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Essay: No Title

Update: 22/02/2018
Tạm gọi em là “chàng trai nhỏ”, vì tôi có một đặc điểm dở tệ là không thể nào nhớ được tên người khác sau một vài lần gặp gỡ. Đã có trên mười lần chúng tôi chuyện trò và ít nhất hai lần tôi đã hỏi tên em, vậy mà cho đến bây giờ, dù cố vận dụng hết khả năng, tôi cũng không nhớ được tên em là gì. Nhưng điều đó đâu thật sự quan trọng, một nhân vật vô danh cho một bài viết không đề, đối với tôi là điều vô cùng thú vị, vì những gì tôi muốn chia sẻ chỉ là sự chiêm nghiệm về những điều rất thật xảy ra ngay trong cuộc sống hằng ngày, rồi suy tư từ các góc nhìn khác nhau, từ đó nhìn lại chính mình để tu tập.

Essay: No Title


My teacher often teaches me that ‘looking back to reconsider and to fix the mistakes’. Just a simple phrase but to me, it values more than a magic   incantation. The process of transforming characteristics, cultivating way and achieving the enlightenment is in two word ‘looking back’. The essence of the four fold stage of mindfulness is to   self-review of four parts consisting of the body, the maintenance, the mind and the Dharma. The essence of the Eastern Saving Meditation show us one thing ‘looking back our mind and body to know more about our real nature’. The story about ‘resuming the primal nature’ stared from the conversation of the Buddha and Mr. Hue Kha as below:

-        Master, my mind

-        is not in peace.

-        Bring me your mind, I’ll help you.

-        Master, I cannot see my mind.

-        I have already eased your mind.

 I seemed to have gone too far because I would like to talk about an nameless man. When we go too far, just make it great before coming back.

In life, if we notice, we can see many un-named things with many lessons which have so many matters to discuss. The core values are not often in the beautiful names or shapes. Living in life, some people put on a lot of countless names, titles, positions and high and important authorities, but if they use them to profit, then these names are extremely dangerous. A position such as a Director, a Chairman, a Minister, a Vice Minister, a Rector etc. can make people scare. These nouns affect so many people.

 If the content does not correspond to the external name, it is a scourge for both an organization and the associating community.

 Meanwhile, there are some anonymous people who have noble characteristics behave kindly, do hard works silently, devote to and sacrifice themselves in a non-profit way. The  anonymous laborers work during the three days of the Lunar New Year, the doctors and nurses are on duty in the hospital, the border soldiers guard the nation days and nights and also the monks who live simply deep inside the forest or high upon the mountain silently light up enlightenment for people to penetrate the Buddhism. The anonymities create  the wonders and draw the picture of colorful life.

Back to my story about the boy. After a journey, I needed to come back to rest in  pagoda with the monks and the Buddhists.  So, I had to return my home to collect some stuffs and books. Feeling lonely while travelling alone, I see a boy wandering inside the pagoda and I decide to ask him to come along. Through the trip, I feel interested in our conversation but I do not know how he feels. He is nineteen years old, he was born in Thai Binh province. He is a second-year student in a College of the city. That was some information about him. This is his first Tet away from home, he said:

 -        You know, I feel bored of my pass. Some previous Tet holidays at home, I got drunk every year. Playing gamble and drinking were all I did. This year, I enjoy Tet at pagoda. Although I’m tired, I feel happy. When living at home, we had to wear new clothes. When living here, I just wear a Buddhist suits/robe but it is comfortable. I don’tneed to choose suitable clothes after taking a bath.

I smile and tell him: ‘ That’s right. Wherever we live, we will be happy if we know less greed but more enough. The more people care about their shapes, the more strings they are tightened. Nowadays, people both man or woman would like to wear beautiful clothes. The youths are always afraid of others’feeling about what they wear. Actually, there are just a few who care about it. We should wear simply not only in  pagoda but also outside because the clothes are just used to cover our bodies. If we are not be careful, they would become a brag. Where are you these days?’

 He said, ‘I’ve been working at the Avalokitesvara bedstone, it is really tired but I am very happy. You know, someday there are a great many of visitors who come to pagoda, and I have to work all day and I just can rest at 12 p.m. then wake up at 6 a.m. to continue my work. Looking at visitors, seeing their believes to the Triratna, I feel happy because I know that they tend to the goods. Looking at the children who pray the Buddha, I really love them. They are young and innocent. I fell peace when looking at them holding their hands and praying.‘

 He continues:

-        You know! It’s hard for me to sleep at home. Since I have to go to thepagoda to do charity work and to help Venerables, maybe I accumulate many blessings so that I can sleep right after laying down. Before, I stayed in a quiet room, laid in a warm blanket but it was hard to sleep; on 30th December (Lunar Year), when Venerables and I went to the flower market to ask for flower to gift the Buddhists in the New Year’s Eve, I felt tired of waiting then I covered a plastic bag and fell into sleep easily. It is strange! I feel happy when helping people who go to pagoda to be enlightened. So there is a blessing, isn’t it! I ride, he sits on the back and keep talking. He told me that he knew nothing about cultivation and he has just gone to pagoda recently. At his hometown, very few teenagers go to pagoda. Maybe the familiar ancient saying: ‘teenagers have fun at home, elders have fun at pagoda’ makes people worried. They are afraid that their children will go for cultivation if they are able to go to pagoda. So the pagoda is nearly the place just for the elders. He asked a lot of things, I answered him some and also questioned him so that he can realize what he had wondered. At the 19thage, he has not a lot of experience about life but his simple way of thinking teaches me so much. He has good fortune to know the temple and has the joy of being close to Venerable and his friends who do the charity in pagoda as him. He said:

 -I go to work at the wedding restaurant to earn money for studying on the day he has no school. I also tell my parents not to send memoney anymore because I can handle it. I hire a room near the pagoda to help Venerables whenever I’m free. I will do whatever I can for charity at pagoda than going out and wasting money.

I asked him:

-Your family is poor. Why don’t you ask the pagoda   to stay in to save money and also to help the masters anytime you are free?

His answer make me embarrased:

-        No, I will do the best I can to help. But all I can do is just some little things, how can I ask to stay in the pagoda just for it. I want to live outside to practice  my independence. If I cannot do anything, I must be a burden to someone. Right?

 Maybe on someone, the story between him and me is boring. But I’velearnt a lot of interesting things from his very true words. I know that he just represents the young people who often go to pagoda to do charity works and learn Buddhist Dharma. His mind will be similar to the others. This spring, more than 50 young participants stayed   in pagoda with us. That was a good signal because the youth started to know the Buddhism, lived in pagoda environment and especially knew how to be happy with other’s happiness and how to find the peace in serving and giving happiness to the life.

  I know that he and the other young people do not know much about the dharma and they will suffer from headache with the words of thematic Buddhism because their knowledge of Buddhism cannot compare to the researcher’s. But it is not important, they are cultivating with the simple works such as: creating happiness in serving the Triratna, living independently and simply, listening to others etc.

 He hopes he can earn a lot of money after graduation in order to help poor people and to contribute some to the Triratna. He seems to realize that our lives just have meaning whenever we know how to give happiness to the others. I suddenly smile and think that some people consider that they are the elders and reprehend the youth about unmindful and selfish  living unlike them. But I think there are a lot of young people just like him nowadays, they are nice and care about the others.

 Some days before Tet, some newspapers had posted a series of articles about a student who sacrificed himself to save three people from being drown. He left a deep grief for his family, friends and society. But his loss proves that the seeds of good karmas are still inside the hearts of innocent  boys and girls. I   suddenly think that the young people need to be motivated and encouraged than blamed and decried.

  Looking at the joy in his eyes anh the smile of on the lips of all people and the monks in these days, I realize one thing from ‘once upon a time’: the value of happiness depends not only on good eating, good wear or material conditions that people enjoy; it is greatly influenced by our thoughts, emotions and perceptions. The young people come to pagoda without drinking wine, playing gamble, dating at the bar, discotheque or karaoke. Here, dining during the three days of Tet is even harder than on weekdays (we cook instant noodle instead of rice). They just can sleep about five or six hours a day. However, everyone is happy. The happiness which can just be understood by the veterans is so strange and special.

Kính Đức

Translated into English by Nguyen Khanh Hoa.

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