• By Nhat Quan
    When you first came to America, perhaps every one of you only had a few clothes. But then for many months and years, sometimes it was bought as a gift by friends, siblings, sometimes it was bought by you... You just keep everything in the house, in the storage of sundries and belongings. Sometimes you use it, sometimes you never use it. So for a long time, many months, the warehouse was full of all kinds of things: good, bad, big and small, old and new.
    The old year passes, and the new year comes. According to annual custom, at the end of the year, everyone tends to clean the house to make it cleaner and more organized and arrange tables, chairs, and beds to make them more comfortable. Decorate the living room to make it brighter, and clean the incense burner and altar to make it more dignified. That means dusting, cleaning thoroughly, and reviewing carefully to remove unnecessary things. However, there are many people who, after properly controlling everything, bring it back, not wanting to throw away a single item! That means the warehouse is still full of everything. Many of you don't know what to do or how to resolve it satisfactorily. That's why people often say:
    - If you give it up, you'll regret it. If you keep it, the house will be full and you won't know what to do.
    Although in everyone's heart, everyone wants everything to be cleaned and completed before the Grandparents Reception Day, that is, before the 30th day of the Lunar New Year. You should not be too late to finish before New Year's Eve. Because all year long, working hard, everyone hopes that on the first day of the year, they will completely rest, be comfortable, mentally healthy, and recover their health, to prepare to work throughout the new year.
    All of you, in addition to the above-mentioned storehouse of material wealth that has caused so much hardship and trouble, also have another storehouse, containing many things that are more fierce, more terrible, more difficult, harder to see, harder to get rid of, more annoying, that is:
    - Treasury of consciousness.
    This warehouse contains everything, images, sounds, smells, tastes, emotions, and memories, you collect, from childhood to old age, and until you are no longer in this world. Every day you live in this world, you have to live, work, and interact with people, in society, in the neighborhood, in the community, in school, in the workplace, and in the factory construction site, on the farm. With two eyes and two ears, you receive countless images and sounds and then store them in the treasure of your mind. Your eyes and ears are like two important parts of a video camera. Every day, record a tape, with full images and sounds, from soft and gentle, to noisy and noisy. From love and affection to anger and hatred, before being labeled or named, they were brought in and stored right away in the warehouse. Let's call it:
    - Treasury of consciousness.
    In the store consciousness, there are many dark forces. These forces are nourished by the energy of greed, anger, and ignorance and grow very quickly. And, it often acts as your guide in useless games and emotionless actions, as well as inciting you to indulge in practice. In some corner of your heart, in your brain, that force keeps echoing sounds that are easy for you to hear, such as:
    - Drinking a glass of beer won't hurt anything
    - Today, brothers and friends met after a long time and had a round of drinks to satisfy their cravings
    - If you don't go to the temple today, it's okay if you don't recite Buddha's name for a day...
    You have heard those sounds many times, and maybe you have followed their instructions, so you will continue to listen and follow them if you do not have a fellow practitioner to remind you, or your mind is not steady. Those are ugly habits that have eaten away at your pure soul, polluting the good thoughts that were once nurtured and shined in certain moments. It is dangerous and pitiful because you are weak, so you have become a victim of yourself, of the dark forces hidden within you.
    In the treasury of your mind, you contain images of your loved ones and enemies. Images of people called good, because they have helped you, and images of people called bad because they have made you unhappy. From time to time, you show those images over and over again, to relive the turmoil, the love, the hate, inside your mind, just like when that scene happened before. Images of loved ones appear, you are also suffering and insecure, in a daze, missing and loving, wanting to see them again, but not knowing when you will be satisfied. Images of hateful people appear, you are also miserable, insecure, with puffy eyes, angry, uncomfortable, don't want to remember, don't want to call their names, and don't want to meet them, but you have to meet them all the time! Now, at the end of the year, and if you want a peaceful new year, you must clean up the treasure of your mind, so that it is empty, cool, and healthy, you can sleep peacefully at night, and eat well during the day.
