• By Nhat Quan
    You come to this world with only two empty hands. When you die, you can't take anything with you. If you do, it's only good fortune or karma that will follow you. Therefore, if you are a Buddhist you should think about what you can take with you when you die, you should actively practice, and what you cannot take with you, you should leave behind in the world. To be like that, you need to practice your heart to listen to the good things of blessings and the dangers of karma. Because you know when you die, all material things must be left behind, property, fame, and status will also be left behind. There are people who have not died yet, but after a period of struggling to pursue fame and fortune, they lose and have to give up before death. That means, sooner or later you have to quit. Some people say, if you say you have to give up everything, money, fame, material benefits until the end, even this life, then there is no need to work so hard, no need to care about it everything and then get tired.
    Buddha does not teach you to have such negative thoughts or actions.
    You must understand that the purpose of Buddhism is to train models of people to save lives, help people, and benefit the many, Gods and humans. Therefore, as a Buddhist, you need to train your heart to listen to what is right and beneficial. You must consider in your mind how to balance doing things to benefit others without being attached to the results, and still be able to let go of everything when necessary.
    Before training your heart to listen to good things, you must see that there are two parts: The real part and the false part, that is, the true mind and the false mind. Of course, if you let go of the false part, you will lose it. But the real part, the true mind, is never lost. Observing the human mind, Bodhisattva Vasubandhu realized there are eight Fundamental Consciousness and 51 Mental factors.
    Therefore, you should remove the external material. I won't talk much about the external matter here because the topic is the mind. Buddha taught that the mind is the master, everything is decided by the mind. Fundamental Consciousness includes eight consciousnesses: eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, consciousness, mana-consciousness and alaya-consciousness. But for the 51 Mental factors that depend on the eight consciousnesses, you must practice and transform them well, because 51 Mental factors have a strong impact on life, so you need to observe and adjust.
    Buddha taught that a disciple of Buddha wants to attain enlightenment:
    - Whatever evil has arisen must be eliminated.
    Evil that has not yet arisen must be stopped and not allowed to arise so that the evil seeds in the mind will completely disappear; That's a bad mind, not a bad external action.
    - Good things are born, try to grow them;
    - Good things that have not yet arisen must find a way to create them.
    Therefore, practitioners sit still but regulate their minds, because Buddha taught that everything is determined by the mind. The mind determines your words and actions, so once your heart knows how to listen to things that are right or wrong, you have entered the world of Buddha, or into the lineage of Saints, even though you are not a Saint yet. You are also a human being like any other human being, but if you achieve this, you will become a gentle person, meaning that everyone will cherish and sympathize with you. If you can practice this Dharma, the evil in your heart will be destroyed, the good roots will grow, all living beings will see you, their hearts will be at peace and they will love you.
    So, from being an ordinary person, but with good actions, your life has been greatly improved. Obviously, when you correctly demonstrate Buddha's teachings to benefit the many, you will be respected by everyone.
    Before, I met a Buddhist in a poor neighborhood, but from the day he learned about Buddha Dharma and invested in a moral life, his good karma had resolved his previous bad karma, so his life changed and the family changed completely. With the investment of good karma, his family today has become one of the families with the highest contribution to that poor neighborhood, so his family appreciates Buddha Dharma very much.
    From a good heart, this Buddhist man demonstrated good actions. You consider yourself a Buddhist, so you should examine your heart to see if you are really good. For me, it is not necessary to be a Buddhist but to have the same heart as Buddha, then that person is a disciple of Buddha. I think from a broad perspective, religion in the 21st century unites good people to make the human community sit closer together, there is no longer a scene where religions speak ill of each other, kill each other, and compete with each other. It's okay to follow Buddha, and it's okay to follow anyone, as long as you make humanity live happily and help the human community know how to support each other, you have made your heart listen to good things.
    All of you reflect on your own mind, examine your mind, and see what conditions create good and bad people. As you know there are two types of mind, good and bad. You must eliminate bad minds, but you need to develop good minds. So you have to be careful. If you have an evil mind, you have to cut it off. If it doesn't have it, you have to preserve it so it doesn't let bad things happen.
    Many people think that practicing means giving up property, giving up work, and no longer being involved in worldly affairs. Anyone who practices and thinks like that is wrong. Buddha taught us to give up greed, but not to give up property. And when your greed is gone, your property is not lost. It can be said that assets are not lost, status is not lost, sometimes you have more assets, and your status is even higher.
    During the Buddha's time, the rich man Anathapindika specialized in charity work. First, he makes offerings equally. Make offerings to Samanas who are Buddha's disciples and make offerings to Brahmans, whom he calls noble people.
    A Samana is a person who gives up personal interests and takes care of common things. He is not a person who escapes from life, but a Samana is a sage who does not need material things or fame to commit himself to benefit the world. Buddha was the first to do this. He taught his disciples that wherever they go, they must benefit from that place, not enjoy it. Sa Mon lives alone to be free to do more, noble work. Brahmins are intellectuals who study widely, understand a lot, and do many benefits to society. They are the superstructure. Any society with many intellectuals must certainly be good and develop quickly. Intellectuals are the most valuable capital of society. In addition, they are also people who teach morality and help make society better.
    Brahmins are the intellectuals and the Samanas are ethical, these two components are considered the pinnacle of social development. Mr. Anathapindika made offerings to these people, without discriminating that he was a Buddhist and opposed to another religion. In addition, there are also workers and boatmen. Brahmin intellectuals are the creators, while workers directly create wealth. If workers and craftsmen are influenced by virtuous people, they will become good people, liking to make others enjoy, not liking the benefits of others. Producers who have such thoughts will make it easier for society to develop.
    Anathapindika gave alms and offerings, but he was not poor, and his wealth increased. He made offerings to Samana who developed wisdom, today it is called providing scholarships to poor students. Today, American society grants scholarships to every poor student for at least 4 years to improve their intellectual level, demonstrating the spirit of non-profit learning to train intellectuals. Because they know that when these intellectuals graduate and get jobs, they will benefit society. Different from other countries like Vietnam, which train but do not use. Reality shows that in Vietnam, many people have bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees hanging around, but do nothing with their lives. Therefore, you need to think about training for use, because investing money in them learning to get a degree, hanging it there is a huge waste. When I was a novice monk, it was rare to have a monk who passed the baccalaureate, so when there was a monk who passed the baccalaureate or a university degree, it was extremely precious. But today, hundreds of PhDs and thousands of bachelors cannot be used, it is a waste.
    Mr. Anathapindika gave alms and offerings in accordance with the Buddha Dharma, so his business became better and the society influenced by Buddhism became better and developed. According to Buddha, first, build a human mind that is not greedy, do not use what is not yours. People who do not have a greedy mind, give what they cannot use up to others, which means changing their greedy mind into a giving mind. If you have a lot of wealth, if you have wisdom, then give alms and do good deeds like Mr. Anathapindika to provide for the lives of poor people and workers. So Anathapindika went to the temple and listened to the Dharma, but his career grew bigger because his workers were not greedy or abusive because they followed the example of their very good boss, not greedy but always worried to let them be warm and prosperous. In addition, the products they make, they themselves enjoy. Mr. Anathapindika followed Buddha's teachings and divided the money into very clear parts:
    - Do not use more than 50%,
    - To 30% regenerate production,
    - The remaining 20% invested in morality is alms and offerings.
    I would like to remind Buddhists not to do more than 20% of their good deeds. There are Buddhists who are so good that they use all their assets and even borrow money to make offerings and give alms. If you do more than this amount, beware of going bankrupt, surrounded by poverty, and evil thoughts will arise. In fact, there have been people who suffered from such a bad mind from a good mind, because not follow the Buddha's teachings:
    - If the good mind has not yet arisen, you must create conditions for its birth.
    Mr. Anathapindika has the ability to mobilize his heart to listen to many harsh life situations, and he has shown compassion by taking care of lonely sufferers and workers working poor, that's why they were devoted to him. Just like you love an animal, the animal is attached to you. You love your housekeeper, they also love you back, that is practicing good mental factors. When you have a lot of wealth, you use that money to do meritorious deeds such as helping people in need, building schools, building bridges, helping students overcome difficulties...
    According to Buddha, cutting off greed is not about cutting off material things or status. You are not greedy and building others is not as greedy as you, so Amitabha Buddha's Western Pure Land guides you and Medicine Buddha's Eastern Pure Land does the same. Therefore, reciting Buddha's name leads to rebirth, but it is not just reciting Buddha's name that leads to rebirth. If you want to be reborn in the Pure Land, there must be conditions and the key important points are:
    - When the mind calms down as if in meditation, then the Buddha and the Saints will release light to reach your salvation.
    - When the mind is calm, the evil mind is no longer there. Without greed, anger, ignorance, or pride, the mind will be at peace.
    Therefore, initially, the Buddha taught to cut off evil minds and give rise to good minds:
    - Faith, shame, fear, non-greed, non-hatred, non-delusion, diligence, gentleness, non-relaxation, equanimity, and non-harm.
    You must practice these eleven good thoughts, letting them arise and grow in your mind is cultivating the mind. That means you develop a mind of non-harmfulness, that is, do not do anything that is harmful to life, harmful to people, or harmful to animals. Knowing it is harmful but still doing it is evil. And when you cultivate this good mental factor, not harming anyone, you will have a gentle mind called light peace. Even though you have not achieved a single mind and no disorder, you only have a gentle mind towards the good and evil, praise and criticism of life, and you never frown or feel uncomfortable. Because you are at peace, all living things that see you will also be at peace. People are bad but don't see themselves as bad, they just think other people are bad. So Buddha taught that everyone is a mirror for you to reflect. If people see you as ugly, you must know for yourself that you are ugly. The Perfect Enlightenment Sutra teaches:
    - If you are a true practitioner, you will not see other people's faults, but see your own faults.
    See your own faults, if someone insults you or scolds you, you must know that you are at fault, so you have to hide because you are afraid that others will see you. If they hate and scold you, you will feel even more guilty. Seeing how life treats you, and seeing how other people react to you is how you can cultivate your mind.
    In addition, a peaceful mind is a mind that is always at peace. A peaceful mind comes from cutting off greed, anger, and ignorance. Therefore, your practice of goodness is to eliminate greed and practice non-greed, then see that things are not yours, do not take them, so not owing anyone is the most peaceful thing. People agitate or tempt you, but you do not follow them, do not follow the temptation, which means you are at peace in life, that is the good mental factor you achieve. From the mind of non-greed, non-hatred, non-delusion, and next is the mind that flies and races. Normally, the mind thinks about the good and bad of life, about this person and that person, but following Buddha, the mind begins to stand still, which means you tie your mind.
    According to my experience, when my mind does not know how to listen to good things when my mind is not still, I bow 108 times in repentance, tie my mind to the names of the Buddhas, and accept the Mahayana sutras as Bodhisattva's practice slapping,  will helps your mind expand limitlessly. Specifically, you see in the Lotus Sutra, Buddha introduces Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and you think about Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, Buddha teaches that your mind is also good according to Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Wherever Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva goes, your mind goes there. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara vows to stay in Saha, not to return to Pure Land. You recite the Dharma flower and see Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara vowing in Saha, why do you want to return to Pure Land, to go there to enjoy the results of others?
    Meanwhile, in the Avatamsaka Sutra, you see Bodhisattva Samantabhadra vowing that when he fulfills his destiny in Saha, that is, if he vows to save all sentient beings in the Saha world, he will return to the Pure Land:
    - Pray for me when my life is about to die. Eliminate all obstacles. Meet Amitabha Buddha face to face. Immediately be reborn in the Pure Land...
    When you follow Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and enter Saha to do all kinds of things if you do not know how to cultivate your mind, Saha's mind will arise, karma will arise, and you will not be able to return to the Pure Land. As for Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, he does everything in life, but the work does not interfere with His mind, it depends on the conditions and teachings, so he comes to Saha and goes easily. Therefore, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva teaches you to do all things, but at the time of death, all these things are left behind in this world. Doing without refusing any difficult or difficult task, but doing it while letting go is practicing letting go. If you cannot let go, you will certainly not return to the Pure Land, so you must have a mind of renunciation. Many people practice and worry about many Buddhist matters, but because they do not let go, karmic obstacles arise. Therefore, Bodhisattva Samantabhadra reminds you, to do a lot, but you must let go, especially at the time of death, you must cut off all worldly activities to be reborn in the Pure Land.
    Bodhisattva Samantabhadra said you do not have to go to Pure Land to enjoy happiness and blessings. Because enjoying happiness and blessings is already available in Heaven, the Bodhisattva reminds you to return to the Pure Land to receive the prediction of Amitabha Buddha or Medicine Buddha, to accompany them to teach and transform sentient beings of the world for ten directions.
    In short, to follow Buddha, first of all, you have to train your heart to listen. That's how when you sit still, observe your mind, and adjust your mind to achieve the wonderful power of non-doing, that is, not doing, but the results are there be extremely great. When the heart knows how to listen eliminate evil thoughts and develop good intentions, people will see you and they will immediately develop kindness. Before, you wanted to teach people, wanted to have good things but couldn't do it, couldn't have it. Now let go of everything to adjust your pure mind, don't do anything, but everything will be fine according to your pure mind. Therefore, you must observe your mind to see if the evil mind has been destroyed and the good mind has arisen. According to Buddha, when a good mind is born, it does not need material things, but good material things and high status represent the meaning of giving up everything but gaining everything. To do this, you need to know how to practice having a listening mind, listen to the advantages of blessings, and the dangers of karma, and definitely:
    - Evil things that have arisen must make efforts to eliminate them.
    Evil things that have not yet arisen must not be allowed to arise
    Once good things are born, you must make more efforts to develop them.
    If good things have not yet been born, you must try to develop them so that they can be born.
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