By Nhất Quán
          The sufferings and afflictions in the world often cause you to change your thoughts about peace, to refuge in the mountains, or somewhere to leave the present life. However, spiritual practice is not only encapsulated in that, but in life, it is necessary to be braver than those who alone many times, to balance work and family, between energy and healthy, between the desires, emotions, joy, suffering, and impermanence.
Finding balance in complex relationships can make you see life for what it really is. Simply put, when you focus on the purpose, even while you are rice cooking, washing dishes, looking after children, ...  you can cultivate your mind.
So that, you just need to examine yourself every second, every minute, get rid of your pride, desires, expectations, and fears, to achieve a peaceful mind, see different levels of life, you will become teachers in life. In order to do that, you have to treat every trouble, every problem as a strong point of cultivation. So to say that spiritual practice needs to be practiced from the problems of reality, can not be vague or empty words, otherwise, it will not make any sense. You can come up with a bunch of theories, but when it happens you feel miserable, you feel sad. That means you haven't practiced anything yet.
Studying and vowing to study definitely need to be refined from the sufferings, and afflictions of life. Do not use the excuse to turn spiritual practice into a kind of escape from troubles or escape from real life. Cultivation is not some kind of escape, nor is it entertainment, or utopian theories.
          The school to forge the strength of the true vows to practice is not only in the temple, not only in the meditation hall, not only in the mountain and forests, but the key is what is happening, existing right in your mind. So, while studying, you can practice any method, and whether it's other-power or self-help, the basic thing is to make an effort on your own. Whether this effort is more or less depends on each person, but it is necessary.
          Nothing is fixed, nothing is impossible to self-effort, everything is changing, everything has been, is, and will move in the direction of good or bad, it is up to you to choose. There is no such thing as being late or early, if you don't set off, don't take the first step, it's forever late, forever early, and forever theoretical, just empty words. Remember that everyone has: 
1. Intellectual ability
2. Every person has the ability to be liberated
3. And each person has the ability to make these numbers 1 and 2 come true:
When you have sincerity, determination, effort, perseverance, persistence in study and practice, there are results. Even if it is so small that you can't feel it; it can make you frustrated, depressed, and shaken, but it is certainly not lost, on the contrary, it is still gathered, accumulated minutes by minutes, hour by hour to become a good predestined for the next better and better results.
          So, be strong, be confident, stand firm against the adversities, calamities, and sufferings of life in this world. Because those calamities and sufferings present then disappeared, come and go, happy and sad, satisfied and dissatisfied, unsatisfied, peaceful and then fall back into adversity, obstacle full of anxiety and sorrow. You will soon realize that this worldly life is essentially like that and cannot be otherwise, that is:
          * Birth is suffering
* Old is suffering
* Illness is suffering
* Death is suffering
* Sadness, worry is suffering
          * Meeting and touching the person you hate is suffering
          * Separation from the one you love is suffering
          * Contrary to your will, not achieving your wishes is suffering.
          Moreover, the worldly sensation, not only painful or non-suffering, or pleasurable, but also the five senses-pleasure sensations that worldly people always pursue, day-night are all conditioned, impermanence, and suffering. What was taught by the Buddha was very clear, very specific, clearly seen in the present:
          * This is suffering, this is the suffering that depends on the first contemplation
          * This is the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering is the second contemplation.
          Knowing so clearly, you don't need to infuriate or be angry when you are scolded or slandered nor are you happy, joyful, and excited when you are honored respected and worshiped. No more worry, fears, lamentations, sorrow, discouragement, despair in the face ơf difficulties, obstacles, failures, disaster, or overjoyed excited complacent, triumphant arrogant before the favorable success in worldly life.
          Recognizing clearly the conditioned dharmas are impermanent, suffering, not real, so no clinging, no attachment, no pollution, no longer passionate about pursuing. On the contrary, always be enthusiastic, diligent, aware, mindful, overcome move forward with firmness, steadfastness, concentration, and peace.
