Lam Thanh Ha – 3-day Retreat – An Unlimited Usage for Life

Update: 16/05/2015
In October, 2000, a once “angle” of Taiwan and then Hong Kong cinema, Lam Thanh Ha, took refuge with Thanh Nghiem monk, who is a Zen Buddhist Master of Taiwan and also a founder of the famous Phap Co Son monastery. On the day he passed away, Lam Thanh Ha posted a commemorative speech of him on Lianhe newspaper of Taiwan with these following contents:

Lam Thanh Ha – 3-day Retreat – An Unlimited Usage for Life


Approximately 8 years ago, I recognized that I was\r\ncalculating and always thought everyone had to treat me well, which thus made\r\nme feel unpleased and caused bad effects in others’ mood. This led to my\r\ndecision of taking cultivation to possess a more generous and tolerate\r\nheart. I came back to Taiwan to find an eminent monk. Fortunately, thanks\r\nto causation, I could meet Thanh Nghiem Master.


In an hour talk, I asked him only 1 question: “What was\r\nmeditation”, because I always thought meditation was a highly profound subject.\r\nHe said that meditating 3 days, I would know all. While I was thinking, he\r\nrepeated this sentence 3 times, so I decided to take it.

Dong Phuong Bat Bai is one of the most impressive acting\r\nrole of Lam Thanh Ha

The first thing when going to Phap Co Son monastery was\r\nsubmitting your cellphones. Before my cell phone was confiscated, I hurriedly\r\ncalled my daughter: I wouldn’t keep in touch in 3 days. In 3-day practice, I\r\ncultivated with 99 people. I was not allowed to make up, read books, watch TV\r\nand have to sleep in the same bed  together. I went to bed at 10pm\r\nand woke at 5am. Before the first dinner, everyone was given a number to sit\r\nand sleep in numerical order. We temporarily did not call our own names, which\r\nhelp us to let our egos go. We also had to bow Buddha in a way of letting our\r\nheads touch ground and then standing up in the main hall. While doing this, I\r\nthought that I was tricked because my parents were Christian believers and I\r\nhad never bowed before. After that, I understood the acting of bowing also\r\nhelps to release egos.

While we were eating, master lightly reminded us every word\r\nthat we should focus on eating without distraction- neither being happy with\r\ndelicious good nor unhappy with bad one. We had to thanks gracefully those who\r\nexperienced many hardships to deliver food to our mouths. Finishing eating, we\r\nused a bowl of clean water to rinse our used bowls, dishes and then drank it\r\nall.

 After the meal, when leaving from the seats, we piled\r\nour two hands in front of the chests and slowly stood up and went out of\r\nmonastery dining hall in numerical order. Our two hands seemed to respectfully\r\ncarry a statue of Bodhisattva, and we could not think or talked to ourselves.

On the first morning, after meal, Master enlightened and\r\ninstructed us meditation, bowing and repentance. On one day, we were\r\nenlightened and mediated many times, yet every time Master taught us thoughtfully\r\nand patiently.

There are 8 words that helped me overcome all sorrow which I\r\nthought I could not get over in my life. Life was impermanence, unwanted things\r\nmade up 8, 9 portions; I usually gave 8 words to my friends and they were\r\nreally appreciated me since this helped them to conquer their sadness. Eight\r\nwords were: facing it, receiving it, dealing it and letting it go. Whenever you\r\nhad a problem, you should not run away but confront it, accept the truth, and\r\nthen handle it amicably. After dealing it, you were not allowed to let it\r\noccupy your mind but release it instead.

Master’s inner wishes was improving the virtue of humankind\r\nand building pure land on earth. He taught four kinds of disciples that:

Believing Buddha, studying Dharma, and respecting Monks

Three of permanence lights

Improving humankind’s virtue

Building pure land on earth

Having to show gratitude and repay first

Benefiting others is benefiting ourselves

Devoting whole heart and strength is the best

Should not scramble little or much with others

Mercy does not have enemy

Intelligence does not create sorrow

Busy man have the largest amount of time

Doers have the strongest health

If you want to broaden the field of merit

Don’t be afraid of suffering unjust and unfortunate miseries

People doing charity have merit

People doing good feel blissful

Fulfilling joy of the Law at every minutes

Reciting, reciting is the joy of meditation

Bodhisattva is everywhere


Word, word is Amitabh

Lam\r\nThanh Ha were taking refuge with her religious name: Thuong Hang 

In the second day, we studied meditative walking: walking\r\nslowly, moderately and fast. When walking slowly, we had to walk really slowly\r\nand firmly; moreover, our hands held lightly and the length of step was a half\r\nof our feet. As regard of fast walking, we dangled our hands and the length of\r\nstep was larger than slow walking a bit, yet we had to walk really fast. About\r\nmoderate walking, we dangled whole bodies. It sounded seem simple; however,\r\npracticing was not easy. After meditative walking, I felt deeply pleasant and\r\ncomfortable.

In the third day, we cultivated thanking and repentance. In\r\nthe repentance, we had to repent all things we needed to repent and thanked all\r\npeople we needed to show gratitude in current life, and many people cried in a\r\nchoked sound.

Three-day retreat passed quickly and what I learnt in 3 days\r\nwas unlimited usage for my life. I really thanked my parents, husband, children\r\nand friends, even the whole world. For those thing I needed to repent, I still\r\nthought the ways to compensate my mistakes. Now I could reduce my ego and\r\ncalculation; in addition, I was able to find happiness in life. I felt that\r\nwhat I had learnt in this retreat was much more than what I had studied for 3\r\nyears, or even 10 years. The best thing was I eventually found peace in my\r\ndeepest soul.

 By Lianhe

Translator: Tịnh Nguyên 


Translated into English by Luong Bao Hoang Phuong

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