Looking Spring

Looking at the Spring through the Contemplative Eyes
According to the conventional time, twenty-four hours make a day and a night, seven days make a week, four weeks a month, twelve months a year. Counting from January 1st to December 31st, we end an old year, we begin a new year, we add our new age, new vitality, new peacefulness, new welfare and new reunions with our relatives and beloved ones in our lives.  

We know in scientific society today, we can live up to about one hundred spring cycles; one hundred spring cycles are an even and round number, most of us who hear that feel joyful and cheerful, and would like to do it, as long as we live healthily, live youthfully, live beautifully, live peacefully and happily, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.

When we are young, every time the spring comes, we are also happy and also joyful. Happy because we who receive money as a New Year’s Day present are wearing new clothes, have eaten many kinds of cakes, jams such as cylindrical glutinous rice cake, snow-flaked cake (sprinkled with powered sugar), green bean cake, candied ginger, sweet potato jam, dry preserved squash, etc. As Buddhists on the occasion of the beginning of the spring, we who follow our parents go to Pagoda to pay homage to the Buddha, to the Dharma Patriarch, to Virtuous and Compassionate Mother Quan The Am or Avalokiteśvara to protect and to support us and our relatives and loved ones in the family, and to give us a new year of plentiful health, peaceful body and mind, disease freed, disasters freed, to bring what is the wholesome to us, and to banish what is the unwholesome.

Next, we go to the house of clan worship to pay homage to our ancestors, both parental and maternal sides, who still live in health and joyfulness, and who died gently and achieved salvation. We visit the grave to pray for the deceased, reborn in a realm of peacefulness. We visit our relatives like aunts, uncles, maternal uncles, maternal uncle’s wife, father’s sister, mother’s sister, etc. to wish everyone riches and honours. And finally, we gather with friends far and wide to share our mutual wishes for the New Year. In an atmosphere of friendship and congeniality, we can choose a good day and month to sow the seeds that will bring us beneficial fruit this year. If the time is not yet auspicious, we can arrange to meet at another more suitable time. This is our view of the spring while we are young, and retaining this outlook while growing up, we can come to appreciate our parents’ good and beautiful teachings.
The second look of Spring is that of assembly and reunion. According to Vietnamese tradition, the year ends, Tết – Lunar New Year’s Day – comes, during the remaining days of the last month of the year, regardless of what we do, where we live, we always take advantage of returning and taking refuge in our family to help parents, spouses, siblings and children. We help our family in cleaning tarnish off the copper lamps, sweeping out the cobwebs, placing fruits on the altar, making cakes and jamps, etc. Gathering and helping in only some of those things are also enough to make our family joyful and happy. We who are members of our family sit together to learn from the experiences of the last year; the good things we continue maintaining and developing, those not good we bravely eliminate, simultaneously we plan the direction of conducting ourselves more clearly and steadily in the new year.        
The above is mentioned to people who work near home, go in the morning, and come back in the evening. Next, we mention people settling or working in far-away places like in other cities, other provinces, other countries, etc. Those who are far from home always have the same thought in common, look near forward to the new days of the beginning of the year, hope to have a free and suitable chance to go back to a family reunion, to visit the homeland, the village, to walk the paths, to see again the banyan tree, the water well, the boats, as in the olden days. If this year there is not yet an opportunity to go back home to celebrate the New year, then the year after and the year after we shall try and take advantage of a good chance to go back to celebrate the New Year Festival once. As expatriate Vietnamese, most all of us have the same thoughts and wishes like this. Carrying out these wishes, we are able to build our own family of reunion, peacefulness and happiness.

Beside our family of reunion, we also have one more Temple of reunion, Vihara of reunion, monastery of reunion, etc. As the Forthgoing Ones (Monastics), living in the Community of the Sangha, we have many various levels of cultivation, learning, Dharma age[1] in Buddhism. There is someone learning Buddhist Studies at local school in the home province, there is someone learning Buddhist Studies in the neighboring province, there is someone learning Buddhist Studies at home, there is someone learning Buddhist Studies abroad, etc. There is someone having attained five Dharma ages, there is someone else with fifteen Dhamra ages, twenty-five Dharma ages, fifty Dharma ages, etc. Although practitioners’ levels of Buddhist Studies and Dharma ages are different, every person’s ideals and purposes of helping themselves and saving life are not different. Because of the same ideals and purposes, the Forthgoing Ones easily build their own nobly spiritual life for themselves. 
To desire to do so, we should rely on the national Tết holiday to have the opportunity to meet and reunite the Temple and Dharma friends in many different places from the four directions and together help our Master, brotherhood, sisterhood to do single, friendly, daily, and practical things like gardening, watering, arranging flowers, placing fruits, etc. Because the Buddha Dharma that depends on the worldly Dharma forms, exists and develops, therefore, the opportunity of Tết holiday is the favorable opportunity for master and disciples, elder brothers and younger brothers, the Forthgoing Ones (Monastics) and the Unforthgoing Ones (lay Buddhists) to meet, to confide in, to converse with one another about the Dharma, to congratulate one another on advancing in years and to share the experiences of cultivation and learning in the last year; a good experience we continue learning, maintaining and developing, a non-good experience we determine to remove gradually, and together we map out a new direction, a useful direction, a practically peaceful and happy direction for the many.

