By Nhat Quan
Some people think that the state of tranquility is difficult to define. Because it has its own meaning for each individual, each heart, each situation, each house… Although each situation is different, it all has one thing in common that is confusing and sometimes even absurd.
For me, I see peace in every corner I go through and it's as simple as saying:
- Peace is when you feel lonely looking to a certain side where there is no one, but you know that there will be someone of your own, especially waiting for you there.
- Peace is sleeping for a long time, so that when you wake up feeling very light, then suddenly forget everything that has just happened. Forgetting is not because it is an unpleasant thing, but forgetting is because you need to clear your memory every day, to leave a space to wait for peace to come.
- Peace is when you do something good for someone you don't know, to see that you are still useful in life.
- Peace is when you care and take care of someone, and you feel like you are big and important, even if it's just giving someone a glass of cool water, or cooking someone a simple meal.
- Peace is when lying on the beach, watching the clear night sky, listening to the rushing waves, and just breathing in the smell of the sea, making life saltier.
- Peace is when you know there is still a small house and loved ones waiting for you to return.
  - And peace can come from you giving without expecting anything in return like when you participate in volunteer activities, helping those less fortunate than you. Maybe it's getting back, getting help from others when you're in trouble. But the most important thing is that you yourself bring peace to yourself.
There are many ways people feel about peace. In general, it is when everything is calm and peaceful when one's own interests are not infringed, and on the contrary, one does not infringe upon the interests of others. Or many people used to define it in a simpler way, Peace is:
- Spending a meaningful, hard-working day, carrying the basket home, eating, laughing, watching TV, reading, and sleeping...
To identify, what is not peaceful. It can be said that when you are the saddest, most disappointed, that's when you feel the least peaceful. Because it is the worries that make you sad, disappointed, tired, miserable, perfectionist... that makes peace in each limited heart. The void of the soul at that time was very small, there was no place to contain peace! So when you feel frustrated and sad with all that, you have to let it go, and then peace and joy will return to you. No matter how narrow the space, no matter how big your ego is as an ox-wheel, in the midst of the infinite and the finite, you will see yourself.
Life is variable, life is difficult, and that is something that cannot be changed. But the mind is immutable, the only thing you can train is still yourself. That's why I often talk with lovely employees, and listen to stories of honest and simple workers, I smile because life out there is not as difficult as I thought. There are still people who are not rich, not in position, and still live a happy and peaceful life. So:
- Don't look back with sad eyes.
For things that are not achieved, you will always think it is beautiful, precisely because you understand them too little, and you do not have time to live with it. But then one day when you understand deeply, you will discover that it is not as beautiful as you imagined. Therefore, one of the ways for you not to panic and worry about running away in a hurry to find peace is to set aside a small corner in your house so that every day you can sit quietly. Or just to look around, or just to follow an ant crawling, a small squirrel looking for food, or just to watch the river calm… All those little details will guide the way to peace with you.
This life is like a glass of water, full or empty just because you decide to find peace. So there are many definitions of peace, each individual is a life, and one person's life is not the same as another, so the peace in them is also different. The question is specifically how to live peacefully.
That's a big question and there are many different answers. Can you be at peace when someone let you down so much, all they cause can mess up your life? You feel discontent, like a drop of water overflows a glass and you want to throw it all away. You are angry, you want revenge, you want them to suffer, to be mad, to be humiliated, and to fail. You want everyone to turn their backs on them, you want them to know the pain you have to endure. They themselves, and no one else, have to endure a life of suffering and torment a thousand times more than they have caused...
But, in reality, the other is still living fully, satisfied, confident, cavalier, and defiant. Success is calling and still continues to use many tricks to succeed even more. It seems that your cursed, malicious thoughts toward them are all in vain. They are still there, roaming, laughing, triumphant, smug, defiant, and more importantly, they intentionally hurt you and have no intention of regretting it.
An indisputable fact, it is you who suffer the most, you get nothing, take revenge on them, curse them, pray for them to suffer.... all just make you tired, degenerate, lose yourself, blind, crazy, and do nothing!
