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My Journey to Buddhism.

Update: 08/07/2014
… And in my childhood picture, pagodas were a chain of memories full of love and highlights from going to the pagoda to entering the Buddhism…
 

My Journey to Buddhism.

 
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 Pagodas protect the nation’s spirit
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With endless lifestyle of our ancestors’
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 Indeed, long time ago, pagodas were attached to the\r\nimage of a peaceful village; which was not only a spiritual house but also a\r\nbeautiful sign of mind and a special image in that peaceful village picture. In\r\naddition, in my childhood picture, pagodas were a chain of memories full of\r\nlove and highlight from going to the pagoda to entering the Buddhism… It’s like\r\na long journey which took me until now, and is still difficult for me to answer\r\nthe question ‘Is it because of the causation destiny?’ However, all right, it\r\nhappened and took me along like this…

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 I went to the pagodas at the first or second-class\r\nkid. My grandfather took care of the incenses of the village pagoda with the\r\nelderly and I remembered that he rode me on it to the pagoda. I went there not\r\nbecause I wanted to, just because there was not anyone who I could play with,\r\nso I had to follow him. I did not understand that I am used to it or I like it\r\nbut all 5 years in primary school. I was ridden to the pagoda in my holidays…\r\nIt was so peaceful, That was how I went to the pagoda.

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 I remember a memory that I could never forget. There\r\nwas a festival at the pagoda. The elderly hired an exhibition set and needed\r\nsomeone to look after and my grandfather accepted this. On that day, my\r\ngrandfather went to sleep at the pagoda but I asked to come along, because at\r\nthat time, I always slept with him. Whenever he went somewhere far away and did\r\nnot sleep at home, I always cried at night and called him, ‘Granddad, where are\r\nyou?’ It is funny, isn’t it? The night when I slept in the pagoda, I also cried\r\ndespite sleeping with my grandfather. I cried because I scared, I scared the\r\nstatues there, especially the Punishing-evil Guardian. Lying on the left\r\ncorner, I saw a big statue with a long beard, red face; swords in his hands\r\nride a lion. Changing to the right corner, I also saw a statue with a long\r\nbeard, red face; I asked to lie inside, but I asked to lie outside right away\r\nwithout trying to lay there because I scared the statues with all types of\r\nshape and motion such as: laying, sitting, big, thin, sad and happy etc. At\r\nlast, I asked to go home but it was impossible, so I had to sleep there and I\r\ncaressed his collar and woke all night...

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I love the gentle and kindly Buddha and the Bodhisattva…\r\ndifferent to the primary. When I got to the secondary I was less harmful,\r\nunderstood, and love the statues before such as, the gentle Buddha\r\nAvalokitesvara cradle a child on her hands, the tolerant Bodhisattva hold a\r\nbamboo leaf and a bottle of water and a newborn baby who is going and smiling.\r\nAll I had been thinking was like that. It is childish. Sometimes, I think back\r\nand laugh at myself. If you know it, you will laugh just like me, won’t you…\r\nLife is so poetic.

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I like the mysterious stories about the gods and\r\nsupernatural beings although I am so scared. I noticed every sentence from\r\nsomeone and then reported to my classmates. ‘It is forbidden to point to the\r\nstatues, they will cut your hand if you point at them‘. That is the statement\r\nfor not only me but also the others who were instructed to listen by the adults\r\nevery time we came to the pagoda. I thought the statues were so terrible. That\r\nis funny…

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I was impressive at the first flower lantern festival. Time\r\npassed and I was no longer the first or second grade kid who was ridden on the\r\nold rattling bicycle by my grandfather, but a secondary pupil. When I was the\r\neighth class, I was taken to Dien Quang pagoda (Que Vo ward, Bac Ninh\r\nprovince). Although I had been visited to many pagodas at different places,\r\nthis pagoda seemed to open a new door for me, so beautiful, strange and\r\nimpressive. I was awake all night on the way to pagoda. Getting down the car, I\r\nhad to exclaim, ‘It is so beautiful. It is such a nice marvel. I have never seen\r\nsuch a beautiful pagoda’. The lotus light ranges, which crowned the Bhavaga\r\nstatues vividly, were brilliant in pink. I had a special experienced day to\r\nlisten to dharma, recite sutras and the Buddha etc. and especially the flower\r\nlantern night with a thousand lights of candles in the frigid cold. Everything\r\nis new in me.

