DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- CULTIVATE MORALITY
By Nhat Quan
- Path or religion is something that people admire without
- Virtue is that no one forces people to follow, but they
voluntarily listen and follow.
Although morality is spiritual and metaphysical, when
implemented in life, those who can do it are respected by many
people, they are considered moral people and saints.
Today, the world has a new awareness that in addition to
promoting practical science, people also appreciate spiritual
values. Because if the material develops but the spirit
declines, it is a great disaster that will lead to the
destruction of human life. Therefore, humanity today is aware
that in addition to the aspect of experimental science that
helps make human life good, morality is a sacred thing that
contributes to maintaining human life. While more than two
thousand five hundred sixty-seven years ago, Buddha taught lay
Buddhists to apply morality in life.
So all of you try to find out why people need morality:
The path is a way, or more specifically, a spiritual path that
helps you sublimate your important life, not a normal path.
Today, human society has reached the pinnacle of civilization,
but on the contrary, morality has declined, so people have set
up rules to force everyone to obey, called living by the law
that is, the living principles of a country, or more broadly,
the conventions signed in the human community.
For moral people, there is no need to have rules that must be
followed, but naturally, you already know how to treat each
other beautifully and live well in the community. Indeed, in
the world of Ultimate Bliss, or in Nirvana, there is no need
to regulate rules for the residents there, because everyone
there is imbued with morality and knows how to live so that
their world is good. In daily behavior, there always uses
Virtue to inspire, that is, the Saints make the residents
there see and they have the heart to follow, but do not force
them to do it.
So now, when you study religion or seek religion, you learn
about your spiritual life. You look for every way to live a
good life and when you find it, you practice religion by doing
what people around you accept. In particular, those who tend
to want to be born in the Western Pure Land or the Eastern
Pure Land, those people are in great need of morality.
At first listen, you see that Buddhism promotes the morality
of monastics to abandon the material world to promote the
spiritual world, because spiritual life is the most noble.
Meanwhile, in today's society, people due to greed, and
attachment, compete and kill each other. Therefore, for those
who dare to give up worldly interests, that person is praised
as noble and virtuous.
In the Buddhist tradition, you see a lot in the image of the
Buddha, who dared to give up his position as Crown Prince to
become a Sramana who did not own anything for himself. Such a
life is called renunciation, which means giving up worldly
life to become a monk.
Seeing the life and beautiful image of the Buddha, many people
misunderstand, thinking that when practicing, one must give up
all material things to become empty-handed. During the
Buddha's time, there were a number of disciples who also fell
into this situation. Because they saw the Buddha's practice
and gained blessings and liberation, they also imitated him,
giving up their wealth and career to follow the Buddha and
practice. But later, they saw the Buddha exalting Bodhisattvas
who performed almsgiving, supported, and helped many people to
create merit. They told Buddha:
- In the past, you promoted renunciation as the renunciation
of worldly life, so we gave up material careers to become
monks, but now you promote giving alms to practice Bodhisattva
conduct. Right now we have nothing left in our hands, so how
can we give alms?
- The Tathagata's renunciation is to abandon the attachment
and passion for material things because that is karma, the
affliction that leads you into a life of samsara.
The Buddha's teachings are very clear. The Buddha taught us
not to give up material things, but to give up mind
attachment, not to give up the five aggregates of the body,
but to give up the body's attachment to the five aggregates.
Because of your attachment to the body of the five aggregates,
you fight for the right to nourish the body of the five
aggregates, so you get into endless struggles.
Buddha taught you to let go of attachments is to let go of the
aggregates of clinging, not the five aggregates. Therefore, in
the twelve causes and conditions, from attachment comes
existence, meaning your existence comes from attachment, but
if you let go of attachment, you will not lose this body. That
means you don't lose anything, but on the contrary, by giving
up attachment, you gain everything. According to Buddha, the
mind lets go of everything to gain everything, if:
- If you let go of your mind partly, you will be partly
respected by everyone.
- If you let go of everything, everyone will respect you.