Buddhism takes people as the root. Buddhism does not instill fear in people's hearts. Good brings good, and bad brings bad. Every behavior has its consequences, those are the laws of nature. Accordingly, people:
- Whatever you sow, you will reap.
All human suffering in this life is not caused by outside influence but by your own actions created in the present time or in past lives either near or far. There is no god that has the power to save you. Buddhists, according to the Buddha's teaching, have to light the torch on their own. Man must save himself. You believe that anyone can enjoy peaceful happiness if they practice an authentic lifestyle. In a tendency to find peace:
- Some people leave crowded villages for high mountains to find peace.
- Someone in a brown coat went into the deep forest to find peace.
- Some people travel the world to find peace...
But there is no peace in the high mountains, in the deep forests, in the noisy places of the world. So when asked where peace can be found, the Buddha replied:
- In the life of all sentient beings is the peaceful realm of Bodhisattvas
That's so. It turns out that the pure realm of the Bodhisattva is not far away. Only in the place of sentient beings. Only around you and within you. Those are sentient beings of all shapes and sizes, crippled, suffering, intertwined, and entwined with each other in the six realms of samsara. They fly and jump non-stop morning, noon, and night, life after life, struggling without peace. The bodhisattva only needs to guide those beings, and the pure realm will immediately appear. Don't have to search far.
But it's not easy. Resilient, stubborn, and stubborn beings in the Saha realm are difficult to subdue, and it is not easy to stay in a happy place. But it is also in this arduous Saha Realm that Bodhisattvas are needed, and vice versa, where Bodhisattvas perfect their own cultivation in the arduous Saha realm. Without sentient beings, the bodhisattva does not know what to use as an object of practice. So when a Bodhisattva accomplishes the practice of cultivating through sentient beings, sentient beings also become Bodhisattvas.
From this tendency, the Sutra says:
- Everything created by the mind is even more profound
If the mind is pure, life will be peaceful. No need to search far. Come back to rely on yourself. Buddha has advised so for a long time. But you keep struggling, looking for nowhere. Several thousand years ago, the disciple Subhuti, the Buddhist's First Emancipation of Emptiness, asked the question:
- How to stay focused?
How to restore the mind?
Buddha said very easy, very easy, just:
- Don't fix your mind anywhere!
But it's not easy not to stay. As a sentient being, when you stop dwelling on this thing, you stay on that, when you stop on this person, you cling to others, but you forget to stay in yourself. That is… to stay in your own nothingness. Indeed, to be tranquil you must abide in your own nothingness. Like:
- When Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practiced profoundly Prajnaparamita, he became enlightened and transformed all sufferings and afflictions elsewhere.
His mind became completely pure and thus the Buddha realm appeared! From there, you can see living beings from your eyes, look at living beings with eyes full of love and empathy, because everyone in that pure realm is available, just because you don't know, samsara, birth, and death, suffering forever
As a Buddhist, if you struggle to find peace with a sincere heart, you will surely find it. One of the most important things to have peace of mind is to accept and forgive, you must learn to forgive. Because you are not a saint to be willing to tolerate and forgive. Because in everyday life, sometimes even the person you love the most can hurt you. But forgiveness is a worthwhile thing to do, it not only brings relief to the soul but is also very beneficial to health. Don't ask why and don't wait for an apology from the person who hurt you.
As you know, good brings good, and bad brings bad. Every behavior has its consequences. Those are the laws of nature. Accordingly, what you sow, you will reap, so the Buddha taught:
- Well done, Ratnakara-bodhisattva or Jeweled-accumulation Bodhisattva! You asked the Tathagata for the sake of the Bodhisattvas about the pure land conduct. Listen, listen! Think carefully. I will preach for you:
All sentient beings are the Buddha's realm, the bodhisattva's peaceful land.