          You have the dharma as your firmest refuge, you have the Three Jewels as your safest refuge support. So you are no longer disappointed, worried, afraid of anything. Of course, you are happy and peaceful. Because the Buddha taught you that disappointment, anxiety, and fear arise only for those who do not have the will to practice, but not for those who have.
          You are a Buddhist, maybe you believe, take refuge in one Buddha, or believe and take refuge in many Buddhas because of your own views, perceptions, and beliefs. But all beliefs are studied with wisdom to respect and sincerely make offerings. Just as when you believe and take refuge in the Sakyamuni or other Buddhas, you need to live according to what was taught by Sakyamuni Buddha or other Buddhas. Practicing in accordance with the dharma, with an unchanging heart for a lifetime, with absolute faith in the Three Jewels, with the power of this vow to study, you will surely have peace, wonder, and lasting stability long.
          In the past time, recently or a long time ago, and in the more distant past, it is certain that you have also stumbled, many times with many mistakes, many very serious mistakes, making you are extremely regretful, you have guilt, it makes your mind miserable, depressed, discouraged in practice. The Buddha of great compassion always loves all sentient beings, always has mercy on all sentient beings, always wants those who are rich or poor, whether people of high intelligence or people of low intelligence. Whether he is a person who is addicted to sensual pleasures and is infected with the world or a person who does not indulge in sensual pleasures, is not infected with the world. Whether it is a person with little sin, a lot of sin, or no sin, and even those who unintentionally or intentionally slander the Buddhadharma, when they realize and have faith in cultivation and study, the power of this belief and practice makes everyone benefit, be liberated from suffering in this world, and enjoy lasting peace in the present life.
          In order to help his disciples avoid getting entangled in mistakes, the Buddha pointed out that the cause of mistakes and suffering is ignorance and craving. So, as a Buddhist, you must practice getting rid of ignorance and craving right now, not in the future, nor in the next life. You can't let ignorance and craving torment you, it's already enough, it can't be repeated even once.
          There are many suttas in the Sutta Pitaka that record the cases of bhikkhus, laypeople, householders, non-Buddhists... making very heavy mistakes, but when they realized their mistake and sincere Apologizing in front of everyone, the Buddha accepted the repentance, and at the same time encouraged, made them happy, and taught them the true Dharma. For example, in the case of the wanderer Susima who infiltrated the Sangha, not for the sake of learning, but when he realized his mistake, sincerely admitted it was accepted by the Blessed One. Then Venerable Susima bowed his head at the feet of the Blessed One and said to the Blessed One:
          - A sin I have committed, Lord, out of stupidity, out of ignorance, out of unwholesome. I have been ordained as a dharma thief in this Dharma and Discipline. Venerable Sir, may the Blessed One accept me to repent of this sin, and that I will not repeat it in the future.
Buddha taught:
          - Hey, Susima, you see that you have committed a crime, and as the Dharma reveals repentance, I accept it for you. Thus, Susima, the Discipline of the Noble One is increased. When you see you have committed a crime, and as dharma reveal repentance to prevent it from happening in the future” (Susima Sutra)
          Besides, there are also many people who have sinned, after that fall, they were determined to practice and after only a short time they have attained sainthood, from beginner to arahant right at the moment alive. Likewise, when you stumble and make mistakes, if you sincerely admit your mistakes and sincerely repent and turn to good, you will be loved by the Buddha to accept that sincere repentance, because He wants to see you overcome all temptations after that fall, no longer such ignorance and craving.
          Repentance is the foundation of the precepts, the foundation of practice, and the foundation of a calm mind. Therefore, when the heart repents, even once is enough to definitely cut it all off, get rid of the entanglements, the afflictions that have been clinging for so long. The past will die, the person who made the mistake is dead, all have been handed over to the law of cause and effect. From now on, you are a new person, with sincerity, with the will and determination to not repeat the crime, to become completely new from actions, words to thoughts.
          When the mind has been transformed with a new body, speech, and mind. Quickly step on the path of practice, the path leading to new horizons, opening up a new world, a world beyond good and evil, a world beyond the notions of guilt and innocence, repentance and no repentance, the world of peace and liberation, the world that brings peace and liberation to you and to others.
