Feb 9, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 11 Comments

Letter from Sweden: IF IT’S FATE, WE WILL MEET EVEN IF WE ARE SEPARATED BY A THOUSAND MILES. IF IT’S NOT FATE, WE WILL NEVER ENCOUNTER EACH OTHER EVEN IF WE’RE FACE-TO-FACE (Part 5) (Thư Thụy Điển: CÓ DUYÊN NGÀN DẶM GẶP NHAU, VÔ DUYÊN TRƯỚC MẶT TƯỜNG RÀO CÁCH NGĂN (Bài 5))

Two days after my arrival to Sweden, I asked Mat Tu to be my interpreter during my appointments with the Hinduist Master named Sambhushivananda and a Swedish couple who lives six kilometers from my place. Then I refused to meet them for some reasons I’d said in the previous part. Strangely, some followers in France, England and Germany, particularly Paul Yanawat – a cancer patient, who all wished to meet me, could not come due to family affairs or personal obstacles, though they had insisted on their presence before my trip to Sweden. From here, I could see they had good roots but did not have enough proper conditions which made them miss this opportunity. These are hindrances that are defined by Buddhist saints in Eight external obstacles (1)

Bad things seemed not enough as some of the management board of the 300-year-old building where I was staying at announced that they would do periodic maintenance. The structure of such old buildings in Stockholm are so degraded and most of the owners accept to refurbish their apartment only. It takes much time to do maintenance, repair and examination of fire-alarm systems. In my building, the management board needed inspect the heating system and all windows from the complaint of some residents here. During the time of maintenance, I felt uncomfortable with the noise caused by machines and technicians, thus I decided to leave for another place in the city center. Poor Mat Tu, she just arrived but had to help me arrange my stuff to move out. Luckily, I did not invite Swedish followers to this place. And now I realized that the Swedish has yet to have enough good affinity with me; maybe just with Mat Tu in the future. She told me to have introduced chantuduy.com to two of her classmates, an Iran and a South African, and they are now reading articles on this site.

My heart sinks upon watching the street

My new place is Sheraton hotel which I’d got to ask the way to it in English as we dragged our luggage on the walking street. On entering the hotel lobby, I felt overwhelmed to see a crew of over 10 beautiful air hostesses and 3 male attendants of Dubai Airlines. A guest asked to take picture of them but were asked for photography license. I felt sorry for him thus asked him to take a picture of mine. Frankly, their costumes can’t give them rank and fashion. They are in fact the steward on the air instead of on land. Just that! I thanked him for helping me but soon felt bothered when hearing his question which was the same one I heard yesterday: “Are you Japanese?”

Strangely, why do I keep being asked to be Japanese? Should only Japanese people look great? Likewise, long-time impression will create fixed mindset, just like an inherent conception of vegetarianism in Buddhism. A singer who travelled to Bhutan recently wrote that the Bhutanese don’t eat meat because 90% of the country’s population follow Buddhism. Meanwhile, my disciple, Mat Kha Phuc, who just finished her one-week trip in Bhutan, told me that this information is not true. We all know that Vajrayana and Therevada traditions in Buddhism neither lay emphasis on vegetarianism nor non-vegetarianism because they understand that Buddhism takes “wisdome as the sole cause of cultivation” (Eight Great Causes of Englightenment Sutra). In Buddha’s time, Devadatta practiced vegetarianism so he decided to challenge the Buddha. But finally, he did not gain enlightenment and descended to hell after death. King Liang Wu Di (梁武帝) adopted vegan lifestyle and ordered Buddhist practitioners to follow vegetarian diet but look at the result? He still lost his kingdome and starved to death. The media has recently told a case who got exhausted and died after two months of practicing veganism. It’s totally wrong as many Buddhists say only vegetarianism or veganism leads to compassion. If compassion originates from that kind of diet, won’t other religions which follow non-vegetarianism have kindness and benevolence? None of sutras or saints’ teachings in Buddhism asserts that vegetarianism or veganism will lead to ultimate liberation. The Heart Sutra says: “All buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi through reliance on prajna paramita” (Prajna paramita is the “great wisdom”, not “great vegetarianism”!). It should be remembered that Buddhism is not the path of vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism.

Popular non-vegetarian dishes at Bhutan’s restaurants

Is it vegetarian or non-vegetarian?

