DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- THE JOY OF KNOWING
- HOW TO PRACTICE
By Nhat Quan
There was a
Buddhist who met and said to me:
- Teacher, I
don't know why, now I see that the faith of Buddhists is so
- Why do
Buddhists say so?
- The reason
is that I see Buddhists coming to the retreats to be present,
then disappearing a little later...
understand the reason why the Buddhists said that the faith of
the Buddhists has declined.
In fact, the
faith of those Buddhists did not decline, but their
mindfulness and cultivation were not stable, so they were not
happy. Because of not feeling happy, the practice has not
and happiness, it is certainly not possible for new Buddhists
to cultivate, or for those who are new to the Way. Because,
when you practice, you have to practice, not just talk.
Practicing in a verbal manner is practicing by mouth or
practicing in a logical way for fun. Meanwhile, practicing
according to the practice style is that you have to practice
- Chanting the
- Meditate …
When you first
develop the mind to practice by chanting and reciting the
Buddha's name, your neck will be dry, your voice will be
hoarse, and your back will be sore when you sit for a long
time. Through the method of sitting meditation, the legs hurt
and the legs are tired. Only that much story, for those of you
who have just started cultivating, is enough to feel
miserable. Therefore, the saying that the joy of knowing
cultivation can only be found in Buddhists who have already
learned to practice, and must have a process of five years,
ten years, or more. And those who just entered the monastery
are not happy.
Now I ask,
what time do you sleep at home, and what time do you wake up?
sleep, maybe people stay up all night to watch movies, until 2
or 3 am to go to bed, then when they wake up, it is definitely
at least 9 or 10 am. However, in life in Zen monasteries,
temples, and monasteries in Vietnam, at 3:30, four o'clock you
are already awake.
And the second
question: At home, how many hours do you chant, recite the
Buddha's name, or meditate?
I don't dare
to discuss it for those who have practiced for a long time,
but for those who have just practiced for a long time, fifteen
to thirty minutes is a lot. When freedom is lost, backaches,
or aches and pains all over the body, suffering is certain.
This shows that when you first develop the mind to cultivate,
when you first know how to practice, it is very painful.
That's why it's normal for Buddhists to come in for a little
while and then disappear. But when there is mindfulness
practice, and the practice time is considered an indispensable
element, the practice time in retreats, or practice at home is
Now ask the
truth, Are Buddhists who have practiced for a long time, happy
Fun! It's true
that the longer you practice, the merrier.
So in the
beginning when you practice, the suffering, the pain comes.
After practicing for a while, the pain will get used to it,
and the pain will no longer be, the joy will begin to come.
Indeed, joy comes on its own, like Zen Master Yan-T'ou. Before
ordained, Zen Master Yan-T'ou was a general in the court, life
was very happy, and everything had servants, he never touched
his fingernails or strength at all. But when he was
enlightened, he abandoned everything and entered the mountain
to practice. One day, two bureaucrats came and saw his dire
situation and said:
- Are you
crazy? Are you crazy? Living a happy life, having a guard
before and after, eating and sleeping, someone serves, but you
give up everything to live a miserable life in the mountains?
- I'm crazy,
but I'm awake. The rest of you who are awake are the crazy
He said this
to show you that he had fun while practicing. When there is
joy, hardships are not a concern. I bring up this part to let
you know so that while you are alive and healthy, you must
know how to practice and equip yourself, As Kuei-shan
- Waiting for
thirst to dig a well is too late.
you don't know how to practice, or you hesitate to practice
when you are sick and dying, you will not know where you will
go in your future life. So you must know, impermanence neither
wait nor forgives anyone, that's why you should take
advantage, while you're still healthy, while you're alive, try
to plant a good root, develop a good mind to practice, to when
the time comes you will know the way to the Pure Lands of
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
When there is
practice when the minds have not yet come out of the ordinary
body. At the time of death, the mind passes through the bardo
of dharma. That is, when the consciousness leaves the mortal
body, it becomes an independent body of consciousness and
begins the journey seven times seven, which is forty-nine
days. Especially for those who do not practice, the dharma of
the true mind also exists but only for a moment and then
disappears, so depending on where the karma leads, it goes
there. As for those who have practice, it lasts for fourteen
days, or more. This dharma-nature is what Buddhists practice
every day, there are times when you have to face it.
Especially when you practice continuously, you can face it
many times. When practicing in a pure and quiet environment,
if you practice with good conditions, you will encounter the
true nature of the Dharma. Because the dharma is long-lasting,
this person's mind is clear and chooses for you the next life.
