Nov 9, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 13 Comments

Letter from America: MY HOME IN LIFE, MY HOME IN DHARMA ( Thư từ nước Mỹ: MÁI ẤM THẾ GIAN, MÁI ẤM ĐẠO PHÁP)

“Alexa, play my Mantra playlist.”

Within seconds, I am all surrounded by the melody of the Mani mantra. Thanks to our new smart home assistance, Alexa, we are now able to play Om Mani Padme Hum everywhere all at once, from the living room to the kitchen, from the hallways to the bedrooms. I am thrilled, as if I have brought something back from the Song Nguyen Tantra House headquarters to this modest rental unit.

“Alexa, play my Mantra playlist.”

_ Wow, I love our apartment. When I come home every day, my tiredness just naturally disappears without even knowing — my mom compliments with a smile.

_ Yea, that’s awesome — said my dad.

Just a typical night like any other night, we sit down and relax in our living room. We make some treats, listen to music, and watch our mini “light show” at the entertainment area. Mom is staring at the bookshelf where we display the Holy images of the Yidam deity and the Guru in his white suit. She is about to cry, I could feel her happiness. This peaceful and blessed night at home was what she has longed for years.

Mini “light show”

The bookshelf where we display the Holy images of the Yidam deity and the Guru in his white suit (and the beautiful piglets)

2019, my family was still struggling to find stability. In that expensive area of Southern California, we could only afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Every month, my landlord warned us about terminating the lease agreement, unless we moved to a bigger unit with enough rooms for the family. Though I felt embarrassed, as a full-time student earning very little, there was nothing I could do. Some nights, I looked out the window and dreamt about having a degree, starting a career, and moving my family out of here.

However, after my graduation, our situation didn’t get better immediately. In that competitive labor market, I was struggling with low paying jobs. I graduated from a good program in the area; I didn’t mind commuting for hours every day. Yet I could not find a suitable job. At that time, I also had pressure to find the right place for my family to live when rent was rising. We have talked about buying a house with a mortgage loan. But looking at the massive debt that we will owe for an “affordable” home in that expensive area, I felt unsure that I will be able to pay back. I have learned about the spirit of “keeping a modest life to maintain the path,” so I wasn’t too worried about myself. But I was concerned about my parents’ well being and hoped that I could find the right place to settle.

Looking at the massive debt that we will owe for an “affordable” home in that expensive area, I felt unsure that I will be able to pay back

2020, I am now living in a distant city across the country. I have a suitable job with a salary as I wished back when I was in university. Amid the pandemic, I am still doing okay. In this city, rent for a two-bedroom unit is only 2/3 the price of a one-bedroom unit in California. On the move-in day, I was surprised to find out that this unit comes with a den (which wasn’t mentioned in our virtual showing). I immediately thought about designing a meditation (worshiping) room and asked the Guru whether I should do so. The Guru inclined without hesitation. He then explained that, since my family has struggled for so long, we should enjoy that extra living space that we have now because life is short. As Buddhists, we usually think that we need a meditation (worshiping) room, but that is unnecessary. Because we meditate every day by reciting the Mani mantra on every of our steps.

We meditate every day by reciting the Mani mantra on every of our steps

I now understand. I have known that “non-distraction is meditation” for years, but I still make the wrong decision when applying that principle in real-life situations. Thanks to the Guru, who has consistently taught us that “think and act in accordance,” and “Dharma is life, life is Dharma,” I now can do what is right. I listened to the Guru teaching and design that den into another bedroom. Therefore, for the first time, my younger brother and I now have our own separate rooms.

Having my own room for the first time

My parents are also improving financially. My mom found a lovely business owner who is also a Buddhist. She has helped my family a lot. She helped my dad to get some job training and start earning money again, at the time when his old job as a taxi driver became very dangerous due to the pandemic. I am glad that they’re still doing okay. I think about all the others and pray that Covid-19 will soon be over. I want to send out encouragement to my fellow Buddhists who are undergoing hardships by this promise from the Buddha: “I need not live through 500 lives as Chakravarti (the King of four continents) to attain Enlightenment. For this reason, I transfer all those merits to all my disciples – they will never suffer from hunger even when rice costs like jewels and wood costs like cinnamon.”

In an area with a 72% population that is Christian, I still recognize many signs that the Guru and the Three Jewels always follow me every step of the way. I remember the first time coming to this city for a job interview and seeing “Bodhi” as the company wifi. I remember the times seeing the image of the Buddha on my boss’s bookshelf. I witnessed my parents receive helps from our fellow Buddhists in critical times…This is what the Guru told me the day I decided to move, that I will find a land where there is Dharma.

Wifi “Bodhi”

“Hi mom, are you doing well? Is California still burning?” — asked my dad.
“It died down recently. Just last week, it was very intense, I was terrified,” — replied my grandma.

Their conversation brought me back to the present.

“How are you, grandma? How was that terrifying?” — I asked.
“I wasn’t in the dangerous zone, but there was smoke blocking the whole sky. They look like fog but not quite. The sun was really red. Ashes were everywhere. I couldn’t go out. There were lots of wildfires.”

I have seen wildfire many times but still wasn’t any less worried when I heard my grandma descriptions. Wildfires look like a different world, a world in destruction — chaotic and ruined. There are wildfires every year where I used to live, destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest land and residential areas. I still remember the experience when evacuating from a wildfire. This life is full of dangers. Today it is our home. Tomorrow, our graves. I pray that wildfires’ victims will soon recover from the disasters. I pray that those who lost their lives will be reincarnated in higher realms.

California wildfire

Since I moved to this land in central Virginia, my life has become much more peaceful. Every year, there are one or two snowstorms; but in general, there is less natural disaster than many other places in the United States. Here, trees are tall, and grasses are green. This is the opposite of the brownish colors I am familiar with. I love the winding streets, I love gentle rivers. Every time I drive down the road in front of my house, I am still amazed at how beautiful it is. Is it real, or am I living in a painting?

Are we living in a painting?

Thanks to the Guru, I am here. When I was still unsure, when I was still bound by duties, money, and families, the Guru guided me in every critical decision. When I first moved to the United States eight years ago, my family received lots of help from my relatives. Those debts, to me, make moving away become harder. But I understand that only when I take the chance to grow, I can return them the favors in the future. I followed the Guru’s guidance and urgently looked for a job without knowing where to go. The Guru told me to try my best and let the Yidam take care of everything else. As I look back, circumstances aligned perfectly as if they were planned years ago.

The Guru guided me in every critical decision

Even though everything is just started — I’m still renting, and my job is still at an entry-level — so far, things are improving. The Ghuyasamaja text has said: “Whenever someone tries to find liberation from Samsara, at that moment, he/she will also find prosperity and improvement in his/her daily life.” I am now more confident with my current path and feel much closer to self-happiness and divine pride after all these experiences.

Furthermore, this apartment is not only my worldly home, but also a manifestation of my Dharma home. I feel much safer having the true refuges to rely on. The Guru has explained these refuges in his lesson “Peacefully Refuge in the Sublime Entrance,” so I will only mention a simple example. Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava has promised: “I will stand in front of the house of everyone who has devotion.” Even billionaires, who can afford top-notch security systems for their homes, cannot get this kind of protection if they’re not a Buddhist with devotion. Sure, the lease will end, and I will have to return the apartment. Even if this is my house, I will have to give it up one day, when this body returns to dust. However, I will always have a Dharma home to shelter, for this life and the next, despite any possible force of impermanence.

I will always have a Dharma home to shelter

Midnight, the room has fallen silent, but my mind still is singing that mantra melody that doesn’t want to stop. On my desk, the reading lamp radiates a warm light, making everything turn golden. I remember the Guru once told me: “I have overcome this exact situation. You’re practicing the same Dharma that I do; therefore, you too will overcome your hardship.” Thanks to the Guru and His lesson, I felt much closer to my goals as a lay Buddhist — inner happiness, life success, and social achievements. Life will have its challenges, and I don’t expect it to be pink. But I believed the true happiness from this life to the next is always there, waiting for me. The days that I wander in this Samsara will soon be over; I will never stray away from my Dharma home ever again.

Dear Holy Guru,
Thank you for giving me this new life. I will keep in my heart the teaching of Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava: “Your Guru’s merits are layers and layers of clouds. But unless you’re a meadow of devotion, you will never receive those blessing rains.” Thank you for giving me the true refuge. I pray for the good health and longevity of the Guru for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature. May the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be over.

Thank you for giving me this new life

  1. Cao Diệu Thanh Phương says:

    Dear Guru,

    I rejoiced when reading the sharing of brother Cao Dieu Nhat Nguyen. Guru’s teachings on the Dharma and about life are always different from what people often tell each other, and the results are also very different, there is no suffering as sentient beings suffer. The city is cramped with natural disasters and the burden is gone. Instead it’s a cozy home in a fresh place and a good job, a peaceful life.

    We would like to thank you with all our sincerity, Guru. Our thank you is never enough, Guru.

    May Guru have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.
    May brother Cao Dieu Nhat Nguyen achieve your rightful wishes.
    May all sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha nature.
    May covid 19 pandemic be soon over.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    ———————-

    Kính bạch Thầy,

    Con hoan hỉ khi đọc bài chia sẻ của huynh Cao Diệu Nhất Nguyên. Những chỉ dạy của Thầy về đạo pháp, về cuộc sống luôn khác biệt với những gì người ta thường bảo nhau, và kết quả cũng thật khác biệt, không có khổ đau như những chúng sanh vô minh phải gánh chịu. Thành phố chật chội đầy thiên tai và gánh nặng không còn nữa. Thay vào đó là mái nhà ấm cúng ở một nơi trong lành và một công việc tốt, một cuộc sống an lạc.

    Con xin cảm tạ công ơn Thầy. Chúng con cảm tạ ơn Thầy chưa bao giờ là đủ.

    Con cầu nguyện sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của Thầy vì lợi lạc chúng sanh.
    Cầu nguyện huynh Cao Diệu Nhất Nguyên thành tựu ước nguyện chính đáng.
    Cầu nguyện cho chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc Phật tánh.
    Cầu nguyện dịch bệnh Covid-19 sớm được tiêu trừ.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  2. Mật Thúy says:

    Kính Bạch Thầy .
    Con đã đọc xong bài này rồi ạ .
    Mật Thúy hoan hỉ với bài viết chia sẻ của Cao Diệu Nhật Nguyên , Mật Thúy hoan hỉ với sự thanh thông thế sự của đạo hữu . Con cầu nguyện sức khỏe và sự trường thọ của vị Thầy vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh con cầu nguyện cho vi khuẩn corona xóm ngày được tiêu trừ Om Ah Hùm.

  3. Tantra Amishuta says:

    Dear holy guru,
    Thank you for sharing Cao Dieu Bich Lien-Cao Dieu Nhat Nguyen letter. What am amazing example of blessings of buddhism practice and from guru. This makes me happy to see others recieving the blessings from devotion. May you ber well for the sake of all sentient beings and may suffering soon end. Om manni padme him

  4. Tantra Mashita says:

    Dear honorable guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this letter with us, I really enjoyed reading it, and I’m so happy that your blessings arrived to another person, you can’t imagine how happy I was, while I was reading the changing which happened in the life of this student,

    Dear honorable guru,

    You’re our light in the darkness which surrounded us, thank you so much for being a part of our life, thank you so much for your endless compassion, thank you so much for all the noble efforts

    May you have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings
    May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    May the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end
    Om Mani padame hum

  5. Tantra Aradhana says:

    Thank you so much Guru
    This is the best life to live with Buddha and Guru a d the friends that you meet thought Buddha this is the tru meaning of a family of the encouragement you get from buddhaist see i have been under the weather for a week or so but feeling so much better my my birthday is about here and I just ordered me 2 books that will be here Monday I cant wait to read them I was able to get better so fast with the help of medicine and reading and of course of Buddha and Guru behind me I just so grateful that I have them both and that I didn’t develop covid-19 now our numbers are scoring high again and its pretty scary but I do what is asked of me to stay safe for me and my family and u want to thank everyone for being there for me as well this is were I so belong I wish I would have been on this path a very long time ago but I am now and that is what counts please Guru and all stay safe from covid-19 lets hope that can end soon and I would like to have Buddha and Guru to keep our new president and vice president Biden/Harris in their prayers as well they have alot on their shoulders as they take over

    Thank you Guru
    For everything
    You do us all
    With all the teachings and articles they mean the world to me
    And thank you violet for being such a good friend to me

    Om mani padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you found home in articles on chanhtuduy.com and find it helpful, especially in difficult times.

  6. Tantra Shadhita says:

    Dear Guru, Thank you for posting this letter from Cao Dieu Nhat Nguyen. It has reinforced that we must follow those who know the Dharma, teach us the Dharma, and guide us as the Buddha would have it.
    May you have good health and live long to the benefit of your learners.
    Oh Mani Padme Hum

  7. Tantra Mashinaga says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank you for this article. In this article our dharma brother describes his life and how the Guru has advised him in getting a good job. I am sure that without the Guru’s blessing and guidance that our dharma brother would still be in a bad situation. I pray the Guru continues to bless and guide his disciples in this life of pain. And also guide us to the pure land.

    May Guru live a long and happy life

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and attain happiness

    May we create a vaccine to fight covid 19

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    Tantra Mashinaga (Mark Hamilton)

  8. Moises Barajas says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. many blessings
    🙏🧘🏻‍♂️🕉️❤️

  9. Srogers says:

    Dear Holy Guru
    I am Tantra Haramitra

    Thank you for publishing this letter and I am full of happiness for the family that things are working out.

    The dharma is a wonderful experience and gives great strength. I’m thankful that your wise words and guidance is there for all your disciples

    Holy Guru, May you continue to have good health so you can continue to guide for the benefit of all sentient beings

    Thankyou for sharing these words

    On mani padme hum

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