The fragrance of the early morning tea

Update: 12/02/2022
Early in the morning, my brother welcomed me with an incense stick that started to be lit. The scent of the northern jasmine brings something warm while the mist is still chilly. At 5 a.m., after the period, my brother and I had some tea. It is still the Northern tea, the Tan Cuong - Thai Nguyen tea. Our brothers left home for a few years, the word "monastic life" is described in the sutras as "renouncing the family, living without family". Therefore, brothers from the four directions gather, at first, whoever knows someone, after staying for a long time, they become affectionate.

The fragrance of the early morning tea


Sitting together drinking tea is an opportunity for brothers and sisters to talk about their religious life and share their concerns in monastic life. Sometimes, it is inevitable that "get drunk" to forget time. After each time like that, I feel extremely guilty!

At the beginning of the story, I asked the brother about the current hot event: Zen master Nhat Hanh has just passed away!

- He is indeed a great teacher of his Buddhism, not only in the country but also around the world. The Master's contribution is remarkable!

- That's right! The elder brother agrees with me – In my opinion, through this, the world will have more respect and admiration for 
Vietnamese Buddhism.
I hesitated to stare at the elder brother, I didn't quite understand what he said.
- Yes… what are you? I don't quite understand! The older brother poured me a new cup of tea and said softly:
- How do you see the monk wearing the Dharma uniform? Brown right? Only Vietnamese Buddhists have this color. I am a descendant of Vietnamese Buddhism. Wherever I go, whatever I do, people will know me better. 

Sometimes, in the past, they might have mistaken themselves for China, Taiwan, etc., but now maybe not. The influence of the monk is too great, the Plum Village Sangha is also very "strong" with brown robes and conical hats, is it possible that Vietnamese Buddhism is not known internationally?
- Yes! Therefore, it is! 
Southern Buddhism advocates mindfulness and awareness in the practice. He is internationally acclaimed as the “father of mindfulness meditation,” which he follows in the Northern Buddhist tradition. Well, from now on, no one dares to "disrespect" this brown shirt anymore! 

Brother laughed at my silly statement. Master continued:

 - Have people looked down on you before? 

Who is that person? And it doesn't matter! Whether they despise or glorify me, it doesn't matter!
- Yes. 
- The important thing is whether we are willing to practice or not and what we are practicing, whether we are right in the Dharma or have gone astray.

- Sir, in my opinion, if our Buddhism does not develop and change to suit the times, it will be difficult to approach the current massive industrialization that is engulfing us in debauchery and enjoyment.…. Of course, that change must be based on the precepts 
and must not go too far beyond the allowed limit.
 - I give an example! Yes! We can commit ourselves to bringing the teachings into people's lives by any means, but in accordance with the precepts. I only create conditions for them to practice, listen to the Dharma, chant sutras or Buddhist culture such as movies, books, etc., but absolutely a monk cannot do worldly things like doing business, making a profit or buying an estate, etc. Taking a sip of tea, I took a breath and continued:
- ... a person who wants to propagate Dharma successfully, in my opinion, must have quite a strong cultivation force and extensive knowledge of the internal and external texts. It is good to have a service mind, but if our inner strength has not been cultivated, we will not be able to "save life" well and will be "saved for life".
  - Do you remember the story "The door is attached to the wings" of the Master in the book "Drips of water from the poplar branch"? Master has said this before me!

- Yes, I remember my brothers who read it since elementary school. The character in the story is a person who has not been studying religion for a long time, also with the desire to save lives, coming down the mountain too early. At first, it also eliminated time to destroy evil, conquer demons, etc. 
After a while, being dragged by "five desires, six perceptions", "Respect love" and "sacred sword" were given to them by the master, long since they were abandoned. 
Throw it in a basket that is no longer in use. This image symbolizes concentration and wisdom that have been worn out, mossy over the years without having a chance to recover and renew.

- YES! That's right! Let's drink tea!

Brother poured me another glass. The tea pot was also dwindling according to the fascinating story of the two brothers. It was 
getting brighter, reminding us brothers and sisters to stop tea time to prepare for breakfast. The light is rising, the night is 
closing; as well as my wish for a peaceful society with good conditions and good karma will gradually replace evil and unwholesome dharma. 
The dark shadow in people's hearts is always available somewhere, when it's visible, when it's hard to see, when it's hard to see, if the bodhi mind is a little careless, it will immediately fall into the pit of death. Then will each of us be a Buddha or a ghost? 
God knows!
I think you must borrow the Master's mirror to look at yourself to know it!

Tam Cung

Translated into English by Le Thien An

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