• By Nhat Quan
    That day was a long day... First of all, I received a phone call, on the other end of the second a girl's voice said:
    - The temple's gas bill is late, so you must pay urgently, otherwise the gas meter will be turned off within 15 minutes.
    When considered as a gas bill, it is actually 5 days late. At that time I said:
    - Okay, I'll send you a check right away.
    On the other end of the line, the girl said:
    - No, you have to pay now. If not, my staff will disconnect the gas meter right now.
    Because tomorrow is the feast day of Avalokiteshvara, if there is a gas outage, the crew will not be able to take care of the food. Seeing that, I asked:
    - Then how do I pay you?
    The other end of the line replied:
    - You can buy gift cards at Walgreens near you.
    I found it a bit strange, so before I went to buy a gift card, I asked a Buddhist student at the Temple to ask the gas company about this. As for me, I ran to buy a Gift card. The Temple's gas bill is $1,859.00 USD, but for Gift cards, they only sell a maximum of $500.00. There was no other way, so I returned to the temple and called to pay. After paying, the Buddhist contacted the gas company and called me and said:
    - The gas company never calls and forces customers to pay that way. The Master has been deceived. Master should immediately contact the place where the card was purchased to request a refund.
    Hearing that, I ran back to Walgreens to explain this and asked to cancel the card and ask for a refund. When I said that, the Walgreens employee replied:
    - Gift cards cannot be returned once purchased.
    After that, the voice of that deceitful girl continued to call to ask for gas money every day. Seeing how annoying it was, I immediately went to the police station to ask for intervention. Just then, the girl called me again asking for money. I gave the phone to the police officer to listen. But when she heard the police officer say:
    - This is a Seattle police officer...
    When she heard that, the other end of the line hung up, and from then on, she stopped calling to bother me.
    While doing temple work a week later, I told this story to a Buddhist student. After hearing it, he laughed and said:
    - If we are deceived, we will have to struggle for a whole week to recover, and Master has many Buddhists supporting you. Don't worry, don't be sad...
    Faced with such a situation, scolding, anger... all do not bring results. A Buddhist also advised me to say something like that, I have to laugh and forgive, there is no other way. And this case makes me think:
    - Only practicing Kindness Contemplation, Compassion Contemplation, Joy Contemplation, and Equanimity Contemplation can transform the seeds of anger in us.
    From the basics of this matter, you see:
    When you are angry, it means you are angry at someone or something. In this case, anger is anger at the person on the phone who deceived you made you lose money, and made you suffer, in which you call that person your enemy. The object of anger is the object of the mind, that is, of perception. First, you have your uneasy perceptions about the object. Angry at being deceived, angry at your unfortunate fate today. Therefore Kindness Contemplation and Compassion Contemplation are related to perception. From the error of perception arises anger. Instead of just contemplating Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity, you also need to return to reflect on your perceptions to be successful.
    Only compassion and forgiveness are two virtues that help you remove hatred. You have heard of compassion water or nectar water, but you have never heard anyone say compassion mountain or compassion land. Because water has the ability to cleanse and purify, using the artful material of compassion, you will wash away anger. At that time, the feelings of hatred will be released from the physical and psychological body, and you will return to a state of purity, peace, and happiness. Forgiveness is the material for the seed of compassion to germinate. It is important not to confuse emotion with compassion.
    Therefore, Buddha taught, that every day before going to bed, you must meditate on compassion. Compassion meditation has many benefits in your daily life. For example, when you are angry with your husband or wife, if you know how to meditate on compassion, it is very easy to forgive each other, because you know that sins and mistakes are the attributes of ordinary people. As mortals, everyone makes mistakes. Some people make serious mistakes, some make minor mistakes. Seeing the attributes of ordinary people will help you not be attached and easily develop the idea of forgiveness and letting go. Forgive others, knowing that you will have made the same mistake in the same situation. If you know how to forgive others, when you make a mistake, they will easily forgive you. That is the cause and effect of the morality of forgiveness. More importantly, forgiveness to remove hatred is the cure for emotional wounds. When you are transformed, you can easily forgive any human mistakes. Forgiveness is the drops of water that wash away human moral filth and is also the material that helps you renew your life. By thinking like this, you will not be upset when you see your spouse, relatives, or anyone who has made you suffer.
    Don't say cruel oaths when angry. Harsh oaths and curses are not right speech. It is language that lacks compassion, shows anger, brings suffering, and leads to deadlock in relationships. If at some point in your life, because you are so angry, you make threatening oaths, take back those words. Take it all off to let the other person see that they have been welcomed with all compassion, there is no longer any distance between you and them. Thus, the substance of forgiveness makes the other person more mature in morality and is a nutrient that makes them feel joyful, light, and excited.
    In terms of treating anger, Kindness Contemplation, and Compassion are very practical yet very magical methods. The scriptures mention seven disadvantages of anger, of people who refuse to let go and refuse to transform their anger.
    - First, that person looks ugly. You just need to look in the mirror and you know Buddha is right. Realizing that you naturally want to do something right away to make your facial appearance less ugly.
    - Second, you are stuck in your pain, in your anger. You lie curled up in your pain. This pain is caused by anger.
    - Third, there is no rich development. The body as well as the soul cannot develop and bloom like a flower.
    - Fourth is to become poor in money as well as in happiness.
    - Fifth is not having a good reputation.
    - Six is not having many friends. And
    - Seventh, that person will be reborn in the Asura world, without happiness.
    Those are the seven disadvantages of those who hold on to anger without knowing how to let it go and transform it. Also in Anguttara Nikaya, Buddha talks about eleven benefits of those who practice Kindness Contemplation and Compassion Contemplation.
    - The first thing for people practicing Kindness Contemplation is to sleep well.
    - Second, when you wake up, you feel healthy and light in your heart.
    - The third is sleeping without nightmares.
    - Fourth is being close to many people.
    - The fifth is to be close to non-human species. Non-human species, such as birds, fish, shrimp, etc., are not afraid to stay away.
    - The sixth is to be supported and protected by the gods.
    - Seventh is not being harmed by fire, poison, sword, or gun.
    - Eighth, concentration is very easy
    - Ninth, my facial expression is always calm.
    - Tenth, there is no confusion at the time of death.
    - Eleventh, after death, at least rebirth in Brahma heaven,
    In the Itivuttaka Sutra, the Buddha also said:
    - All the merits you have done in this world combined are not equal to the merits of practicing Kindness Contemplation. Building temples, casting bells, or doing social work... all of those merits are only one-sixteenth of the merit of practicing kindness. Just like looking up at the sky, you see the moon and stars. And if the light of all the stars combined is not equal to the light of the moon, then all the other merits combined are not equal to the merit of kindness Contemplation.
    Therefore, the practice of kindness and compassion is not mere thoughts, fantasies, or wishes, but reality. Such as:
    - Hope that all species are happy. Wishing that species suffer less is a wish.
    Contemplate what you see, and what you hear about the suffering, the boredom, and the fear of people and creatures around you. You touch the heart of compassion and want to do something to create joy for them. When you see the pain and suffering of a person or a certain species, the energy of Compassion arises in you. If you don't make contact or contemplate, your desire is not strong enough to turn into action. Practicing Kindness Contemplation is the same, you have to go deep into the flesh and bones of that person to clearly see the state of their pain and suffering. Therefore the Sutra:
    - Contemplate the body in the body, contemplate the mind in the mind
    Does that mean:
    - Contemplating your mind in your mind means you don't see that object as an object that exists outside of you. You have to go into that object. You must break the boundary between the subject of contemplation and the object being contemplated so that you can understand the object.
