By Nhat Quan
Many Buddhists claim to know the Buddhadharma, but if you only understand the Buddhadharma very clearly, without its application in daily life, you cannot be called a receiver, or enjoy the value of the core of Buddhism.
Indeed, even if you pay attention to study and learn many cultivation methods, but do not practice diligently, and do not definitively put down the practice, your understanding is only understanding, on one level number, or a piece of knowledge. The ancients used to teach:
- Talk less do More.
That means less theory but more practice. Therefore, Buddhists should pay more attention to the practice part. Practicing hard work is a blessing for yourself, not for anyone else. You should not wait, or rely on a single teacher. Like some of you often brag:
- I have heard this teacher teach the Dharma... very good
- I once met that famous teacher...
This teacher preaches well, that teacher is famous, that's his business, but if you don't practice, you won't get anything, just like someone counting money for a bank. Maybe while working, count 4, to 5 hundred thousand in a day, but after working hours, that money is the bank's money, not your money. So right now, the most important thing is for each of you to apply spiritual practice. The ancients taught:
- Follow your finger to see the moon, but when you see the moon, forget the finger.
Through the above teaching, you clearly see, understand deeply, or study a lot, without paying attention to the practice part, the practice part, you do not expect to have a successful day. The precious Buddha Dharma is in the most specialized practice, you are really interested in studying Buddhism. You hold the key, know how to open the door can open the door to the treasure. If you are qualified to open the door to the treasure but keep walking around outside and have not yet opened the door to the treasure to use the property, you will still suffer a life of wandering hungry, and miserable.
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, sages, and knowledgeable friends all have to go through very profound stages of practice, to reach their destination, so they are at peace. What they teach you is from that experience. Buddhists do not only focus on theory but practice, so they are called Practitioners. You can only live based on what you practice, rather than searching and searching around outside. You say you study, you say you apply the Buddhadharma in your daily life, but if you can't cure your afflictions, you can't stop dreaming, and the confusion in your mind has not been erased, you can't call it a Buddhist practice. Because the greed and delusions have not been erased when encountering obstacles, the habit of greed, anger, afflictions, jealousy, envy... arises intensely, and then you blame the Dharma for not being effective. So you as a child of Buddha must be concerned with your practice.
Although the Buddhadharma is like a vast ocean, the Buddha's words only have the key points, showing you what is delusion, giving you enlightenment, helping you understand the Way, and letting you uproot ignorance, and sorrow. As you can see how thick the Lotus Sutra is, but the whole meaning is encapsulated in one sentence:
- Opening and showing sentient beings the knowledge of the Buddha.
Although the Buddha taught many methods of cultivation, those who receive and practice correctly, experience or live with the Buddhadharma, that person will definitely have peace. You don't have to practice all of the teachings the Buddha said or the scriptures you've studied. You only need to practice a part of it, and you will already have peace. Sometimes you learn a lot and understand a lot, but there is no practice part, and only presenting according to the view more and more confusing the mind. Because that is the growth of understanding, but the growth of understanding cannot be settled, will fall into the situation:
- Talk a lot but don't do much
You just need to understand the things that are necessary, main, and suitable for your ability, then you can apply them to practice. If you grasp that method, you will definitely be enlightened and liberated. The ancients taught:
- Buddhism is not much.
Very good, because if the Buddhadharma is a lot, you won't practice it all. You only practice what is suitable for you, the rest is just understandable. For example, examine yourself, you are often impatient, remember the Buddha's teaching to meditate on compassion and treat temper tantrums, then aim straight at that method and practice until you get there. Only then can you cure your temper.
Studying the Buddhadharma is to change bad into good, to cure your diseases, your bad habits, not to show off, I study with this teacher, that teacher, or this tradition, that tradition... You study Buddha Dharma to treat diseases from many lives, many lives of you, so the time of treatment cannot be quick. Because you are confused, you are swept away by the waterfall of birth and death. The bad habits, the habits, the greed, hatred, and afflictions are deeply rooted, if you do not persevere in your practice, it is difficult to expect them to end. Knowing that now you immediately target your disease and treat it. Just grasp the main part, the part that really suits you, and be determined to practice.
The purpose of studying Buddhism is to understand, to apply treatment to yourself. The brothers and sisters are fellow initiates and classmates who share the same ideals, tendencies, and predestined conditions as you. For these people, you should support and encourage them to practice together. Actually, it is said that you practice together, and study together, but really the practice is for yourself, not for anyone.
People with a long-lasting cultivation mind, as well as people with the will to practice the Buddhadharma to their destination, are not uncommon, but very rare. You yourself too, happy in the morning, sad in the afternoon, excited in the morning, and want to give up at noon, something like that. That means you have an inconsistency. Because of the inconsistency, the practice part is there, but the determination to persevere and practice until the end is very few people can.
