By Nhất Quán


Humility speaks well enough to be humble and respectful to others. Respect does not mean hiding a guilty self-deprecation, or self-esteem with an outer layer of humility in handling. Respect is to affirm others, to have peculiarities, between us and others equally, no more, no less.
First of all, we must understand humility as a virtue, a virtue of a noble person, a virtuous direction, a noble virtue of a saint, a Bodhisattva, a Buddha.
Humility is expressed in words, gestures, attitudes, and behaviors through which people walk, stand, eat, and wear in their daily behavior.
At some point, we know how to sit down to contemplate the profound but simple meaning of the Dharma, we can see the great meaning of the so-called:
- How to treat human behavior.
More compact:
- A way of living in this world.
By living this, we will gain valuable experience about how to behave in every action, language, and even our thoughts. Everything always leaves a proper effect. Because through the way of life I am going to talk about is not only concerned because it has been talked about on many pages but moreover, it is a very specific self-sufficient spiritual experience, it requires an elaborate practice of yourself.
Therefore, the Venerable Buddhists who taught must show in every moment of the present to take advantage of their highest ability to be able to learn to speak in the language of the heart, which language of the intrinsic experience. For a long time, Venerable Buddhists still teach us to focus on a single lesson of how to live for ourselves and give it to people in a proper way. That thought certainly gave us many moral lessons and values.
In my opinion, humility is one of the best and most miraculous spiritual values that people need to promote, nurture and at the same time have to show properly in life. Because this virtue is also one of the important factors that help us practice elaborately on the path of enlightenment in the spirit of Buddhism. Therefore, even if we consider ourselves from a moral or religious point of view, we will find that once in our own mind we have lacked humility, then on the path to studying will be unsteady steps for yourself and also cause insecurity for people, for life.
The effect of humility is very strange. When we live with it, we naturally find ourselves becoming more meek to be able to succumb to anyone easily. Thus, those who know how to express this virtue will have the courage to accept life no matter what. Remember, modern culture has never really taught us humility even when this noun is mentioned in the most solemn way. In some treacherous definition, people say humility is to bow down lowly in both psychological and verbal meaning. Some people even say that the humble attitude towards everyone is a self-giving gesture of feeling inferior and smaller than others. Since then, people often feel uncomfortable when bowing, or humiliating with someone.
In fact, in each bow or two hands that make a lotus bud to greet others like that, then the ego in us is considered to be more or less reduced. But remember, and always be alert to yourself when the humble gesture is only a mechanical movement, that is, a false humility. Venerable Buddhists always sternly remind this, because in the practice life of a Buddhist, humility is not only a cultural sign but also a practice. That's why the Venerable Buddhists encourage us, when we meet each other we accept two hands to make lotus buds to say hello to each other, if we can say it, say:
- Amitabha Buddha.
Because Amitabha Buddha is a symbol of pure nature. Usually in the world, when we meet, we often ask:
- Come on, Brother, sister, ... how are you?
But, in the spirit of learning through which to show humility, we accept two hands to make lotus buds, and the mouth says:
- Amitabha Buddha.
Meaning in the mind we want:
- This pure lotus bud is for you, for big brother, big sister, for young brother, young sister, for my uncle...
Because it is also from here, our progress is made and expressed. Some people will consider humility to be a deterrent to courage but it is clear that what I have just said above does not mean that we have to close our eyes to let others trample on our body or dignity.
According to Buddhism, Venerable Buddhists do not call on their followers or members to lie down on the road for people to step on to improve their humility. What the monks guide here is the psychological attitude of each person in each confrontation and responding to the surrounding life. This physical body doesn't really mean anything, we should learn to bow low from the thought, in each of our views! Indeed, this physical body only works when we know how to use it. Somewhere in the Buddhist Sutras, the story is told:
At the time of Buddha's existence, there was a devout disciple who was King Bimbisara. One day on the way to business, the King met the Buddha and the Sangha went begging for alms. Before the majesty of the Buddha and the Sangha, the King of the Buddhists bowed and kissed the Buddha's feet. One of the great ministers accompanying the King felt very dissatisfied. Because he thought that the authority of the King was the head of a country, he could not kneel to a beggar on the street like Buddha. Therefore, when he reached the palace, he immediately said:
- Your Majesty, You are the reigning monarch of all people in the country, not because of a Buddha that undermines your dignity...
Upon hearing that, the King understood what this great mandarin wanted, on this occasion the King wanted to guide this stubborn official to the Dharma. So the King ordered and handed over to the mandarins, each with a head to sell. The mandarins received the pig's head, the bull's head, the goat's head, the deer's head ... .. Particularly for this stubborn mandarin, the King gave a human head. Of course, those who sell heads of pigs, bullheads .... then someone buys immediately. But the stubborn official sold the head of Man when he went anywhere, everyone ran away. So the first day could not be sold, then the second day, the third day, the head began to smell, flow, then flies and ants clung. In the end, this great mandarin brought the foul head to return to the King:
- His Majesty, it seems that the head of the pig and the head of the cow has users but the human head is too useless, so I cannot sell ...
On that occasion, the King instructed the minister to give up his arrogance and direct his life to the Dharma.
Through this story, let's try to see what happens when we don't react to someone's attack on us. We should know, when someone offends us, that person is always waiting to see some retaliation, so that they have a reason to continue attacking. But on our side, if we don't have any countermeasures in response, these attacks seem to be blown out, like a ball falling into space. I repeat, we should not be antagonistic but should only tolerate it. And the problem does not stop at the spirit of tolerance, we have to understand how we have done it.
