• TET & FULL
  • By Nhat Quan
    According to Buddhist tradition, the first month of the lunar calendar is a month of fasting and, in folklore, there is also a saying:
    - Celebrating pagodas all year round is not as good as worshiping on the full moon day of the first lunar month.
    This shows that the full moon day of the first lunar month is one of the important holidays for Vietnamese people in general and Buddhists in particular.
    The first month of the lunar calendar seems to be the month when everyone thinks about going to the temple to worship Buddha and pray at the beginning of the year. It is a month for people to take care of their spiritual life. You want to start a new year, do new things, and achieve good results.
    In the 12 full moon days,  the full moon days of the first lunar month in Buddhism, there are two important events associated with the life and work of propagating the Dharma of Buddha. Because this is the gathering day of 1,250 holy monks without any summons or any prior planning. This day is also the day the Buddha turned 80 years old and he promised the Demon King that in exactly 3 months he would enter nirvana. On this occasion, he preached a sutra with the Buddha's message:
    - Don't do any evil things,
    Must perform good deeds,
    Keep your mind clean,
    It is the Buddha's teachings.
    The above teachings are the tradition of the Buddhas to declare when four conditions are met:
    - Exactly on the full moon day of Magha month
    - Bhikkhus spontaneously came to worship the Buddha
    - The disciples are all Arhat saints who have attained the six powers
    - Announcing the date of Nirvana
    With these great meanings, pagodas and monasteries simultaneously organize full moon worshiping ceremonies in the first lunar month, praying for peace in the country and people, peaceful society, and happy homes. At temples following the Theravada Buddhist tradition, they often celebrate this important event by:
    - Receiving Ascetic practice, maintaining the dignity of meditating, staying up all night;
    - Offer lamps or alms to the monks to pray for blessings at the beginning of the year.
    For Mahayana Buddhism, pagodas during the full moon days organize rituals to pray for peace for the masses, some pagodas also organize the Refuge Ceremony of the Three Jewels, creating conditions for those who have an affinity with Buddhism to become a Buddhist righteous acknowledge, and study according to Buddha's teachings.
    Even though three days of Tet have passed, the Tet atmosphere is still lingering somewhere! We believe that by understanding the correct meaning of Tet, the full moon day of the first lunar month, every Buddhist will start a peaceful year by following Buddha's teachings:
    - Evil deeds should not be done, but all good deeds should be done.
    To have 365 days of everything as you wish! In the spirit of not doing evil things, but doing good things, create for yourself a space of understanding, which in Buddhist studies is called the enlightened mind. The mind of enlightenment is the essential truth, the pure thought, the wish and desire to help all sentient beings achieve and realize the highest power. Wishing solely for the benefit of others is extremely rare. The Buddha explained that even one thought of this mind, dedicated to enlightenment for the benefit of sentient beings, can destroy hundreds of thousands of lifetimes of negative karma.
    It is attachments that make you mediocre and lacking in confidence. But when you have even a tiny flicker of the light of an enlightened mind it makes you warm and relaxes the heart.
    The enlightened mind is the optimal solution, the energy that helps eliminate all attachment. The mind of enlightenment is not an emotion of love. By understanding the relative nature of sentient beings and seeing the ultimate path they can take, and by developing the aspiration to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment. The mind will be filled with love that arises from wisdom, not emotion. With an enlightened mind if you meet any person, whether rich or poor, black, white or yellow, you are always comfortable and you can communicate. Often you do not understand different aspects of the human world. But, if you have this extraordinary universal thought, your narrow-minded thoughts will automatically disappear. That way you will have space and life will become easier, therefore:
    - The mind of enlightenment is an anesthetic that helps you neutralize pain and makes you peaceful.
    - The enlightened mind is the most powerful energy that can transform all actions to benefit others.
    - The mind of enlightenment is a cloud that can bring the rain of positive energy to nourish and make everything grow.
    If you feel insecure yourself, you will spread this negative feeling to others. So you need to have the purest, deepest thought of the enlightened mind, which will take care of you wherever you are.
    In addition to understanding, which is the enlightened mind, Buddhism also specifically mentions compassion, which is felt on many different levels. Furthermore, compassion is demonstrated in many scriptures, through many attainments of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, ancient Patriarchs, and saints.
    At a basic level, compassion is described and understood as the ability to empathize. This level of sympathy shares the mental and physical suffering of one person with another, or between humans and the invisible world. When practicing compassion, one should not rely on personal conditions, should not differentiate between individuals, groups, countries, or societies, but must expand the soul, covering all sentient beings and the world knowingly and unintentionally.
    A fresh, friendly, and loving attitude must always exist in people's hearts. Even, always be happy to be present with people who have a cruel heart, want to harm you, oppress you, bring you into trouble, or push you into a dead end with no way out in life. So on the first day of the year, please wake up some of the elements that are buried deep in your hearts. First of all, wake up:
    1- Love in each of you
    In each of you, everyone has a compassionate heart, a sympathetic soul, and a rational mind. These are natural, innate, always hidden, inherent qualities within each of you. Therefore, you must awaken compassion in each of you, so that it is always continuous and alive at all times and in all places.
    Only then will your love be immense and endless. If you practice fully, you can cultivate ideals, and develop loving-kindness, within the scope of simplicity, based on simple understanding:
    - In this world, everyone wants to be prosperous and happy, no one wants a life of deprivation, suffering, or unhappiness.
    By always practicing this mantra, your loving-kindness will grow more and more, and every little selfish disturbance will easily pass away. Love for humanity and love for sentient beings gradually seeps into your thoughts and life in a significant way.
    Remember, even if you have abundant wealth and high status. But in the end, everything is just the dregs of life, the ephemeral, illusory things of this world. Only compassion and generosity, forgiving and loving others, is truly a precious and immense wealth in the world! It is these fortunes that will help you overcome all impasses in life, and boldly return to the love of the great self!
    2- Do not evaluate outside
    Normally, you have the habit of judging and evaluating people based on external appearances. Whoever regularly helps, protects, cherishes, and pampers you, you say that person is kind. But when this person, for some reason, the next day no longer has the conditions to help you wholeheartedly, no longer has the opportunity to caress and pamper you, and even ends up cutting off all relationships, then naturally, under your eyes and thoughts, that person becomes an enemy, or more gently, a bad person. This easily leads to the conclusion:
    - Love for people is mostly based on attractive features of appearance, name, background, or external flashiness.
    If your compassion for others is based solely on such foundations, the wind of time will dry out your mind, and the heat of anger will dry out your soul. Because no one can keep the flashy, splendid, and arrogant beauty on the outside forever!
    3- Treat everyone the same
    Love is often easily generated when you have the opportunity to witness and share the life situations of others. Normally, you will be easily moved, or feel pity, when coming into contact with someone who is seriously ill or is in dire circumstances. It's even easier to sympathize when you witness uneducated children in poor countries, or lonely, miserable women living in some places.
    On the contrary, when interacting with rich people, who have full amenities in education, and have higher degrees, status, and salary than you, jealousy will easily appear in your mind. Even these rich people don't have a word of insult, not a single contemptuous attitude towards you. But, it is the feeling of selfishness that prevents you from opening your eyes to see the equality and survival instinct of every human being on this earth!
    You do not forget that everyone wants a peaceful and happy life. Regardless of whether rich people are successful or lowly people who fail in society, they all have the same dream. Therefore, a person with compassion and a heart must be like a doctor. A physician is like a mother who is open-minded and treats all patients equally. Each patient receives the same attentive care.
    Try to strive to achieve a state of impartiality and equality with everyone, in the practice of boundless love, which is a regular, long-term job. This is a good opportunity, a perfect cause, and effect, to sow in the soil the seed of great compassion!
    Furthermore, if you want to be truly peaceful and happy, your life must always be filled with an attitude of sympathy, extending human love to others impartially and without discrimination. Absolute loving-kindness does not depend on facts, events, possessions, or friendly or unfriendly relationships.
    When overcoming these regulatory barriers, a feeling of love and equality will begin to arise. Gradually, the soul will expand and realize the basic moral values that:
    - Everyone is who you are.
    Everyone wants to live a peaceful and happy life, and always stay away from unhappiness and suffering. Therefore, you should let unconditional sympathy flow. Always memorize and practice the mantra:
    - Everyone in this world has the same nature of wanting to live and fearing death!
    This is not an idle idea or a vague theory, but the absolute truth. You must practice anytime, anywhere. This is the source of boundless happiness, a sacred gift for humans and all kinds of sentient beings!
    In short, the new year, the full moon day of the first lunar month, is the time when you have to make a program to develop:
    - Love must be applied in everyday life.
    You should not store your understanding, love, tolerance, and forgiveness in an altar cabinet, or paint it in gold and take it out to look at it from time to time. Or hide it in a temple, worship it in a pagoda, worship it, and exhibit it in a museum!
    Some people believe that when applying unconditional and boundless love in life, personal benefits will be disadvantaged. This is completely wrong. Because, when you apply boundless love to your life, it brings practical benefits and boundless happiness to yourself. Because love, tolerance, and forgiveness are the virtues contained in the boundless true happiness of humanity.
    Complete compassion must include many properties and meanings in all areas of life!
    Every day, at any hour, if true love is absent, all social activities are at risk of corruption. Therefore, you should boldly live according to your conscience, with boundless love. You must frankly look at things and evaluate them in a positive direction. This is a necessary condition that has a strong impact on human personality and consciousness at all levels and stages of life!
    Compassion and understanding must be nurtured at all times. In particular, on the first days of the year, the full moon day of the first lunar month, going to the pagoda is an opportunity to remind, awaken, and renew your ability to understand and love, so that you can eliminate the possibility of deception and violence with other people. Even thoughts and actions that harm individuals and families can be immediately eliminated through applying and practicing the lessons of compassion and love for others.
    So you should spend a little time going to the Pagoda, especially on the full moon day of the first lunar month, go to Pagoda to attend the peace praying ceremony at the beginning of the year, to calm down, live with conscience, and the immeasurable compassion within yourself.
    If you have any recommendations, please e-mail to: