By Nhat Quan
Blessing is material wealth for the body, a condition or state that helps the mind not to worry about food, clothing, and housing.
Reward or retribution is a return, the result of something you do in the past.
So, the blessing is the material abundance due to good deeds, directed to the benefit of others, and now or in the future you will enjoy peace and happiness. Discuss blessings and karma. Each of you, who is born into this life, has different karma or blessing.
- As a blessing, someone is born as a king, crown prince, or princess. There are people who are born as officials, presidents, prime ministers, leaders, capitalists, educators, savants, doctors, etc., and there are also many people who are born with extraordinary beauty, making everyone who sees it fall in love. There are beauties, beauty queens. All of this is due to the blessings of many previous lives of these people, and now they only enjoy what they have planted in the past. They have done good deeds, have given alms, have made offerings to the Three Jewels, have helped people, helped the world, helped the people, helped the country, etc. That cause in the past kept accumulating in one or more lifetimes to become one large amount of money they have saved. When they become human again, they themselves inherit the blessings they have cultivated before.
- As karma, there are also many people born into families lacking food, clothing, and mourning. There are also many people who are born without enough eyes, ears, noses, tongues, limbs, etc. Many people are born lacking internal organs; because in the past have done the karma of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, etc. Because those people have borrowed too much from the karmic bank in the past, now they have to do it to pay off the old debt for many lifetimes. Therefore, those born into this world, although they try their best in every job, are still poor. Unpaid debt, they do not know how to get out of poverty.
Indeed, in this life there are many forms and conditions, it is impossible to list them all. But they all have one thing in common: birth is just the result of a long chain of cause and effect of many pre-determined past lives that you don't know. And absolutely no parent or child can decide for that birth. Many of you think that Mr. Heaven is unfair, but saying that means you don't understand the cause and effect of Buddhism. Buddha taught that:
- Any causes will have the same result, straight shapes have straight shadows, and curved shapes have curved shadows.
Obviously so. No one can make you better, and no one can make you worse; except you are responsible for your own actions in the past related to the present and leading to the future. This is the main point of the cause and effect of so many lives. When you understand that, you must try to cultivate the roots of merit now to accumulate merit later. Only then will you not be deducted points of karma. There are many people who do charity to help the needy. Because knowing that in this life:
- There is no one rich three generations and no one difficult three generations.
Helping others is also helping you. Understanding like that, all the good deeds, almsgiving, offerings, etc., you are always happy, and there is nothing to complain about or blame. Because you do it for yourself. It is you who give alms to thank the recipient. Because if you don't have someone to take, you don't have someone to give alms to. You also have to thank those who scold you. Because without them you don't know how far your patience has reached.
Thus, to have glory, and many people to know you, you need to have a good material base and a stable position in society. That is according to the worldview. According to the Buddhist concept, if you want to have a glorious career and be known by many people, there is nothing like doing good deeds. And of all the meritorious deeds, only the merits of building pagodas and institutes are the most outstanding.
Because the construction of the temple is to show the spirit of respecting the true dharma of the Buddhas. The Dharma treasure that was in the past when your Buddha gave up his throne, went into the deep snowy forest, practiced cultivation to realize it himself, and then passed it on to sentient beings, including you. Helping sentient beings get rid of suffering in the cycle of birth and death. And moreover, the construction of the temple is also for the purpose of giving people and laypeople a place to worship, prostrate, and study. And also monks and nuns have a place to propagate the Dharma, guide Buddhists to practice, and help people stay away from suffering and enjoy happiness. Therefore, the reward for this work is very great. Moreover, the temple has long-term sustainability over time and space, it can be said to be permanent, bringing benefits and peace to everyone. It is a great place for Buddhists to practice the path of liberation. That is, as long as the donation exists, the day and night blessings will also increase. That's why in the sutras there are five blessings that come from making offerings to build temples and viharas.
- The client is loved and respected by everyone.
- The client is close and helped by the wise.
- The client has a good reputation spread everywhere.
- Donors who practice at home wherever they are, or go to places such as kings, monks, and brahmins are not timid or afraid.
- After the benefactor dies due to this good karma, he will be reborn in the world of desire, enjoying happiness and peace.
However, you should also know that merit is a conditioned blessing, so there is birth, and of course, there is cessation. Even if the power of merit pushes you to be reborn in the highest heavens of the sensual world, when you have finished your blessings, you will have to fall to the lower realms. Even if you live in a rich situation, and have a lot of wealth, money, large houses, and high positions of authority... in general, material life is abundant. But you must also know that you are still stuck in the cycle of birth and death samsara.
The blessings of building the Temple are very great. Because, if people have a generous heart, bring wealth and property to benefit all the world, and always think of the benefits of human life, they will be praised by the wise in the present, living in peace with no regrets, no worries, no pain. And after death, virtue, goodness, and purity make you achieve blessings in a higher realm.
However, you should not be complacent with those blessings, and should not stop at what you have done, but you must continue to do more, that is, you must turn the present merit to create more merit in the future life after life. Moreover, you strive to practice eliminating the root of your own defilements and defilements to reach the goal of liberation. Only then will the blessings and merit of building your palace be truly complete.
