There is Still Harmony - the Community Still Continues

25.10.2018, Glenwood Residence, HCM, Vietnam


I have been giving quite a lot of talks on this trip and you have heard a lot things, so I don’t have to repeat probably too much. I hope you have heard and you do not forget it.

To hear Dharma teaching is important. But to remember is more important, and to put into practice is the most important. If one doesn’t practice if one doesn’t remember then even though one hears a lot of teaching that is not useful. So what is useful, what is meaningful, is to put whatever one knows into action, into practice. Even though we call this time degeneration time, which means not good time. But there is something at this time which is special, is very good. For example, the chances to study Dharma is much more than in the past. And the conditions to study Dharma are much more convenient than in the past. Because in the past you have to learn from someone, to follow the teacher for a long time. Now we do not have to do that any longer. And there are more conditions now: there are more books, Dharma books, and you can learn on line. So the conditions are much better now. We do not have excuses, we should not make excuses we do not have conditions to study.

In the past sometimes teachings were not open for the public. It was harder for people to have Dharma teachings. Because in order for people, for students, to study some Dharma teachings they had to go through a lot difficulties and conditions, had to have good conditions, good foundation. But nowadays, I think Dharma is much more open for people and people have more opportunities now. People have more opportunities to meet different teachers and get different teaching from good teachers. So there are reasons for us to say this is a good time for us to study Dharma as well.

Many of you have heard of the Great Master Milarepa. And many of you have had chances to read His biography. So you would probably understand how difficult it was for Him to get authentic teaching, profound teaching from His Master. And many masters who have met the same situations as Milarepa did. Therefore to really receive the profound teaching, authentic teachings one must go through some conditions, some difficulties. One must accept some conditions.

Dharma teachings and practice only work for people who are suitable to practice. Many people are not that suitable because they are not that faithful, not that knowledgeable, not that honest, not that diligent. Therefore sometimes Dharma does not work very well as we wish because Dharma still depends on conditions. The result, the blessing of Dharma depends on conditions.

This time I also mentioned the important points to practice Dharma well. And those necessary conditions to practice Dharma well and for one to accomplish good result on the Path from your practice always are: faith, sincere devotion, is the most important. And then diligence, and knowledge. We often think knowledge is the first and it is true. When we do not have any knowledge we do not know how to practice and it is very difficult for us to practice well. But what make practice very wishful is faith. Therefore, one should examine oneself, one’s faith, one’s devotion. If it is true, if it is pure, it is strong enough, stable? That is very important that I remind you again tonight.

But the devotion that is unified with wisdom is even more important. Therefore, believing in real teaching of Buddha is very important. Do not believe in anyone without seeing any reason for one to accept, to believe. Nowadays people do not know something very well but they still somehow put some belief in, so by that people make mistakes. Therefore, Buddha often said to study first, to think carefully first and then you put your devotion in it. Still there are people who do not know Buddha’s teachings, do not train themselves very well, they do not study much, they do not have background but people still believe in [them], without studying, learning, knowing well. This kind of situation can be dangerous, too.

Those essential things that I mentioned earlier are very important for Dharma practitioners, very necessary conditions. So please remember and try to understand very well their meanings: faith, devotion. There are many levels of devotion, levels of faith. The faith we want to practice is the faith that is really based on good understanding, good learning. That faith is very reliable, very stable. We have this faith because we have good reasons. So faith has to be strong but it has to have some wisdom.

But when there is not enough faith and only knowledge then it does not work; because there are a lot of knowledgeable people who was not able to accomplish anything on the Path while having so much knowledge on Dharma. So we say what makes practice most wishful is faith; therefore faith is always very important.

Even though one is very knowledgeable on Dharma when he does not have enough faith in Dharma one may – because of the knowledge – be very criticizing, may be a very big ego, one may be a troublemaker, one maybe very jealous to others. So devotion is the main condition that reduces all the negativities in one’s mind. When one is knowledgeable and very faithful then one must be very humble, very gentle, very honest and very kind. Because one is applying very sincerely because of the devotion. Now we can see the differences between faith and knowledge and the importance of faith so please remember that.

When there is not enough devotion then we say Buddha said or my Teacher said so … BUT … We always say BUT. When there is enough faith then there is no DOUBT for us. For example, Buddha mentioned all the time impermanence and [practitioner should] not be lazy. But we are lazy. We do not think of impermanence. It is not that we do not know that. We know this well but we do not remember. Why? We do not trust Buddha’s words much. Not enough. Therefore, devotion, I said devotion is the cause, the important condition that makes great Dharma practitioner.

Buddha often reminded us all phenomena are impermanent. Nothing [you] can hold on to forever. They are going to change. So be careful. Do not put too much attention, do not put too much trust in external things because they are changing. They will change. They cheat you. If you trust them they will lie to you. They will not stay the way you wish, the way you want now. They will definitely change. Therefore, Buddha reminded us: do not have too much desire, do not have too much attachment to external things. But we still do. Why? Because we do not believe in Buddha’s teaching much. We do not study, we do not think enough, we do not meditate on this correctly, sincerely. So all the teachings we heard are only words. Only words. Therefore, I said earlier, Dharma sometimes doesn’t work very well for us. Because we are not suitable, we are not ready to receive the power, the blessing [of Dharma].

I think we need more knowledge, more study. But even, we need more trust, more confidence, more trusting in the teachings of Buddha, in Buddha so that we would be better, more genuine Dharma practitioner. Since we believe in Buddha’s Dharma, since we are willing to practice Dharma, we need to put more action into practice. We have to make more time to practice Dharma, otherwise we have no improvement. Right now we are doing very very little practice, very little good action. That is not enough. So please try more and try harder so that one would benefit a lot from one’s practice.

