May 16, 2019

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 6 Comments

On the occasion of Vesak 2563: FROM AN INTERVIEW ON GIAC NGO NEWSPAPER, THINK ABOUT SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN KALYANAMITRAS

This month, every Buddhists turn their attention to the United Nations Day of Vesak 2563 (2019), especially when Vietnam will hostthe event this year. Among so much information posted on the media, I am delighted to read an interview on Giac Ngo Newspaper (Enlightenment Newspaper) done by Giao Hao reporter titled “Giac Ngo’s Interview with the Lama who is closed to HH. Dalai Lama”. Such an interesting interview for I’ve found many viewpoints that are similar to Master-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh, especially those written in his book “Engaged Dharma in Tantric Perspectives” published in 2010. What interested me was the last Q&A of the interview:  The sound of happiness is only created with the combination of both external and internal aspects (similar to Guru’s teaching: Self-help practice – Divinity support); Buddhism is not about rituals but mind transformation, not about scholasticism but engagement in worldly life, etc. All these viewpoints are not something strange for us because we have been taught by Guru about engaged Buddhism (Dharma is life, Life is dharma) which should be in accordance with nation, ethnicity and times. I am delightful to see similarities between kalyanamitras and can’t stop thinking about my Guru who “went ahead of his time” by popularizing Buddhist dharma with the most updated methods.

Master – Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh

“Engaged Dharma in Tantric Perspectives” published in 2010 – Thinley Nguyen Thanh

HH. the 14th Dalai Lama and Geshe Dorji Damdul

Coming back to the article on Giac Ngo Newspaper, the interviewee is a distinguished Buddhist scholar who has influential works in contemporary Buddhism as it said: “Ven. Geshe Dorji Damdul,  Director, Tibet House, New Delhi Cultural Centre of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1988, Geshe Dorji Damdul joined the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala for formal studies in Buddhist logic, philosophy and epistemology. After 15 years of study in Buddhist philosophy, he finished Geshe Lharampa Degree (Ph.D.) in 2002 from Drepung Loseling Monastic University. He joined Gyudmed Tantric College for a year for Tantric studies. In 2003, the Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama sent him to Cambridge University, England for Proficiency English studies. He was a visiting fellow at Girton College, Cambridge University. He was appointed as the official translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama in 2005 and has been serving as his interpreter for many years. At the same time, he involved in doing translation of  many texts from Tibetan into English such as Arya Nagarjuna’s “Mulamadyamikakarika” (Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way), Acharya Shantideva’s “Bodhicaryavatara” (Wisdom Chapter).

While assigned with the same task of translating for H.H. the Dalai Lama inside and abroad India, he was appointed as the Director of Tibet House, Cultural Center of H.H. the Dalai Lama, New Delhi in March 2011.

Previously in 2008, as assigned by the Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama, he visited the US to work with Prof. Paul Ekman on H.H. the Dalai Lama’s book “Emotional Awareness” which is co-authored by Dr. Paul Ekman of the University of California Medical School.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama also assigned him with a text book project. He is one of the chief editors for the text book on Buddhist Science and Philosophy. This text book is to be used for Centers and Institutes all over the world to study more thoroughly on Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, and science.

He was also assigned, along with few other scholars to work on H.H. the Dalai Lama’s book “Ethics for the New Millennium – Part II,” and the series of “Art of Happiness” book which were jointly written by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Prof. Haward Cutlar (…)”.

Geshe Dorji Damdul

The interview includes five questions and Geshe Dorji Damdul gave his reasoning to all of them. But the focus point is in the 5thquestion which is also the last and longest one. I would find it necessary to quote some parts of this question-answer as the ground for drawing the similarity among kalyanamitras (here is Geshe Dorji Damdul and Master – Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh).  Those underlined aim to emphasize the similarities:

“* (Q): So, does Tibetan Buddhism in particular introduce any way to young people for better access in this modern time?

(A): (…)

Young people do not have a thorough perception of Dharma and they yet to know that the Buddhist tenets are rich both in philosophy and science and in science of mind. Of course, the Buddha did not really mention about the science of mind but this field itself says about the movement of mind based on neurological systems. Buddhism says about the movement of brain or mental function. Hence, these two viewpoints are rather similar. For instance, to help an afflicted man, neurologists would try to fix nervous joints of the nervous system, while in Buddhism, the treatment would focus on handling with emotions. Hence, these two categories can go in parallel with each other.