    In addition, in the treasury of your mind, you also contain all kinds of sounds, from compliments, praise, flattery, love, affection, sweetness, and easy listening. Even slander, arrogance, condescension, vulgarity, anger, cursing, defamation, criticism, scolding, and insults. It's hard to hear what's said and what's not said, but you still remember it. So it's difficult to sleep from year to year!
    There is such a situation because your two ears work very effectively, bringing many things into the storehouse of consciousness. The words are gentle and easy to hear, not many, but still make you have trouble sleeping, feel restless, and happily gloat. Words that are hard to hear, no one likes to hear, no one wants to hear. You listen a lot. Of course, such words make you have trouble sleeping, get angry, and don't want to hear them anymore, but you still remember them. You keep hearing it ringing in your ears so you have to listen to long, bitter words! Then everyone among you will realize that:
    - My life is full of suffering.
    Suffering is because, in the storehouse of consciousness, there are too many unhealthy things. If you want to reduce afflictions and suffering, you must make up your mind and work hard to clean up and store your mind. But how do you clean it up? Where do you start, when do you start, how much effort does it take, how much time does it take to clear the treasure trove of your mind?
    First of all, if you want to clean up your mental treasure, the first thing you must do is:
    - Prevent, stop, don't bring anything else into the warehouse anymore.
    How to prevent it?
    As you know, the resources that feed your mind's treasury come through six doors:
    - Your eyes see
    - Your ears listen
    - Your nose smells
    - Your tongue tastes
    - Your body touches
    - Mind do you distinguish.
    If before:
    - When your eyes see what is considered beautiful, passionate, and seductive, you like it. Anything that is an eyesore is frustrating and unpleasant. Now that you see it, still see it, but don't store it in your mind's treasure trove.
    - When you hear sounds of praise and flattery that you like. You are tired of the cursing and arguing, now you listen to it. Listen but don't try to store it in your mental treasure.
    Similar to the other organs...
    Thus, if at some point you remove things from your physical treasure, that physical treasure will be empty and have more space. Likewise, if you want your mental treasure to become less and less, so that your worries will also be less, you should not shoot any more movies in your daily life. That means in your daily activities, when interacting with people, you always maintain mindfulness. Try to maintain calm and equanimity in all situations, at all times, and in all spaces, not letting greed, anger, or ignorance have a chance to arise in your mind. For example, some people whisper in your ear, show off in all sorts of ways, and slander others... Don't let greed, anger, or ignorance arise and incite you. You do not listen to cruel words, cursing, insults, provocations, and criticism. Don't let anger arise, causing you to accept unpleasant words immediately... And remember the law of cause and effect that says:
    - Whatever you sow, you will reap.
    Therefore, you have seen countless rich families, their homes broken, their doors broken, husband and wife separated, plotting to harm each other, and arguing over property. Children harm their parents. Brothers, fighting for the inheritance. Collaborate in business, often going bankrupt. Suffering from an incurable illness, difficult to cure, dangerous accident, sudden death! These are visible retributions, people call them:
    - The wealth of heaven is returned to the earth, and the wealth of rivers is returned to the sea.
    Understanding this, you are determined not to listen or do evil or unvirtuous things but to try to be in control of your mind. Immediately stop the slander, insults, and curses that hurt others and benefit yourself... If you do this, for a long time, over a long period, you will become lucid, and completely understanding, and those around you will also feel it, peaceful, and beneficial. The treasure of consciousness, the seed of greed gradually diminishes, wisdom develops, and life is peaceful, happier, definitely without doubt.
    In addition, instead, you just block the sources that feed your mental treasure through the six gates:
    - Eye
    - Ears
    - Nose
    - Tongue
    - Body
    - IDEA
    Likewise in the family, in addition to preventing chaos from penetrating the store of consciousness, to have peace and happiness, the husband, wife, and children in a family must know how to create two more issues:
    - Love and patience.
    Without one of those two elements, the family will always have turmoil, discord, and insecurity, which over time can reduce happiness, and life together becomes troublesome and painful. A word said in joy, in love, you can say whatever you say. A word spoken in frustration, anger, or insecurity can cause misunderstandings. Therefore, you must always observe your mind. Whenever the mind of greed anger or ignorance just arises, you immediately know it and stop immediately without following it. Don't let greed, anger, and ignorance lead you to trouble in life. If that is the case, everything in this world will be peaceful, fully happy, and successful. Many times, the sudden emergence of greed, anger, and ignorance can destroy all your feelings and destroy the career you have worked so hard to build up to now.
