• By Nhat Quan
    The motto of Buddhists when going to study is:
    Above pay the four heavy favors, below save the three paths of suffering.
    Helping the three sufferings are:
    - Hell, hungry ghosts, animals
    Following Buddhism teaches you about four important graces. These four graces are considered important principles and are the basic moral foundation of human beings. Through this ethical basis, it has the noble ability to awaken the Buddha's son to fully repay. Those four graces are:
    1. Parents' grace:
    Parents have graces for their children, those who become a parent will clearly see these deep graces:
    - An birth to be born: Being a mother must be for nine months of pregnancy, eating and drinking must be abstained and must be kept when walking, standing, sleeping, and resting during pregnancy. When giving birth knows how much danger there is, sometimes the mother has to lose her life. The father has to take care of the family and work hard, to take care of the mother and the children.
    - Nurturing: From birth to adulthood, parents have to work hard to raise their children, take care of their children, feed them, dress them warmly, and take care of their children's sleep. Parents always want their children to eat well and grow up quickly. Buy something, create something else always want to make the children happy.
    - The graces of taking care of medicine: When the child is sick, the parents must take care of and treat the child. So worried that I forgot to eat and sleep, in order to protect the health and life of the children.
    - Teaching grace: Parents must teach the children to smile, walk, eat, study, be polite and behave in life. Those things are to train children to take steady steps when they are young, and step into life when they grow up, earn a living for themselves, and do useful things for society.
    2. Gratitude of teachers and friends:
    In life, people often use the adage:
    - Without a teacher, it is impossible to become a good person.
    The teacher teaches the right things, and the friends give further instructions. These graces include:
    - Expanding knowledge: The teacher teaches you to read, write, be gentle, and be a human being. Know what you need to know, in order to make yourself a good person, useful to society.
    - Enlightenment of knowledge: Not only do teachers and friends teach you understanding, but good teachers and friends also teach you to comment and reason to make your understanding clear, accurate, and correct.
    - Encouragement: Thanks to the teacher and good friend who always encourages, you so that you are comforted when you are sad or happy, you boldly move forward and do good and right things for yourself and society.
    3. Grace of the nation and society:
    You live in a country, in the midst of human society, and your life is peaceful, full, and happy. That's because the country and society give you those things. Therefore, you have received the following blessings:
    - Security: The government of any country is concerned with security to protect the regime, but if it is for the sake of the people, it must take care of the people's peace of mind, so that the people will be warm, full, and happy.
    - Keeping the border intact, and preserving independence: Thanks to good leadership, it is important to preserve the nation, protect the territorial integrity of the sky, land, and sea, and preserve independence. Otherwise, if the territory is invaded by a foreign country, the country is colonized or dependent on a foreign country. When a country loses its independence, the people are dependent and no longer have enough comfort and happiness.
    4. Grace of the Three Jewels:
    For the Three Jewels of Buddha-Dharma-Sangha, Buddhists have the following heavy graces:
    - Buddha's favor: Because of the suffering of sentient beings, Prince Siddhartha went to find a way to free all those suffering bonds, Buddhists we must remember his virtue:
    * Abandoning the throne, family: He gave up the throne of his Crown Prince, and abandoned the golden palace, the jade palace. Leaving parents, wives, and children to find a way to free all suffering for sentient beings.
    * Six years of asceticism in the jungle: Prince Siddhartha went ascetic for six years with his group Kaundinya. This practice of fasting, enduring the cold in a lonely old forest.
    * Preaching, and teaching sentient beings: After giving up extreme asceticism, he meditated and attained Buddhahood, then taught the truth to sentient beings to practice to liberate samsara.
    * Grace of the Dharma Treasure: Thanks to the scriptures, today you know the teachings of Buddhism, so the Dharma Jewel has the following graces:
    * Directions to liberation: Thanks to the scriptures, you understand that life is temporary, suffer a lot. Dharma jewels show you the path to enlightenment, reaching Nirvana to free all bonds of suffering.
    * Teaching cultivation methods: Not only did the Buddha show you the suffering of life, in samsara, but the scriptures also record the methods of learning to be liberated.
    * Create peace for you, peace for the world: Buddha taught to avoid evil and do good, you must practice compassion and kindness to live together in society. Especially daily, hourly keep your mind peaceful. If everyone did the same, the world would be peaceful, everyone would live in peace.