          Maybe you are not wise enough to know if what you are receiving right now is karma or not? But one thing is for sure that in a very distant time in the past, there were mistakes, you created the karma to bring about good or bad results that you have to receive in this present life. This is a natural law that no one can avoid. You are the owner of karma, the heirs of karma, so:
          - Not in the sky, or in the middle of the sea
          Can't hide in the mountain cave
          Nowhere in the world
          Evade the retribution of karma.
          (Dharma Sutra)
          The teachings of the Buddha are so great, so noble, so human, so transcendent that no other religion can compare. Humans have the ability to control themselves, happy or sad, tied or not is up to you to decide. When adversity, a miserable state comes to you, if you have training in the body, there is training in the mind, you will be liberated from the domination of feelings from the adversity. Therefore, the Buddha always advises you to practice body and mind to be calm and free when facing birth, old age, illness, death, sorrow, grief, suffering, sadness, and defilements of human life.
          A Buddhist understands and lives according to the law of cause and effect, practices according to the true Dharma, has a body and mind to practice, he patiently receives karma with wisdom, in order to achieve the dharma of patience depending on conditions, towards the attainment of the realization of the Dharma of non-appearance
          There is nothing more peaceful than knowing what you have been doing, especially having the courage to face reality to pay off the debt you created yourself, your soul is at peace, so your mind is happy. Joy is present, so from there, happiness is present, then concentration and wisdom are present and leading to liberation. On the contrary, when reacting with anger, discouragement, disappointment, and pessimism, the body will suffer, the mind will be scattered, so wisdom will be dulled, unwholesome habits will increase, so the body, speech, and unwholesome thoughts arise, unwholesome actions increase, and finally fall into the miserable states of hell, hungry ghosts, and animals.
          By recognizing the nature of life which is impermanent, suffering, not-self; because understanding the law of cause and effect is like that, so when calamities and tribulations happen to you, whether it is karma from the past or not, this is no longer a problem; nothing to worry about anymore. There is only the power of the vow to study, to persevere, to endure for a long time with attentiveness, calmness, and alertness with wisdom, as the Buddha once taught the Venerable Rahula.
          - Hey Rahula, practice cultivation like the earth. Rahula, through the practice of cultivation like the earth, pleasant and unpleasant emotions arise, do not hold the mind, do not exist. Rahula, for example, on earth a person throws away pure things, throws unclean things, throws out feces, throws urine, spits out saliva, throws out pus, and throws out blood, yet the earth does not worry, does not waver, or does not get bored. . Likewise, Rahula, practice like the earth. By training like the earth, Rahala, pleasant and unpleasant emotions arise, do not hold the mind, have no existence. (Great Sutra of the Rahula Precepts)
          During the path of practice, which may be short or long, maybe very long, or very very very long, each adversity, each fall is a challenging lesson to help you look back to reflect on your current state of mind. Be it good or bad, at what level to see the results of the time that you have practiced.
          It can be said that regular repentance and reflection is also a positive method to recognize mistakes, prevent and protect you in the future. Regular repentance and reflection in order to generate the strength to persevere with unwavering determination, to forget oneself in the ideal of Buddhist practice. First of all, it is the practice of strictly observing the precepts, living without distraction, often doing good things in body, speech, and mind, progressing to the attainments of concentration and wisdom, opening a new life, being optimistic, loving life, loving life self and love people, self-awareness and enlighten others. Therefore, repenting, reflecting, doing good, practicing precepts, concentration, and wisdom with even the smallest achievements, also help to make the present life more meaningful. That is, from the lowly ordinary people, you can rise to a higher, more holy life, so that the remaining days in this world, due to a great good cause and condition, can live in the human life, not being an affected waste.