Let us show good humility in the way we behave with others in society when we live in this world. Because, in addition to sarcasm, slander, we must know there are many other evil things that people have poured on us. For example, in addition to feeling uncomfortable psychologically when we know people around us do not like us, we also have to accept earaches, headaches when someone wants to chase after or want to confront us. At that time, it is possible in us to have some instinct ready to oppose. Instead, we are antagonistic, but if we know how to express humility, we will control ourselves in time and accept the oppositions of the other person very easily.
It is true that the unbelievable thing in the heart then feels like opposing, but then when the inner mind is arranged, the psychological power becomes pleasant, obedient to a subjugation through the mental expression humility. Thus, it can be said that this is a way to utilize effectively and smoothly all situations in life, turning the obstacle into a practice that its basic meaning lies in humble words.
Because we know how to forget our self, we can take care of what we have, we can control it, or erase the self-arrogance in ourselves. Every day, we are still stuck with the more and the worse, the strong and the weak, the good and the bad, the practice must be said to be a difficult problem. And it can be said that it is because we know how to forget unnecessary problems, so we will find the true beauty in the life of the cultivator and those who know how to express humility.
This concept of pure aesthetics will give us a great way to live, right from the most normal activities. For example, here every day, we have religious rituals at first glance, it is very simple as the action of joining hands into lotus buds and chanting. The hardest thing is still the gesture of joining hands to make lotus buds and bowing. Only that movement, on the form, is not important. The most important thing is that we know the grasping hand makes a lotus bud right from our mind. To accomplish this, we must face the fierce resistance of the inner self. In fact, we do not want to put our hands into lotus buds, the reason is that there are conceptions opposed to humility because some people think that humility seems to be too polite.
So, even though it's simple, but accepting the hand to make a lotus bud, or bowing your head, even in a normal life, we have seen some people unable to do it. Besides those who can't do it, we have also seen many people who have been fortunate to have met the guiding knowledge and have been able to embrace their hands into lotus buds or bow their heads easily. For the Venerable Master, no one told us to do so, but there were also those who worshiped because naturally, they wanted to do so. These are the people who have good seed, good faith, and so through those prostrate gestures they suddenly realize that the prostrate posture is so beautiful, instead of standing upright, saying a very polite sentence in a huge ego remains in the head. Such prostrate posture on the ground has given the worshiper a fresh feeling for both body and mind.
This humble way is different from the Western culture. Westerners tend to focus on what is practical. Westerners can only see the way of accepting hands to make lotus buds, which is synonymous with the expression of subordinates to their superiors, so it is difficult to implement and cannot understand its great meaning. Meanwhile, standing in front of a bow of a person, according to the customs of the Vietnamese people, we naturally find ourselves to be humble by nodding in response to sincere respect. The way of bowing by Vietnamese people seems to have the same meaning as holding two hands of the Indian tradition that people in this country still call the most respectful greeting. They just held their hands together but the gesture implicitly contained a greeting:
- I greet you or prostrate before you.
In the West, especially in the United States, just reach out and hold the hand of the opposite person and say a polite sentence:
- Nice to meet you.
We are Vietnamese, have a long tradition of Buddhism, so the humble expression through which two hands are made into lotus buds is one of the most beautiful expressions of affection.
According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, when they worshiped Buddha they let themselves spread to the ground to pay homage. Because they think that the hands at this moment are meant to be an offering of the whole body, mouth, and mind. The stretching and twisting movements around the body and finally putting on the head is to symbolize all the hearts that we have given to the gesture of prostration. After that, let yourself lying down on the floor with your hands clasped to the back of your head, then repeat all the original movements, then spread yourself to the ground for the second time and your hands on the top of your head to end the ceremony. In this way, Mr. Ajahn Chah commented:
- This is also a practice of humility and selflessness!
This is a beauty of a form of life, though it seems material, but contains the whole spirit for the person who forgets himself, that is, to abandon the great ego. Because if we have a specialized look, we will find that just a few humble movements are enough to say the most sincere heart.
The question is, do we show humility in the most convenient place?
This is definitely not possible in the cafeteria, or in the beer bar.
So the answer is right at the time of going to the temple. Because when we go to the temple, we meet the Teachers, we meet a lot of partners, there are almost always many opportunities to find the exercises about humility through each other's bow to us, as well as ours for others. For me, only humble gestures that we practice fully are like a method to cultivate. Because at least this is the method to end many things that need to be terminated and this is also quite a simple practice because it can be done at any time.
This is certainly nothing called hard, just spend a little time to look back and nourish the soul with just the two hands that make a lotus bud, or bow your head. And the object for that reverent attitude does not need to ask for a great idol. We put our hands together, bowed our heads to a personality, virtue, and virtue of someone like kindness, compassion, and understanding ...
If possible, every night, before we go to bed, we can bow our heads in that spirit exactly six times, and before we leave the bed the next morning we repeat the same six times as a first job of the day. We can practice anywhere, including overnight at friends' houses or anywhere. We still keep that habit, and it will be even more interesting if there is no object on the wall of the room, Buddha's image or the short verses of the Buddha, then we can also do a prayer on our own in our minds by thinking about the mental qualities that we can use. I think that any of us can do it.
In short, the humble nature in every person has, and everyone knows, but the practice is or not, that's another story. What I just said, is, of course, everyone's choice. What if we want to, it can be done at any time, for example right now. If you practice now, then the lesson seems to start from here. When you meet anyone, don't wait for others to say hello to you, then we greet them. Just meet anyone, we go on doing our work, which means we go on greeting, and the person who doesn't greet us is their bad thing. In this lesson, if you really want to learn it, this will be a great lesson.
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