    * The grace of the Sangha: The Sangha are those who have left their families to practice to liberate themselves and to take care of all sentient beings. So there are graces:
    * Maintaining the Dharma: The monks and nuns keep the precepts, practice compassion, practice joy and equanimity, and transmit the Buddha's teachings, which make the Buddha's teachings exist in the world. Thanks to that, you will know Buddhism, and know the method of cultivation and liberation.
    * Replacing the Buddha to save sentient beings: The Sangha are the messengers of the Tathagata, i.e. replacing the Buddha to guide sentient beings to study.
    * Transmission of Precepts: If you want to develop the mind to seek the way, you must take refuge in the Three Jewels, It was the Sangha who transmitted the Precepts on behalf of the Buddha and taught you the method of cultivation.
    For the above four graces, Buddhists must repay that deep grace as follows:
    1. How to show gratitude to parents:
    * Filial piety to parents: Always have to please parents. However, what is not good should be avoided.
    * Make your parents' reputation shine: When you were young, you had to study hard to have knowledge in the profession. When you have the knowledge, you will make useful contributions to Buddhism, cultural development, and social service. Such works also make parents proud as people of high authority. However, high positions of authority are sometimes just illusory, temporary names of life, you must be wise, and avoid competing for fame and profit.
    * Encourage parents: If your parents are still alive, they have not been imbued with Buddhism, you must find a way to guide them to go to the temple, recite the Buddha's name, do good, and avoid evil. When your parents have passed away, you must regularly do good deeds, dedicate merit, and pray for your parents to be soon born in a peaceful realm.
    2. How to repay the teacher and friend:
    * Diligently study hard: You always study hard, and the progress in learning makes the teacher and friends both happy.
    * Be respectful and polite: For your teacher and friends, you are always respectful, because the teacher is like your parents. In the old days, there was a saying: Studying with someone, even a single word, that person is also a teacher. Even half a word is your Master.
    * Practice the words of the master and friend: The teacher here is a respectable person, and the Friend here is a good friend, teaching you good and right things. Therefore, when doing something, you must do the right thing as the teacher and friend have taught.
    * The encouragement of teachers and friends: In general, you Buddhists must encourage those around you, to let them do good and avoid evil. Especially your life, words, and deeds must be able to inspire them, for them to follow, that is, you have contributed to the improvement of society, making it better.
    3. How to repay the nation and society:
    * Fulfill your civic duty: First of all, you must keep the law, contribute to the development of society, and protect the legitimate rights of the people. Promoting industry, business, and trade to make the country more and more prosperous.
    The first thing you need to do is closely follow government regulations and guidelines, by which you must:
    * Promoting national culture and traditions: Buddhists are also citizens and have the duty to promote your national culture. You must be proud of the cultural heritage left by your forefathers, which needs to be preserved and promoted.
    4. How to repay the Tam Bao:
    Of the four graces, the Three Jewels must be the most profound and the heaviest. You must repay this favor as follows:
    * The Grace of Buddha Treasure: Follow the Buddha's teachings, remember the Buddhas, often offer incense, flowers, worship, and make offerings to build pagodas and towers to worship Buddha. Make many people believe, and follow Buddhism.
    * The Grace of Dharma Treasure: Record the Buddha's teachings, regularly read the scriptures to expand wisdom, and disseminate the Buddha's teachings to everyone, so that more people know, believe, and follow the Buddha's teachings.
    - Grace of the Sangha: The monks and nuns are those who represent the Buddha to guide you in your studies, you have the duty to respect the monks and nuns and to make offerings to the monks about four things such as clothes, food, bed or sleeping place, medicine. Nowadays, people offer money and other things. It is also a way to help the monks have enough conditions to build temples, rooms, and lecture halls for Buddhists to have places to study.
    5. Donor's grace:
    In addition to the four heavy graces as I said, besides, the monastic disciple also has one more grace which is the benefactor's grace:
    Talking about the grace of donors is talking about the five groups of monastics because only the five groups of monastics need the donors' offerings. In the tendency to be grateful to the benefactor, you should try to understand the word donor. The word donor, also called enough is Buddhist believers and almsgivers. Thus, to be grateful to the benefactor is clearly only talking about the five groups of monastic communities of the Buddha.
