IS THE ABBOT A POSITION?

Update: 22/09/2022
 

IS THE ABBOT A POSITION?

 

I. WHAT IS ABBOT?

Dwelling body by the discipline and holding rules of Buddhism in memory should be called the Abbot. It means that the body, and the mind must be mindful day as well as night.

 Staying is to live at the pagoda; “Tri” is to take care of the pagoda. It means that for the trust of people from everywhere, the Abbot has to devote his best efforts.

Keeping the rules and chanting correct Drahma means that the Abbot must make the house of Buddhism glorious.  That is for the entrustment of the Buddha and the Patriarch rely on the Abbot.

As mentioned above, it is inferred that the Abbot is not a position, but it is a sacred responsibility for himself, his followers and the Three Jewels.

It is not a position, so it can't be bought and sold. Do not arbitrarily give into the hands of those who are discouraged and who live in seclusion just to pray for peace.  Must find a person with tolerance, understanding, generosity, and talent to put on that noble throne.

It is a responsibility, so it is impossible to be negligent, conceited or indiscriminate. Must be strict with himself, tolerant with followers and diligent in the career of building a Buddhist house. As a result, the abbot should speak the voice of the followers, listen to their opinions as well as guide them to the right way.

II. REMAINED OLD WORDS

Today, a large assembly of monks is crowded, but few people will know Buddhism throughout because most of them hide their bodies, wait for chances, flatter the powerful, cheat the superiors, and deceive the underlings. Why? Because the original mind fades, the Bodhi seed is not planted and watered in the right way.

 1. A large assembly of monks is flourishing but declining

Someone who is a bit smart, well talking and arguing may fall into stubborn text and words. Using their understanding covers up the people’s intelligence, making the weak to be pitiful and sad. In addition, they form parties in order to cause disagreement, acting illegitimately, flattering the power, and obscuring the views and hearing of the Abbot; as a result, a large assembly of monks is thriving but falling. 

Oh! Because the behavior of the "one-way owner" is not smart, the love does not show clearly, he could behave according to private law and ignore public opinion. Pursuing love obscures the mind of justice, making the good people angry and the evil people lazy. The examples of Mr. Vien Ngo and Cao Am are not blurred at all.

2. People sometimes make mistakes

A Buddhist monk can depend on the Master leaving home to study in the pagoda, and follow others to serve the public. Even if it's only one day, it's still better than an ordinary person who spends his life chasing vanity and fame. But "the human is not perfect", the unfortunate mistakes may be criticized by the petty people, which has been condemned by society; was abandoned and despised by his friends and lost his refuge. As a result, he is not likely to know where to go.

Ancient scholars taught, "Broken jade is better than a good tile". The value of the monks cannot be compared with bricks and stones. Do people discard or expose it for ridicule, denigration, and scrutiny in the midst of the Sangha? This is not a suitable way to teach people; on the contrary, it only makes them more vulnerable; making the petty man raise the flag of arrogance and look down on the monks. That problem has been still recorded in the teachings of Mr. Dieu Hy.

Some people in the society are willing to help the victims; so those who study with the same teacher in the same place should support each other. The Law of the Four Parts says, "If a monk has sincerely repented but the Master refuses to give it,  it may be the law of treatment." Is it the appropriate behavior of the abbot? 

3. Agreement with circumstances and psychology of sentient beings

Whether the abbot's career is bright or not, one should look at what the company of disciples practice. From the body, speech and mind of the abbot, what the company of disciples have been inheriting. The master does not transmit, or does not know how to transmit, or has nothing to transmit; only entrusting a few books of the Law of Minor as well as  Buddhist schools. Is that the "willful, mind-transmitting" way of the ancient scholars?

Now, a few learn to follow the Buddha's footsteps and follow the example of the Patriarch, so they open a forum to transmit the teachings, promote the Dharma, and propagate the path of profit for the public. However, when they get a little bit of fame, they have a tendency to take advantage and they may be immersed in lust... Analysing the bad habits of the people is the way to preach, borrowing the name of technology 4.0 is to apply clumsily, which is called " agreement with circumstances and psychology of sentient beings”.

Oh! Orchids are beautiful, but planted in the middle of the road cannot avoid the sun and rain. Why should the abbot become a recluse practicing virtue, covering ears, eyes, and mouth, and staying far away from the five desires? That's like "the cinnamon tree hides in the deep forest but it is strong all year round". When the abbot has enough talent and virtue, the knowledgeable people from all directions cross the mountains and forests to find him without inviting them. Ancient marks of Yen Tu mountain, Phung Hoang mountain and Bo Da stream are  good examples for everyone! 

Therefore, an abbot is not afraid of people who do not know you, but only worry that his way is not correct. He is not afraid of having nowhere to live, but only afraid of insufficient talent. Also, he does not worry that being an abbot is only a way to become famous in the world, but only if he lacks blessing and has tremendous karma, he cannot be in a position which people respect. 

4. The Virtue of the Ancients

Fortunately, although the time of the Statue of Dharma has passed and the Dharma is in the post-End period, the Buddha's shining shadow has not ended. Though the high virtues are increasingly deserted like the morning stars, the Northern Bushel star still shines steadily. As a consequence, people should re-read the old stories and follow the virtues. Don't use a bit of poor education, use our words to exaggerate some matters, denigrating the Buddha's words and the Patriarchs. Trees have roots, water comes from source, so how can we have knowledge without the help of Buddha and the Patriarch? If the old field is dry, we can add water and fertilizers. If the house is deserted or the temple is cold, we can build columns and turn on the lights. It was a job that men should do, for example Long Tho, Ma Minh followed their ancient career.

Oh! The scholar is also ashamed when he sees the Ancestral Temple in ruins and dedicates himself to building it. Why do monks look at Buddhism upside down without worry ? Why do monks compete and envy each other ? Then they "closed eyes, closed mouth" to accept the prostration of people, not knowing that each bow is considered as a knife, each object is considered as flesh and blood of people, which their mind depends on the practitioner. Why are not certain monks shameful to look up at the sky, look down to the ground  or look around people?

Therefore, the abbot practices the way to nurture people, and needs to be thrifty himself, forgives everyone; knows how to listen, think and judge the right person for the right job.  Don't push people to their deaths due to his own career. Ancient virtue taught, “The king listens to the flatterers, so the country is revolted; an abbot  listens to a flattery monk, the pagoda is destroyed".

 III. WAKE-UP BELL

The admonition of the Patriarch and Master is like a wake-up call for an abbot, like a whip urging a strong horse to move forward. Monks should not neglect to waste their lives before the gate of meditation, and even a little bit of selflessness has not diminished.

Therefore, people with peace of mind should  stay in the place of meditation, and follow the precepts. Those who are committed to practicing religion also do not forget the patriarch’s advice  in meditation.

Finally, the Patriarchs taught, "Don't just indulge your own career, but let the Dharma decline under that monk’s robe."

It's very thought-provoking!

Vo Tri Tam Hoa wrote

(Summaries from the works:

Thien Lam Bao Huan, translated and annotated Most Venerable Thich Thanh Kiem, Youth Publishing House

Thien Lam Bao Huan Hop Chu, translated by monk Thich Tien Dat, Hong Duc Publishing House

Thien Lam Bao Huan But Thuyet, translated by Thich Tam Anh, Culture - Arts Publishing House.)

Translated into English by Huynh Thi Khanh Phung

Related News

Contemplations on the Four Sublime States - Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)
26/04/2024
The young-seed grower
20/04/2024
Contemplations on the Four Sublime States
11/04/2024
How beautiful a noble personality is!
04/04/2024
A Smile Grower
28/03/2024