• By Nhat Quan
    Once you have taken refuge in the Three Jewels, you are considered a Buddhist, but being considered a disciple of the Buddha right means wherever you go brings happiness, otherwise you are not a disciple of the Buddha, but a person with bad karma. People with bad karma will bring suffering wherever they go. Study Buddhism, and practice Buddhism, you need to remember that.
    So, if you want to be a true Buddhist, you must diligently demonstrate through your style of practice, especially the application of the spirit of practice in life. It can be affirmed that the most important mental pressure is in religious life. However, if you are mentally pressured by magic power, mentally weak people cannot overcome it. Those pressures are:
    - You are afraid of difficulties,
    - You are afraid of suffering,
    - You are afraid of karma,
    - You are afraid of illness,
    - You are afraid of a life of deprivation,
    In general, when you are afraid of all kinds of things like that, of course, that psychological confusion and fear strongly affect your spiritual life. Thus, when your material and spiritual life is stable, you can rest assured that you will practice to overcome it. That means from ordinary life to extraordinary, from ordinary life to the stage of Sainthood. If you do not achieve such results in your life of study, it is a waste of your life as a human being, I am afraid that in the future you will no longer have the opportunity to be a human being.
    That's why the Buddha expected his disciples to strive to overcome the obstacles of karma and become a true disciples of the Buddha. A true Buddhist disciple is:
    - The body is not sick,
    - The mind is not troubled,
    Cut off the dust and eliminate karma, then you can replace Buddha to benefit sentient beings in this world.
    The first thing is how to not get sick, Buddha taught you this. Not being sick means being able to regulate your body karma, this is very important. When talking about personal karma, you have to talk more about past karma. Even though you have the causes and conditions to be a disciple of Buddha, but in your previous life you made mistakes, so in this life wearing the body of the seven elements represents your past karma.
    Indeed, the Venerable Ones, through their practice experience, through enlightenment, saw that they had made mistakes in their past lives, so they truly repented of their sins. The root of sin is that the body is often sick and the mind is easily sad. Therefore, reality shows that many people are very healthy, but many people are constantly sick, that is bad karma, so the Venerable Virtues advise you to bow to the Names of Buddhas to repent. By practicing this method consistently, your negative karma will gradually disappear, your health will improve, and you will be able to progress in practice.
    If karma is illness karma, then your body will become weak and degenerate. But there are people who do not believe in Buddha's teachings, do not believe in karma, and think that it is because they lack this or that substance. But I personally think you lack blessings and virtue. If you lack merit and virtue, you must diligently practice the conduct of monks and nuns according to Buddha's teachings. You must try to create merit. The essence of practice is like that.
    Some people think that if you lack any substance, you should find that substance to supplement it for a healthy body, but the more you supplement, the more diseases arise and eventually, you die prematurely, or you give up practicing. This is the experience of the Venerable Ones that tells you this.
    As a disciple of Buddha, to practice you must erase previous karma, not create new karma, and gradually overcome your body's karma, then your body will not be sick, not demanding, that is the basic thing you must practice to progress in practice.
    If you want to overcome your karma, you must seriously practice what the Buddha taught. Some people think that if you want a healthy body, you have to eat this and that food, or after tiring days and hours of work, you have to have time to entertain, go out, and spend money. But actually, spending money on entertainment is an opportunity for you to easily create karma. According to the advice of the venerable monks, you should practice chanting sutras, reciting Buddha's name, or meditating, first to erase karma from previous lives, and second to increase good conditions to make it easier to practice. Because you are a worldly person, you are still stuck in greed, anger, and ignorance. Talking about greed, you often get stuck:
    - Greedily,
    - Greedy for sleep,
    - Greed for fame, profit, and beauty.
    Those are the five types of desire that the Buddha always reminded his disciples to eliminate. As a true disciple of Buddha, how can you overcome these five desires to become a true disciple? If you are stuck in one or five of these desires, you are not a Buddha disciple. Even if you wear a gray robe or brag about how many years you have practiced or been a vegetarian for many years, it will not work.