The patriarchs of the past practiced well, enlightened to their own work, today you are also enlightened and enlightened to your work. Because of that spirit of enlightenment, transcendence is not reserved for anyone. It is the result for those of you who have a strong and determined cultivation mind in your practice. Therefore, a cultivator must have the will, perseverance, and determination to practice until he succeeds.
When the mind is cultivated and diligently maintained, there is no difficulty, no obstacle to stop your steps. The initial cultivation mind is the mind of enlightenment, the mind that seeks to become a Buddha. If you cultivate, if you have generated that mind and nurtured it continuously throughout your practice, you will definitely succeed. Buddhists should remember, must strive to vow to practice as long as the Buddha is satisfied with themselves, unchanged, not because of a predestined condition to hinder the practice at all. If all of you develop the mind to practice, develop the mind to study the Way, and keep your original mind, then the number of people who become Buddhas is very large.
If you practice a lot, you will see the profound and wonderful place of the Buddhadharma. Only when you can see the wonderful place of the Buddhadharma will you develop a godly mind towards it? Cultivation is voluntary, not obligatory. You develop your mind to learn, come to the Way, and study the Way. In real life, if you talk about fame, many Buddhists already have fame, but obviously, it doesn't really bring peace, so you turn to the Way. When entering the religion, knowing the value of the Way, you are determined to practice. Although there are obstacles in the way of studying and practicing but feeling the value of the Way, you are determined to practice step by step, and one day you will also achieve your aspiration. So:
- What are your aspirations?
Can you achieve it?
The answer is yes.
But first, you have to know what your aspirations are, then use the knowledge you have learned from the Buddha Dharma and apply it to your daily life. Someone said:
- Ethics say liberation but life is collision, affliction, wandering... Two opposite paths, how to apply?
The spirit of your study is to apply to life. Indeed, life has distractions, so there is room for you to apply morality. It is this contradiction that helps you achieve morality in life. If there is no life, how do you know morality is good or bad? Cultivators must be clever and apply well, then the benefits of morality are within reach because morality is something that you can grasp, reach, and live with. And because of that, you can be at peace, liberated.
Before you had the virtues, they have accomplished, the most obvious example is Prince Siddhartha. Today, on the way you go, with a map, with clear instructions from those who have gone before, you will definitely succeed if you practice diligently. But, if there is no long-term mind, no will, it is difficult to hope to achieve. Even though you understand the Way, you don't have the spirit of practice, don't have a lasting mind, don't have the will, just practice the spring and autumn two periods, take one step forward and take three steps back, you won't get anywhere. So being here requires you to have the will. There is a will to do whatever you want to get there. If you encounter difficulties, you give up, if you meet obstacles, you become discouraged, you will not go anywhere.
Remember, while studying the Way, seeing the profound and special place of the Dharma, you should rest assured to practice, nurture and develop your will. Must be resilient, must be durable, must be strong. If you can't do it now, then another time. If you can't do it this year, next year… And so on until you can. You don't give up, don't get discouraged, but be determined to make it happen. For those who have the effort to practice, then anything can be achieved. You overcome an affliction, and cure a bad of yourself is to take a step in the practice, in your heart there is joy and excitement. That joy will be the momentum, an opportunity for you to step forward. That joy will gradually fill and shine in your heart.
People who practice Buddhism, if they are not confident, have no joy, will not reach their destination. Those joys do not come from outside but flow from your practice, not from being good at theory. For example, when you don't know the Way, anyone who says anything that touches you is easy to get angry, and sometimes when you hear that you are discontented and don't want to practice anymore. Suppose you also practice, but you are tired, have no morale, and can't make progress. Small defilements like that creep into your heart, you can't deal with it, it will grow. It develops in your daily life, in your daily approaches. The more it develops, the more you don't want to practice anymore, eventually your mind to learn is no longer there, so you quit.
Indeed, if you do not have a cure for it, the minor afflictions will develop and from there you will no longer have the power to progress on the path. The mind is still dull, hazy, dark, sad, not completely sad, but listening to the troubles in the heart, very lazy. If you are not determined to practice, this kind of affliction is like an incurable disease that can't be fixed. So if you are not wise, and not determined to practice, it will be difficult to practice until you reach your destination. You have to be intense, you will be happy and progress.
