• By Nhat Quan
    - Path or religion is something that people admire without doing anything.
    - Virtue is that no one forces people to follow, but they voluntarily listen and follow.
    Although morality is spiritual and metaphysical, when implemented in life, those who can do it are respected by many people, they are considered moral people and saints.
    Today, the world has a new awareness that in addition to promoting practical science, people also appreciate spiritual values. Because if the material develops but the spirit declines, it is a great disaster that will lead to the destruction of human life. Therefore, humanity today is aware that in addition to the aspect of experimental science that helps make human life good, morality is a sacred thing that contributes to maintaining human life. While more than two thousand five hundred sixty-seven years ago, Buddha taught lay Buddhists to apply morality in life.
    So all of you try to find out why people need morality:
    The path is a way, or more specifically, a spiritual path that helps you sublimate your important life, not a normal path. Today, human society has reached the pinnacle of civilization, but on the contrary, morality has declined, so people have set up rules to force everyone to obey, called living by the law that is, the living principles of a country, or more broadly, the conventions signed in the human community.
    For moral people, there is no need to have rules that must be followed, but naturally, you already know how to treat each other beautifully and live well in the community. Indeed, in the world of Ultimate Bliss, or in Nirvana, there is no need to regulate rules for the residents there, because everyone there is imbued with morality and knows how to live so that their world is good. In daily behavior, there always uses Virtue to inspire, that is, the Saints make the residents there see and they have the heart to follow, but do not force them to do it.
    So now, when you study religion or seek religion, you learn about your spiritual life. You look for every way to live a good life and when you find it, you practice religion by doing what people around you accept. In particular, those who tend to want to be born in the Western Pure Land or the Eastern Pure Land, those people are in great need of morality.
    At first listen, you see that Buddhism promotes the morality of monastics to abandon the material world to promote the spiritual world, because spiritual life is the most noble. Meanwhile, in today's society, people due to greed, and attachment, compete and kill each other. Therefore, for those who dare to give up worldly interests, that person is praised as noble and virtuous.
    In the Buddhist tradition, you see a lot in the image of the Buddha, who dared to give up his position as Crown Prince to become a Sramana who did not own anything for himself. Such a life is called renunciation, which means giving up worldly life to become a monk.
    Seeing the life and beautiful image of the Buddha, many people misunderstand, thinking that when practicing, one must give up all material things to become empty-handed. During the Buddha's time, there were a number of disciples who also fell into this situation. Because they saw the Buddha's practice and gained blessings and liberation, they also imitated him, giving up their wealth and career to follow the Buddha and practice. But later, they saw the Buddha exalting Bodhisattvas who performed almsgiving, supported, and helped many people to create merit. They told Buddha:
    - In the past, you promoted renunciation as the renunciation of worldly life, so we gave up material careers to become monks, but now you promote giving alms to practice Bodhisattva conduct. Right now we have nothing left in our hands, so how can we give alms?
    Buddha taught:
    - The Tathagata's renunciation is to abandon the attachment and passion for material things because that is karma, the affliction that leads you into a life of samsara.
    The Buddha's teachings are very clear. The Buddha taught us not to give up material things, but to give up mind attachment, not to give up the five aggregates of the body, but to give up the body's attachment to the five aggregates. Because of your attachment to the body of the five aggregates, you fight for the right to nourish the body of the five aggregates, so you get into endless struggles.
    Buddha taught you to let go of attachments is to let go of the aggregates of clinging, not the five aggregates. Therefore, in the twelve causes and conditions, from attachment comes existence, meaning your existence comes from attachment, but if you let go of attachment, you will not lose this body. That means you don't lose anything, but on the contrary, by giving up attachment, you gain everything. According to Buddha, the mind lets go of everything to gain everything, if:
    - If you let go of your mind partly, you will be partly respected by everyone.
    - If you let go of everything, everyone will respect you.
    Because of letting go of attachment, priceless treasures are born. Therefore, when you hear about monks being praised, then you misunderstand, that everyone shaves their hair, wears robes, and goes begging for alms, which will bring Buddhism to destruction. Indeed, if everyone did not work and only begged, how could society exist? If everyone becomes a monk, this world will be destroyed, because the end of this generation is the end. The Buddha bestowed the teachings on Bodhisattvas, essentially lay people. He used the example of you having assets, if you are wise you should send:
    - First, give it to someone who has descendants to inherit, or send it to someone in power so that the property will not be lost. If you send it to a single person, when he dies, your property will also be lost.
    - Second, if you give property to someone who is unable to manage it, you will lose it. Therefore, the Buddha did not bless the Shravakas; Therefore, it is not correct to advise everyone to become a monk.
    First, you give up the material world so you can develop your spiritual life more easily because if you let material things dominate, spirituality is very difficult to develop. That is why, the Buddha renounced the worldly material life to embark on the spiritual path, that is, the effort to promote the morality of monastics and develop wisdom to the highest peak. In other words, carry out the process of cultivating precepts, concentration, and wisdom.
    Therefore, monastics give up their attachment to the world and take morality as their body and wisdom as their life. Monks living a pure holy life is the virtue of a monk. Absolutely do not upset anyone and be willing to do anything that benefits society. Doing so shows the spirit of altruism and selflessness. That means benefiting the many, forgetting one's own material interests. People still have conflicts because of their personal interests, so practitioners no longer have material interests, but the rights belong to everyone. From then on, whatever practitioners do is to contribute to humanity. The pagoda or lecture hall is not owned by monks for personal gain, but the temple or lecture hall is a place for everyone to come and have a suitable place to help you practice and transform your life into a good one.
    The morality of a monk is to give up everything to gain everything and to serve everyone, without including oneself in it. A person who is a monk but also bothers others is not a monk. Understanding like this is the most correct understanding of a monk. The Buddha taught that a monk who can fulfill this principle is a noble model in the world.
