DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- PRACTICE COMPASSION
By Nhat Quan
That day was a
long day... First of all, I received a phone call, on the
other end of the second a girl's voice said:
- The temple's
gas bill is late, so you must pay urgently, otherwise the
gas meter will be turned off within 15 minutes.
considered as a gas bill, it is actually 5 days late. At
that time I said:
- Okay, I'll
send you a check right away.
On the other
end of the line, the girl said:
- No, you have
to pay now. If not, my staff will disconnect the gas meter
tomorrow is the feast day of Avalokiteshvara, if there is a
gas outage, the crew will not be able to take care of the
food. Seeing that, I asked:
- Then how do
I pay you?
The other end
of the line replied:
- You can buy
gift cards at Walgreens near you.
I found it a
bit strange, so before I went to buy a gift card, I asked a
Buddhist student at the Temple to ask the gas company about
this. As for me, I ran to buy a Gift card. The Temple's gas
bill is $1,859.00 USD, but for Gift cards, they only sell a
maximum of $500.00. There was no other way, so I returned to
the temple and called to pay. After paying, the Buddhist
contacted the gas company and called me and said:
- The gas
company never calls and forces customers to pay that way.
The Master has been deceived. Master should immediately
contact the place where the card was purchased to request a
I ran back to Walgreens to explain this and asked to cancel
the card and ask for a refund. When I said that, the
Walgreens employee replied:
- Gift cards
cannot be returned once purchased.
the voice of that deceitful girl continued to call to ask
for gas money every day. Seeing how annoying it was, I
immediately went to the police station to ask for
intervention. Just then, the girl called me again asking for
money. I gave the phone to the police officer to listen. But
when she heard the police officer say:
- This is a
Seattle police officer...
When she heard
that, the other end of the line hung up, and from then on,
she stopped calling to bother me.
temple work a week later, I told this story to a Buddhist
student. After hearing it, he laughed and said:
- If we are
deceived, we will have to struggle for a whole week to
recover, and Master has many Buddhists supporting you. Don't
worry, don't be sad...
such a situation, scolding, anger... all do not bring
results. A Buddhist also advised me to say something like
that, I have to laugh and forgive, there is no other way.
And this case makes me think:
practicing Kindness Contemplation, Compassion Contemplation,
Joy Contemplation, and Equanimity Contemplation can
transform the seeds of anger in us.
basics of this matter, you see:
When you are
angry, it means you are angry at someone or something. In
this case, anger is anger at the person on the phone who
deceived you made you lose money, and made you suffer, in
which you call that person your enemy. The object of anger
is the object of the mind, that is, of perception. First,
you have your uneasy perceptions about the object. Angry at
being deceived, angry at your unfortunate fate today.
Therefore Kindness Contemplation and Compassion
Contemplation are related to perception. From the error of
perception arises anger. Instead of just contemplating Love,
Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity, you also need to return to
reflect on your perceptions to be successful.
compassion and forgiveness are two virtues that help you
remove hatred. You have heard of compassion water or nectar
water, but you have never heard anyone say compassion
mountain or compassion land. Because water has the ability
to cleanse and purify, using the artful material of
compassion, you will wash away anger. At that time, the
feelings of hatred will be released from the physical and
psychological body, and you will return to a state of
purity, peace, and happiness. Forgiveness is the material
for the seed of compassion to germinate. It is important not
to confuse emotion with compassion.
Buddha taught, that every day before going to bed, you must
meditate on compassion. Compassion meditation has many
benefits in your daily life. For example, when you are angry
with your husband or wife, if you know how to meditate on
compassion, it is very easy to forgive each other, because
you know that sins and mistakes are the attributes of
ordinary people. As mortals, everyone makes mistakes. Some
people make serious mistakes, some make minor mistakes.
Seeing the attributes of ordinary people will help you not
be attached and easily develop the idea of forgiveness and
letting go. Forgive others, knowing that you will have made
the same mistake in the same situation. If you know how to
forgive others, when you make a mistake, they will easily
forgive you. That is the cause and effect of the morality of
forgiveness. More importantly, forgiveness to remove hatred
is the cure for emotional wounds. When you are transformed,
you can easily forgive any human mistakes. Forgiveness is
the drops of water that wash away human moral filth and is
also the material that helps you renew your life. By
thinking like this, you will not be upset when you see your
spouse, relatives, or anyone who has made you suffer.
cruel oaths when angry. Harsh oaths and curses are not right
speech. It is language that lacks compassion, shows anger,
brings suffering, and leads to deadlock in relationships. If
at some point in your life, because you are so angry, you
make threatening oaths, take back those words. Take it all
off to let the other person see that they have been welcomed
with all compassion, there is no longer any distance between
you and them. Thus, the substance of forgiveness makes the
other person more mature in morality and is a nutrient that
makes them feel joyful, light, and excited.
In terms of
treating anger, Kindness Contemplation, and Compassion are
very practical yet very magical methods. The scriptures
mention seven disadvantages of anger, of people who refuse
to let go and refuse to transform their anger.
- First, that
person looks ugly. You just need to look in the mirror and
you know Buddha is right. Realizing that you naturally want
to do something right away to make your facial appearance
- Second, you
are stuck in your pain, in your anger. You lie curled up in
your pain. This pain is caused by anger.
- Third, there
is no rich development. The body as well as the soul cannot
develop and bloom like a flower.
- Fourth is to
become poor in money as well as in happiness.
- Fifth is not
having a good reputation.
- Six is not
having many friends. And
that person will be reborn in the Asura world, without
Those are the
seven disadvantages of those who hold on to anger without
knowing how to let it go and transform it. Also in Anguttara
Nikaya, Buddha talks about eleven benefits of those who
practice Kindness Contemplation and Compassion
- The first
thing for people practicing Kindness Contemplation is to
- Second, when
you wake up, you feel healthy and light in your heart.
- The third is
sleeping without nightmares.
- Fourth is
being close to many people.
- The fifth is
to be close to non-human species. Non-human species, such as
birds, fish, shrimp, etc., are not afraid to stay away.
- The sixth is
to be supported and protected by the gods.
- Seventh is
not being harmed by fire, poison, sword, or gun.
concentration is very easy
- Ninth, my
facial expression is always calm.
- Tenth, there
is no confusion at the time of death.
after death, at least rebirth in Brahma heaven,
Itivuttaka Sutra, the Buddha also said:
- All the
merits you have done in this world combined are not equal to
the merits of practicing Kindness Contemplation. Building
temples, casting bells, or doing social work... all of those
merits are only one-sixteenth of the merit of practicing
kindness. Just like looking up at the sky, you see the moon
and stars. And if the light of all the stars combined is not
equal to the light of the moon, then all the other merits
combined are not equal to the merit of kindness
practice of kindness and compassion is not mere thoughts,
fantasies, or wishes, but reality. Such as:
- Hope that
all species are happy. Wishing that species suffer less is a
what you see, and what you hear about the suffering, the
boredom, and the fear of people and creatures around you.
You touch the heart of compassion and want to do something
to create joy for them. When you see the pain and suffering
of a person or a certain species, the energy of Compassion
arises in you. If you don't make contact or contemplate,
your desire is not strong enough to turn into action.
Practicing Kindness Contemplation is the same, you have to
go deep into the flesh and bones of that person to clearly
see the state of their pain and suffering. Therefore the
the body in the body, contemplate the mind in the mind
Contemplating your mind in your mind means you don't see
that object as an object that exists outside of you. You
have to go into that object. You must break the boundary
between the subject of contemplation and the object being
contemplated so that you can understand the object.
that in Buddhism, the practice of contemplation must be
based on the principle that you and others are one. That
means you must consider the subject's situation as yours.
This is very important. Only when you lose the boundary
between subject and object will true wisdom be discovered.