In daily life, if you lack control, lack of positivity, you will become a kind of bad-tempered person. The way you can't achieve, but you can't finish it in real life, and you won't get anywhere. As a result, the practitioner must be active. Because this is voluntary, spontaneous, no one is forcing you, you have to do your job, don't wait for anyone. No matter how much you wait for a teacher or a teacher to witness the path, in the end, you yourself have to practice to attain the Way, but outsiders can't do it. Like now you have a teacher, if there is a teacher who has attained the Way and teaches you to practice but you don't try to practice according to his teachings, just let the outside world creep in and disrupt the purity of your mind, then even if the teacher can How long he's been here, he can't fix it as much as he wants. The teacher has attained the Way, but it is difficult for the disciples to not practice. Because that's your job, the teacher loves to teach you how to practice in detail, but you practice, not the teacher practice for you. Therefore, determination or perseverance is to cure the disease of dependence, hope, and waiting. With that in mind, all of you must try to overcome the practice. Each of you is a practitioner in your practice, after leaving the ashram, coming home, and immersing yourself in everyday life, you must benefit from the Buddhadharma.
You are a student of the Way, you must know your mind to learn the Way, know the Buddhism you are studying, and know the destination of your practice. Know well so that you are the master of yourself, the master of your own growth. Therefore, Buddhist practitioners must have the knowledge, be persistent, and know with certainty what you are doing.
Practicing the Buddha's teachings, not focusing on the problem of attainment. The reason I don't talk about the issue of cultivation is attainment, because I'm afraid you'll be mistaken, not yet attained, but think you've already attained it. Here to the cultivator the Buddha's teachings only show the path of practice rather than theory. Practice seeing the Buddha nature, to see your ability to be a Buddha. As you can see, if a student goes to school but doesn't know what to study, studies all the time but doesn't graduate, then studying is boring. Similarly, if you go to the temple to study Buddhism but do not practice anything, forever as a living being, then why are you tired of practicing? Cultivation and seeing that it is no different than when you have not yet cultivated, there is no benefit.
You know the Buddha nature you have long been available, but have not had the opportunity to receive and live. Now that you have a teacher, a friend, and a Buddha Dharma to show you the way, you have to wash away all that has been clinging to that Buddha nature for a long time, in order to live with awareness. That is something you can do. In daily practice, sometimes the Buddhas teach you a very ordinary method, but if you practice well, you will have immediate peace in the present life. For example, the day before, when you were studying the Way, you often heard heretical doctrines that you rushed along, that is, you were led away by conditions. Now that you study and practice, you know the wrong path, you don't rush following. Today, thanks to studying Buddhism, understanding the Buddhadharma, practicing, chanting, and reciting the Buddha's name, you know that these are false illusions, not real. So even if it shows three heads and six arms, you refuse, don't run after it, don't let it pull you away. So you are indifferent to all. If that practice is continuously practiced, you will gain insight and will be able to see clearly your own self.
You believe in the Buddha, and practice according to the Buddha's teachings, even if you do not say that you have attained the Way, or live the Way, naturally inside you will have Buddha's peaceful nature, and it will manifest outwardly. That expression shows that you are very peaceful, and very calm in the surrounding conditions. In life you are easily passive by this and that, so the practice is very necessary. If you are prone to passivity, you are not stable in your mind or have not yet practiced, so you need to practice Buddhism more. If the test shows that you have not been active in things, and are not stable inside, how should you arrange your practice to be stable? Practicing here, there is no safer way than how you can see clearly, know clearly, take the initiative for yourself, don't get attached to anything. To be pulled and entangled by something will lose you. Trying to master, and keep your sanity is the essential part of being a practitioner of the Buddha's teachings.
In short, as a student of Buddhism, you must practice diligently, cut down on petty theories, don't fall into a state of practice but only theory, or say cultivate without practice, then you never succeed.
If you practice diligently, you will realize your Buddha nature, wisdom will appear. From then on, all bad habits can't do you any good. The habit is very deep and thick, and although you have the effort, overcoming those unhealthy habits requires you to be determined. Many of you practice for many years without much success, because you have not mastered your own habits. Each of you has different karmic tendencies, no one is the same. So you have to know for yourself what weird karma you have, then just aim for that and practice.
Once you have washed away the habit, you will be light and peaceful. Now even though you don't say you have attained the Way, you have achieved all of them. The ancients had practical methods of practice that they taught you. Typically, Zen masters of the Tran Dynasty taught you to look at yourself, not to follow the outside. Looking back at you, examining you, not being dragged by outside things, this is something anyone can do. It's just that you don't have the courage, and don't maintain it continuously, so you don't succeed. If you dare to practice continuously like this, you will definitely achieve worthy results.
I hope that in any situation, Buddhist friends can grasp the principles taught by the Buddha and apply them. For a long time you have forgotten, so it takes a long time to practice, and you have not tasted the benefits. Now that you clearly see the method of cultivation, you must definitely try and strive to master it. Do you know how to practice like this, if you practice continuously in all circumstances, you will see that your work is not difficult. And so a peaceful and liberated life is the life of a Buddha's son.
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