Normally, many Vietnamese tend to label the image of shaved head and yellow rob for Buddhist practitioner or blindly devote to anyone who have earned degrees from learning Buddhism in India, Myanmar or Sri Lanka. Similar attitude is paid to monks coming from Tibet, India, Nepal, Myanmar regardless whether they are qualified or not, just a long dharma name in Pali, Tibetan or Sankrit is enough. Besides, some high-ranked Buddhist bhikkhus tend to look down upon lay practitioners by saying: “He/she is just lay Buddhist!” If they find lay Buddhists far more inferior than them, please stop chanting the Vimalakirti Sutra or Adbhuta Dharma Sutra! After all, either attitudes of lowering oneself or uplifting oneself come from long-time religious tradition. We, Song Nguyen Tantra House, do not follow religious tradition but act on the spirit of spiritual dialectics. We respect any Buddhist, irrespective of monks or lay people, who fully observe precepts and have high spiritual level.

-Guru, I’ve finished the booking of two rooms! (Mat Tu)

-Yes, I’ve also got up from a short snap! I kidded with Mat Tu because in Sheraton, it takes time logging in the hotel website to book room, unlike Vietnam where guests can easily book room directly with the receptionist or even are invited to have a look at rooms before booking. We entered the elevator, then stepped out and made our way to our rooms (I stayed in 322 while Mat Tu, 315).

My Hum cat

Thanks to the move, I had a chance to admire the sole walking street in this city. It’s a 2km patterned stone walkway where in the middle located  wooden benches and animal statue (I didn’t know what it is but looked like my Hum cat). This is also the street of fashion, souvenirs and food. The lighting system giving out brilliant, sparkling lights and a large number of pedestrians made the walkway look cozier and more colorful at night. I and Mat Tu had dinner and coffee at a big restaurant. We were talking about Buddhadharma when Mat Dieu Hang texted me that the couple in Stockholm and three followers in France and German wished to meet me in the afternoon of January 15, 2020. But that time I was going to return Vietnam. It’s clear that: “If it’s fate, we will meet even if we are separated by a thousand miles. If it’s not fate, we will never encounter each other even if we’re face-to-face”. In Buddha’s time, not everyone is able to get teachings from the Buddha, let alone a normal master like me! I might not see them but Stockholm left in me rays of hope anyway. I would stop here.

Have coffee with my disciple

Is this cup of tea big?

Leisurely walk on the night street

Head to Song Nguyen Tantra House

The walkway at night

Fika

The building with blue top after me is where Mat Tu will do thesis defence for master’s degree

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

Om Mani Padme Hum!

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van Mountain, January 14, 2020

Thinley-Nguyen Thanh


Vietnamese version: Thư Thụy Điển: CÓ DUYÊN NGÀN DẶM GẶP NHAU, VÔ DUYÊN TRƯỚC MẶT TƯỜNG RÀO CÁCH NGĂN (Bài 5)


RELATED ARTICLES:

Letter from Sweden: FRIENDSHIP ON THE FLIGHT (Part 1)

Letter from Sweden: HUMANITY IN A FOREIGN LAND (Part 2) ( Thư Thụy Điển: TÌNH NGƯỜI NƠI ĐẤT KHÁCH (Bài 2))

Letter from Sweden: WHAT I SAW IN EUROPEAN CORNER (Part 3) ( Thư Thụy Điển: THẤY GÌ Ở GÓC PHỐ TRỜI ÂU? (Bài 3))

Letter from Sweden: FIKA AT A GLANCE (part 4) ( Thư Thụy Điển: MỘT THOÁNG FIKA ( Bài 4))

Letter from Sweden: IF IT’S FATE, WE WILL MEET EVEN IF WE ARE SEPARATED BY A THOUSAND MILES. IF IT’S NOT FATE, WE WILL NEVER ENCOUNTER EACH OTHER EVEN IF WE’RE FACE-TO-FACE (Part 5) (Thư Thụy Điển: CÓ DUYÊN NGÀN DẶM GẶP NHAU, VÔ DUYÊN TRƯỚC MẶT TƯỜNG RÀO CÁCH NGĂN (Bài 5))

Letter from Sweden: MANY WORDS, ONE HEART. (Part 6) (Thư Thụy Điển: NHIỀU DÒNG CHỮ, MỘT TẤM LÒNG (Bài 6))

Letter from Sweden: ON RETURNING DAY (Part 7) (Thư Thụy Điển: NGÀY TRỞ VỀ (Bài 7))

  1. Dr C H Lakshminarayana says:

    I bow my head at the feet of my Guruji.