That is a very basic characteristic of Buddhist meditation.
No matter how you contemplate, if that object is still
separate from you, then you do not have insight. This is
true for contemplation:
the body as the body. Contemplate feeling as feeling.
Contemplate the mind as mind. Contemplate the dharma as
of contemplation in Buddhism is to go in, to become one, to
remove boundaries, and then insight can begin. You must
practice contemplation, and see very clearly the suffering,
pain, and happiness of others for the energy of Love and
Compassion to flow. When the energy of Love, Compassion,
Joy, and Equanimity has overflowed, like digging a well
until the water gushes out, then the internal formations,
resentment, anger, and conflicts will disappear, and your
being is renewed. Only then will the energy of Love and
Compassion be turned into action, right in your daily life.
Even though no one advises you, you still work to help
people as usual.
Buddhist tradition, the Patriarchs or monks and nuns often
advise you to always generate Love, Compassion, Joy, and
Equanimity toward those you are close to first. Start
meditating on Compassion with the people you love first.
Then there are the people you love little or the so-called
strangers. You are indifferent to them because, for a long
time, you considered them strangers. Finally, you come into
contact with people you hate, people who have made you
miserable. If you are successful in the first two steps,
then the third step will be successful.
Immeasurable Minds is a method of practicing meditation.
When you first hear about the Four Immeasurable Minds, you
feel that this teaching is about emotions, but the emotions
of the Four Immeasurable Minds are created with the material
of wisdom, that is meditation. The heart of love contains
Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. Love with discrimination
and love without joy is not love in Buddhism. Compassion
must also be made of the materials of Love, Joy, and
Equanimity. Joy without Love, Compassion, and Equanimity is
not Joy in Buddhism. Equanimity in Buddhism means
non-attachment and non-discrimination, but it does not mean
evading responsibility, but includes a vow, a commitment.
It's not indifference as you understand, but letting go
means not letting go, that is, letting go but not giving up.
As you pray:
- May the
Buddhas be merciful and never let go.
please don't leave me.
does not mean not loving, but is the secret of true love in
Buddhism. The Four Immeasurable Minds are Buddha's teachings
on love. Practicing these four minds, you will reach
complete liberation, not just for the purpose of being born
in heaven or the Western Pure Land. In the sutras, Buddha
had a very benevolent attitude towards those who believed in
a Supreme Being and wished to return close to that Supreme
Being after death. Buddha did not have a destructive
teacher has done so, you should also follow that path. In my
opinion, true love must have the ingredients of Love,
Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. The love that people use
has a very vague meaning. Sometimes love means passion,
attachment, and suffering, which is not the true love you
should practice. So you can use methods to nurture and
develop love within you. Only then will returning to
Amitabha Buddha and living next to Amitabha Buddha become a
reality. People full of hatred cannot live with a
In short, the
teachings of the Four Immeasurable Minds are extremely
mysterious. You often talk about love but you rarely
recognize the nature of love. You have learned, you have
known what elements can create true love, and know the
specific methods to create the substance of love, to
transform both the lover and the loved.
There is a
type of love called possessive love that does not bring
freedom and is not truly love. True love must have
Equanimity, that is, without discrimination and attachment.
Therefore, you should practice and share with each other the
spirit of love, compassion, joy, and forgiveness. Practicing
Buddhism brings joy and transformation. That is thanks to
the true love in the four immeasurable minds. When you are
completely happy, you also forgive easily. At that time,
forgiveness was done as an expression of heroism, in the
sense of showing that you were a merciful, generous person.
In a happy mood, you often appear easy-going and willing to
forgive those who make mistakes.
advantage of their happiest emotions to express their
mistakes, you can easily establish a bridge of understanding
and forgiveness. Thanks to that, hatred will be eliminated
and will not be passed on from one life to another. Of
course, both psychological arts mentioned above are only
successful when both make efforts. If it's just one side,
the results won't be much.
If you have any recommendations,
please e-mail to: