DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- CULTIVATING MERIT AND
- WISDOM AT THE SAME TIME
By Nhat Quan
just like to do merit, sow the cause of wealth and affluence,
but do not like to sow wisdom. Because they think that it is
easier to plant wealth. Just giving alms, and doing charitable
works will be blessed. While, If you want to have wisdom, you
must study, practice, learn knowledge, and practice
diligently. It is more difficult.
such awareness, you should only worry about planting blessings
so that in the present and future you will have wealth,
wealth, and a prosperous material life. Such a concept,
according to the true dharma, is not complete.
Maybe in your
previous lives, you have sown great blessings and blessings,
but in this life, you are rich even though you are not smart,
not talented, have no talent, have no bravery at all. You are
due to meet an opportunity, that opportunity is due to
predestined blessings. Or by inheriting the property left by
grandparents and parents. Or ask others to help you get rich,
that's also due to the predestined cause and effect. However,
if you want to keep your property and your career, and if you
want to keep that property for a long time, you need to have
There is no
wisdom that has great merit, this case is very rare. Most
people with wisdom have blessings because with wisdom they
know what causes them to sow, and what conditions need to be
supported to get the benefits they want. And how to keep that
blessing forever. Long-lasting wealth is not only due to the
blessings of the past life, or the gifts of the past and this
life but mainly because you have wisdom, know how to continue
to sow causes, sow predestined conditions so that the blessed
field grows more and more abundant.
you know how to make offerings, give the right Dharma to
create blessings, know how to study hard, work diligently,
know how to preserve money, and spend wisely. Do not spend
wastefully, cleverly calculate business to make money
profitable, and do legitimate business for a sustainable
career, etc. If you don't have wisdom, you don't know how to
create money effectively and legally, do not know how to get
rich and maintain that wealth.
If there is
merit without wisdom, it will be limited in many ways. When
facing difficulties in life, difficulties at work,
communication, and behavior, emotional relationships between
husband and wife, parents and children, friends and
colleagues. Difficulties that require knowledge,
understanding, work skills, situational skills, life skills,
etc., even if you have a lot of money, you can't solve them,
because it's not a matter of fact anything can be done with
blessings are necessary but not important, because if you are
less fortunate but have wisdom, you will still have peace and
happiness if you live well, and practice well if you have a
positive outlook on life and lifestyle. However, if you want
to have an ideal life, have many opportunities to practice,
create more merit and blessings for yourself, want to promote
yourself and benefit many people, benefit the people, society,
for sentient beings, you need to have both wisdom and merit.
Blessed One often advises you to equip yourself with wisdom
and merit. It's in good condition, it's necessary baggage. The
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are full of wisdom and merit, that's
why they have the ability to help sentient beings. Therefore,
the sutras often remind a person who cultivates has enough
merit and wisdom is like a bird with two wings. If a bird
loses a wing, it cannot fly. In the same way, if you have only
wisdom, but are not blessed, it is also not good. Or if you
are blessed without wisdom, you won't get it. So to have merit
and wisdom, you have to practice at the same time. Those who
practice those two parts will achieve good results. So say:
- Full of
blessings and wisdom can you become a Buddha.
That is the
basis of the spiritual path. Therefore, the Buddha not only
advised his disciples to take care of wisdom cultivation but
also advised his disciples to take care of cultivating merit
at the same time. Then the question of how to cultivate merit,
and how to cultivate wisdom.
If you want to
cultivate blessings, you must have a compassionate heart,
because you have a compassionate heart, so when you see
someone suffering, you help them, so you will be blessed.
often teach, if you want to be blessed, you must practice
giving. Talking about giving is divided into three parts:
- Giving of
wealth, giving of Dharma, and giving of fearlessness.
parts of giving are born out of compassion.
* The first is
the almsgiving of property. Nowadays, Buddhists often give
away their possessions, but if they don't have money, how can
they give? Buddha taught that almsgiving has two:
- One is an
internal asset, the other is an external asset
understand, anyone can give alms. You have money to see the
poor and share your money with them, that is giving outside
property. If you are poor and have no money, and see people in
trouble, you take action to help them reduce their suffering,
that is to give away the wealth inside. For example, if a
Buddhist doesn't have money, he develops the mind to do
meritorious deeds ... then that is the almsgiving of the inner
So in this
world, everyone can do alms, but without compassion, you can't
do alms. So on the way to practice, you must first generate
compassion. Kindness is to bring joy, compassion is to save
suffering. Bringing joy and suffering to people and living
beings is called Compassionate Mind. The act of giving with
inner or outer property are specific images that make people
less miserable. In order to be fully meritorious by yourself,
you must first have strong compassion. That is the first
* The second
is Dharma almsgiving.
is not having to teach Dharma like monks or nuns, but it is
not necessarily only monks or nuns who can give Dharma. Monks
and nuns teach Buddhists to understand the Buddhadharma, apply
the practice, and alleviate suffering, that is, giving the
Dharma. When Buddhists are imbued with morality, meet friends
or relatives who are suffering, you preach to them. They have
heard and understood, there is no more suffering, that is
given the Dharma. Therefore, whether ordained or at home,
anyone who is skillful in practicing and applying the Dharma
can give away the Dharma.
But monks and
nuns have greater and more primary responsibilities. Because
monks and nuns are those who have given up their personal and
family lives, only focusing on studying, the results of
practice are also good, it is easier for Buddhists to believe
in what they say. The lay Buddhists are busy with this and
that, so they have little time to practice, and not much to
study the Buddhadharma, if they give the Dharma to others, it
is a little difficult to believe or believe a little. Except
for your loved ones in difficult and difficult circumstances,
you use the Buddha Dharma to comfort them, they will gradually
wake up, these are some of the individual cases. Most
Buddhists rely on monks and nuns to give the Dharma.
the Dharma is to bring the Buddha's true Dharma and tell it to
Buddhists. When Buddhists understand, they will be less sad
and suffering. Like if you are in a sad situation, there is a
monk or a nun who comes to explain to him the Buddha's Truth
of Suffering or explains the reason for cause and effect, etc.
After hearing that, he hears and understands. less heartache.
It is giving dharma to save suffering beings. Further, the
Dharma giving helps Buddhists to practice, solving all old
karma to be liberated from birth and death.
* Giving alms
of not scare.
almsgiving not be scary? Normally people are not afraid of one
thing, they are also afraid of another, there is always fear
in their hearts.
One of the
common fears for everyone is the fear of death. How to let go
of the fear of death. To do this, you must first ask yourself,
is there anyone in the world who has not died? Death is common
to all, only the soon or later. It's an obvious fact that
everyone has to suffer, so even if you're afraid, it's still
inevitable. If you are afraid to avoid it, you should also be
afraid. To be afraid but you can't avoid it and still be
afraid, that's foolishness. Afraid of death, how miserable it
is to sit there groaning and watch death come!
Now, if you
don't want to be afraid of death, what should you do? With
what against death? That is the key problem that the Buddha of
the past was looking for.
say that the Buddha cultivates also dies, if we don't
practice, we will die, so why practice? It makes sense at
first, but it's not. The Buddha also died, but when he died he
was free, not afraid, not sad. And you don't practice until
you die in horror, not knowing what your identity will be.
From that panic, you don't know which way to go.
So practice is
to choose the path. Buddha clearly taught, whoever keeps the
five precepts, cultivates the human vehicle in Buddhism, and
gets on a human vehicle to go to the human realm. To practice
the ten virtues of Buddhism is to get on a heavenly chariot to
go to heaven. To practice the Shravaka vehicle,
Pratyekabuddha vehicle, and Bodhisattva vehicle are you who
ride the vehicles of Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, and
Bodhisattvas to go to the respective realms.
scope of this article, I will only talk about two realms, the
Human Vehicle, and the Heavenly Vehicle. The Buddhists are
practicing the Buddhist Human Vehicle. If you practice
thoroughly, when you close your eyes, you will become a person
without doubt. Because of the principle of cause and effect,
the Buddha taught that anyone who currently keeps the five
precepts completely, when you close your eyes, will definitely
be human. Because of the precepts of not killing people, life
after life is long. Keep the precepts not to steal in the next
life and have many possessions. Keep precepts not to commit
adultery in a beautiful afterlife. Keep the precept not to lie
in the next life, speak fluently, and say it, everyone
respects it, and everyone believes it. Keeping the precepts
not to drink strong alcohol, get drunk, not to smoke opium, to
smoke drugs, in the next life to give birth to intelligent,
Even in the
present life, if you keep the five precepts, you will be loved
by many people, because you are qualified as a human being.
Currently, you keep the five precepts to protect the
personality as a full person, when you close your eyes, you
will return to being a human, no doubt at all. Buddhists just
need to practice the five precepts, before you close your eyes
and someone asks where you go after you die, you say you'll
come back as a human. This car is old and broken, so it's
better to get a new car, nothing to be sad about, so go away
at ease. That's how to choose the path.
As for the
wanderer, do whatever you meet. You do good, but you don't
give up bad, so when you close your eyes, it's difficult to
determine where you go, so it only depends on your heavy and
light karma that you will be born in the realms. So the
purpose of your practice is to make you a good person for your
family and society in this life, and at the same time to
prepare for the next life, when you close your eyes and become
a better person. It is choosing the path of being human.
Knowing for sure that you will be born as a human is less
forward is to practice the ten virtues, when you close your
eyes you will be reborn in heaven: Ten good deeds:
- There are
three in the body
- There are
- Mind has
Buddha taught the practice of the ten virtues to be reborn in
the heavens, he did not want you to go to heaven, but to
return to the human realm. Because when you go to heaven, you
can get whatever you want, just enjoy, play, and don't
practice, until all your blessings slip down again. Up and
down, down and up, after all, goes nowhere. Meanwhile, in the
human realm, although there are times of joy, sorrow, and joy
mixed with each other, thus waking you up. When you are too
happy to just play, until you have an accident or fail
something, you will be sad to wake up. Thus, having joy and
suffering is the easiest situation to cultivate. That's why
the Buddha said that you have to wake up in the human realm to
cultivate, not go to heaven to cultivate.
If you prepare
the way, you will be less afraid of death, because you already
have the way. Do not know how to prepare the way, there you
are shocked, scared, and very miserable. So anyone who knows
how to practice is a wise person. Those who know how to
prepare themselves for the future path are not foolish. People
think that cultivation is disadvantageous and foolish, but the
truth is not. Practice is about carefully preparing you for a
good life now and in the future. In this world, if anyone gets
what he wants, will he live long? Probably not, because you
want to eat this dish and have this dish, you want to eat that
dish and have that dish, and it's also not good for your
health. If you want to enjoy money and beauty, you have it
all, and then you get sick. The more you gain, the less energy
you lose, no benefit! Do not think that satisfying all worldly
pleasures is to live long. People who know limitations, know
how to save money to live long. That's the truth.
All of you who
have gone will follow good or bad karma and appear in the form
of suffering and happiness. Then why don't you create good
conditions, good karma to leave tomorrow leisurely? Now no
matter how wise you are, how well you do business, or how rich
you are when you die, those things will no longer exist.
Exhale, not inhale again, you all let go of your hands and
have nothing left. At that time, only good karma or bad karma
helps you to reach the good realm, or bring you to the bad
So, if you are
good at commenting and meditating well, you will be prepared
while you are still alive, creating good conditions for you
when you close your eyes. After decades of taking care of this
body, when it finally passed away completely empty-handed, it
was a waste. If you just take care of life and prepare for
death, the minute you leave will be peaceful. That's very
good. Therefore, spiritual practice is a practical matter, not
an idle, empty thing. Practice is an essential truth for you.
Those who are good at cultivating the day of death are not
afraid, those who are not smart are still afraid of death.
Fear is still dead as usual. So, if you are close to dying,
have the courage to see your relatives smile and say hello.
Don't mourn and weep, it won't do you any good. Instructing
people to know the way for tomorrow, and closing their eyes
without fear is also fearless giving.
Thus, out of
compassion, you practice the three acts of giving: giving of
property, giving of Dharma, and giving of fearlessness.