In the teachings I often mentioned that the root of blessing, of siddha is to keep pure samaya. If one does not keep samaya then one cannot get any siddha, any good result from one’s Dharma practice. So siddha or good result depends on samaya keeping. What is “samaya”? Samaya is commitment. Whatever vow one has taken one should remember, should keep, should protect it from anything that destroys the samaya.

Dharma brothers and sisters should keep very good connection, relationship, very friendly to each other, very respectful to each other. We can learn from the history of Buddhism in India. Buddhism [there] was destroyed due to many conditions but one of the main reasons was no harmony. The Buddhist community – they were not friendly to each other inside. They criticized each other, they tried to destroy one another. That was one of the biggest problems that caused Buddhism to be destroyed in India.

Many important Vajrayana texts always talked about importance of good relationship between vajra brothers and sisters. If vajra brothers and sisters break relationship among themselves then this is a very powerful cause to take them to lower realms, to vajra hell. And vajra sisters and brothers should bee to each other more friendly than brothers and sisters from the same parents. And vajra sisters and brothers should be respectful to each other than brothers and sisters of the same family do. Vajrayana depends on pure perception. Especially, perception toward the Guru, and perception toward vajra sisters and brothers from one lineage, one Guru, one mandala. If we do not do that, if we try not to do that, then we are breaking our commitment, we are doing something contradictory to requests that made in teachings in Vajrayana system.

Therefore, harmony is very important. Harmony is important for any community, including Buddhist community. Harmony is very important. When there is no harmony, the community will fall apart. There is no doubt, no question. As long as there is still harmony in the community, the community still continues, still survives. So this is very important for us to do that, to keep harmony. And we should see the importance of [keeping] harmony in the community. To do that we are doing something good for Dharma, for the activities of Buddhism. One should try to keep patient, to be understanding for others.

Generally, in our daily life what we have to do is to try to think of others, especially those beings that survive in one’s environment. Try not to do harm to them, to protect them, try to be kind to them, so that one is a good person, a good Dharma practitioner. This is something very important, very beautiful.

If you are practicing something from other traditions, if you are practicing ngondro Longchen Nyingthik, you have to have a lot of confidence in your practice in your lineage. Do not hesitate. Once you accept this as your daily practice then you have to practice with a lot of confidence. Because I see some people are not sure about the practice [they are doing]. They are not sure what they are doing, but they practice this and do other things some other time. Uncertainty is a big cause for not doing improvement and you waste your time and energy. So certainty is very important for having strong belief in [the practice]. So you will make improvement, you will get good benefit from that.

If you look at Guru Rinpoche, for example, [you see] Guru Rinpoche accomplished enlightenment in his life and all of other masters like Garab Dorje or Longchenpa [did too]. Countless masters accomplished enlightenment in one single life through the practice of Dzogpa Chenpo, of Longchen Nyingthik. That means Longchen Nyingthik is very reliable, very genuine, therefore there is nothing wrong if you trust it and practice diligently. Do not hesitate, do not have any second thought, but put all your efforts and you will get great benefit from that. Those great masters said that if one do not do great accumulations one would not have chance to meet such profound teaching. Therefore, I think we have done very good accumulation so we meet this profound and authentic teaching and practice. So one should be happy to have a chance to have such a great Dharma and practice.

I would like to say thank you for your kindness to receive me, to kindly arrange my teachings this time. Because of your kindness and hard work, I think the programs went very well and they are helpful for the people who participated. You are so kind and generous that I have put on a lot of weight (laughing).

I am not somebody who is a very high realized person, who is very special; but since I think we have some karmic connection, and I do have some background, since I am from Tibet, since I am a monk, very small, and I have got some training, some study, so I hope that I can be something useful to you. Something practical, meaningful and useful for you.

People see me a professor of everything, all phenomena. “I have pain here and there, can you help so it goes away?” “I have problem with my business, can you help it to go smoothly?” To make people happy I just pretend to be everything. The real I am is a Tibetan guy who do not know many things, who knows very little, therefore I cannot be that helpful to you. So I have to say sorry for that. But I can pray for you. I know a lot of prayers. I chant them in Tibetan so they may be only “blah blah” for you. If you hear from me “blah blah” then [you know] this is something [meaningful], ok?

I hear Vietnamese like birds’ singing. Vietnamese language is like birds’ singing. I cannot hear a word sometimes, just “nga nga nga”. But I don’t believe you are just saying “blah blah”, just you are saying something.

It has been very good this trip. Once more I appreciate that, thank you very much. And one more thing, the last thing to mention to you. It is translation. Some I see some people do not see the importance of translation, good translation. And people think anyone can be translator. I think that is a wrong idea because translation is very important and being a translator is not easy at all. You have to know this reality.

Therefore, two things that are important. First thing, the translator has to try hard to have better translation and the best translation, to be better translator and the best translator. Second, people have to have to have respect more for translators. I really think so. Because people do not see the importance of translators and do not respect very much. That is something wrong. If there were no translators, no translations, you do not have any Dharma in your tradition. [It is the] same everywhere: in China, in Tibet in other countries. Because translators work so people have traditions. Before the translators appeared and worked for Dharma, there was no Dharma in Vietnam, in China, in Tibet. So the kindness of translators is a great deed to remember, to respect.


End of talk on 25.10.18


Rewrite from recording: Hieu Thien (Lotsawa ), 11.2018.