    In order to focus exclusively on studying, it is an ancient tradition that the Buddha and the monks went out for alms in the morning, returned to the Tinh Xa at noon for lunch, and then sat in meditation and walked in meditation after the meal. Today, the way of life of monks and nuns is different from the Buddha's time in the world. That is, the monks and nuns do not go for alms, there are places to take care of themselves, but the donation regime remains unchanged. Therefore, all the expenses of daily life, of course, must depend on benefactors to make offerings. Because the only task of the Buddha entrusted to the monastic is to promote the Dharma to benefit sentient beings in the world. The only task that the Buddha entrusts to lay followers is to uphold the Dharma of the Tathagata through the development of the mind to make offerings to the Three Jewels. In other words:
    - Those who left home to promote the Dharma,
    The householder is the protector of the Dharma offering
    Although there is a difference in the duties of the monks and the lay disciples, the two groups have to shoulder, but the same purpose is to promote the Dharma to practice the path of liberation together.
    Thanks to lay Buddhists to help the monastic life, to make the monastic have a stable life and peace of mind to practice the religion or spread the Dharma. So monks and nuns are naturally grateful to the lay Buddhists. There is a grace that must be repaid, so the venerable monks often advise monks and nuns to remember the benefactor.
    Thus, as a Buddhist monk, whether focusing on self-benefit or benefiting others, their life must be supported by lay people. Otherwise, it is difficult to avoid worrying about the life behind and affecting the results of cultivation.
    In the process of cultivation, in order for the mind to progress and the way to flourish, the body must be at peace and the mind must be pure. If you worry about life all day, you won't be able to improve your career path, and you may even lose your cultivated direction. So, self-cultivators must also have enough to eat and clothe, and those who preach the Dharma cannot be without clothes or hungry for food. Therefore, the task of being a Dharma preacher is extremely difficult, in addition to bringing the teachings of the Buddha to spread to sentient beings to understand, to make sentient beings believe in the Buddhadharma, and to follow the righteous Dharma practice study. At the same time, in addition to teaching the Dharma, monks, and nuns must continue to study the teachings, where they do not understand, they must understand, where they understand, and then propagate to sentient beings. That's why monks and nuns don't have time to worry about material life. If you still have to worry about your material life, you won't be able to go everywhere to propagate the Buddhadharma, you won't have time to study the teachings, and you won't be able to add more effort to your own practice.
    Therefore, a person who has left home to study Buddhism, regardless of whether it is for self-benefit or for others, wants to not have to worry about life, must have benefactors who make offerings. Thanks to the generosity of the donors, it is possible to achieve the path of monasticism or the vow to save sentient beings. Thus, the benefactor's grace towards the monastic is very great. But here it is necessary to be clear. Donors who make offerings to the Sangha must have a very pure mind that cannot be mixed with any additional motives in order to really have great merit. If not, then even if you make an effort to make offerings to monks and nuns, the merit will not be much, not even any merit.
    Among today's donors, there is no shortage of people who sincerely and earnestly make offerings to the Three Jewels, and those who are not pure givers, even with secondary motives, are not absent. There are people who borrow the name to protect the Three Jewels, but actually take advantage of the Three Jewels to pursue personal gain. So monks and nuns have to be very careful in receiving offerings.
    The benefactor has a heart to make offerings to the Sangha, which has great grace, but the heart must be righteous. Otherwise, it is no longer the right Dharma, or there are other side effects, so it is even further away from the Buddhadharma.
    Based on what I said above, you can understand that monastics must reflect on the grace of benefactors, which is an obvious fact, not to be doubted. So benefactors make offerings to the Sangha, should also be pure and clear, stand firm on the stance of protecting the Triple Gem, and absolutely must not have other intentions; or let other auxiliary engines interfere. In this way, if the person who propagates the Dharma is responsible for the person who propagates the Dharma, and the person who maintains it is responsible for the person who maintains it, then the Buddhadharma will certainly flourish.
    In the inclination to be grateful to the benefactor, every day when they receive a meal, the monks often make their vows:
    - This body wears a simple shirt but often thinks of the hardships of the weaver. Eating three meals a day always remembers the hardships of the farmer.
