity, time and culture to find out the precious treasure of dharma for ourselves and others. We are genuinely grateful for you.

Dear Guru,

Sometimes I feel really ashamed on reading your teachings, great vows and teachings of the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and holy saints on “self-reflection on our immoral mind”. In the mundane world, young people often ask themselves: “Do not ask what the country can do for you, but ask yourself what you can do for your country”, let alone us, who are sons of the Buddha and own the will to cultivate for liberation of ourselves and others, following the bright example of Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Do we think and act positively like them?

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

The more I thought, the more shame on me. We merely think of ourselves and ask Guru to do this or the organization to do that for us…When problems arise, we pray fervently: Guru, Yidam, please save me! I am so difficult; I am so down, please save me!… And many, many times we call or even meet Guru directly to ask for pieces of advice on issues of couples, family, business, relations with bosses or colleagues, etc. In short, we are not afraid to “disturb” our Guru whenever facing life troubles and rarely ask ourselves first:

– Dear Guru, I don’t know if I have broken any precept, but I am facing so many obstacles and afflictions this time?

Or:
 – Do Guru and your consort meet any difficulty in the propagation of Buddha Dharma towards the sentient beings?
 – Do Guru, Song Nguyen Tantra House or fellow brothers have any problems? How could I be helpful for you?
 – Dear Guru, what should I do to help my colleagues to practice Dharma? Please give me your valuable advice…
 – ….

Rarely we could ask such questions because the immorality and neglection seem regularly occupy our mind!

More dangerous, we forget to say even a thankful word after taking advice from Guru, let alone know how to repay! Worse, after following Guru’s teaching for a certain time period, we “readjust Guru’s teachings upon our own thought” which does more harm than good because we have intentionally or accidentally gone against the TEACHING of Guru and the orbit of Dharma.

After all, we are hurting ourselves, let alone benefiting others. It’s all because we have severly broken the commandment!

I bow my head on your lotus feet and expose my sins. With your compassion, please point out my hidden faults in front of my fellow brothers so that I could have a chance to purify my bad karmas and be the second nobleman in alignment with the Buddha’s teaching. My sincere gratitude to you! Please accept my request!

Om Pemasattva Hum. 

At the end of this letter, my advice to those who have accidentally lost self-esteem for egoism is: ASK YOURSELF BEFORE ASKING OTHERS!Hãy tự hỏi mình

Phuoc Thanh Village: 01.30 am, November 26, 2013

THINLEY-NGUYEN THANH


Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 64: HÃY TỰ HỎI MÌNH

  1. Mật Huệ Pháp says:

    Dear Guru

    I’ve read your letter and the letter of Mat Hai, also. These letters are like a mirror that truly reflects our mind in which we appear like immoral and selfish persons. Frankly speaking, sometimes we’ve mistaken that Guru is the one who we can pour out complaints about life issues, while we have yet contributed anything to help Guru or for the development of Song Nguyen Tantra House. Unintentionally, we’ve turned the gate of Dharma has unintentionally been turned into “the gate of mundane life”, while, righteously, the questions should focus on dharma only. Reading questions raised in Mat Hai’s letter make we feel ashamed on the burden we have put on you and the Tantra House. Here, the lesson for us is that we should ask ourselves first before ask others, and that only self-help practice will bring back the divinity’ support through the transmission channel of Guru. I will keep in mind your precious teaching and see it as the compass to adjust our body, speech and mind in alignment with the right orbit of dharma. Thank you for waking up our self-esteem so that we do not fall into the grievous failure on the path of cultivation.

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

    May all sentient beings always stay in the state of enlightenment

    May Covid-19 pandemic soon be removed.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  2. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:

    Dear holy Guru,

    my name is Tantra Ashihata.

    I thank you and I worship your lotus feet, your are wonderful for given us this article,the understanding of being thankful to you and appreciating Guru at all is fundamental to growth of all sentient beings one no need to fall in to trouble before he could remember our holy Guru.

    May Guru always have the strength to guide us in all our dealing as we practice right.