Because, according to the place where the bodhisattva teaches and transforms sentient beings, he keeps the Buddha realm. Depending on the place of subduing sentient beings, keep the Buddha land, the peaceful land. It depends on which realms sentient beings want to use to enter the Buddha's wisdom and keep the Buddha's land. It depends on which realms sentient beings want to use to generate the bodhisattva roots and keep the Buddha land.
Because Bodhisattvas keep the pure land because they want to benefit sentient beings. But if you want to build in the space, you can't. Bodhisattvas too, because they want to help sentient beings achieve their goals, so they vow to keep the Buddha realm. The vow to keep the Buddha realm should not build in the space.
Ratnakara-bodhisattva or Jeweled-accumulation Bodhisattva!!
- The bodhisattva depends on his upright heart (direction of mind) that starts to work.
- Depending on where you start to work, your heart will be firm (deep).
- Depending on the depth of the heart, the mind is subdued.
- Depending on the place to tame the mind, they can do according to the teaching.
- Depending on the place of work, according to the teaching theory, it is possible to dedicate.
- Depending on the place of return, there are means.
- Depending on the means that help sentient beings achieve.
- Depending on the place of achievement for sentient beings, the Buddha realm will be pure.
- Depending on the pure Buddha-land that preaches the pure Dharma.
- Depending on where the Dharma is preached is pure, and wisdom is purified.
- Depending on pure wisdom, the mind is purified.
- Depending on the purity of the mind, all merits are pure.
Ratnakara-bodhisattva or Jeweled-accumulation Bodhisattva! So, if you want to be in a pure land, make your mind pure. Depending on the purity of the mind, the Buddha's land will be pure.
And, if you want to be in a pure land, make your mind pure. Depending on the purity of the mind, you will find peace.
Thus, the peaceful mind is very simple, and anyone can do it. Please tell the public the story:
A Zen master and his disciple were walking through the forest, but the disciple kept feeling his mind was in turmoil. He asked the teacher:
- Teacher, why do our minds never rest and only very few people have quiet minds? What can we do to always have peace of mind?
The monk smiled, looked at his disciple, and said:
- I tell you a story about an elephant. The elephant was standing picking leaves from the tree calmly chewing on the leaves. Suddenly a small fly came and buzzed near the elephant's ear. The elephant flapped its ears to fan the fly away. But the fly flew away and then flew back, and the elephant chased away with his ears. The elephant began to be surprised and asked the fly:
- Why don't you rest and keep making noise? Can't you just stand still for a moment?
The fly replied:
- I am attracted to everything I hear, see, and smell. All five senses are inactive and unable to cope with the ever-changing transformations of everything around me. What's your secret? How can you always be so calm and quiet?
The elephant stopped eating and smiled:
- The five senses cannot dominate my attention. I know how to control my attention and can direct it wherever I want. This helps me focus on everything I do, and so I can be completely still. You see, I'm eating and I'm just focused on eating. This way, I can enjoy better food. I control my attention so that I am not distracted and dominated by my surroundings. This is my secret.
Hearing this, the disciple raised a voice, his eyes widening and a bright smile:
- I understood! My mind will never be still if I continue to let the world around me appeal to all five senses. I had to learn to control the five senses and to be selective about what to focus on and what not to focus on. Only then can my mind become calm.
Yes, son, replied the Zen master, the mind is always in motion and will go wherever it wants. If you control your attention, you will maintain your mind.
In short, surely, more than once in recent times, you have thought about wanting to be at peace. And of course, more than once in those thoughts, you don't know how to get peace.
Happiness, peace as well as suffering are real, and no one can deny them. But no one knows where they are located, inside or outside this body. The reason is that happiness, suffering, as well as peace, are characteristics of the mind. They belong to the mind like fragrant flowers, the weeds of the garden. If you have flowers and grass, you will know there is a garden. In the same way, there is happiness, there is suffering, there is peace, and you will know there is a mind. Mind is real but not in the three-dimensional world. Knowing that the mind is the largest in the world, the mind cannot be reduced to the three-dimensional world, but on the contrary, the three-dimensional world resides in the mind. The mind contains the whole universe. So when you are the master of the mind, then you are the master of peace.
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