In traditional Buddhism, apart from the traditional Tết holidays of the people, we have more virtuous Tết holidays, spiritual Tết holidays, joyful Tết holidays, all originating from the times when the forthgoing Ones would participate in the the Raining Retreat or Summer Retreat (S. Vārsika) for the three months. At these times, even the Unforthgoing Ones can also attend and charge their spiritual energy on these holy Tết holidays. Therefore, the Unforthgoing Ones join together in happiness with the Forthgoing Ones’ happiness; what the latter cultivate is the former have the ability to practice and follow. But all have the same vows to protect the Dharma, together cultivate, together go on the path of upper direction and good direction, and together go on the path of enlightenment and spiritual emancipation.

Indeed, the Forthgoing One has the responsibility to learn the path,[2] understand it, practice it, spread it, protect it and enjoy the fragrance of the peaceful flavor of the path, then the Unforthgoing One also has the duty to learn the Dharma, understand it, practice it, propagate it, maintain it, and enjoy the fragrance of flavor of the Dharma. In aspects of maintaining and developing the Dharma path, the Unforthgoing One and the Forthgoing One have the common purposes of cultivating and gathering flowers and fruits of authentic peacefulness and blissfulness for themselves and for other people right in this lifetime.
It is for the above reasons that the Forthgoing One is exampled as the left wing and the left eye of a bird, the Unforthgoing One is exampled as the right wing and the right eye of bird. The bird has enough eyes, it can fly high, fly far, soar up the immense air to see far, to look widely, and to enjoy vast space. It is very happy, very comfortable, and very light-hearted and carefree. If a bird only has one wing and one eye, it walks or skims along the ground, it is unable to see clearly, it is unable to look far and wide, and most probaly it will be caught and slaughtered.

In this case, the bird is used as metaphor for Buddhism. Buddhism has both these two Forthgoing and Unforthgoing wings and eyes, it can go to the future very far and very steadily, especially it can bring authentic peace, peacefulness and bliss to living things and living beings. If it had only one of those two wings, one of those two eyes, it would be able to go into the future not far and unsteadily, it would only go about a short distance.
A bird needs to have both of its eyes and wings to see and to fly, Buddhism needs to have sufficiency of two kinds of the Forthgoing Ones and the Unforthgoing Ones to support and to protect Buddhism existing long in this world. Therefore, two kinds of persons that take their vows integrate with one another, help one another, vow to light up the torch of the Dharma, vow to light up that of right confidence, vow to light up that of love, vow to light up that of Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and vow to light up the torch of Right Concentration. When Buddhism is together supported by these two kinds of persons very strongly, Buddhism, very firm within the time and space, is spread widely all over the world.   
Above, we learned that the Forthgoing One is exampled as the wing of the left side and the eye of the left side of bird, the Unforthgoing One is exampled as the wing of the right side and the eye of the right side of bird. The left side and the right side temporarily divided thus is easy to remember and easy to understand. The left side of the Forthgoing One is the upstream side of life. Unlike the Unforthgoing One, the Forthgoing One, who leads a non-family life leisurely and freely, is able to spare much time to cultivate, to learn, and to help spread the Buddhist Dharma to very many persons. He or she has to know to rely on nature, on the moon, the stars, on the Community of cultivation and learning, and on a Dharma realm of living beings, plays an important part in protecting the environment and the ecology of the planet. In this case, upstream of life of the Forthgoing Ones that does not mean against life, but rather means to integrate with life to help life to bloom fragrantly.