    May Guru live long for the seek of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings free from suffering and may the end of corona virus come soon.

    Om Mani padme hum .

     

  3. Mật Ánh Dương says:

    Dear Guru,

    I have read your precious teachings in the letter no.64 “Ask yourself!”

    Actually, the more I read, the more I feel ashamed. You have taught us that “self-help practice will obtain powerful support of the divinity”, so it also means, without self-help effort, we would gain nothing except worldly affliction and trouble. Although we all know well this principle, we rarely  apply it into our real practice, and as a habit of relying on and exploiting Guru’s wisdom, we often choose to “disturb” Guru, throw our “mind rubbish” at Guru, pour out our complaints and grievances to Guru every time facing with hardship, instead of asking ourselves first, do we literally deserve with your compassion and blessings?

    In “Fifty verses of Guru devotion”, Ashvagosha has taught “Whatever you do to serve (your Guru) or show him respect, should never be done with an arrogant mind. Instead you should be like a newlywed bride, timid, bashful and very subdued”. It means that even when we have done something helpful or have performed successfully any tasks, we could never be arrogant or require anything from Guru, let alone we did not indeed contribute any meaningful thing for Guru and the development of your organization.

    Dear Guru!

    Through your reminder and vajra brother Mat Hai’s heartfelt sharing, I have an opportunity to look back at myself and reflect on my immoral mind. I am grateful for your precious teaching, I promise to strictly follow your guidance for not losing my self-esteem anymore and also accumulating “self-respect” and “respect for others” which are the two important treasures of a noble one.

    Thank vajra brother Mat Hai for this timely wake-up call. May you have good health and soon achieve righteous wishes.

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

    May all beings awake at the state of enlightenment.

    May covid-19 pandemic soon be over.

    Om Mani Pad Me Hum.

  4. Mật Phước says:

    Dear Guru,
    I have read your letter with the heartfelt sharings from vajra brother Mat Hai.
    Thank you so much for right things in orbit the true Dharma, your teachings fight directly to the selfishness in our consciousness. Because we have just wish good things to ourselves own but never think to others, the most is disturbing Guru which is also breaking the precepts on Dharma path.
    Thank you Guru for the teachings help me “ask myself” to redirect behaviors positively which to become the person is really practicing the Dharma, the person is sure the son of Buddha, the person is the true disciple.
    May Guru and your consort have the good health and longevity for the sake of all senteint beings.
    May the Covid 19 pandemic get soon over.
    May all senteint beings achieve the happiess of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  5. Dr C H Lakshminarayan says:

    I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guru.

    Guru is my guide

    Buddha is my life

    Dharma is my boat

    Sangha is my spirit

    This is a  beautiful, timely needed, article by Guruji, supported by personal realisation of views by Dharma brother Mat Hai !

    Immediately two things flashed on the screen of my  mind :

    1)  the personal grievances of my dharma brother Tantra Sutradaka which all of you read and know which is self explanatory.

    2) A  verse from the great Adi  Guru Shankaracharya of Hindu  Mythology,

    ” Bhaja Govindam”. With kind permission I quote– ” Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam

    Govindam   Bhaja mudhamathe

    Balastavath   kridasaktha

    Tharunastavath   Tharunisakta

    Vruddhasthavath  chinthasaktha

    Alas!  Parebrhmani kopinasktha!

    I  shall try to translate this as follows :

    Pray Buddha  pray Buddha

    Oh ! Fool pray Buddha (God )

    Childhood days interested in play

    Yonger days interested in young girls

    Oldage days interested inthinking future

    Alas !  No body thinks about Buddha(God)

    The meaning of the above is as follows :

    Oh ! Fool! Worship Buddha ! Worship Buddha.Dont waste your life and time !

    Children in their age interested in playing.!

    The youth in their age interested in young girls !. Old age people  are thinking about their future of death.! Oh ! Nobody is thinking of the great benefactor God ( Buddha).!  Guru feels sorry for their wasting time and life like this !