    If you want to know whether you have overcome the five desires, when facing the situation you will realize whether you still like it or not. If you can eliminate this greed, your blessings will be extremely great, that is, you won't seek food, and you won't hoard food, but there will always be plenty of food. By eliminating the nature of greed, blessings are born, that is how you use blessings to create blessings, you become a Buddha disciple with a true field of blessings.
    Actually, every time I see older Buddhists offering the Three Jewels, with trembling hands holding money and giving it to the Master, I feel extremely sorry for them. I think that for those who have the heart to seek, blessings will surely come, but If you create karma, there will be retribution. It's not wrong. Having blessings is the blessed field of Buddha's disciples, wherever you go brings happiness. The karma of Buddha's disciples is that wherever you go, you will bring suffering. Study Buddhism, and practice Buddhism, you need to remember that.
    Venerable monks teach that if you want to achieve the dharma in terms of practice and study, your heart must be free from desire and sadness, in order to practice the Four Right Efforts, which are fundamental. Some people think that if they practice Mahayana, they don't need these methods. You think that is wrong.
    Practice Catvari-Samyakprahanani to purify your actions, and transform your inner self, thereby knowing whether you have entered the Holy world or not, or are still in the six paths of samsara to practice. Remember, your main goal is to strive to overcome the six paths of birth and death, so you can cut off the cycle of birth and death. Anything associated with the cycle of birth and death, you should not do or get involved with.
    For me, on the path of practice, I practice living in a society without being controlled by society, living in the six paths of life and death without being influenced by the six paths of life and death, which means you have a truly independent life not influenced by society and the six paths of life and death. If you are still stuck in the six paths, still stuck in life and death, you cannot see the principles taught by the Buddha. When you go beyond birth and death, beyond the six paths, you clearly see that your thoughts and daily life are in accordance with the Dharma, called Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
    The Noble Eightfold Path is the psychological life, thoughts, and actions of Buddhist disciples, whether monastic or lay, whether practicing Mahayana or Theravada, they cannot abandon the Noble Eightfold Path. If a Buddhist disciple can practice these eight things, no matter what method you practice, you will not be stuck in the cycle of birth and death and will complete stage one.
    In the past, the venerable monks often reminded me that the previous teachers should try to help the younger generation of the following teachers to practice well. If you do not make an effort to practice, your juniors will not have the right direction to practice. Indeed, if you go first and make mistakes, it will be extremely difficult for those who follow you to practice. On the path of spirituality, there are obstacles, challenges, and difficulties, it is a measure of the human heart, the will helps you go up, while if you encounter difficulties and you falter, your religion must go down.
    Those who go first succeed, those who come after will surely follow easily. Thanks to those who came before them diligently cultivating and studying, those who come later can move forward. Borrowing this teaching today, I would like to encourage Buddhists that:
    - The Medicine Su Pagoda's ashram is old, but your Ten Thousand Buddhas Medicine Su Pagoda's ashram is still very new. Buddhists should practice diligently to set an example for those new to the temple. Buddhists who visit the Temple from time to time are not counted, but I see many very experienced people go out and say I work at this and that temple, but they never know about the Temple's work. After returning to the temple for formality, you quickly run away, without any concern for the prosperity or decline of the place where you are studying.
    You should keep this important idea in mind. If you diligently commit to practice, your success in the path of training will help the subsequent class progress smoothly. If you are indifferent in practice, it is a sign of organizational decline and failure.
    I hope Buddhists in general, and those in the secretariat in particular, see your important role in the organization and strive to overcome difficulties. The more difficult it is, the more courageous you will be to overcome it to achieve the goal of a Buddhist disciple.
    In the direction of practicing to be a true Buddhist, at Duoc Su Temple we often recite the Medicine Buddha Sutra. Some people say that the Medicine Buddha Sutra or the Mahayana Sutra is not from Buddha, so only practicing according to Theravada Sutra is from Buddha. This is a misconception.
    Actually, from Theravada sutras to Mahayana sutras, or from Theravada sutras to Vajrayana, is the development process of Buddhism. Previous people recognized this principle and applied it with good results on their spiritual path. Thanks to that, some countries following the Mahayana spirit have developed Mahayana Buddhism very strongly.