Learning the history of Buddhism, we know clearly that when Sakyāmuni Buddha, the historic Buddha, was still Siddharta Boddhisattva, who cultivated ascetically and mortifyingly, was nothing but skin and bone, and realized that the way of asceticism did not bring the result of benefit to himself. Wanting to have the result of benefit to himself, he who neither lusts and desires nor practices mortifying asceticism by practicing the Middle Path comes to happily receive a bowl of milk gruel from Ms Sujata’s offering with the aim of becoming healthily enough to find the path and fruit of liberation in the very near future. When achieving the path and fruit of deliverance, the Buddha started out to turn the Dharma wheel and to introduce the path of peacefulness, that of deliverance, that of holiness and the authentically peaceful path to living things and living beings. Implementing and pursuing this path resulted from skillful nurtures of his body and mind. This reminds us to remember the saying “The way to one’s heart is through one’s stomach.”Indeed, when eating and drinking in moderation and temperance, we have enough health and lucidity to nurture our body and mind, to make of ourselves any kind of noble person in the world including a Buddha, a Patriarch, a Boddhisattva, etc. Buddhism teaches this and people’s actions confirm it.

We know when Bodhisattva had finished using the bowl of milk, He threw the empty bowl down Neranjara river and steadily said “If My meticulousness and cultivation are going to become enlightenment, this empty bowl will drift upstream on the river.” Indeed, the empty bowl did drift upstream and so signaled that the result of His meticulousness and cultivation would certainly achieve the path and fruit of enlightenment and liberation. Finally, He became the Buddha, the fully-Awakened One, whose good, correct and decent characteristics, whose perfect loving-kindness and compassion.[3] Thus, drifting upstream on the river in this case means purity and cleanliness, is not completely swept away by the current of covetous water, is not polluted by the world. This meaning describes His body and mind of perfection, effort, steadfastness and complete purity. It is thanks to His perfect body and mind that He has discovered the Four Noble Truths: “Suffering, the Origin of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering.[4] 
Indeed, out of the living continuation of the Buddhadharma and the lineage of the sages, the Forthgoing Ones must lead their live of purity and awareness, equanimity and selflessness, mindfulness and awakening, to have the time to cultivate, to learn, to disseminate the Dharma, and to serve human life. Out of wanting the Buddha’s teachings to be spread widely all over the world, the Forthgoing Ones must live their exemplary lives by their noble thoughts, words and doings. Out of wanting the world of tranquility, the people of peacefulness, the Forthgoing Ones play the important roles of the spiritual teachers in teaching the World-Honoured One’s Dharma to everyone and in advising everyone to try to do good, not to do evil, to lead their peaceful and blissful lives for the many.
Next, the right side toward the Unforthgoing One is not upstream of life. Unlike the Forthgoing One, the Unforthgoing One that was born in the world grows up in the world, gets married, is busy much of the time with his family, looks after his family and children, nurtures and educates his children to become virtuous and beneficial persons for himself or herself, for family, for school, and for society, contributes to building a peaceful person, a happy family, a tranquil society and a prosperous country.
In this case, non-upstream of life of the Unforthgoing Ones means downstreamness of life, people live their lives with their family and descendants, then the Unforthgoing Ones also live their lives with their family and descendants. Thus the word of downstreamness of life of the Unforthgoing One and the word of integration of the Forthgoing One have many different meanings, but they both complement one another very closely.

To maintain the continuity of the family temple, the connection between spiritual and blood ancestors’ lineages, the Unforthgoing Ones must have wives, husbands, children, and grandchildren. Due to wanting to protect the Buddha’s Dharma efficiently, the Unforthgoing One supports the four offerings such as clothes, eatables-drinkables, medicines and furnishing for the Forthgoing Ones so that they may have the time to study, to learn, to disseminate the Dharma, and to serve human life.
Thus, when protecting the Dharma path, when propagating the Buddhadharma, both the Forthgoing One and the Unforthgoing One that have the same thoughts in mind go on the way of the upper direction and that of the good direction, and together go on the way of calm joyfulness and liberation.