 (…)

“Bien Nho” 2019 conference – Song Nguyen Tantra House

The elderly, especially those who have authority and capability in the community, should promote and bring the Dharma closer to young people, helping them know that Buddhism is not about worship or rituals but a treasury of philosophy and psychology. Therefore, you should be proud of your culture first, then be aware that this is not a blind faith because Dharma can contribute to the world in terms of modern science. This is what we really need to try our best in the Buddhist community, especially those who are capable of leading.

Conference of Song Nguyen Tantra House in 2017

Initially, we can organize some seminars for young people where we should involve them in interesting discussions relating to modern science, otherwise they will not care if we just talk about dogmas or rituals. Normally, around 20-30% of them are interested in modern science while the rest may not have scientific foundation but they still show much respect to science because science belongs to knowledge and relates to an objective reality. Hence, it would be more attractive once we can communicate with young people by their language in terms of modern science. This is very important.

International conference

Conference of ITA in February 2018

At the same time, all should follow the Buddha’s message: external harmony and inner happiness. This is like the sound of a hand clap. It’s impossible to create the sound just with one hand (external harmony or inner happiness). The sound of happiness is only created with the combination of both external and internal aspects. If we can deal with exteral aspect which makes the world be joyful and happy, then it helps make our mind be happy and equanimous. Tha’ts why these two aspects need go together, inseparatedly.”

 Following are similiarities in details:

Guru and disciples

1) Interview: To help an afflicted man, neurologists would try to fix nervous joints of the nervous system, while in Buddhism, the treatment would focus on handling with emotions. Hence, these two categories can go in parallel with each other.

-Guru taught that: mind transformation is of most importance. From this perception, Guru has initiated the Thanh Tri Yoga to help the practitioner gain pure mind and discernment (equivalent to the dealing with feelings and emotions). This is the foundation for the obtainment of equanimity and happiness this life and being reborn into the Western Pure Land of Amitabha next life.

Mat Gia Song Nguyen Tantra house

2) Interview: Buddhism is not about worship or rituals but a treasury of philosophy and psychology. Therefore, you should be proud of your culture first, then be aware that this is not a blind faith because Dharma can contribute to the world in terms of modern science.

-Guru does not “enframe” Dharma activities in holy spaces, worship or rituals but brings them into daily life (generating Bodhicitta in 16 daily activities, for instance).

“In some way ahead of his time”

In the exploitation of the treasury of Buddhist philosophy and psychology, Guru has set up the Thanh Tri Institute of Psychology Research and Yoga Applications (ITA) with you being the director, which was licensed by the Ministry of Science and Technology since early 2018 (while this interview was done in mid-2018 and posted on the newspaper on April 16, 2019). Guru in some way “went ahead of your time”.

Most recently, Guru has posted a sermon on chanhtuduy.com named “Master-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh expounds on THE STATE OF SPIRITUALITY: TURNING THEIR BACK ON BUDDHISM FOR MISUNDERSTANDING”. The main content of the sermon has a profound similarity with the interview in terms of viewpoint which says that: Buddhism (Buddhist path) is always contained in Buddhist religion. “Religion”, in general, should be known as the clustering in a sacred place, the slavish attitude towards the Superior or some creeds. Buddhist sutras aim to bring joy, equanimity and enlightenment to the practitioner but ironically, some are employing them as religious activities, turning them into “the chanting parrot”, making many people turn their back on Buddhism. For instance, in some religions, many followers who are struggling with life come to a “superior father” or “superior mother” for advice. If they gain good result, the superior will say it comes from his/her blessings. If not, it becomes the “challenge” for them. This has created a degradation in belief and negative attitude towards religion. For a long time, there has been existing a misconception between Buddhist path and Buddhist religion. The Song Nguyen Tantra House (MGSN) established by Guru is the Buddhist path, not Buddhist religion, given it’s performance license being granted by the Ministry of Science and Technology, not by the Ministry of Home Affairs which is authorised for managing religious activities! The dharma of Buddhist path (not Buddhist religion) is very realistic but it’s the equation of Buddhist path with the society’s religion has made many turn their back on Buddhism. This should be clarified to have a positive change wich goes in alignment with time, nation and ethnicity.

3) Interview: Initially, we can organize some seminars for young people where we should involve them in interesting discussions relating to modern science, otherwise they will not care if we just talk about dogmas or rituals.