    Remember that greed, anger, and ignorance often motivate you to fight, argue, and exchange words over things like:
    - National affairs, politics, religion, down to the trivial and petty things in daily life.
    You should know:
    - When others speak up and you pay in return, it's so easy. If you can endure it, don't bother arguing, don't get frustrated, don't get angry. You control your mind, control your thoughts, smile brightly, then everything ends here. Those are truly difficult things to do.
    Not everyone can do it right away, so you need to have time to test and practice diligently. If you do this, over a long period, you will surely become clear-headed and completely understanding, and those around you will also feel peace, joy, and benefit. The treasure of consciousness, the seeds of anger will gradually decrease, wisdom will develop, there will be no more suffering and anger, then life will be more peaceful, happier, definitely without doubt.
    Therefore, don't let greed, anger, or ignorance arise, then you won't believe the rumors. Rumors are often made up of additions and subtractions, drawing snakes with extra legs, stories of after drinking excess tea and after drinking excess wine, double-heading blows, destroying the family, and dividing the community.
    Remember, it all starts, right in your mind! So don't let bad consequences happen continuously, you will suffer many hardships, even death. At that moment, you opened your mouth and moaned, complaining to heaven and earth. Pray to God, pray to Buddha to save you, then how can Buddha save you in time? An old book has a saying:
    - Your heart is filled with evil spirits.
    Don't blame the distant sky and the near earth.
    When all the chaotic distractions such as greed, anger, and ignorance have subsided, your true self will appear. If your mind is spacious, your heart will be happy, your life will be beneficial, and you will feel in harmony with the universe.
    The year is almost over, Tet is coming, try to prepare your mind to be clean and pure to welcome Tet, by working hard to prevent and not bring into your mind's treasury more seeds of affliction and suffering, including There are three greatest things, the mind:
    - Greed, anger, ignorance.
    If you do this for a long time, the items stored in your mental treasure will gradually decrease. Films that have been recorded and stored for many years, if you don't bring them out and show them again and again, will gradually fade and then fall into oblivion. The treasure of consciousness is empty, meaning your mind will be pure, and gentle, and have a peaceful and happy life. At that time, you don't want to be a saint, and the saint is no longer different or distant from you.
    In short, when every year ends, Tet comes again, the old year has passed, the new year is about to come, everyone in the world is happy, and everyone is excited, welcoming the coming of spring. People often see that the future is open, and the eyes are rosy, lovely, and worth living. Therefore, when Tet comes and spring comes, you should prepare your mind to celebrate Tet. That is, everyone happily lets go of worries and sorrows. Establishing communication within your mind and with those around you is also an opportunity for you to return to contemplation. Contemplate to see that the mind leads all dharmas. The endless running, the tiring work, the jealousy and selfishness in you will turn you into a miserable person, with an always gloomy face, with a mentality of always fear and caution alert. Therefore, you must clean your mind before welcoming the new year.
    In this trend, you also see many people rushing towards the flowers and grass of heaven and earth. Some of you will sow fresh flowers and strange grasses in the garden of your mind, those flowers are named:
    - Humanity,
    Or named:
    - Upward direction.
    By sitting quietly before the Buddha, vowing to be vegetarian, vowing to rejoice like Maitreya, letting go of worldly matters, letting go of ego, and moving forward with a light heart... In celebration of the coming of spring, people who understand the Dharma quickly cultivate your mind and, at the same time nourish your nature, so that you can be enlightened, so that on the day of your death, you will not have to be confused, and know what you will achieve, and at the end of your life, you will know where to go. So at the beginning of the year, on the occasion of the new year, create favorable conditions, prepare carefully, and make clear promises:
    - In the coming new year, everything will be better and better than the previous year. I have to make an effort to practice to enlighten the path. That is a source of joy. I hope that the new year will be better than the previous year and that my practice will be more complete.
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