Next, the third spring look is the look of contemplating human life. We know people can now live up to one hundred of the spring ages; one hundred of the spring ages is illustrated as a hundred of the round Spring corn. At the first spring day of every year, we increase one spring age, this means we decrease one spring age of every year. One year we eat one spring maize, ten years we eat ten fruits, twenty years we eat twenty fruits, up to now we have eaten seven fruits, so we only still have thirty fruits; thirty remaining fruits inform us that our food is about to end, the energy of our physical body is about to end, and our life will gradually come to an end, we who would be able to live on earth add the thirty spring ages.
If we we are aware when our remaining springs decrease by a year, then we become more deeply aware of the way we live the remainder of our lives; be mindful of what we say, what we think and what we do can bring flowers and fruits of peacefulness and happiness to the many and should bring the substance of love and that of understanding to many people.
Indeed, as people living to be mindful and eager to learn and contemplate the World-Honored One’s teachings, we clearly know that reaching a certain stage, energies in our physical bodies get exhausted; at that time, we cannot say a word, cannot move a step, and cannot think of a thing. Clearly aware of this, in the remaining part of our lives, we try to live beautifully, live usefully, live purposefully, live ideally, and live to bring the fragrance of peaceful and free flavor to ourselves and to the others right in this world by applying the Buddha’s teachings into our daily life, specifically the five awakening things below.
The first awakening thing is that we respect all living beings’ lives, including humans, animals, even plants, trees, flowers, leaves, soils, rocks, etc., we do not kill, chop, burn and destroy forests, mountains, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, the open sea, etc. Practicing the first awakening thing means we are aware to nurture our love toward all living beings; we contribute to protecting the environment and lives of living things and living beings and contribute to building a green, clean and beautiful planet.
The second awakening thing is that we respect private and public assets, heritage, minerals, and forest products, including gold, silver, gems, needles, blades of grass, bells, wooden bells, timbers, etc., we do not steal and do not appropriate others’ possessions. Practicing the second conscious thing means we are aware to spread our hearts of alms-giving (dana) toward the poor, the lonely and the needy. We exploit the sources of the natural resources in moderation so that the generations of our descendants can lean on them; we contribute to conserving, maintaining and developing virtue, wealth and prosperity for our family and country.

The third awakening thing is that we respect the marital happiness, including spouses and children; we do not sexually abuse children, do not violate other people’s chastity, and only have sexual relations with our lawful spouse. Practicing the third conscious thing means we are aware to protect the happiness of our parents, spouses and children; we contribute to bringing peacefulness, joy and fame, to our family, to relatives, to villages and to society.
In order to connect the lineage of the family temple, the unforthgoing ones must have spouses, children and grandchildren. To continue the lineage of the sages, inheriting, passing on, lighting up the torch of the Dharma, lighting up that of love, the forthgoing ones must devote much time to take care of cultivation, learning, spreading the Dharma and helping many people. Therefore, the forthgoing ones, who live their very light-hearted and leisurely lives, must not be tied by family and children
The fourth awakening thing is that we respect truthfulness and confidence in everyone, including grandparents, parents, teachers, friends, etc. We do not tell a lie, do not speak an embellishing word,[5] do not speak a disparaging word,[6]do not speak a rough word, do not speak vague and unclear information, do not speak aspiring and avaricious words, do not speak words of dissension, discord and disharmony,[7] etc. Practicing the fourth awakening thing means we are aware to say words of truth, the right, those of confidence, harmony, reconciliation and gentleness, those of affection, softness, sweetness, ease of hearing, and ease of love; words of the useful value of building and bringing faith, prestige, harmony, solidarity, and love of authentic brotherhood and sisterhood to ourselves, to the others, to family, to relatives and to all with whom we communicate right in this world.  
The fifth awakening thing is that we respect peacefulness, tranquility, quietness, steadiness and carefreeness for the many, including us, our relatives, loved ones and neighbours, we do not drink alcohol, do not smoke, do not watch depraved films, pictures and photographs, especially we absolutely do not use opium and drugs. Practicing the fifth awakening thing means we do not violate the above awakening things; we cultivate the awakening things diligently, we are aware to protect our healthy and wholesome bodies, our perspicacious and lucid minds for ourselves, we contribute to building and bringing prestige, the feeling of calm joy and happiness to our native land and homeland.
Practicing the five above-mentioned awakening things solidly, we not only help us, but also help countless numbers of living things and living beings on this planet. We contribute to protecting the environment and habitat for this earth, and bring flowers and fruits of authentic peacefulness, happiness and peace to the world of humanity today.[8]  

Clearly understanding this, now we live very tranquilly, in future we live very peacefully, we live very gently and leisurely. Dwelling stably in the World- Honoured One’s Dharma, we live without any fear and worry though life is impermanent, though birth, old age, decease and death can happen to our life in any circumstance, in any moment, our bodies and minds are still tranquil, leisurely and carefree.