    I am highly impressed and delighted to read this article as it  highlight the many events related to the Guruji’s tour trip and experiences  of Guruji in Sweden simultaneously narrating many aspects of

    the ambiguity of vegetarian as well as non- vegetarian diet and the costumes of Buddhists in Buddhism and  equanimity in seeing lay Buddhist and the so called scholar  Buddhist etc and finally  uphelding   ” wisdom   as great ”  in Buddhism. A beautiful, vivid and crystal clear  analysis of Buddhism by Guruji.!

    A small confusion for me in the ending para of the article in the word  used as

    “Fate” (if it is Fate, we will meet … ). The Hindus  consider fate  as ” God willing ” or  ” As per the wish  or control of God ”  like that as contrary to that Buddhism  is mainly  depends scientifically on ” Cause and effect”  and  of ”  Any thing is of dependent Origen ” . So I pray Guruji to  remove my confusion  to have  clear vision about the same.

    Loka samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan

    ( Tantra Nirvadva )

  2. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:

    Dear holy Guru,

    My name is Tantra Ashihata.

    I thank you for this article you have given to us making us to understand that it not the doctrine that matter it the practicing and the spirituality.

    Dear holy Guru, may give us the wisdom to practice right so that your blessings will abound on us.

    May Guru live long for the happiness of all sentient beings and may all sentient beings be free from suffering

    Om Mani padme hum

     

  3. Tantra Lanidha (Ralph Keating) says:

    Dear Guru,

    I bow my head down at your lotus feet.

    Guru’s merit is immeasurable.

    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your trip with us. It is a indeed a gift for us to spend time with Guru as if we were there in his Holy presence.

    May all sentient beings have the fortune to meet a true Guru in this lifetime and follow him to the happiness of the Buddha Nature.

    May Guru and his consort live long and healthy lives for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    ML,

    Tantra Lanidha (Ralph Keating)

  4. Petra says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    I thank you for this article. To read about your travel is so interesting and to read about your experiences with the people and the places. When you mentioned the part where they asked if you were Japanese, made me think of a trip I made to Turkey long ago. Many people asked if I was American. When I said I was swedish they replied “but you don’t have blue eyes and blonde hair”

    I thank you and may you have a blessed and peaceful day

  5. Petra says:

    Yes indeed Dear Guru

    People see what they want to see

  6. Totte Nordahl
    Totte Nordahl says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you for this article.

    I am often judged because I am eating meat. Even well educated people deliver judgement. My answer to these people is always the same. “I cannot say you are wrong, but I can say that you are missinformed.”

    Dear Guru, if it is meant to happen it will happen. My future is not written yet and right now my life has taken an unexpected turn. With me on this part of my path I will have your teachings as a humble friend to lean on.

    Dear Guru, may the blessings from the three jewels always shine on your path.

    Kind regards

    Tantra Mitraga

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Admin
      Nguyên Thành says:

      The obstacles are inevitable to arise because what goes around comes around. However, if you lean on me, everything will not be failures.

  7. Mật Thúy says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy!

    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ .

    Con rất hoan hỉ với công hạnh luận giải của vị Thầy, qua bài này con cứ suy ngẫm mải và hiểu được rằng nhiều người nhìn thấy vị Thầy mà hỏi Thầy có phải người nhựt không điều này cho con thấy là người thế gian họ chỉ nhìn vẻ bên ngoài mà đánh giá con liên qua đạo pháp thì nhiều người nghĩ rằng tu ở chùa lớn mới gọi là tu phải ăn chay phải đầu tròn áo vuôn mới tu những họ đâu biết những sự thầy ở chùa lớn đó lại đeo nhân tà kiến cho họ đeo nhân luân hồi cho họ . con cầu nguyện sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của Thầy cô vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh con cầu nguyện cho vi khuẩn corona xóm ngày được tiêu trừ Om Ah Hùm.

  8. Totte says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you. For taking time to write.

    Kind regards

    T

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