    The meaning of that verse is to remind the monastic to always remember the merits of the benefactor. Because of the reason I said, all the things that the monastics have not acquired by themselves. The simple clothes worn on the body are due to the hard work of the weaver day and night. The meager bowl of rice is thanks to the hard work of the farmer who has to sell his face to the land and his back to heaven. For medicines, beds, books, ink, needles, threads, etc., which are brought about by sweat, tears, and bitter hardships of many people.
    The monastic daily enjoys enough food and drink, but sometimes there are people who ask for more or are not satisfied. While the benefactor had to drizzle in the sun, rain, storm, and flood for a lifetime, many times they did not have enough to eat, but they still took a small portion of the family's meal to make offerings. You don't weave clothes but still have clothes to wear, but you don't know how to appreciate, don't know how to cherish. While the weavers have to work day and night, sometimes they still don't have enough clothes to wear, still not warm enough. When you are sick, someone gives you valuable medicine, hoping to cure your illness and be healthy enough to practice. While they do not have enough money to buy medicine or even enough money to cure diseases. Each of you has a bed, sometimes with a warm mattress to cover, and live in a fully-equipped monastery, while some benefactors have to lie on the ground, on a bamboo cot, and live in a rotting thatched roof. Take the hard work of people to serve your well-being, then you must cultivate hard worth their effort for you! Therefore, for the merits of the benefactor, the Buddha's ordained disciple cannot be forgotten.
    The donor, because he wants to cultivate the root of happiness, and wants to escape the sea of samsara's suffering, should abstain from the family's food and drink and bring food to offer to the Three Jewels. Thanks to that donation, monastics do not have to be busy worrying about food and clothing to have time to focus on studying and practicing. In order to protect, preserve, and promote the truth of the Buddha, to help the Buddha Dharma flourish and spread everywhere so that the righteous Dharma does not decline but lasts forever in this world.
    Therefore, the material support of the Donor has made a great contribution to the cause of protecting and preserving the Buddha Dharma house. Monks and nuns have enough means to practice and study; understanding, that altruism is well promoted, will contribute to dispelting hatred for the world. The cool and pure compassionate water will be the material to dispel souls full of crazy ambitions. Therefore, the donation of the benefactor has great significance in the life of monks and nuns in particular and in the longevity of the Three Jewels in general.
    For donors, making offerings to monks and nuns with material conditions for peace of mind to practice and study, the benefactor will receive great blessings because the Three Jewels are a field of merit for sentient beings because in that place sentient beings sow one and enjoy hundred thousand times. For example, out of compassion for giving to someone when they have lost their way or when they are hungry, the reward is very little, not equal to making offerings to the monastic. Because monastics live a virtuous life, being a shining example for everyone, following and practicing in the hope of achieving enlightenment to bring happiness to sentient beings, making sentient beings gain many benefits.
    In the Sutra of the Forty-two Chapters or Dvachatvarimshat-khanda-Sutra, the section on Generosity, Chapter XI, the Buddha taught that:
    - Feeding a hundred evil people is not equal to feeding one good person;
    - Feeding a thousand good people is not as good as feeding one person upholding the five precepts,
    - Feeding 10,000 people who observe the five precepts is not as good as offering food to a Srotapanna or Stream-enterer;
    - Offering 1,000,000 Srotapanna or Stream-enterers to eat, is not as good as giving food to a Sakrdagamin;
    - Offering for 10,000,000 Sakrdagamin to eat; not equal to making offerings to an Anagami or Never-returner,
    - Offering to feed 100,000,000 Anagami or Never-returners, is not as good as giving food to an Arahant
    - Offering ten million (1,000,000) Arhats to eat is not as good as making offerings to Pratyeka-buddha.
    - Making offerings to a hundred billion (10,000,000) Pratyekabuddhas is not equal to making offerings to one of the Three Worlds Buddhas;
    - Offering food for a thousand billion (100,000,000) of the Three Worlds Buddhas is not equal to making an offering to an Acinta or Free from thought, Arapshthita or Non-abiding, The ultimate realm of non-cultivation and non-realization.
    The Buddha said this to show that making offerings to a monastic is immeasurable merit and virtue, but especially for true practitioners who are virtuous, virtuous, and have the mind to attain meditation. Because it is a real field of merit for sentient beings. If there is a person fortunate enough to make offerings to the Buddha while he is still alive, his blessings will be immeasurable, boundless, and indescribable. I say this not to advise donors to choose whom to make offerings to, but to show you that there is a difference in the merits of offerings.