Because of letting go of attachment, priceless treasures are
born. Therefore, when you hear about monks being praised, then
you misunderstand, that everyone shaves their hair, wears
robes, and goes begging for alms, which will bring Buddhism to
destruction. Indeed, if everyone did not work and only begged,
how could society exist? If everyone becomes a monk, this
world will be destroyed, because the end of this generation is
the end. The Buddha bestowed the teachings on Bodhisattvas,
essentially lay people. He used the example of you having
assets, if you are wise you should send:
- First, give it to someone who has descendants to inherit, or
send it to someone in power so that the property will not be
lost. If you send it to a single person, when he dies, your
property will also be lost.
- Second, if you give property to someone who is unable to
manage it, you will lose it. Therefore, the Buddha did not
bless the Shravakas; Therefore, it is not correct to advise
everyone to become a monk.
First, you give up the material world so you can develop your
spiritual life more easily because if you let material things
dominate, spirituality is very difficult to develop. That is
why, the Buddha renounced the worldly material life to embark
on the spiritual path, that is, the effort to promote the
morality of monastics and develop wisdom to the highest peak.
In other words, carry out the process of cultivating precepts,
concentration, and wisdom.
Therefore, monastics give up their attachment to the world and
take morality as their body and wisdom as their life. Monks
living a pure holy life is the virtue of a monk. Absolutely do
not upset anyone and be willing to do anything that benefits
society. Doing so shows the spirit of altruism and
selflessness. That means benefiting the many, forgetting one's
own material interests. People still have conflicts because of
their personal interests, so practitioners no longer have
material interests, but the rights belong to everyone. From
then on, whatever practitioners do is to contribute to
humanity. The pagoda or lecture hall is not owned by monks for
personal gain, but the temple or lecture hall is a place for
everyone to come and have a suitable place to help you
practice and transform your life into a good one.
The morality of a monk is to give up everything to gain
everything and to serve everyone, without including oneself in
it. A person who is a monk but also bothers others is not a
monk. Understanding like this is the most correct
understanding of a monk. The Buddha taught that a monk who can
fulfill this principle is a noble model in the world.
Therefore, in the Bodhisattva Pitaka, the Buddha promoted
Bodhisattvas, but in fact, he mainly promoted lay people.
Readers of Mahayana scriptures clearly see that all
Bodhisattvas play the role of lay people, with the sole
exception of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who plays the role of a
monk. Thus, the Mahayana scriptures promote lay Buddhists, of
course, lay Buddhists need to have morality. Lay Buddhists who
diligently practice and uphold the Dharma are considered
superior to monastics. Because monastics are far away from
worldly life and do not have much conflict with the world, it
is easier for them to practice religion, which means they
improve their intelligence and morality more easily than lay
people, because they are not disturbed by the world. As for
lay Buddhists, practicing morality is very difficult, because
they live in everyday life in society and interact a lot with
society, so it is very difficult to practice morality.
However, anyone can do it, keeping the mind pure like a monk
is not a simple task.
Thus, lay Buddhists who want to practice morality must learn
how to cultivate lay people's morality. First, they are
required to no longer be greedy for their own interests and
must realize who they exist in this life for.
- First of all, they are for relatives, called relatives of
You must know how to nurture this relative by:
- Because you practice Mahayana practice for many lifetimes to
become Bodhisattva relatives. Therefore, all those who are
your relatives are born into your family because of love and
respect. It is an exemplary family, from grandparents,
parents, children, and grandchildren to harmony. Seniors love
their children and grandchildren, and children respect their
parents and grandparents. Both two and three generations are
closely linked together in friendship.
Indeed, a virtuous practitioner will be reborn into a family
by those who admire virtue and be reborn together as relatives
of Bodhi. All lay people should be aware of this. When you
practice holy life, Bodhisattvas can manifest as your
Indeed, when you practice, you do not create unjust karma, but
only create good relationships. Therefore, people are born in
your family due to good conditions, so there is mutual respect
and no fighting for material possessions. It can be affirmed
that the morality of a lay person is to know how to respect
others, tolerate each other, and to know how to demonstrate a
virtuous life, an ethical life, and always set a good example
for the children and grandchildren in your family. If you can
do so, and build such an ethical model, it will be a good part
of society, and that ethics will be replicated.