    So we are wasting  Guru ‘s  precious time and energy in narrating our  family problems asking trivial questions crossing Dharma orbit.! Which is against the precept that any thing apart from Dharma should not be asked by disciples. We should try to solve our problems with our own efforts. There is an  English proverb, ” Buddha ( god)  helps those who helps themselves.!”  This applies here also.

    Sarve janaha Sukhino Bhavanthu.

    May all be sarva bhootha hithe rathaha

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Nirvadeva

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  6. Mật Chánh Tấn says:

    Dear holy Guru!
    I have read this article “Letter to Disciples No.64: ASK YOURSELF!”. The content of this article, even the title “Ask yourself!” has shown a clear lesson for me as a disciple.
    I understand that the main reason I come to learn Pure Mind Yoga is not to resolve the business or family affairs because I have to leave these things behind after death. The main reason is to understand, apply the teaching of Buddha and Enlightened Ones into real life, which helps me to attain joy in this life and attain rebirth in the Pure Land next life. I understand that the business or family affliction, which I have to suffer, all comes from the karma I created in past lives according to the law of Cause and Effect. And the solution, which I should focus on to change or resolve / reduce these karma, should be practicing Dharma and praying for the blessing of the Yidam through the transmission channel of holy Guru. Thus, If I only think of these business or family afflictions without practicing Dharma, It means I just only look at the troubles but neglecting the main causes and the solutions. Then, these troubles would never reduce or fade away. In addition, If I bring these troubles (which are not related to Buddhism lessons) to holy Guru, I also will make a serious mistake, which is disturbing the holy Guru’s mind. Then, according to the verse 13 in “Fifty verses of Guru Devotion” (by Ashvagosha), I would be boiled in hell. Just thinking of that makes me feel terrified.
    Thank you Guru for this important lesson and help me not to commit a terrible mistake, which is disturbing the holy Guru’s mind by the unrelated Buddhism / Dharma issues.
    May holy Guru 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.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Good. I like your comment!

      • Mật Chánh Tấn says:

        Dear holy Guru,

        Thank you for your encouragement words.

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

        Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Mật Thúy says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy .
    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ .
    Con hoan hỉ với những chia sẻ của đạo huynh Mật Hải , và con sẽ tự quáng xét lại bản thân con để con không cố phụ tấm lòng bồ đề tâm của vị Thầy. Con cầu nguyện sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của vị Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh con cầu nguyện cho vi khuẩn corona xóm ngày được tiêu trừ Om Ah Hùm.

  8. Mật Hồng Liên says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy
    Bài này con đã đọc rồi ạ
    Con xin hoan hỷ và tán thán thiện hạnh với những chia sẻ của huynh Mật Hải .Qua đây cho con hiểu và quán xét lại bản thân mình để không phụ lòng của vị Thầy
    Con xin cầu nguyện cho sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy và Cô vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh
    Cầu nguyện cho tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh
    Cầu nguyện cho dịch bệnh covid 19 sớm được tiêu trừ
    Om mani padme hum

  9. Tantra Pramitdhita (Josh Hacker) says:

    Holy Guru,

    I bow my head before your lotus feet!! Thank you for sharing “Letter to Disciples No. 64: ASK YOURSELF!” From this article I have learned the Guru is not our personal “sounding board” or someone we use to vent our worldly problems to. Guru is the one who shows us the path of the middle way and with his compassion gives us guidance along this path through your lectures and articles on chantuduy.com
    within these articles you teach the proper practice and application of Dharma in our daily lives to combat against things such the eight worldly winds, the 3 root poisons, 5 hindrances and many others. Thank for your immeasurable kindness and compassion.
    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

  10. Tantra Yashami says:

    Respected Gurujis Namaskar
    I pay my respects to my great Guruji.May Lord Buddha shower peace and harmony on this world.May Guruji the epidemic disease covid be removed from the whole world.Let the whole world live in peace and be healthy.Disciple always looks for light from his Gurujis in darkness.When no way is seen by the disciple then he prays to Gurujis to show him path.Gueuji you have always shown us the right path.Today every individual is facing some or the other problems.By the blessings of our Gurujis let us individually fight these problems.There is a way always.We must be brave enough to fight every difficulty and problem.Blessings of Gurujis is with all of us.