Of course, these people will give birth to the noble realm and
sutras, the Buddha said that when you practice, you are facing
the dharma, with the mind. When you give up this body, it's
true dharma exists for a very long time. The reason why you
have to practice like this every day is to filter out the
dirty mind, the bad mind. This part is very important for
cultivators. That's why the ancients said:
- Break each
part of ignorance to prove each part of dharma.
Every day you
break a part of ignorance, you have a little more dharma. As
the old saying goes:
- You eat a
spoonful of rice is not full, you have to eat a second
spoonful, then a cup, two cups, or three cups to be full.
the beginning of your practice, if you haven't seen anything,
or haven't been happy, don't be discouraged, because everyone
is new to the Way all are the same. Just like you know how to
drive, when you sit in the car, you know how to turn on the
engine and know how to drive, and the car runs immediately.
And if you don't know how to drive, if you don't know how to
turn on the engine, the car will stay in place. So you have to
learn to drive slowly and then you also know how to drive.
Like the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng, when he heard a sutra he
cut into about the true nature of the law, so he knew how
birth and death go, how death and life lived, so he definitely
went to the Fifth Patriarch Hongren to study the Way.
spirit, it is said that in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in
the monastery there is a large plot of land, from one to two
hundred acres, the elderly when sick are not allowed to go to
the hospital but are required to practice continuously to get
rid of this body. When you sit still and pass away, you can
leave at ease. There are times when you sit still, and deluded
conceptualization and perversion of mind are gone. Deluded
conceptualization is gone and clears all dharmas. When you
experience that, you know that your mind is the Buddha. As
long as you are so convinced, you are an enlightened Conscious
Being. That is, you know your mind is pure, you have joy, then
you have the conditions to share and teach others, it is
called enlightenment Conscious beings. So a monk came and
asked a Zen master:
- Why haven't
you seen into one's own nature but made Good Knowledgeable?
- Only this
person has faith is enough.
there are times when Buddhists have experience, develop a mind
to practice the Dharma, and are qualified to guide and share
with others. You are happy learning in such a way that you
experience and practice the very roots of the Dharma. So you
can practice any Dharma, but it is important that you liberate
all your mental activities, that is:
- The mind of
jealousy, the mind of selfishness, the mind of greed, the mind
of scowl... must be let go.
practice, you still have the joy of letting go, because it
doesn't do you any good. If you want to go away peacefully,
and pure, you must practice now.
of practice is to let go and do everything for others. For
others means you bring peace, happiness, and benefits to
others. You have to train your mind to be able to do this.
This is also an Art of Living. Typically, the last time I gave
a charity gift when I directly saw the recipient happy, I was
also happy. And Buddhists who have contributed merit in this,
although not directly seeing it, but listening to me tell it
is also happy...
The spirit of
the cultivator lies there. So, if you want to have the bardo
of dharma lasting for fourteen or fifteen days or more, you
have to practice. In everyday life, your mind must be
peaceful, must be pure. Like when you are practicing, and
listening to the Dharma if you die, it's better than you die
at home. Like in 2012, there are some people who have heard
that 2012 is the end of the world, so they are afraid. I said,
you don't need to be afraid, you just concentrate at the
temple, chanting or reciting the Buddha's name, if the end of
the world comes, you will always go to the Buddha realm. That
is, when you practice, you make a great vow, a compassionate
vow, a vow to reside in the pure land of the Buddhas of the
ten directions. Such as:
Venerable Hsu-Yun, when he gave up this body, he vows returned
to Tushita heaven.
Chen Hsuan-Tsang vows to return to the Tusita heaven when he
Venerable Vasubandhu, Master Asanga, Mr. Buddhasimha, and
Master T'ai-Hsu, practiced meditation but made a vow to return
to the pure land.
only teach so, so Buddhists must understand that point and try
to practice without any doubt. When you have happy mindfulness
while practicing, at the time of death, in the first five
days, in front of your consciousness will appear Buddhas one
after another. Therefore, if your mind is pure, the pure lands
of the ten directions will appear. Due to the original vow,
you will be reborn in the pure land where you have made your
bodhisattvas do not make a vow to the pure lands, but they
make a compassionate vow to practice, called the arising of
the mind to give birth to a body. For example, the 14th Lama
also had the idea of being born, and as soon as he died, he
was reborn in that area. As the venerable ones have taught:
- In the next
life you can go to the West.
arising of the mind to give birth to a body. According to some
Venerable One called house robbery. That is, their
consciousness does not enter the mother's womb, just waiting
until someone's fetus is just born, they use the power to
force the other person's consciousness to drift out and then
they enter that newborn body. Only those with great ability
can do so, like Master Tu Dao Hanh. This is called body
As for the
compassion and vows to save birth, they did not do that, but
they observed the cause and effect, seeing which parents had a
predestined relationship they entered. When they are born,
they practice and they don't have much attachment to their
parents, like Prabhapala Bodhisattva.
