Aug 18, 2019

Posted by in Giáo điển | 8 Comments

Letter from Binh Dinh: NATURAL PHENOMENA IN THANH TRI PERSPECTIVE (Thư Bình Định: HIỆN TƯỢNG THIÊN NHIÊN QUA QUAN KIẾN THANH TRÍ)

Letter from Binh Dinh: NATURAL PHENOMENA IN THANH TRI PERSPECTIVE (Thư Bình Định: HIỆN TƯỢNG THIÊN NHIÊN QUA QUAN KIẾN THANH TRÍ)

Dear reverend Guru!

I’ve read your letter No. 293: “Watching rain falling down” for some times but until now, do I get time to sit back and contemplate the wonderful meaning of your teachings without being interrupted by daily business. Once again, I feel blessed to meet you in this life and regularly “Read, Contemplate and Practice” Dharma under your guidance. This letter gives me a special delight since “the rain of Dharma wipes out ignorance without moving even a small piece of paper”. Our mind remains aroused by worldly concerns but your teachings are gradually wiping out parts of our “mind trash”. So I would like to express some of my feelings about your letter.

Firstly is about “Leading-by-example”, your own lived-experience example. A poet says that:

The rain pours down when the sky falls ill

I get lovesick just thinking of you”. (Poet Nguyen Binh)

Guru, on the contrary, always know “what the state of mind is”, know how to “face and transform” your mind into Dharma, thus are not afraid of “enjoying” songs or poems about rain (though these works bear samsaric beauty). This means you’ve “never been distracted from the Buddha’s teachings” in any circumstances. This is the first lesson – a perfect mirror of your own lived experience – you always give us in every article.

Then come to “speech-by-example” with your words still echoing in my mind:

“As clouds are floating in the sky

No traces are left nor upon the world they shine.

It’s not exaggerated to say that this verse gives us an overview of the universe through time and impermanent space. It reminds me of a Tang poem:

“Where, before me, are the sages that have gone?
And where, behind me, are the coming generations?
I think of heaven and earth, without limit, without end,
And lonely, my tears fall down.

(Chen Zi’ang: On Climbing Youzhou Tower – 登幽州台歌)

It’s the “overwhelmed pain” of poetic souls, feeling useless to see things change over the time. But Guru has another look:

“Sitting here watching the rain dancing out there, I think about the deeper layers of meaning of the nature’s beauty, not just exteriors that poets, writers or painters used to convey. Now do you know why my articles are often ended with “A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van mountain”? Whether it is the sunlight or the rainfall, all are as impermanent as Phu Van (i.e floating cloud). I don’t want to capture in my mind of whatever I’ve done or written because 

 “As clouds are floating in the sky

Notraces are left nor upon the world they shine.

May all sentient beings be awakened with the state of enlightenment.

Om Mani Padme Hum!”

During your expounding at the newly-upgraded Lien Hoa Dai (Lotus Platform), you taught us: “Something should’ve been wrong but it turns out to be right and vice versa. The mantra “OM MANI PADME HUM” is a typical example. If we read “PE-ME”, it is phonetically wrong but catches the “right” wave of blessings. This comes from the fact that Tibetan people could not pronounce the word “PAD-ME”, thus Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) allowed them to read as “PE-ME” which has been powered by the blessings of buddhas for thousands of years. One may be phonetically right to read “PAD-ME” but shall not receive the blessings from buddhas through the transmission channel of the Founder of Tibetan Buddhism (for us, the channel is Guru in this uninterrupted continuity of Dharma)! From this point on, right or wrong is like cloud floating in the sky that leave no traces of attachment! If there is any (obstruction by that is mistakenly known (jñeyāvarṇa)), one remains “wrong” or treading water in this ever-changing flow of life.

Patrul Rinpoche

Your holy words are also found similar in “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche:

“As Gyalse Rinpoche says:

Your past joys and sorrows are like drawings on water: No trace of them remains. Don’t run after them!

But should they come to mind, reflect on how success and failure come and go.

Is there anything you can trust besides Dharma, mani-reciters?

(…)

Your present work is like a job in a dream

Since all such effort is pointless, cast it aside,

Consider even your honest earnings without any attachment

Activities are without essence, mani-reciters!

