Specific Items of Consult

Reflecting myself

Update: 23/08/2015
Q: Why does an old Buddhist want to recite and learn sutras by heart but he still cannot memorize them?

Reflecting myself


Answer: To the old, by the impermanence, the body becomes weak and emaciated as aging till disintegration. The brain is weak, too. So memorizing a sutra becomes very difficult.

Six senses gradually change and become emaciated unlike when they were young. They could not see clearly with their eyes; they could not hear very well with their ears; they could not taste or smell very well with their tongue and nose, etc. This signal tells them the truth that every one will pass a process of life which is called: Birth – Aging – Illness – Death.

The old pass two or three quarters of the life process: aging or illness. It is very difficult to memorize the same as the young. Even some youngsters who are busy in their business and their work hardly memorize the sutra, not to mention the old.

Therefore, the important thing to them when they learn Buddhism is that they could skip memorizing sutras; they should listen to the lectures and understand the meaning in order to put into practice because they do not have much time. Every day, they should look at themselves in the mirror: their grey hair, their missing teeth. They could completely understand the impermanent law that Buddha taught and strive to practice Buddhism. It is not too far, they just look at their body changes to see the dharma.
Moreover, there is the essential truth in our body, if we stop doing this, we could leave this life. But mostly nobody thinks about breath. It’s so crucial but we seem to forget. We remember each other's business or news around the world.

Breath is to borrow air in and return it out. We just breathe in and out, borrowing and returning can help us survive. If we stop it, we will die at once. Thus, concentrating on breath is to see the uncertain truth right in our body. At the moment, if we could carefully chant Buddha’s name in each breath – in and breathe – out, our mind is tranquil and conscious to see the truth.

What is it? When we are in pain, we clearly understand that Buddha said this body is impermanent; when you could not see clearly, you know that your eyes are uncertain; when your limbs are trembling, you get older. We know the truth that everything brings us to destruction and death, so there is nothing to dispute and we give up desires, anger, competition and egoism. All of anxiety about greed, anger and ignorance, sadness, happiness, love and hatred, etc. will fall out thanks to each breath – in and breath - out with Buddha’s name. We do not need to try much.

Therefore, looking at our appearance in the mirror can help us practice, our bad ears could help us see Dharma, eating and walking hard could help us to consciousness. We could recognize Buddhism everywhere, we could see the truth anytime. So, easy consciousness is the way to memorize and practice Buddhism.

Thich Minh Thanh
Translated into English by Nguyen Hoang Thoai

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