Therefore, if you donate pure money or pure things to build a temple, more or fewer materials are also good. But the important thing here is that in all 3 stages, before making the offering, while making the offering, and after making the offering, you must have a good, pure and joyful mind, it will definitely bring great blessings and great merit. Especially after making offerings, the mind is always joyfully thinking about the merits and virtues of giving, the more good and good will increase, the more blessings will be immeasurable and lasting. And if you want to achieve the goal of liberation from the sufferings of birth and death while making offerings, you must keep in mind your aspiration towards bodhi, and hope to achieve the path and fruition for you, and for all sentients. being.
You should know, with this blessing, you can dedicate it to your relatives such as teachers, grandparents, parents, brothers, friends ... and other sentient beings living in misery because they are expecting blessings. the good that you dedicate. When they rejoice in that good deed, they are immediately liberated from suffering and are reborn in a good state, enjoying all the happiness.
Some people don't know this, so doing a little that think is enough, but actually doing good deeds is never enough. Even Buddha needs to do more meritorious deeds. Like through the story of threading a needle for the venerable Anurudha, you will understand. One day venerable Anurudha sat threading a needle, but because the eyes are blind; So the venerable asked loudly:
- Can someone thread the needle for me to get merit?
The Buddha standing nearby replied:
- The Tathagata will string it for you.
Venerable Anurudha said:
- The Tathagata does not need merit anymore.
The Buddha replied to Venerable Anarudha:
- The Tathagata also needs merit.
What do you think about this story?
This is not a parable or a legend, but it is a living lesson for both lay people and monastics. Because of the blessings that everyone needs.
That's why Buddha often taught:
The Three Jewels are the most fertile fields of blessings in life.
Therefore, whoever cultivates merit in the Three Jewels blessed field to receive blessings is the daily work of every child of the Buddha. In addition, these actions also bring practical benefits to the community, making the lives of those who know how to contribute and cultivate blessings better and better. Listen to the Blessed One talk about the seven deeds that increase merit without limit, which are:
- Building a monastery.
- Offering beds and cushions to monks and nuns
- Offering food to monks and nuns
- Offering raincoats to monks and nuns
- Offering medicine to monks and nuns
- Digging good wells for the people to use.
- Build houses near the road for people who will pass by to have shelter.
Those are the seven kinds of indescribable merit and virtue. The Dharma of seven virtues and blessings is immeasurable. Either walk or sit, even if you die, the blessing will follow like a shadow, this blessing cannot be counted, it is impossible to answer how many blessings you have. Just as the great ocean water cannot be measured and told by how much water there is, so are these seven virtues. Blessings have no limit.
Obviously, good deeds such as building pagodas, making offerings to the Sangha, doing social good deeds, and serving the community create immeasurable merit. This blessing will follow you like a shadow in the picture, present life, and future lives are always full of blessings, and everything is happy and auspicious.
Thus, you Buddhists should not miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build temples and viharas when you meet them in your life. This good deed will give long-lasting peaceful retribution in the present life and in future lives. Then you should not hesitate, if you have good conditions, you should make a good predestined relationship, don't miss that good opportunity. Since in giving, you know that merit will come to fruition, you should not stop, should not be content to enjoy this conditioned reward, but should intently turn the blessing into merit. Because of:
- Merit is strength
- Virtue belongs to the spiritual field, towards the cessation of afflictions.
Merit and virtue are the ability to destroy ignorance and afflictions, towards the dharma of unconditioned liberation. So a blessed reward is material, and merit is spiritual.
Believing deeply in the Buddha's teachings, today there are many families, with conditions still establishing temples and institutes, and then invite monks and nuns to reside and teach the Dharma. These are beautiful images that you should practice. Because monastics are not able to create an economy as easily as laypeople. Meanwhile, lay people still take care of their families, so they can't have the full time to take care of the Three Jewels like a monastic. If both sides cooperate in such a way, Buddhism will be developed strongly and for a long time. Perhaps in this spirit, recently in Vietnam, there are many rich people doing this. According to the rich men, they believe that building a temple not only creates cultural and spiritual work but also brings a sense of peace and relief to all Buddhists. At the same time, creating for the community, residents, and visitors from all over the world a place of worship and spiritual activities. Therefore, there are rich people who have fasted and commanded themselves, building pagodas for life-like billionaires:
1- Billionaire Xuan Truong in Ninh Binh: Vegetarian and very private. He has a project to build the world's largest Buddha tower, costing ten trillion. This work after Bai Dinh Pagoda, Mr. Nguyen Van Truong once again attracted everyone's attention when presenting the idea of ​​​​building pagodas and towers at the spiritual and cultural tourist area, Nui Coc Lake, Gan Temple area, in hamlet 10, Van Tho commune (Dai Tu, Thai Nguyen). This pagoda has a height of 150m, the foundation is 10,000m wide. The pagoda tower can accommodate from 5,000-10,000 people at the same time. As planned, this will be one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world.