           By having insight with insight or seeing things as they really are. Buddhists know that worldly pleasures are commonplace, lowly, and unworthy of the holy life, which is always accompanied by sorrow, lamentation, suffering, anxiety, and grief like a shadow that never leaves the picture. Because, when sensual pleasures are destroyed, painful feelings arise and dominate the body, dominate the mind, and then anger, incessantly arise, in order to be free from painful feelings. You will then seek out sensations from new sources of sensual pleasure with greater intensity. The cycle goes on and on, over and over again. Unwholesome states have a chance to arise. If there is a time when worldly people find happiness in sensual pleasures by being greedy, accumulating wealth, fame, gain, craving, eating, and sleeping. Then, Buddhists find happiness outside of sensual pleasures by Boring, giving up possessions, fame, fortune, power, lust, eating, and sleeping to come to life: The present moment of bliss, extremely noble.          
          There is a very clear distinction between the two types of pleasure, but if you only know the above noble pleasures through books, through knowledge, through mere reasoning. Or even know with the world's knowledge, without making the effort to persevere in practice with accomplishment, still being dominated by sensual pleasures, still bound by greed, hatred, and delusion.
          Only when you know with wisdom, the sweet taste of dangerous lust and the detachment from it, and at the same time have to practice to realize the joy and peace of being free from sensual pleasures, away from unwholesome actions Dharma, then you are no longer dominated by desires, no longer controlled by the five fetters that govern the mind.
 You are living in this life, have causes and conditions to cultivate, have the strength of the vow to practice, just like a lotus flower that grows out of dirty mud, but is still unpolluted by the mud there, true quality noble, extraordinary.
          There are also people who do not have the cause and conditions to cultivate, have no desire to practice but are conscious of not creating evil karma. These people are like one of the flowers, but they are not lotuses, because they are not lotuses, so they are contaminated with mud. Just like those who, although they do not create evil karma, but do not have the vow to practice, are polluted, but realize that they are not lotus flowers, that is, they realize that they have created evil karma.
          There are also people who do not have the cause and conditions to cultivate, have no wish to study, and are not aware of good and bad karma. These people are like one of the other flowers because they are not lotuses, they are contaminated with mud. Just like those who are not aware of good and bad karma, do not have the desire to practice, so they are polluted, nor do they realize that they are not lotus flowers, that is, do not realize that they create evil karma.
          These two classes of people both contain ordinary thoughts, just as the two flowers above are contaminated with mud because both are not lotuses. But there are people who are aware of the cause and effect of good and evil and strive to practice, just like the flower who realizes that they are not a lotus, should work hard and practice according to the Dharma, and one day they will also acquire high qualities precious of the lotus, will not be polluted. Meanwhile, there are people who are not saints but think of themselves as saints, so they become more and more degenerate, just like flowers that consider themselves lotus flowers, so they don't make efforts on their own, practice according to the right dharma, so the more increasingly polluted.
          In the Sutta One Night of the Sage, the Buddha taught you not to waste your time and energy on fantasies, delusions, and illusions where the past is no longer there, or fantasies and inferences about the unreal future, to get the right perspective:
          - The rope is the rope, the snake is the snake.
The mind is unwavering, to develop one's vows to practice and study, so as not to be agitated by favorable circumstances, adversity, prosperity, or decline of the eight worldly winds.
          In short, time goes by very quickly, and death waits for no one. You know that, so you should make an effort, determination, perseverance in practice, ardor, diligence, mindfulness, and awareness to practice day and night a certain method of your choice.
           Work hard to plow, cultivate your own field of mind, so that every time you work, every time the ignorance and craving buried deep in your mind are plowed above the light of insight, so that they are burned, so that they are destroyed and the true peace in you is increased, more stable day by day.
           In the Plower Sutta, the Buddha taught the Brahmin Kasibharadvaja about the practice of fieldwork, plowing, cultivating to eliminate the weeds of ignorance, craving, and reap the peaceful grains of rice and happiness, harvest crops of relieving suffering for themselves and others:
           - Trust is the seed
          Asceticism is the rain
          Wisdom for me
          A yoke and a plowshare
          Shame is a plow handle
          Thoughts are ropes
          And think for me
          Is a plowshare, a stick
          With a protective body
          With protective words
          With food in my stomach
          Know how to control
          I create the truth
          To mow the weeds
          My deliverance
          So gentle and kind
          (Bharadvaja Sutra, The Plower)
          With this practice, you will create for yourself a very significant strength of vows to study. 
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