    I think that whatever method is suitable for you, just follow that method and practice. For me, to study the Dharma, I learned from the Nikaya, the Suddharma-Pundarika Sutra, the Parinirvana Sutra, and many other sutras, but I chose the Medicine Buddha Sutra as my main practice. Because this sutra is suitable for me, has a predestined relationship with me and I have applied it and reaped many good results. Even though I specialize in practicing according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, I still apply it to Theravada teachings or Vajrayana.
    You should not imitate some monks and nuns by taking their own stance and looking down on other practices. Nowadays, it can be said that you have erased the distinction between methods of practice. Theravada Buddhism, Vajrayana, and Mahayana are all united. You look at each other as fellow practitioners, looking at the dharmas as many aspects left by the Buddha to help people cultivate knowledge and virtue.
    According to you, you chant the Medicine Buddha Sutra, what do you think? I think this sutra has been used effectively by countries following Mahayana Buddhism, so you can see that result and apply it to your life for benefit. And when I compare this sutra with the Theravada Sutra, I find it similar, not different.
    Indeed, practicing the Buddha's Dharma, you see that all dharmas are a unified whole, but because of the dust, different karma, and different circumstances, you see it differently.
    Buddhists of Duoc Su Temple and Ten Thousand Medicine Buddha Temple practice the Medicine Buddha Sutra according to the traditions of Mahayana Buddhist countries, which they have used effectively. Chanting the Medicine Buddha Sutra, comparing this sutra with the Theravada Sutra, and comparing the Medicine Buddha with Shakyamuni Buddha, I see that all Buddhas are the same, all see things the same, but they use means according to their country, levels, depending on each period, applied differently.
    I experienced that the first time I learned and understood the Medicine Buddha Sutra were the 12 vows of the Medicine Buddha. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara also has 12 vows, and Bodhisattva Samantabhadra has 10 vows.
    The 12 vows of the Medicine Buddha are his vows and actions that do not contradict the Original Sutras. And if you don't have the mind and conduct like Medicine Master, Avalokiteshvara, or Samantabhadra, certainly no one will follow you.
    Shakyamuni Buddha said that Medicine Buddha made 12 vows, these 12 vows are suitable for the society you live in, and Medicine Buddha's practice is similar to Shakyamuni Buddha's practice. For example, in the first Vow, Medicine Buddha vows:
    - His halo shines throughout the boundless worlds, allowing sentient beings to see this ray of light, pure in body and mind, with all saintly features, diligently cultivating the Six Paramitas, leaving the sea of worldly suffering, entering Nirvana.
    The Medicine Buddha's vow is like that, and such a goal is not contrary to your life. But because you are covered by ignorance, your limited vision leads to your actions being wrong, and your existence is not accepted by others. However, those who practice the Bodhisattva path can easily recognize this idea.
    Buddha's aura represents wisdom. You also want to do good things, but because your intelligence is limited, you must strive to grow your wisdom so that your view is clear, you see completely correctly, which is called seeing as it really is, then you will be radiant. Wherever you go, you use your intelligence to get there. At that time, sentient beings will listen to your instructions, making their bodies and minds pure. On the contrary, people who hold tightly to the Dharma, listen to that Dharma teaching, and then criticize or look down on it, are those who break the Dharma.
    Therefore, purity of body and mind is the core of Buddhism. Therefore, practicing according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, you must first keep your body and mind pure, then help others to also have pure body and mind. And next, make them all the characteristics of saints, meaning people who benefit society.
    Buddha is a great teacher who is completely liberated and pure and He teaches you and transforms you into good people and saints, the types of people that every society needs.
    In short, as a true Buddhist disciple, you must soon realize that your role is to save yourself and others. And remember, Buddhism does not train harmful disciples. Buddhism only trains good people and saints, who are responsible for diligently practicing the Bodhisattva path. Mainly you do good for life, so that you yourself leave the ocean of worldly suffering, and you also bring sentient beings to Nirvana.
    I hope that you will soon be aware of accepting part of the responsibility with the monks and nuns to have a clear view of the Buddha's teachings, through the historical lineage of the Patriarchs, only then will you be able to make the Buddha Dharma more and more effective, more prosperous.
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