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A sincere apology to my Mom and Dad

Update: 10/07/2014
... I’m extremely scared that someday my parents will not exist in this life any more and my house must be very quiet and desolate at that time. I dont want such terrifying things to happen at all and neither do I want to be overcome with such grief when my parents are no longer in the world...
 

A sincere apology to my Mom and Dad

 
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Namo Sakyamuni Buddha.

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First, I  would like to  express my warmest thanks\r\nto all of you: the Venerable abbot, the monks, the nuns, and the performers of\r\nmeritorious deed  who facilitated me  as well as my fellow\r\ncultivators in this retreat – a special cultivation for students.

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Dear Masters! I will probably never forget Hoang Phap\r\npagoda.  I was impressed by its  landscape, pleased with the\r\n daily sutra recitation, and absorbed in the monks teachings  during\r\nthe course. It is after the retreat that I can realize my mistakes and\r\nwrong-doings that  I made and it hurt my parents’\r\n feelings.    

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Unfortunately, I was born in an unhappy and poor family.\r\n"My father was an irresponsible person ". I think so because when I\r\nwas a child, I saw my father mistreat my mother. Moreover, he has some\r\n bad habits such as heavy smoking, drinking alcohol and cursing at my\r\nmother while being drunk.  Then, he  asked   her to cook rice\r\nsoup for him at midnight. At that time, I really hated my father. Instead of\r\nbeing a bread-winner of the family, my father just asked her for money; he\r\nusually forced her to buy alcohol and cigarettes  whenever his needs were\r\nnot fully met. Worse,   he  frequently hit three of us, his\r\nchildren, ruthlessly. I hated my father, and I was angry with my mother, too. I\r\ncriticized her for everything. I reasoned that she had borne me and transmitted\r\nher descent of ethnic minorities to me so I was usually teased  about it\r\nby my friends at school. ; In such condition,  I  sometimes had\r\n some insulting words that  hurt my mother ,  especially\r\n the one:

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-"You should have killed me when I was born  so\r\nthat  now I do not have to suffer like this in my life"

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My mother  felt numb with shock for this statement.\r\nDear Master! At that time my mother was crying and said:

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"-Yes! It was my fault and  I was responsible for\r\nmy mistakes."

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At that time,  being a shallow thinker I felt that I\r\nwas  absolutely right; then,  my mother was really heartbroken when I\r\nadded: "If you hadn’t gotten married with my father, you wouldn’t have\r\nborn me; Its your fault.

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How disrespectful to my mother I was to utter this\r\nstatement!  I didnt really love my mother.  . She had suffered too\r\nmuch. My father deeply distressed her and  so did I. On a night of heavy\r\nrain, my roof was leaking  everywhere, so my father had to climb the\r\nladder in order to cover the holes in the corrugated  iron roof with big\r\ncanvases. Then, the thunder rumbled, and  he slightly trembled and stood\r\nmotionlessly in his ladder. My mother standing at the bottom of the ladder felt\r\nnervous.  Seeing that I rushed to call  out: “Daddy! Whats wrong\r\nwith you?” After that, my father fell down from above, and he had a very pale\r\nface. My mother used her two hands to raise him. Then, she and my elder brother\r\ncarried and placed him in his bed. Fortunately,  he was all right; he just\r\ncaught a slight cold. Only one thing, because of holding  him with two\r\narms when he fell down, my mother’s hands  had ached throughout a week. My\r\nresentment disappeared immediately when I saw that scene.

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However, the next day,  he  followed the beaten\r\ntrack; he had still drunk  all day  and was not willing to work.\r\nMeanwhile, my mom had to  work hard as a gardener for the owners for\r\nmoney. Resenting  my father, I could do nothing  but  hurting my\r\nmother again by the statement :

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"If only you  hadnt saved him yesterday.  He\r\nwould have died and he was worth it.

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She was transfixed and stared at me; then, she turned away\r\nand her eyes  were filled with tears. Days  after days, until I was\r\n11 years old. Because of  poverty, my mother had to take my sister and me\r\nto the city  so that we could continue  our schooling. That night, I\r\ngot a fever, a headache, and vomited a lot. She hugged me in her arms, cried\r\nand gently wiped her tears.  After the next few days, I  felt her\r\nabsence. The moment she left, she just said:

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-"So, I  have to go now!"

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My mother didn’t say another word because she had said too\r\nmuch. Moreover, she didn’t want to see two of us crying that made  her\r\n heart ache when she had to live apart from us. At that time, I couldn’t\r\nunderstand everything; I just thought my mother took me to somewhere and we\r\nwould come back home; however, my mother left without a word. That night, I\r\ncouldn’t sleep and I cried, cried so much.

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In this place, I have a second mother and a second family. ,\r\nI haven’t come back home on Tet holiday for 7 years. I really missed my family\r\nand missed my claiming for lucky little money from my parents; then, when Tet\r\nholiday went by, I gave all the lucky money to my mother  for household\r\nspending. And now, I have been familiar with life in the city  and my\r\nhomesickness is reduced, too. Although I missed my family, I still had the feeling\r\nof hatred towards my father. He hadn’t changed anything over the past 7 years;\r\nhe still smoked, and drank alcohol; moreover,  his lack of enthusiasm for\r\nwork  had driven him to debt all the time.