Thus, if you do good deeds, the good deeds will multiply.
Likewise, if you do evil, that evil will also multiply. If
good deeds are multiplied, society will become a paradise on
earth, or Ultimate Bliss in the Saha world. As for the evil
heart, the widespread evil deeds, that is, the greed and
selfishness of fighting from within the family to winning or
losing among friends, in the village, spreading to society,
turning society into hell on earth. Reality shows that a
family lacking morality, or a society lacking morality, turns
into hell on earth. In a family, or in society, if everyone
loves and respects each other, that is heaven on earth.
If you look closely, you will see that it is not the society
or the family that is so poor that it becomes hell. But due to
greed, ferocity, and conflict, it turns into hell. In life,
you see families that are rich but do not know morality
because their parents and grandparents only want to make a lot
of profit, so they do not refuse any evil deeds to make them
rich, or have power. But their ill-gotten assets are already
hell for them. Indeed, rich people have no time to eat, rest,
or live meaningfully, but they only have time to fulfill their
ambitions, then that is the world of hell, the world of
Asuras. exists in them.
A truly virtuous family, although living conditions are not
prosperous; But father and son, brothers understand each
other, share with each other and live happily together.
Therefore, although they are materially poor, their lives are
very peaceful thanks to their morality. When Buddha was alive,
he once met the owner of a herd of cows. He stopped eating and
sleeping to run to find the cows. He only had a soulless body,
so when he met Buddha, he asked him if he had seen his cows.
In his mind, only cows reigned. The Buddha took pity on him
and told the Bhikkhus that fortunately you did not lose any
cows. In fact, he was very rich, but his greed and attachment
were too heavy, so sooner or later his assets would be lost.
Buddha taught that:
- The person who pursues something is already suffering, but
when he pursues to get something he also suffers. And when he
loses, he suffers even more. Because if they don't get it yet,
the desire will burn their hearts, but if they get it, they
have to keep it tight, it's very painful.
The land you are holding today has been owned by many people
before you. And now that you have it in your hand, don't rush
to be happy, because someone is standing behind you waiting to
get it. Only with morality can you keep it. That means your
real assets are created by living an ethical life, and then
people consider it yours and protect it for you. A typical
example in reality, like 10 years ago, there was a very young
Buddhist who wanted to get married. At that time, he asked the
temple to make the ceremony to prove that he could get
married, but some people demanded this, and some people
demanded that. When he came to Duoc Su Temple, I only needed
two people to get married and two witnesses according to the
documents. After the ceremony, he was very happy. Lately, I
don't even remember what I helped anyone with. So one day he
brought money to donate to build a temple and recalled the old
story to express his gratitude.
So you see, even though you have done the things, the
gratitude is still in the heart of the recipient and your
property is a blessing kept by the recipient. If you are in
trouble, people who love you will help you get better. As for
the blessings, they will find a way to divide the wealth,
first, the government will nationalize it, and then it will be
cut off by the people who work with you.
Thanks to Mr. Anathapindika's blessings, his employees loved
him and worked wholeheartedly, not only did not steal his
assets but also benefited him, so his assets earned more
income. Therefore, the more he gave alms, the richer he
became. Although the amount of money he gave out was a lot, it
was not as much as the amount he received. Because people
value and work hard, the goods produced are of high quality
and more people buy them.
In short, lay people should maintain good health and do things
to support themselves and their families in a legal way.
Create wealth by doing honest, meaningful work, not being
arrogant, not being selfish, but showing kindness to everyone.
Share with the less fortunate and always learn from the
example of virtuous people. Those are suitable materials to
unite family members and build a peaceful life together. When
your destiny in this world is fulfilled, wherever you are
reborn, Bodhi's relatives will also be born there and will
make a glorious career as before.
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