-For years, Guru has flexibily used resorts or cafés as a place to talk about dharma (Hannya-dō) in the sense of bringing Dharma into life. Especially, there have many big conferences held in seaside resorts which include scientific studies, with a research on Buddhism and Science by Mat Tu as an example.

4) Interview: It would be more attractive once we can communicate with young people by their language in terms of modern science. This is very important.

-Guru has set up webiste chanhtuduy.com with articles which provide modern and scientific approaches to Buddhist Dharma such as a series of “Elements”; couple love; school exams, employment, etc. with a motto of “Inner happiness – Life success – Social achievement”. This is also supported by the assertion of Lama Zopa: “ All troubles in this life are due to lacking Dharma practice. All prosperities in this life is thanks to the practice of Dharma”. This has generated an attractive closeness between Buddhist Dharma with modern people, especially the young ones.

5) Interview: It’s impossible to create the sound just with one hand (external harmony or inner happiness). The sound of happiness is only created with the combination of both external and internal aspects. If we can deal with external aspect which makes the world be joyful and happy, then it helps make our mind be happy and equanimous. That’s why these two aspects need go together, inseparatedly!

-This is what Guru has taught long before: “Self-help practice – Divinity support”. Without self-effort on the basis of Guru devotion (right diligence), there is no “Almighty” can do for you. On the contrary, a self-effort without a goal of making the world be happy (Bodhicitta) shall not lead to a true happiness.

Great minds think alike! Above are similarities in viewpoints on modern Buddhism between Geshe Dorji Damdul and Master-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh. Two kalyanamitras from different ethnicities and countries but Master-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh has introduced similar spiritual inventions which went ahead of his time for dozens of years. This is inconceivable!

What about the difference?

 -Through the interview, Geshe Dorji Damdul merely presented his knowledge of modern Buddhism without introducing any methods of practice that are suitable with modern life or methods of any master (guru) in this time.

-Meanwhile, together with that KNOWLEDGE, Master-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh has invented six (6) corresponding methods of practice. They are “Six Wonderful Dharmas” or Thanh Tri Yoga (Pure Mind Yoga) which come from over 25 years in search, study, survey and sucessful application. They include

(1) Eight dharmas of taking refuge; (2) Samyagdrsti Prabha Samadhi; (3) Uninterrupted offering; (4) Meditation on Bodhicitta; (5) Lotus walking dharani; (6) Five degrees of Yidam visualization. These six dharmas are formed on three aspects of enlightenment (Renunciation, Bodhicitta and Emptiness). One can actually practice only one dharma which suits him best, in effect, he achieves proficiency in the rest dharmas. For instance, the second mind dharma “Samyagdrsti Prabha Samadhi” (listening-reading onchanhtuduy.com): Once we log in to the website, we have taken refuge in Guru – Buddha – Dharma – Sangha and renounced worldly concerns; we read the articles means we access Buddhist right view through the transmission channel of Guru, i.e heading our mind to the wisdom of emptiness; We do comments means we make offerings (sharing dharma), i.e practicing Bodhicitta, etc. Once we learn and practice together, gradually will our mind transform from negative to positive state, from affliction to compassion, pushing back ignorance to obtain a growth of enlightenment which will be a good seed sown on the land of “Blissfulness in the present– Everlasting happiness in the future”.

In the Diamond sutra, the Buddha taught: “Those who see me in my form or hear me by my voice. Those do not see the Tathagata”. In other sutras, he also said “Those who see Dharma will also see the Buddha”! Such superb teachings will forever beyond of our reach unless we have a guiding teacher (Guru). Fortunately, we have you, our Guru-Director Thinley Nguyen Thanh, who has paved the way for us to the garden of colorful Dharma flowers through six PRACTICES corresponding to KNOWLEDGE in this modern time. From here, we have “seen Dharma and the Buddha” through our Guru. Such a great joy and happiness that are hard to find in this age of Dharma degeneration.

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

OM MANI PADME HUM!

Disciple Mat Kien


Vietnamese version: Nhân mùa Phật đản 2563:TỪ MỘT BÀI VIẾT TRÊN BÁO GIÁC NGỘ, NGHĨ VỀ SỰ TƯƠNG ĐỒNG VÀ KHÁC BIỆT GIỮA CÁC BẬC TUỆ TRI THỨC

  1. Aman Prakash says:

    Dear guru

    Thank you for this article. I bow my head on your lotus feet.

    We are very much fortunate to have guru like you.Guru had done the great work as he used the scientific temperament to study budhism. He created the 6 methods of practising budhism properly. As we all see in this article there is very much common in guru and Geshe dorji damul. I like the quotation by lama zopa”all troubles in our life is due to not practicing dhamma and all prosperities are due to dhamma practising.”  I also like the line”It is impossible to create clap by one hand(external hormony or inner happiness.” Guru will only be happy when we practice dhamma daily.  all need blessings from you guru,as we are much involve in ego grasping attitude.

    May guru and dakini live long for the sake of all sensient being.May guru teachings spread all over the world for peace and happiness.

    May all sensient being attain true nature.

    Om Mani padme hum

  2. Tantra Upatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    I am writing this letter on occasion of Vesaka day to pay respect to Guru who allowed me to learn Buddha Dharma under his guidance. It would be difficult for me to learn new things in Buddhism without Guru. Though I recite Namo Buddh everyday sometimes in day to day life I get lost in my thoughts and it becomes difficult for me recite the mantra. Thanks to Guru who thought me other methods of meditation like walking meditation, meditation while sitting, standing, sleeping, all these things help me to stay in path of Dharma. On this day of Vesaka we celebrate Birth, Enlightenment, and Death of Lord Buddha. Thanks to Lord Buddha, Avlokiteshwara and other deities to empower our Guru in spreading Buddhism across world and help other beings learn Dharma under guidance of our Nobel Guru. I am very lucky to find Guru, his consort and his Disciples who encourage me to practice Dharma diligently

    May Guru and his consort live long for sake of other beings and get enlightened.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  3. Kính bạch Thầy

    Con xin phép dịch bình luận của đạo hữu Tantra Upatissa ạ

    Kính bạch Thầy

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy về bài viết này

    Nhân dịp Đại nhật thánh lễ Vesak năm nay, con xin bày tỏ tấm lòng tri ân tới vị Thầy đã cho phép con được thọ nhận giáo lý Phật đà dưới sự chỉ dạy của Thầy. Con sẽ không có cơ hội hiểu được tri kiến Phật pháp nếu không có vị Thầy. Dù con có trì niệm hồng danh đức Phật bao nhiêu chăng nữa nhưng nếu con không thông hiểu giáo lý thì con vẫn mãi lạc lối trong tâm thức và việc tụng thần chú cũng sẽ trở nên khó khăn với con. Nhờ ơn Thầy, giờ đây con đã biết thêm phương pháp thiền khác như thiền theo bước chân, thiền khi ngồi, đứng, trước khi đi ngủ và nhiều phương pháp khác giúp con luôn nằm trong quỹ đạo Chánh pháp. Lễ Phật đản năm nay là dịp để chúng con kỷ niệm ngày đức Phật đản sanh, đạt giác ngộ và nhập Niết Bàn. Con cầu nguyện Phật, Bổn tôn và thánh chúng gia hộ cho sự nghiệp hoằng dương chánh pháp vươn ra biển lớn của vị Thầy đạt thành tựu viên mãn, để chúng sanh có cơ hội được theo bước chân vị Thầy tâm linh tôn quý. Con cảm niệm ơn phước được hạnh ngộ Thầy Cô và các huynh đệ kim cang và luôn nhận được sự sách tấn trên con đường tu tập.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô trụ thế dài lâu vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh

    Cầu nguyện chúng sanh giải thoát khỏi khổ đau và đạt giác ngộ

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  4. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article by Mat Kien.

    This article shows the similarities and differences between two Kalyanamitras and their methods of teaching.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

  5. Kính bạch Thầy!

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

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con đọc bài viết của đạo huynh Mật Kiên.

    Bài viết này chỉ ra sự tương đồng và khác biệt giữa hai bậc tuệ tri thức cũng như phương pháp giảng dạy của họ.

    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ khổ đau và đạt được giác ngộ.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Con – Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

     

  6. tantra mahavita says:
    Dear Holy Guru … Thank you very much for sharing this article. I bow my head to the feet of the Holy Guru- The Guru has taught us that the transformation of the mind is the most important thing. From this perception the Guru helps the practitioner to have a pure mind and discernment, equivalent to dealing with feelings and emotions. This is the basis of happiness in this life. All the problems of this life are due to not practicing the dharma and all the prosperity to the practice of the Dharma … We all need the blessings of our Guru since we are very involved in the attitude of apprehension of the ego. That the Guru live a long time for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all beings reach the true nature of Buddha .Om Mani Padme Hung

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

DMCA.com Protection Status