Openess - Stillness - Reflection - Forget
This is today Dharma espresso.
Our ancestors had four very interesting saying:
“An tam tai ho Hu,
Tri tam tai ho Binh,
Dung tam tai ho Chieu,
Ngo tam tai ho Vong”
What does “An tam tai ho Hu” mean? To have a peaceful mind, we need to have “Hu”. What is “Hu”? “Hu” means openness, as vast as the sky, as immense as the infinite universe. When we feel restless, our mind is narrow and not generous enough.
“Tri tam tai ho binh”. “Tri” means to keep, to maintain. Similar to Dharma cultivation, we have to cultivate our mind daily, either by visualizing the seed syllables or by chanting the mantras. We need to keep our mind in the same state as when we do sitting meditation, which is called maintaining mindfulness. Mindfulness needs stillness. What is “stillness” (Binh)? It means not to react to every single trigger, not to let our mind stay in a chaotic state, ready to react immediately. Reactive is different from responsive. Being reactive means being passive. We are controlled by our irrationality, our subconsciousness, and cannot stay calm. In order to maintain mindfulness, we need to stay calm and see pass the excuses, the irrationality, to calm our state of mind.
“Dung tam tai ho Chieu”. “Dung tam” means utilizing our mind. We rarely utilize our mind, we run after our thoughts instead. In a crowd, we often do not look back at ourselves from a third party perspective. We need to reflect on the way we stand, walk, sit, talk, and think. We have to reflect on ourselves. Reflective light shines back and helps us see ourselves. That is a wonderful thing to do. For example, when I listen to my past lectures I sometimes feel uneasy because I recognize some mistakes that I did not notice at the time I gave the lectures and need to edit them. Similarly, sometimes we do or say things unintentionally and then later regret because our words, our criticism are mean-spirited and generated from our jealousy. We always think that we are telling the truth, but lying under the pretext of “telling the truth” is our actual motive of selfishness, uneasiness, and jealousy. We take every opportunity to say something under the disguise that “I am telling the truth and there is nothing wrong with what I am saying”. In reality, our actual motive is a lack of love, attention, and joy. We do not understand the emotional trigger and only see our own perception. “Chieu” is very important. It stops our tendency to think that we are always right, that we always know, protect, and represent the truth. We have to use our mind to recognize the actual triggers behind the thoughts and be proactive instead of reactive. We will avoid having to run after our thoughts without knowing the underlying irrationality.
Lastly, “Ngo tam tai ho Vong”. Forget. How do we “forget”? Forget does not mean that we have
Alzheimer’s disease and forget things. Forget means forgive. We do not mention or bring up past mistakes or miseries. “Ngo Tam” means to be aware of our ego. In order to do that, we “vong”. If you learn to meditate with me you would notice that when we meditate we have to dis-identify ourselves with the object. How wonderful! When we disidentify, we “vong”, we forget. In life, sometimes we need to forget to unburden ourselves. It is said that fish can only live in murky water. When the water is clear, fish will not come out for fear of being caught. You might want to forgive your children and ignore their occasional wrongdoings. If you keep reminding them of their mistakes every time you see them, they cannot stand that. Similarly, if husband and wife keep bringing up past mistakes they cannot live together for life. Therefore, forgetting is being aware of. We do not forget the issue or the people, our mind just rises above the irrationality, jealousness, and anger.
For calm mind, remember “Hu”, the vast openness.
To maintain calmness, remember “Binh”. Do not let the underlying irrationality surface.
To use our mind, remember to reflect. Utilize our mind to reflect upon ourselves, to understand where the motivation or trigger is.
Awareness relates to the word “forget”. Do not keep old images. “Awareness” is the continuous evolvement, the opposite of standing still.
Today we learn four words: Hu, Binh, Chieu, Vong.
I wish you a beautiful, joyful, and calm day!