    The offering of the Three Jewels has great merit for the benefactor. In the present life, they practice kusala dhamma correctly, eliminating the mind of miserliness, so the mind gradually becomes peaceful. In the future, it is a good cause to get rid of poverty. That is the basic conduct in the conduct so that one day you can step up to Perfect Enlightenment, get rid of the cycle of birth and death, and become a blessing for sentient beings. In the following verse, the Buddha said to Billionaire Anathapindika when he offered the Jetavana Vihara to the Sangha:
    - Practicing the Buddha's Dharma is a true field of merit,
    It is not wrong to sow good seeds and reap the fruits of liberation.
    The example of the practice is passed down to thousands of generations
    In the three worlds full of suffering, arising, and passing away.
    The benefactor's grace to the monks and nuns is very great, but here it is also to be noted, that not all of the benefactor's offerings have the same merit, but it is different. Blessing depends on the use of the mind when making offerings to the benefactor. Using that mind is very important for you to know how much or how little the blessings are received, Anasrava or Non-outflow or Asrava or Outflow discharge. The majority of donors bring food to offer just for the sake of family peace, career success, luck in trading, etc. Thus, the merits and demerits appear according to the mind, but that's only blessed Asrava or Outflow discharge, but anything Asrava or Outflow discharge cannot last long. Because the desire mind is still a selfish, greedy mind, but when greed and selfishness are present, suffering will appear. One day, when you enjoy the Asrava or Outflow discharge, you will have to fall into the cycle of birth and death.
    There are people who make a lot of offerings, but in their hearts, there is a hidden pride and arrogance that grows bigger and bigger without knowing how to get rid of it, the merit will be gradually lost. As long as there are unwholesome things in the mind, the merit has been damaged, let alone showing off the donation more or less for others to praise and respect. Some people make very generous donations but want the monastics to comply with their wishes. Sometimes when they are not satisfied, they turn to speak ill of the monastic, weakening Buddhism. Thus, the blessing is still enjoyed, but the sin and retribution later must be endured.
    So how can offerings be of great benefit?
    Donors bring food offerings with the mind of respecting the Three Jewels, and protecting the Three Jewels so that monks and nuns have enough conditions to practice and teach sentient beings to return to the right path, increasing human morality. So that people can live better with each other in this confusing world. Furthermore, monastics not only have food and clothing to eat but also many things to do:
    - Which is to promote Buddha's teaching, develop foundations, translate sutras, do social charity work, organize study for monks, nuns, and the Buddhist community, etc. Therefore, monks need a lot of help. Only with the support of Buddhists in particular and donors in general can great things be accomplished. As long as the benefactor has that thought in his mind when he is born, he will often hear the Dharma, be close to the Three Jewels to practice, and have good deeds to become a saint in the future. This heart of joy and altruism can help donors take wings and fly out of the three worlds.
    In short, there are many important graces that people receive, but in general, there are only four important graces. But for monastics, they must always remember the 5 heavy graces. Be grateful and remember the kindness of the benefactor who donated the resources. Because every inch of cloth, and every grain of rice is as important as a mountain, filled with the sweat and tears of donors. Through hardships, worries, and hardships year after month, find clothes, food, and food to bring as offerings to monks and nuns. Sometimes they have to create bad karma that leads to loss of blessings, and their mind becomes even more blurred because they are constantly jostling in the ups and downs of life. When they bring food offerings, they open both hands with fervent reverence. Therefore, monastics must know how to cherish their food offerings, and respect and love them. Because they are also human beings who suffer as much as many of your relatives. Monastics must have an egalitarian mind, should not discriminate between rich or poor, and should not criticize excellent or bad or more or less, causing them to hear it and give rise to sorrow, reducing their faith in the Buddha Dharma. You must skillfully use your understanding to guide donors to practice according to the Noble Eightfold path and know how to dedicate the merit of offerings to the state of unsurpassed enlightenment, without hoping for blessings in the heavens and human realms. Therefore, every monastic person needs to be grateful and find every way to repay the benefactors, otherwise, you are not worthy of being a true Buddhist.
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