Knocking on hearts

Update: 18/11/2022
The weather was sunny and hot. The temple started its summer retreat for the children. Around noon, I saw each child finding a shady spot in the temple courtyard. Some of them laid back and forth in the lecture hall, but were unable to sleep. I felt sympathy for them.

Knocking on hearts


The temple was in the retreat, so I was also quite busy. By the time I finished taking care of the children, it was already late. I knew it was not good for my health to bathe during that time. However, I still had to bathe because my body was quite dirty.

For several days in a row, I ended up catching a cold too.

Relying on my own health, I did not care about taking medicine. I thought I would recover after a few days, but that thought was wrong. The illness lasted for a week, but it was not cured. After the retreat, I invited my fellow monks to my temple and did not forget to bring the disease to the temple. The elderly female Buddhists at the temple were very worried when they knew I was sick.

Some people offered medicine, while others inquired in various ways. One lady advised me, "When you have a cold like this, you should steam some herbal leaves, and you'll recover quickly. I'll pick some leaves and make the steam for you." Since Western medicine didn't help after a few days, I agreed right away.

Perhaps those who have experienced steaming treatments will understand the feeling. For me, it was quite uncomfortable; Especially in nearly 40-degree weather, being covered in a blanket while lifting the lid of the steaming pot, releasing a thick cloud of steam. It was hot and hard to breathe, and I was sweating profusely. I wanted to give up immediately, but considering the efforts of the Buddhists picking the leaves, encouraging me, and the time they spent preparing the steam. If I were to give up, it would disappoint them too much. So, I endured.

I wondered what the sensation of being in Hell is like. I had read through pages of the sutras, but I hadn't truly felt that agony until I sat through the steaming treatment. "Just enduring this steaming is already unbearable, not to mention the suffering of sentient beings in the realm of Hell," I thought.

Although the steaming was uncomfortable, after each session, I felt relieved and lighter. After the three-time sauna, I bid farewell to the cold.

The discomfort of steaming is the same as the suffering and difficulties you embrace on the journey of a lifetime.

If you can't transform suffering, you can't attain happiness. Therefore, happiness implies less suffering. Our suffering partly arises from not having specific methods to transform greed, anger, and delusion. By practicing and transforming our personal suffering and pain successfully, we can also help others transform their own suffering.

The Buddha once asserted, "I teach only one thing and one only: that is suffering and the end of suffering." In other words, the path to happiness. Thus, when suffering is transformed, happiness will exist. But if we keep clinging to past sorrows, can happiness come knocking on our heart?

Tâm Lực

Translated into English by Huynh Vo Cao Tri 

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Sincerely grateful to Master on the occasion of Vietnamese Teachers' Day of November 20th!