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I came to the Buddhism with an auspicious condition. After\r\nthe day at Dien Quang pagoda, I knew and understood what listening to dharma\r\nis, what reciting sutras for, how they are and why we should do the service\r\nworks and so on. The answers revealed after the trip. I learned about the\r\nBuddhism through the preaching of the monks and on the Internet etc. After all,\r\nI decided to choose Buddhism as my cultivation, so I study and practice in my\r\nreal life.

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I was bewitched and ridded my soul along with the preaching\r\nand the rhythmic sound of bronze bell and wooden bell. Every time when reciting\r\nthe sutras and the names of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva, I felt happy and\r\npeaceful. I understood and love the Pure Land World in Amitabha sutras with the\r\nvirtues of Avalokitesvara Bodhisatva such as, tolerance, compassion etc. and\r\nlistened carefully the preaching of the Bhagava about the Wonderful Law Lotus\r\nFlower Sutra. It is miraculous.

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I vowed to follow the Pure Land Sect for enlightenment and\r\nliberation. I would recite sutras, become a vegetarian, release creature, avoid\r\nthe evil and do the good thing. I vowed to become the son of the Buddha (become\r\na Buddhist) after attended three lantern flower anniversaries on Amitabaha\r\nBuddha’s birthday at Dien Quang pagoda. Moreover, I did it on Lunar November 13th,\r\nSnake year – the day when I was born on earth the second time I became a son of\r\nthe Buddha. Oh! How happy and delighted I was. I would like to thank to Dien\r\nQuang pagoda that led me to the Buddhism and the noble master, Senior Venerable\r\nThich Chan Tinh, whom I admired with all my grateful heart. I vowed to choose\r\nBuddhism as my spiritual house and I would follow it onto the time to\r\ndeath. 

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I was happy because the Buddhism brought me a new life full\r\nof peace and wisdom. It is possible to say that the Buddhism (or taking refuge\r\nwith the Three Treasures) was like an advantage, which pulled me to a new life.\r\nIt was the wonderful fulcrum and motivation for me to overcome all the\r\ncircumstances of life full of hustled bustle of the endless circles of the\r\ncurrent society…. However,…

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I am sad whenever I remember the gloomy and silent front\r\ndoor of the village pagoda. Back to the Dien Quang pagoda, I saw a practice\r\nscene full of happiness and peace. It was shown on the faces of everybody who\r\ncame to cultivate from the neighboring provinces. Reciting the names of Buddhas\r\nand  Bodhisattvas along with the preaching of the monk made me feel like I\r\nwas being at the Pure Land World. It was so crowded and happy from month by\r\nmonth. I always hope my village pagoda will be the same soon.

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I wish the preaching of the Buddha would spread on my\r\nvillage someday. I wish the preaching and the sound of the bell and the gong\r\nwill be echoing every day. If it comes true, the Buddha Dharma will be\r\ncultivated at a unenlightened place which has been being eclipsed by a hundred\r\nevil things such as: witchcraft, telepathist search of bones, Uncle Ho’s Soul\r\nReligion, Tran Tam Live Buddha’s Sound Religion, etc. I wish there would be a\r\nlot of cultivated course to gather thousands of Buddhists as Dien Quang pagoda.\r\nOh, It is wonderful. At a dark village, people go to pagoda for Buddha worship\r\nand reciting frequently. No longer like the present, refuging the Three\r\nTreasures for lucky and then do not go to the pagoda even once a year.

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It is so happy and solemn for being able to refuge the\r\nTriratna and holding inside the blood of the Buddha officially. I always feel\r\nmy soul abide in love of a gentle and charitable father. Refuging the Triratna\r\nlike an advantage for me to rise up, live a good life at present, and find the\r\nliberation in the future. I always mind about the law of cause and effect and\r\nfocus the Amitabha realm at the Pure Land World that is mentioned in the\r\nAmitabha sutras. Ever since, I have always remembered the four verses which\r\nwere taught by the Buddha preached by the monk:

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Do nothing evil
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Always do something good
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Keep mind constantly pure
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That is (what) Buddha taught…
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I pray for great favor of Triratna blessing the world in\r\npeace and the nation in prosperity. I pray for human living in love, caring and\r\nsharing. I pray for the Buddhists living in peace, enlightenment and releasing.\r\n

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 Namo Amitabha Buddha.

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 Dai Hoa, June 13th, 2014.

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Translated into English by Nguyen Khanh Hoa.

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