Short Stories

To My Master

Update: 01/04/2006
 
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I burst into tears when I happened to read your online articles\r\nthis afternoon. It was so interesting that I was anxious to finish the article\r\nsoon to know the authors name. It turned out to be yours. It reminded me of\r\nthe image of my venerable Master and my tears brimmed over and fell on my cheek\r\nwhen I learn that your life is like a candle in the wind.

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I was overcome with emotion recollecting the time being with\r\nyou, being taught the valuable lessons. Eighteen years have elapsed and now\r\nyour days are numbered. Undoubtedly, your passing away one day will arouse our\r\nimmense pity. It is you, the messenger of the Tathagata that has caused the Zen\r\nsect to flourish in the history of modern Vietnamese Buddhism.

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The time being with you with heart-warming memories are\r\nrecalled. My questions were clearly answered and my problems were carefully\r\nexplained so that I did not fall into a spiritual decline due to chronic depair\r\nin life. I am totally absorbed in three meaningful words you taught me:\r\n"compassion", "wisdom" and "courage" and these\r\nreally help.

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 I remember that one evening I came to see you with a\r\nmournful look on my face because of lying seven consecutive sleepless nights. I\r\nfind myself haunted by the image of a fainted woman beggar by a tree with two\r\nyoung children. The youngest like a puppy was crawling to the street blocking\r\nmy car in a heavy traffic flow on Dien Bien Phu Street in 1990 when it was my\r\nfirst return to the homeland after more than ten years in exile. Next is the\r\nthree-year-old childs smile in a leper colony by which I was heart-broken. I\r\nthought: " He can not realize that a dim future awaits him." and then\r\nthe thoughts of blaming his parents popped into my mind: " You should not\r\nhave had children while you had leprosy. "

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The time being with you on vacation was really helpful. I\r\nwas taught: "Love and help people without being in sorrowful state.\r\nBodhisattvas save sentient beings without being in such state because they do\r\nnot cling to the belief of the reality of ego and things as worldly men\r\ndo.  Ones reward or retribution is temporal and merely phenomenal,\r\nfallacious, and unreal in ones life time.  Material supports for someone\r\njust help to reduce their sufferings for a short period or even their life time\r\nwhile Buddhas teachings help them free from permanent sufferings not only in this\r\nlife but also in next life. Therefore, the most essential thing is that they be\r\nassisted to approach these valuable teachings. Also, I was advised that\r\nCompassion, wisdom and courage should be where they belong." Your words\r\nare like a refreshing rain that waters crops and my despair has been somewhat\r\nalleviated as my attachment to the belief of the reality of ego and things has\r\nbeen lessened. Now, I have not been able to entirely remove my ignorance, hear\r\nyour instructions and deep in my heart Im still sufferings; however, your\r\nteachings help me overcome bad habits that we as human beings undoubtedly fall\r\ninto - Those are jealousy, greed, gossips of right and wrong, double-tongued\r\nspeech and other evils that acutely distress me due to forgetting your valuable\r\nteaching "Look at life through the eyes of wisdom of Prajna". My mind\r\nis at one time filled with impure thoughts of depression while at another time\r\nit is as calm as Summer sea. Its the time when I practice your teachings\r\nproperly.  Admittedly, being tired of the mundane world, I spent nights\r\ncrying hysterically and wishing to be escorted to the realm of Amitabha Buddha.\r\nI feel obliged to resort to non-dualism (non-ego and the emptiness of all\r\nphenomena) to treat my affliction, thereby freeing myself from sufferings.

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  The image of a swallow (a kind of bird) flying over a\r\nlake without leaving its trace on the lake surface is impressive. My mind used\r\nto be as calm as the lake surface without keeping the image of the bird or\r\nanything else and I was not swayed by external circumstances either after years\r\nof following your instructions. At the same time, my light of wisdom was bright\r\nenough to drive out darkness in mind.

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Dear my Master.

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However, I am now still disheartened by a huge barrier of\r\ntemptation, passion, or defilement, which obstructs the attainment of the nirvāṇa-mind. \r\nYour "wisdom stick" is certainly more magical than Harry Porters\r\nwand. But how can I use it in the battle with storms of life effectively?\r\nUndoubtedly, as you taught us the Prajna boat and Amitabha Buddha recitation\r\nwill help us to overcome all kind of calamity, return to our reality and escape\r\nfrom sufferings in this ever-changing Saha world. 

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Translated into English by Mr.Tran Xuan Thanh.

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