Siddhartha when he was still in the Tusita heaven, he was
Prabhapala Bodhisattva. Before coming down to this world, he
entered the Dharma hall to enter samadhi and then descended to
the earth, like the shadow of the moon in the sky. Looking
down into the water you see the moon, but it is the shadow of
the moon, not the real moon like in the sky, that is the power
of the great Bodhisattva. Therefore, a monk, Dharma named Duc
Thanh, came to ask King Tran Thai Tong:
World-Honored One had not yet left the Tusita heaven but had
already entered his mother's womb. Not yet out of the womb,
the mother has saved sentient beings all over the world, how
At this time,
King Tran Thai Tong said a verse:
- Thousands of
rivers have water, thousands of moons appear,
If there is no
cloud for a thousand miles, there is a sky for a thousand
he entered the great concentration of samadhi, he was reborn
in the world. In her mother's womb, Queen Maya, like a special
palace in the heavenly palace, and all the great bodhisattvas
gathered together to listen to the Dharma, listening to
Bodhisattva Siddhartha speak the wonderful Dharma. Therefore,
not yet coming out of the mother's womb, saving people is
Thus, you must
have faith when you practice. Only then will you have happy
thoughts while practicing, and benefit when you give up this
body. The spirit of a cultivator is not that you wait for
death to be liberated, but to liberate every thought and every
thought in the present life.
As it was said
once, when relinquishing this body, the first five days are
- The first
day is Vairocana Tathagata from space
Tathagata means big sun, meaning your mind must be empty and
- The second
day is Aksobhya Tathagata from the Eastern universe, this is
the unmoving Buddha land.
When your mind
is still, naturally the realm you want to go to will appear.
So when your mind is pure, the buddhas of the ten directions
will appear. You already have the cause, the predestined
relationship with the original vow, then you stay in that
realm to continue your journey.
So when you
understand a lot, practice a lot, don't be too arrogant.
Because the Buddhas see bodhisattvas as children. The
Bodhisattva sees the Arhat as a child. The Arahant sees
Anagami, Sakrdagamin, and Srotapanna as children. The monks in
the first row will see that you are children. Then now that
you have cultivated a little, you look down, people who have
never practiced cultivation do the same thing. Those who
understand this must try to practice until you become a Buddha
to fulfill your original vow. When you are greedy, angry,
ignorant…. If you are not cleansed of defilements, you have
not reached your original vow, you must make a vow. If you are
born in this life, you must be born into a noble lineage that
respects and believes in the Three Jewels and grows up to be
ordained. So it's called:
- Born in the
meeting a good teacher, a good friend,
faith, leaving home,
religion from a young age.
is a part, you must have the willpower. Aspiration and vows
are like ropes that lead you from getting lost. Seems so
simple but very difficult. When you live healthy you see
nothing, but when death comes you will find it is not easy.
- The third
day is Ratnasambhava Tathagata from the southern universe.
belongs to the fire sign, the fire belongs to the heart. If
your mind is pure, the realm of Ratnasambhava Tathagata
- The fourth
day is Amitabha Buddha from the Western universe.
- The fifth
day is Amogha-siddhi Tathagata from the northern universe.
Buddhas will guide your consciousness to the pure land where
they reside. If your mind is realized in this stage, it will
go to the pure land of one of those five Buddhas. So you know,
if any one of you is full of merit, or in other words, you
have a pure mind, then depending on what realm you want to be
in, you will go to that realm immediately, not waiting for
forty-nine days. So you have to know how to live every day,
naturally, your mind will be like that. Therefore, the Sixth
Patriarch Hui Neng affirmed:
is Avalokitesvara, equanimity is Mahasthama-prapta, diligence
is Shakyamuni, and purity is Amitabha.
Buddhists know that the pure lands of the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas appear from your mind. The Vimalakirti Sutra
- A pure mind
means a pure Buddha land. If you want to be in a pure land,
you must first purify your mind.
If you want
the pure land of the Buddhas of the ten directions to be
present, you must cultivate your mind and transform your mind.
That is, you have to get rid of the distractions, the nooks
and crannies in your mind must be clear. Practitioners must
have the courage to do so. So walking, standing, lying down,
sitting, you have to watch your mind.
in this ordinary life, Buddhists remember what you can give
up, what you should give up, and what you can let go, you have
to let go so that the last days of your life can be relaxed
and peaceful. There are events that come to you, but you are
still strong now, and the energy that you can't let go, when
death comes, it's very difficult for you to let go.
In short, when
you learn to practice, you will have immediate joy. Because
even in this real life, your body is healthy, your mind is
peaceful, and you don't have to worry about it, so when you
die you know where you're going.
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