    Om mani padme hum.

  11. Tantra Mahajan says:

    Dear Holy Guru
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    Thanks for sharing this article
    Om Mani Padme Hum

  12. Tantra Sutradaka says:

    Om Mani Padme Hum
    I bow before your lotus feet
    It is the coldest winter day of this year. Most of the people are inside the blankets or quilt enjoying the warmth inside or in the house sipping the cup of tea or coffee, with or without snakes, along with the friends or family members near the fire wood, stove, oven or earthen fireplace, for heating the body with the fire flames of the kitchen hearth. Sun appears in the sky distributing the rosy light with mild soothing heat that cannot provide proper heat rather gives a mild therapy to the shivering people in the coldest winter day. It is another thing that the cold wave is blowing for last one week and may continue for another couple of weeks, but the needy persons have to work down to dusk braving the chilly wind of the day. I too am going to my college, even after my retirement not for engaging any class or discharging the routine work of my professional duties, but for soughting favour from the Principal to the clerks of the college for preparing the retirement benefit papers and starting my pension at the earliest which is caused by not discharging the duties by the office and authorities properly.
    The hollowness of the worldly relation is coming vividly before my eyes as the peon, clerks, a few teachers who claimed and shown to be always at my back and call are turning their eyes from me. Buddha’s dictum that everything is in the state of flux became clear to me as it includes relationship too. In the anticipation that they will have to work for me and completion of my document the facial expression has become stiff from mild, stern from smiling and indifferent instead of friendly. However it is the way of the world once Buddha said and our holy Guru, directly or indirectly has hinted on the changing face of men in his several articles.
    Yesterday I received a pleasant surprise from my Dhammma friend in shape of an article taken out of the Vimalkirti’s house and placing on the platform of messenger. It is pleasant because it is our holy Guru’s sharing and sent by my benevolent friend and surprise because it appears to me a reflection of my mental turbulence born out of the frustration of an honest person who is entrapped in the unholy situation for none of his fault. But the only solace is that I am not alone to face such rough weather of the system and secondly I am not forlorn, rather Guru is with me. Knowing it well that our Guru is a knowledgeable person and saviour for his disciple I thought it proper to refrain myself to tax him by my personal problems. Since his constant eyes are on his all disciples equally, my problems too will be shorted out even without showing my pain and plights. Secondly, regular complaining our problems to Guru narrows down the vision of a man and turns one selfish which leads one astray from the Buddhist way of life and Guru’s newly founded path of Pure Mind Buddhism takes one from selfishness to super- consciousness.
    Now, to my mind the best way is to surrender on to the feet of our holy Guru but regularly do our duties without putting stress and strain. In turn everything will be O K. This is the reason Guru puts more emphasis on turning the mind and change the vision from negative to positive as well as towards the Guru, Dahamma and Sangha, and Triple Jem in most of his articles.
    Om Mani Padme Hum
    May all the sentient beings attain the Buddha Nature.
    May all the Corona problem evaporate from the planet earth.
    Long live our Guru for the happiness of all the living entities of the world

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Dear Tantra Sutradaka,
      Thank you for your comment. I was touched reading it because you have been in your difficult time with paperwork at the college with old colleagues, but you always maintain the calmness and awareness reflecting about what I have mentioned in my teachings, head your mind toward the Vimalkirti’s house and wrote an insightful comment. What you have shared is absolutely right, that’s how ordinary people normally act without knowing the operation and consequences of cause and effect. However, with your sincerity and the strong faith, by diligently practicing Dharma, you will surely overcome the difficulty soon. In recent lectures that I gave my disciples these days, I returned the good deeds to you for overcoming your difficulties. May you soon overcome all challenges and start your leisure life which you deserve to have. Om mani padme hum.

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