Depending on the basis, depending on the case, depending on
the situation, you use those three things to give alms to
people around. Practicing giving like that is very fair, rich
and poor you can all do it. If Buddhists want to be blessed,
they have to give alms. Because of your giving, merit
increases, and merit increases, compassion increases. So if
you have compassion, you know how to create blessings.
compassion is Wisdom. The focus of Buddhism is to show you
that ignorance is the source of suffering. Therefore, if you
want to end suffering, you must uproot delusion. Because of
ignorance, you create karma, one karma has not yet created
another, so forever going in samsara has no end. If you awaken
and have the wisdom to stop karma, one day you will be
liberated from samsara. That is the end of suffering. So
- Suffering in
hell is not suffering. The hunger and thirst of the hungry
ghosts are not even suffering. Being an animal pulling carts
and plows is not a pain. Delusion not knowing the way is
Buddha used wisdom and enlightenment to save sentient beings,
so that everyone would be awake and enlightened, then
suffering would end. Also helping each other in ignorance,
from one suffering to another, never-ending suffering.
above, merit and wisdom must practice at the same time. If you
practice Buddhism, you must have wisdom, you cannot practice
vaguely. The world often says intellectual, and many people
think wisdom is like Intellectual, actually, the two are
different. Intellectual belongs to the discriminative part,
and wisdom belongs to the truth part.
wisdom is divided into three: Hearing, Contemplation, To
practice. Hearing is listening or learning. Contemplation is
listening, learning, and then thinking carefully, making the
right judgment to believe and follow. To practice is to
believe and then practice practice.
Contemplation, To practice are the Three Wisdoms. These three
wisdoms are still in samsara, so they say Outflow. In
Buddhism, there are three non-outflow studies: Precepts,
Concentration, and Wisdom. By keeping the precepts to restrain
the mind from being lethargic and wobbly according to external
conditions, the mind is gradually calmed down. From serenity
arises wisdom. This is the wisdom that comes from
concentration, and the wisdom above that comes from learning.
real-life knowledge is called intellectual, that is, gathering
the understanding of this person, that person becomes your
understanding. So people with broad knowledge are called
intellectuals. Wisdom in Buddhism is not like that. Studying
Buddha is learning the Buddha's Dharma, that is the dharma of
liberation from birth and death, the true dharma that is not
born and destroyed, eternally unchanging.
person who has broad knowledge, meditates, and speaks a
philosophy that is appreciated by many people is considered a
talented person. However, philosophies that only apply for a
while are outdated. So philosopher after philosopher is born
and changes and people learn for a lifetime, but those
philosophies have no ultimate, no end, it's only for a while,
or just one stage. Given the appropriate favorable conditions
of behavior, the theory is correct; when it is no longer
relevant in another age, it will be obsolete.
Thus, on the
path of cultivation, if you want to go to the true
destination, you must silence all your wandering thoughts,
then the true mind will appear. That is the final place called
perfect wisdom. Buddha is Enlightenment, self-awareness, other
people's awareness, and perfect enlightenment. Wisdom in
Buddhism is not like the Intellectual usually in the world,
because Buddhist wisdom is the kind of wisdom that takes you
out of samsara. A cultivator who wants to go to that ultimate
wisdom must try to cultivate concentration, concentration and
then have wisdom. So Buddha said:
and wisdom are the roots of spiritual practice.
true cultivator must first be enlightened, then be eligible to
bring himself and others out of suffering. That is enough
wisdom and compassion, or merit and wisdom. In Anguttara
Nikaya I, part 5, Sumanà Chapter, there is a record of a
question and answer between the Buddha and a princess named
Sumana who asked the Buddha that:
- If there are
two disciples of the Buddha who have true faith, purity, and
equal precepts and wisdom, but one has the practice of giving,
the other does not practice giving. After the breakup of the
body and death, both of them are reborn in heaven or reborn in
the human realm, is there any difference between the two?
That is, whether born in a heavenly realm or reborn in the
human realm, those who practice giving are still superior to
those who do not practice giving in terms of longevity,
beauty, peace, happiness, and more good things, easy to
achieve the kusala.
teaching is also the explanation of why there are two people
doing the same thing, and one succeeds and the other fails
because they differ in merit and wisdom. Having the same
professional qualifications and professional capacity, this
person does everything he does, and there are people who
support and help him because this person is blessed with
cultivation. The other person called, campaigned, and asked
for help, but he did not receive an enthusiastic response
because he did not cultivate blessings.
merit and wisdom must be cultivated at the same time, because
this is a measure to dignify oneself so that the present and
future lives will be more peaceful and happy, and all things
will be favorable and easy to accomplish. There should be no
concept of just cultivating merit, or just cultivating wisdom.
Because by doing so, you are missing out on the opportunity to
make your life full of meaning and usefulness. Not only that,
but you also lose the opportunity to create a sustainable
source of happiness for the present and the future.
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