    That means that in Buddhism, the practice of contemplation must be based on the principle that you and others are one. That means you must consider the subject's situation as yours. This is very important. Only when you lose the boundary between subject and object will true wisdom be discovered. That is a very basic characteristic of Buddhist meditation. No matter how you contemplate, if that object is still separate from you, then you do not have insight. This is true for contemplation:
    - Contemplate the body as the body. Contemplate feeling as feeling. Contemplate the mind as mind. Contemplate the dharma as dharma.
    The practice of contemplation in Buddhism is to go in, to become one, to remove boundaries, and then insight can begin. You must practice contemplation, and see very clearly the suffering, pain, and happiness of others for the energy of Love and Compassion to flow. When the energy of Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity has overflowed, like digging a well until the water gushes out, then the internal formations, resentment, anger, and conflicts will disappear, and your being is renewed. Only then will the energy of Love and Compassion be turned into action, right in your daily life. Even though no one advises you, you still work to help people as usual.
    In the Buddhist tradition, the Patriarchs or monks and nuns often advise you to always generate Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity toward those you are close to first. Start meditating on Compassion with the people you love first. Then there are the people you love little or the so-called strangers. You are indifferent to them because, for a long time, you considered them strangers. Finally, you come into contact with people you hate, people who have made you miserable. If you are successful in the first two steps, then the third step will be successful.
    The Four Immeasurable Minds is a method of practicing meditation. When you first hear about the Four Immeasurable Minds, you feel that this teaching is about emotions, but the emotions of the Four Immeasurable Minds are created with the material of wisdom, that is meditation. The heart of love contains Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. Love with discrimination and love without joy is not love in Buddhism. Compassion must also be made of the materials of Love, Joy, and Equanimity. Joy without Love, Compassion, and Equanimity is not Joy in Buddhism. Equanimity in Buddhism means non-attachment and non-discrimination, but it does not mean evading responsibility, but includes a vow, a commitment. It's not indifference as you understand, but letting go means not letting go, that is, letting go but not giving up. As you pray:
    - May the Buddhas be merciful and never let go.
    - Buddhas, please don't leave me.
    Letting go does not mean not loving, but is the secret of true love in Buddhism. The Four Immeasurable Minds are Buddha's teachings on love. Practicing these four minds, you will reach complete liberation, not just for the purpose of being born in heaven or the Western Pure Land. In the sutras, Buddha had a very benevolent attitude towards those who believed in a Supreme Being and wished to return close to that Supreme Being after death. Buddha did not have a destructive attitude.
    If your teacher has done so, you should also follow that path. In my opinion, true love must have the ingredients of Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. The love that people use has a very vague meaning. Sometimes love means passion, attachment, and suffering, which is not the true love you should practice. So you can use methods to nurture and develop love within you. Only then will returning to Amitabha Buddha and living next to Amitabha Buddha become a reality. People full of hatred cannot live with a compassionate person.
    In short, the teachings of the Four Immeasurable Minds are extremely mysterious. You often talk about love but you rarely recognize the nature of love. You have learned, you have known what elements can create true love, and know the specific methods to create the substance of love, to transform both the lover and the loved.
    There is a type of love called possessive love that does not bring freedom and is not truly love. True love must have Equanimity, that is, without discrimination and attachment. Therefore, you should practice and share with each other the spirit of love, compassion, joy, and forgiveness. Practicing Buddhism brings joy and transformation. That is thanks to the true love in the four immeasurable minds. When you are completely happy, you also forgive easily. At that time, forgiveness was done as an expression of heroism, in the sense of showing that you were a merciful, generous person. In a happy mood, you often appear easy-going and willing to forgive those who make mistakes.
    Taking advantage of their happiest emotions to express their mistakes, you can easily establish a bridge of understanding and forgiveness. Thanks to that, hatred will be eliminated and will not be passed on from one life to another. Of course, both psychological arts mentioned above are only successful when both make efforts. If it's just one side, the results won't be much.
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