SPIRITUAL LETTER OF THE BUDDHA’S BIRTH DAY
BUDDHIST CALENDAR 2563
NAMO SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
– Respected Most Venerable and Venerable Bhiksus and Most Venerable and Venerable Bhiksunis;
– Dear Buddhists of all walks of life;
The Buddha’s Birth Day, Buddhist calendar 2563, is returning to our country Vietnam as well as all human beings, on behalf of the Sangha Council and the Education-Sīla Sangha Council of Vietnam Buddhist Youth Association, I wish all Most Venerable and Venerable Bhiksus and Most Venerable and Venerable Bhiksunis peace and happiness, and all Buddhists of different walks of life consistent religious faith and stable dharma practice efforts so as to protect and develop the Buddha’s teachings, bringing peace to human beings and happiness to all other beings.
On this occasion, I would like to share with you some points as follows:
- Avoiding two extremes:
Our beloved Buddha taught: “If we wish to lead a noble life we need to avoid two extremes of ascetic practices and devotion to all lusts”.
Ascetic practices lead to tendency of “eternalism”, and devotion to all lusts leads to tendency of “nihilism”, both just resulting in damaging ourselves and others as well as bringing no noble and happy life. Therefore, the Buddha’s disciples, monks and nuns and lay people alike, need to avoid these two extremes.
- Staying peacefully in the middle path:
Our beloved Buddha taught: “If we wish to have a noble life, we need to stay peacefully in the middle path”. The middle path is the main point and force that lead to peace and happiness, making our noble life unable to be distracted from the right dharma path, and thus bringing sustainable peace and happiness to all beings.
- Living up to the right dharma path:
Our beloved Buddha taught: “The Eightfold Noble Path is the dharma path that has the power to guide a Buddhist practitioner to the path of peace, happiness and enlightenment right in this life”.
Therefore, being disciples of the Buddha, we vow to live up to the right dharma path, with our Right View so as not to fall into wrong paths or false views that damage ourselves, others, all beings, in this life as well as in coming lives.
- Towards one taste of enlightenment:
Our beloved Buddha taught: “A hundred rivers that flow to the ocean all possess a salty taste. Similarly, the dharma enlightened and taught by the Buddha may differ in genres and methodologies with deep or shallow, wide or narrow, high or low, within or without ranges or levels, but all of it has only one purpose of wiping out sufferings and leading to the taste of enlightenment”.
Realizing this, even though all of the Buddha’s disciples may differ in location, schools, sects, languages and cultures, we never differ in the purpose of eradicating sufferings and obtaining the only taste of enlightenment, as taught by the Buddha.
Therefore we need to set free all dissimilarities that are unimportant or should not be considered, so as to focus on the only common taste of the Buddhist Dharma, thus building up peace for the whole world and bringing peace and happiness to all beings right on this planet.
- Coming in order to see:
Our beloved Buddha taught: “My teachings are there for anyone to come and see”. This means that the Buddha’s disciples know how to listen, how to learn, and how to practice the teachings right in this life; therefore, they can see the teachings, experience the teachings so that they can obtain peace and happiness practically right in this life and in this world.
If we do not make efforts to learn, to listen, and to practice the Buddha’s teachings, wars will still happen even though we talk about peace; violence will take place even though we say nice words about non-violence; discrimination and ịnjustice will appear even though we support equality; prisons and imprisonment will be existent even though we fight for freedom; hunger, poverty, backwardness, and danger of collapse will continue to exist even though we speak for sustainable development; and state of morality down-grading is still present even though we continue to talk about morality.
Therefore, the Buddha’s Birth Day celebration is a good condition for all of us including monks, nuns, Buddhists, and those who have not had conditions to learn the Buddha’s teachings, to have the opportunity to reflect upon the teachings so as to practice them in our daily life for the purpose of seeing clearly the vow of the Buddha’s presence in this life, thus enabling all of us to cultivate our minds, to shape our character, to develop and purify our dharma life, thus making contributions to building up a Buddha’s realm and making it better and better right in this world, and thus suggesting Buddhist substances in order to make sources of virtues of every nation more transparent and noble. By doing so, we contribute to the fundamental development of peace for all human beings in a sustainable way as well as to the protection of environment for all beings in order to co-exist peacefully and happily on this planet.
I wish you all peace and happiness.
Phat An monastery, Dong Nai
April 8, Ky Hoi lunar year (12.5.2019)
On behalf of the Sangha Council and the Education-Sīla Sangha Council of Vietnam Buddhist Youth Association
Supreme Head of the Sangha Council
(Sealed and signed)
Bhiksu THICH MINH CHIEU
(Chuyển ngữ: NGUYEN DUNG)