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Last February, I came back to my hometown to see  my\r\nrelatives but few people could recognize me.  In response to my fathers\r\n  improper behavior, I cursed him loudly. Masters! I talked a lot\r\nwhile my tears were streaming  down both my cheeks:

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"It is a disgrace that you had borne us but you\r\ncouldnt fulfill the fathers duties and pass the responsibility of bringing\r\nup  and supporting us for schooling to  others"

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I was really filled with hatred for my father, and promised\r\nto myself that I will never return home until my father has died. I have clung\r\nto that thought for the past few days and I  felt worried because the\r\nuniversity entrance exam  was coming soon.

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By accident, my friend’s sister asked me to attend the\r\nsummer retreat at Hoang Phap pagoda, but I refused because I wanted to spend\r\nthe time on studying for the examination. However, I didn’t know  the\r\nreason why I finally decided to go with her for retreat registration. That day\r\ncame, and I went to the cultivation with a nervous and anxious feeling.\r\nAlthough I had had a psychological preparation before I came here, I was like a\r\nfish out of water and felt uncomfortable while being at the pagoda . That\r\nnight,  after reading the  Ullambana Sutra I perceived my parents\r\nsufferings but  another  thought popped into my mind: “I wasn’t\r\nundutiful just because my parents were too\r\nirresponsible.”    

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At that moment, I haven’t still recognized my sins yet. Only\r\nwhen I listened to the teachings of Masters, did I realize all my faults. The\r\nMasters said there were some kids who couldn’t cry at birth, or enjoy warm\r\nembraces of their parents and were kissed even once. I felt this through the\r\nseminar  titled: “Don’t leave me, mom!”. Also,  some true, meaningful\r\n and moving stories about the parenthood in the lecture “The smiles\r\nremain” were accounted by Master Thich Tam Nguyen     ; in\r\naddition, deep and meaningful lessons were taught  in the seminar “Only\r\none in life”. Just thinking of it,  I bitterly regretted my unforgivable\r\nsins. I  talked to myself in my  mind: “My dear parents, I have\r\nrecognized my faults. Please forgive me.”        \r\n

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Dear Maters! I can’t actually write out  what I have\r\nthought. If I  hadn’t attended this retreat, I couldn’t have\r\n realized my mistakes and  corrected  them. The insulting\r\nstatements  could not physically hurt my parents, but they  must have\r\nhurt  them mentally. Although the old wounds healed, they could  open\r\nup again whenever they are hurt. .   

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 Now, realizing that I was wrong but I think that I\r\nstill have enough time to fix my mistakes and soothe their pains. I’m extremely\r\nscared that someday my parents will not exist in this life any more and my\r\nhouse must be very quiet and desolate at that time. I dont want such\r\nterrifying  things  to happen at all  and neither do I want\r\nto  be overcome with such grief  when the parents are no longer in\r\nthe world. 

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That feeling is more frightening than  anything else so\r\nI will try my best to make up for my faults. Now, my  parents have lived\r\napart; however, in my  mind, my whole family always stays together and\r\nenjoy the happiness. I am sure that some day, my family will be soon reunited.

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Dear Masters! If I  hadn’t come to this retreat, I\r\ncould not have  stayed true to myself. I am really grateful to those who\r\ncontributed their efforts to  this cultivation. Also. I would like to\r\nextend my sincere thanks to  the  lecturers who taught me valuable\r\nlessons  about parental  love, particularly Master Tam Tien who\r\n taught us the lesson about a beautiful friendship in the Dharma talk\r\n“Companion”; those  are imbued with  deep love. While writing these\r\n words, I was listening to the songs that I heard in the retreat such as\r\n“That place I find back”, “Over”, “The mother of imagination”…and especially\r\n“Sowing the seeds for youth development” which the masters taught us.

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While singing that song, my thoughts were suddenly\r\ninterrupted  by the emotion about the beloved Hoang Phap pagoda. I could\r\nnot continue to sing any more. I remembered the mornings when we recited the\r\nBuddhist sutra “Gratefulness”, the afternoons when I had intimate lunch with my\r\nfellow-students and   most of all the Masters sayings " It\r\nrains everyday; the rain washes our body and mind in a natural way." I\r\nremembered the time when I went to the main auditorium, it was heavy rain, so 4-5\r\nof us shared an umbrella and hugged one another tightly in order not to be wet.\r\nI also miss the ground floor of area C where my friends and I sat listening to\r\nthe teachings. I really miss them so much. Dear Masters! I wish I could sit on\r\nthe table to have delicious meals with my friends again; however, that has\r\ngone. 7 days passed  so quickly, and  it left me with many feelings\r\nin my heart. In fact, I consider  it my third family - a large family that\r\nI have had.       

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I will never forget those great days; it is a good fortune\r\nthat I have gotten. And I will always  remember the monks, who took care\r\nof , and taught us the way to become good  people with gratitude. I also\r\nappreciated  those  who  enthusiastically contributed to the\r\nsuccess of the retreat with activities such as cooking, security, cleaning\r\n...   

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I hope that someone who gets angry with or filled with\r\nhatred for their parents will learn a lesson from my story and they will become\r\npious children, have good behavior towards their parents, and appreciate what\r\n they have. I will never forget the summer cultivation at the Hoang Phap\r\npagoda.

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Hoang Luc An – Binh Phuoc province.

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 Translation into English by Nguyen Ngo Xuan Phuong.

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