Specific Items of Consult

Relying on True Dharma

Update: 07/03/2017
Ask: On the path of practice, suppose I lost the Master’s faith, how could I do to believe in true Dharma again?

Relying on True Dharma


Answer:It is an important thing not only to practice Buddhism but also for practitioners to trust Buddhism. Buddhism practitioners should figure out main points of practice, or the more time we practice, the more time we may waste and the more faith we may lose in the true Dharma.

1. Figuring out carefully what to do:

First, we ourselves should reflect the purpose to study Buddhism and the reason we would like to choose a Master. It is not advisable to hastily believe in a Master or admire him due to his fame. We had better consider whether his instruction and his teaching are favor of the true Dharma, hence, we would not be misled and waste the time.

2. Distinguishing the way to living the world and to enlightenment:

The way to living the world is the Heaven and Human teaching that helps people do good things and avoid doing bad things, offer, distinguish goodness and badness, know Cause and Effect rules, and practice Ten good things, etc. in order to live in harmony.

The way to enlightenment focus is the teaching that helps the monks achieve enlightenment, correct themselves, hence, they would soon come to the path of liberation.

Monks are the ones putting aside ties in the world, their youth, and entertainment to just wear the brown robe and practice mindfully. However, they are not still a perfect God, they also make few mistakes. Buddhists, consequently, should understand but disregard or contempt them. Furthermore, one of the Buddha’s teaching is about the Four trusts of the Dharma:

“Trust to Dharma but Human

Trust to meaning but language

Trust to wisdom but consciousness

Trust to the true Dharma but the false one”

The first one “Trusting to Dharma but Human” is about relying on Dharma, not people, formed as soon as Buddha still alive. At the present, the first rule is much more integral as establishing Buddhists’ faith in Three Jewels. What is “Trust to the true Dharma but Human.”? To be specific, practitioners should believe in the true Dharma but anyone say or do Dharma wrongly.

After taking refuge of Three Jewels, the Master represents the monks to help us rely on Dharma but rely on that Master. We should not completely believe in him or her since he/she and we are on the path of enlightenment and may make progress or mistake, except to become Arhat.

3. Practice means to find the truth:

It is said that: “Human goes wrong, but the truth”, which means that people can do things wrongly, however, the truth is apparently never false. We go to the pagoda to study the true Dharma, to find the way to enlightenment, and to feel peaceful when studying the true Dharma. People do rightly or wrongly, well or badly, which is not our matter.

Furthermore, practice is for finding the truth. It is found by us, in every minute we breathe. Through the breath in and out we realize that the body is changing. If we end the breath, we put an end to life. In case we mindfully practice the true Dharma, we would attain the enlightenment. The Master is as an instructor, we ourselves should figure out how to practice. The Master obviously is on behalf of us to breathe or to practice. Hence, waiting for the Master for the enlightenment is not suitably the true Dharma. Consequently, we courageously had better rely on the true Dharma to practice rightly.

4. Understand Dharma rightly

Listening to the true Dharma helps us understand Dharma rightly through CD or directly the monks’ sermon. Listening to the true Dharma painstakingly means coming to the way of enlightenment.

5. Ask the true Master for instructing

If you have ever read Patriarches’ stories, you could see their images were so atrocious, cold, or neglect their students. However, their hearts were the sea of love.

Once upon the time, there was a man looking for the Master to study good things. Being reproved strongly, he replied:

“Heard your reputation, no matter how far the way is, how hard I had to suffer in order to study good things, not reprimand.”

At that time, the Master sat rightly and said:

“Do you think you are reproved?”
He then realized the Eight … and knew that these unformed words did not matter him.

If we do not gratefully respect the instructor, we find it hardly to attain the enlightenment. Sakyamuni suffered from a number of obstacles in order to attain enlightenment. The masters and original teachers also tried hard for developing the true Dharma for the posterity. In addition to them, such admirable examples of many Kulapati bartered joy and delight in the normal life for peace and happiness in Buddhism. Thanks to their dedication, we now are able to rely on the true Dharma and ourselves. Because of determined head to practice Buddhism, the mind will be alive though the body may be decomposed as time passes by.

Rarely may the arrogant people find the way to the enlightenment and they are continuously stuck in the impermanent life. Therefore, we should be grateful to Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and the Monks. Suppose the living-home man makes mistakes, which blames for him, the remainder of the monks from ten directions are mindful and looking forward to people with good conditions to the Liberation gate. It is recommended to study and follow the monks and Masters gaining enlightenment now but to reflect others’ false. Their original appearance were Bodhisattva and good Monks practicing for lives, their morality in the monkhood was well-known. We should follow such exemplary ones, correct ourselves, and find the way to practice and keep the faith. Patience and determinedness are required to be practitioners’ quality to achieve success.

We reflect that our life is continuously stuck in sufferings of food, drinks, fame, recognition, jealousy, etc. which makes us hardly escapes from the impermanent life. Outside, the pace of life is going on, the environment and the weather change, natural disasters and epidemic happens more, etc. These things make us gradually decomposed. Hence, we should eliminate negative viewpoints, obstinacy and be determined to practice the true Dharma. Buddha said: “Please enlighten yourself by the true Dharma’s torch.” This means that we should figure out the way to enlightenment by our own, correct ourselves, rely on ourselves but anyone else. The true Dharma which are our breath in and out could be the torch, the reliance for us.

Thích Minh Thành

Translated into English by Nguyen Hoang Thoai

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