    Therefore, in the Bodhisattva Pitaka, the Buddha promoted Bodhisattvas, but in fact, he mainly promoted lay people. Readers of Mahayana scriptures clearly see that all Bodhisattvas play the role of lay people, with the sole exception of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who plays the role of a monk. Thus, the Mahayana scriptures promote lay Buddhists, of course, lay Buddhists need to have morality. Lay Buddhists who diligently practice and uphold the Dharma are considered superior to monastics. Because monastics are far away from worldly life and do not have much conflict with the world, it is easier for them to practice religion, which means they improve their intelligence and morality more easily than lay people, because they are not disturbed by the world. As for lay Buddhists, practicing morality is very difficult, because they live in everyday life in society and interact a lot with society, so it is very difficult to practice morality. However, anyone can do it, keeping the mind pure like a monk is not a simple task.
    Thus, lay Buddhists who want to practice morality must learn how to cultivate lay people's morality. First, they are required to no longer be greedy for their own interests and must realize who they exist in this life for.
    - First of all, they are for relatives, called relatives of Bodhi.
    You must know how to nurture this relative by:
    - Because you practice Mahayana practice for many lifetimes to become Bodhisattva relatives. Therefore, all those who are your relatives are born into your family because of love and respect. It is an exemplary family, from grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren to harmony. Seniors love their children and grandchildren, and children respect their parents and grandparents. Both two and three generations are closely linked together in friendship.
    Indeed, a virtuous practitioner will be reborn into a family by those who admire virtue and be reborn together as relatives of Bodhi. All lay people should be aware of this. When you practice holy life, Bodhisattvas can manifest as your descendants.
    Indeed, when you practice, you do not create unjust karma, but only create good relationships. Therefore, people are born in your family due to good conditions, so there is mutual respect and no fighting for material possessions. It can be affirmed that the morality of a lay person is to know how to respect others, tolerate each other, and to know how to demonstrate a virtuous life, an ethical life, and always set a good example for the children and grandchildren in your family. If you can do so, and build such an ethical model, it will be a good part of society, and that ethics will be replicated.
    Thus, if you do good deeds, the good deeds will multiply. Likewise, if you do evil, that evil will also multiply. If good deeds are multiplied, society will become a paradise on earth, or Ultimate Bliss in the Saha world. As for the evil heart, the widespread evil deeds, that is, the greed and selfishness of fighting from within the family to winning or losing among friends, in the village, spreading to society, turning society into hell on earth. Reality shows that a family lacking morality, or a society lacking morality, turns into hell on earth. In a family, or in society, if everyone loves and respects each other, that is heaven on earth.
    If you look closely, you will see that it is not the society or the family that is so poor that it becomes hell. But due to greed, ferocity, and conflict, it turns into hell. In life, you see families that are rich but do not know morality because their parents and grandparents only want to make a lot of profit, so they do not refuse any evil deeds to make them rich, or have power. But their ill-gotten assets are already hell for them. Indeed, rich people have no time to eat, rest, or live meaningfully, but they only have time to fulfill their ambitions, then that is the world of hell, the world of Asuras. exists in them.
    A truly virtuous family, although living conditions are not prosperous; But father and son, brothers understand each other, share with each other and live happily together. Therefore, although they are materially poor, their lives are very peaceful thanks to their morality. When Buddha was alive, he once met the owner of a herd of cows. He stopped eating and sleeping to run to find the cows. He only had a soulless body, so when he met Buddha, he asked him if he had seen his cows. In his mind, only cows reigned. The Buddha took pity on him and told the Bhikkhus that fortunately you did not lose any cows. In fact, he was very rich, but his greed and attachment were too heavy, so sooner or later his assets would be lost.
    Buddha taught that:
    - The person who pursues something is already suffering, but when he pursues to get something he also suffers. And when he loses, he suffers even more. Because if they don't get it yet, the desire will burn their hearts, but if they get it, they have to keep it tight, it's very painful.
    The land you are holding today has been owned by many people before you. And now that you have it in your hand, don't rush to be happy, because someone is standing behind you waiting to get it. Only with morality can you keep it. That means your real assets are created by living an ethical life, and then people consider it yours and protect it for you. A typical example in reality, like 10 years ago, there was a very young Buddhist who wanted to get married. At that time, he asked the temple to make the ceremony to prove that he could get married, but some people demanded this, and some people demanded that. When he came to Duoc Su Temple, I only needed two people to get married and two witnesses according to the documents. After the ceremony, he was very happy. Lately, I don't even remember what I helped anyone with. So one day he brought money to donate to build a temple and recalled the old story to express his gratitude.
    So you see, even though you have done the things, the gratitude is still in the heart of the recipient and your property is a blessing kept by the recipient. If you are in trouble, people who love you will help you get better. As for the blessings, they will find a way to divide the wealth, first, the government will nationalize it, and then it will be cut off by the people who work with you.
    Thanks to Mr. Anathapindika's blessings, his employees loved him and worked wholeheartedly, not only did not steal his assets but also benefited him, so his assets earned more income. Therefore, the more he gave alms, the richer he became. Although the amount of money he gave out was a lot, it was not as much as the amount he received. Because people value and work hard, the goods produced are of high quality and more people buy them.
    In short, lay people should maintain good health and do things to support themselves and their families in a legal way. Create wealth by doing honest, meaningful work, not being arrogant, not being selfish, but showing kindness to everyone. Share with the less fortunate and always learn from the example of virtuous people. Those are suitable materials to unite family members and build a peaceful life together. When your destiny in this world is fulfilled, wherever you are reborn, Bodhi's relatives will also be born there and will make a glorious career as before.
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