 

Between meditation sessions, learn to control in this way all thoughts arising from the three poisons;

Until all thoughts and perceptions arise as Dharmakaya

This is indispensable – remembering it whenever you need it

Do not give rein to deluded thoughts, mani-reciters!”

In the “Advice from the Lotus-Born”, Founder of Tibetan Buddhism Padmasambhava taught us to abandon “floating clouds” of life (delusions) unless we want to remain in the cycle of samsara.

  “If you (King Trisong Deutsen) pursue ordinary deeds, your body, speech and mind will run wild in worldly experiences, so it is important to skillfully give up bad company and keep to mountain retreats. (Here we rely on the meaning, not the words)

 Your parents, brothers, sons and consorts are all like passing travelers. You will not remain together, so it is important to give up attachment and refrain from female company, the root of samsara.

 All the achievements, honor and fame of this life are the cause for distraction and obstacles, so it is important to give up preoccupation with this life and completely renounce the eight worldly concerns. 

 All your present experiences, the manifold feelings of pleasure and pain, are superficial and unreal, so it is important to recognize that all that appears and exists is devoid of independent existence, just like a magical apparition or a dream.”

(Chapter 3: No conflict between the Lesser and Greater Vehicles)

“…I don’t want to capture in my mind of whatever I’ve done or written…”.

Finally is your Mind-by-example. I’ve noticed one of your teachings: “…I don’t want to capture in my mind of whatever I’ve done or written…” You’ve advised us not to cling to our own feelings upon practicing Dharma by “seeing things as they are”. Let nature take its course or we shall fall into grievous failures which means we may take rebirth in samsara (even though that we may have chances to “enjoy blessings” in that rebirth). This has been taught by Padmasambhava:

“To explain this further: after practicing according to your master’s style of oral instructions, if instead you cling to the mere feeling of bliss in body and mind, you will stray into rebirth as a deva or human in the Realm of Desire. If you are attached to the state of mind that is merely free from any thought, you stray into becoming a deva in the Realm of Form. If you are fanscinated by being clear and thoughtfree, you stray into becoming a deva in the Pure Abodes. If you are attached to being blissful and nonconceptual, you stray into becoming a deva in the Realm of Desire. If you are fanscinated by being empty and nonconceptual, you stray into becoming a deva in the Formless Realm. In these ways, you go astray into the three realms.

 If you interrupt the flow of sense objects, you stray into the perception-sphere of Infinite Space. If you interrupt sensation, as in the case of deep sleep, you stray into the perception-sphere of Nothing Whatsoever. If you interrupt into the perceived while cognizance is still vivid, you stray into the perception-sphere of Infinite Consciousness. If you retain a slight sense of bliss, while there continuously is nothing whatsoever perceived, you stray into the perception-sphere of Neither Presence Nor Absence. These are called “falling into one-sided samatha”, and when you die and transmigrate, you continue going around within the three realms among the six classes of beings. 

Tsogyal, there is no need to fall back into samsara, so cut through the strayings of foolish meditation practice!”

(Chapter 4: The Golden Rosary of Nectar)

CONCLUSION:

Reverend Guru!

From all points above, there raised a question: If so (seeing all things and phenomena as “deluded” or “floating cloud”), should we just sit leisurely and not necessarily being diligent in practicing Dharma like “putting out the fire on one’s head”?

I would like to quote a teaching of Padmasambhava as the conclusion:

The king asked the master: What makes you “cut through the limitations of sidetracks and faults?

The master responded:

(…)

 To condense all of this into a single sentence: the view is to be free from convictions, meditation is to not place (the mind) on everything, experience to be free from savoring the taste, and fruition is beyond attainment. The buddhas of three times have not taught, are not teaching and will not teach anything else other than this. That is called “cutting through the limitations of sidetracks and faults”. 

The king asked the master: What does it mean to “clear away the fault of conviction”?

 The master replied: Even though you have realized that your mind is Buddha, don’t forsake your master! Even though you have realized appearances to be mind, don’t interrupt conditioned roots of virtue! Even though you don’t hope for buddhahood, honor the sublime Three Jewels! Even though you don’t fear samsara, avoid even the tiniest misdeed! Even though you have gained the unchanging confidence of your innate nature, don’t be little any spiritual teaching! Even though you experience the qualities of samadhi, higher perceptions and the like, give up conceit and pretentiousness! Even though you have realized that samsara and nirvana are nondual, don’t cease to have compassion for sentient beings. 

 Again the king asked: What does it mean to “gain certainty”?

The master responded: Gain certainty in the fact that since the very beginning, your own mind is the awakened state of buddhahood. Gain certainty in the fact that all phenomena are the magical display of your mind. Gain certainty in the fact that the fruition is present in yourself and is not be sought elsewhere. Gain certainty in the fact that your master is the buddha in person. Gain certainty in the fact that the nature of view and meditation is the realization of the buddhas. To gain such confidence, you must practice!” (Chapter 2: Advice to Trisong Deutsen)

A RAINY AFTERNOON ON THE PEAK OF PHU VAN MOUNTAIN contains “deeper layers of meaning”

Thinking about these teachings, I am extremely delighted with your “perfect words”. “A RAINY AFTERNOON ON THE PEAK OF PHU VAN MOUNTAIN” is the lodestar of Song Nguyen Tantra House, containing “deeper layers of meaning”, which have again been proven through Buddhist scriptures. My deepest gratitude to you!

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

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

OM MANI PADME HUM.

Your disciple

Mat Kien


 

Vietnamese version: Thư Bình Định: HIỆN TƯỢNG THIÊN NHIÊN QUA QUAN KIẾN THANH TRÍ

  1. Simon Michael says:
    Dear holy Guru,

    I thank you for this wonderful article.  Natural phenomena for thanh tri perspective. In this article you teach us the important of closer to religion obligation is very important than individual business you made us to understand what ever we  have here today one day will die and leave it here. you also teaches us to do good so that we can be reborn in higher realm. May Guru guide us toward enlightenment so that we will be born in a higher realm. May Guru live long for the  seek of sentient being

  2. Mật Diệu Hằng says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Simon Michael sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy tôn quý!

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì bài viết tuyệt vời này: “hiện tượng thiên nhiên qua quan kiến thanh trí”. Trong bài viết này, Thầy dạy chúng con hiểu về tầm quan trọng của việc thực hành  tâm linh và thực hành pháp quan trọng hơn rất nhiều so với công việc thế sự. Thầy giúp chúng con hiểu được tất cả những gì thuộc về thế gian chúng con có được trong kiếp sống này chỉ là ảo mộng, một ngày nào đó chúng con sẽ chết và phải từ bỏ mọi thứ. Thầy cũng dạy chúng con tạo nghiệp đức hạnh để được thác sanh vào cõi cao hơn.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy chỉ dẫn chúng con hướng đến giác ngộ để chúng con sẽ được tái sanh vào cõi cao hơn.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.

     

     

  3. Tantra Sagovana says:
    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article by Mat Kien called “Natural Phenomena in Thanh Tri Perspective”.

    It is a good article and it has deep meaning.

    What I have learned from this article is that phenomena are impermanent, that we have to cut through our delusions, and also that we should not be attached to any feelings that arise during Dharma practice.

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

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

  4. Rachel Thomson says:
    Dear Holy Guru, I enjoyed this article very much, especially the words of sustaining from the bad world of greed as I see it, I look up at the sky and I think how very lucky we are to have bright sunshine and to have rain, which I feel is cleansing, if we were more grateful of our natural surroundings I believe we would be much happier instead of being caught up in vanity, greed and wrongdoings, thank you Guru, Rachel Thomson
  5. Ignacio Sanchez Gentile says:
    Dear guru

    I enjoy this article a lot.

    Thank you very much.

  6. Tantraupatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.
  7. Mật Diệu Hằng says:
    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Ignacio Sanchez Gentile sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con vô cùng hoan hỷ khi được đọc bài viết này.

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy!

     

  8. Tantraupatissa says:
    Dear Mat Kein I keep reading this article again and again whenever I get time. I try understand it deeply. Thanks for your sincere respect shown to Guru by mentioning “Guru does not gets distracted from Buddha’s teachings in midst of this samsara”

    Also thanks for making us understand there is a deeper layers of meaning in Phu Van mountain. I will keep reading it again till understand the article thoroughly.

    May Guru and his consort live long for upholding Dharma and get enlightened.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!!!

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