Referring to Mr. Truong, people know as a businessman who contributed a lot to the construction of the temple. In Ninh Binh, he was one of the people who built the Bai Dinh pagoda. It is a famous temple in the region with records such as The largest gold-plated bronze Buddha in Asia; the largest bronze Maitreya Buddha statue in Southeast Asia; Vietnam's largest bronze bell 36 tons.
Mr. Nguyen Van Truong is considered a hidden rich man, is a devout Buddhist, has lived a simple life, and has been a vegetarian for many years. He rarely appears in the press, and often refuses to be photographed with even his closest journalist friends. Because according to him, what I do is no big deal.
2- In the list of people who have merit in building pagodas, Mr. Tram Be must be mentioned. The money that rich man Tram Be spent to build 9 temples is more than a hundred billion. In 2004, his family set out to restore and renovate Vam Ray pagoda with a total cost of nearly 60 billion VND. In addition, this rich man also spent 6 billion to build a temple in Vung Liem, Vinh Long.
Mr. Tram Be is a follower of Khmer Theravada Buddhism. Because he had time to study at Vam Ray pagoda when he returned to home life and was good at doing business when he became a rich man, Mr. Tram Be did not forget his gratitude for the place that had helped and raised him. Mr. Tram Be spent more than 50 billion to turn this decaying temple into a magnificent temple, the largest in Tra Vinh province
3- One more temple invested in and built by the private sector, is Dai Tu An pagoda in Phung town, Dan Phuong district, Hanoi capital. This is the first temple, with an area of ​​two hectares built in the new urban area, including the main hall of worshiping Buddha, the ancestral house, the monk's house, the lecture hall, the dormitory, the library, the hall, etc. two stories high. In particular, the Buddha Temple and the ancestral house are all made of Lao ironwood. The Buddha statue is made in imitation of antiquity, and the gold plate is really unique, and different from the existing temples. According to Mr. Nguyen Vu Bang, a businessman, the cost to build the temple is about 120 billion VND sponsored by the company.
4- In 2014, owner Nam Cuong's family also attracted attention when contributing to the construction and rebuilding of the temple in Nam Dinh province. In particular, a very large Buddha statue is located in the middle of the courtyard in front of the Great Buddha Hall of Truc Lam Thien Truong Zen Monastery.
The height of the lotus is 2.8m. The Buddha statue weighs 150 tons, of which the proportion of copper accounts for about 90%, tin and gold is about 7%, and flexible lead is about 3% with a value of nearly 80 billion Vietnam dollars.
This work was done with the dedication of the owner of Nam Cuong Group. After Mr. Cuong's death, his family and the Nam Cuong Group continued to carry out this work to show their affection, admiration, trust, and respect for Buddhism.
From the actual stories above, if you think about it, filter it as well as being ashamed of the long-standing negative karma that you have created yourself in many lives. If you try to let go of bad things, practice good thoughts, save people, help lives, etc., these are the factors that can help you get a considerable amount of profit, so that one day you will have a rebirth. No matter where you are born, you have the merit to spend. You know the practitioner is the one who protects you by yourself, should not see others as good or bad, do or not do, but remind yourself that you should do what is beneficial for yourself. That's what's worth mentioning.
Encourage others to do good deeds together; those are your knowledgeable friends. You should stay close to these people because being with them for a long time is like walking into the morning dew. Although the dew won't make you wet, it will gradually seep into your skin. In the same way, if you go to the agarwood forest, though you do not take it away; the deep smell still permeates your body. On the contrary, if you just want to be close to evil knowledge, it is like going to the fish market. Although you do not eat fish, do not buy fish; but the fishy smell of fish makes your shirt fishy. Therefore, you need to be close to good and knowledgeable friends so that your merit can be increased more and you should not be close to evil friends because your mind and body will not benefit.
In short, Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in this world with the purpose of making sentient beings free from suffering and happy. His Dharma radiates throughout the samsara, benefiting all sentient beings, and those who practically live in a state of peace, wealth, and happiness. As in the Blessing Sutra, the Buddha taught:
- Blessing is almsgiving, making offerings to build pagodas and towers will make you rich, become a mandarin, become a king, or enjoy the peace and joy of heaven. The blessings of building pagodas and towers are the shores of Jewel Mountain, pearl island, the castle, your vehicles, and a happy life, the blessing of building a pagoda is noble happiness...
For each bow that you make in front of the statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, or if you go to the temple, bring a twig of cotton or a plate of fruit to the Buddha. Or burn fragrant incense to worship the Buddha, make offerings for the construction of temples, build statues, cast bells or do meritorious deeds, or help people in need or poverty. Or suppose building schools, bridges, etc... all these are things that can create oceans of merit like water in the vast ocean. Therefore, you are not afraid that you will have excess merit, but only fear that you will not have enough merit. In contrast to creating a crime, unintentionally or intentionally, you do not see, do not hear, do not know; but that sin will gradually increase, causing your blessings to grow untimely. So the suffering continues to pile up and you are still dominated by the cycle of birth and death.
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