Though our life is impermanent,
Despite birth, old age, disease and death,
We who have already had the peaceful way,
Do not have worry and fear any longer.[9]
We have already had the peaceful way; that is, in our daily life, we choose, practice and apply a training method of being consistent with the Buddha’s teachings, with Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration into our day-to-day lives. As people living consciously, we cultivate, learn, train ourselves in the Buddha’s teaching steadily and freely, we enjoy and taste the peaceful Dharma. From there, the fragrance of joy, that of freedom and that of authentic happiness have the ability to penetrate, to pervade, and to cool our bodies and minds.
Finally, let us look at the fourth contemplative spring, of the five various periods of one’s life, from when still lying in mother’s womb until when we close our eyes and depart our life. As mentioned above, one’s life can now span up to a hundred spring ages. We can divide those hundred spring ages into the five periods of different time as follows:
In the first stage of our spring age, we still lie in our mother’s womb waiting till being born; we know between the time when the mother conceives until when her baby is born, about nine months and ten days, sometimes sooner or sometimes later. During the time of still lying in its mother’s womb, the foetus is very peaceful and comfortable. When her foetus is hungry, there is mother helping it to eat. When her foetus is thirsty, there is mother helping it to drink. When her foetus breathes, there is mother helping it to breathe. When her foetus is ill, there is mother helping it to take medicine. When her foetus is pleasant, its mother is pleasant. When her foetus is wealthy, its mother is wealthy, so on and so forth. All of the foetus’ actions and feelings are influenced directly by the mother.
Due to mother doing all things for the foetus, when pregnant, she is very careful. We know all of a mother’s actions, whether good or bad, have a direct influence on her foetus’ consciousness. Therefore, whatever mother says, thinks and does influences her foetus, she must keep her body and mind mindful and awakening. Mother who cuts vegetables must do them straight. She who burns an incense stick on the altar of ancestors must stand it straight. She who places something on the table must do straight, walks, stands, lies down, sits in deliberation, looks at beautiful flowers, pictures, photographs and images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. When mother practices like that, her foetus is at ease, gentle and comfortable.

In the second stage, our spring age is from one year of age to twenty five years of age. In this second stage, we can divide our spring ages into the four various stages as follows:
a. Spring age from one year of age to three years of age – newborn baby to infant: In this age group, the baby that is still so young is cherished as a thin egg, fed, eaten milk, breastfed, carried by parents and siblings, especially mother. As a baby looked after thoughtfulness, the baby that practiced saying papa and mama rightly looks at beautiful pictures like photographs of flowers, the Buddhas’ and Bodhisttvas’ images, which have the ability to greatly influence childhood’s clean consciousness.
b. Spring age from four years of age to twelve years of age – Infants to children: In this age group, children growing up gradually learn to walk, stand, say, look, etc. Parents who have the responsibility to choose children suitable and wholesome toys, games, books, films, pictures and photographs that have scientific and educational value, know how to arouse and waken up potential understanding of children, keep track of them, and encourage their learning.
c. Spring age from thirteen years of age to nineteen years of age – teenager: In this age group, a young person not only develops her or his physical side, but also the mental side. Parents that have the responsibility to instruct their children to live a lifestyle of family virtue, to honour their elders, to encourage their children to learn a trade corresponding with children’s interests, especially teach them a useful way of life to themselves, to school, to family and to society. 
d. Spring age from twenty years of age to twenty-five years of age – youth age: In this age group, young people that have grown up are full of energy and vitality, can get married and maintain the continuity of the family temple, can contribute to building a family of peacefulness and bliss, a homeland of tranquility, richness and beautifulness.
During spring age from one year of age to twenty-five years of age, we know the family is the child’s first school, it is the place to educate child from when he or she does not yet know how to move, to say, to write till when he or she is growing up, is the place to teach the child to know to love and respect grandparents, parents, siblings, and neighbours. Parents, who are teachers or professors, teach love, brotherhood, sisterhood, family morality, tradition, and lifestyle; children, who are students, learn love, brotherhood, sisterhood, family morality, tradition, and lifestyle. In the process of receiving the good and beautiful words from their relatives and loved ones in the family, children still learn good and beautiful things from teachers, friends, colleagues, etc. in and outside school and in society. Understanding and acting like this, we contribute to building peaceful people, happy families, and a tranquil and prosperous society right in this world.
In the third stage, our spring age can be from twenty-six years of age to fifty years of age. In this age group, we concentrate on building our happy family, growing in strength. We who have children encourage them in school, teach them to become virtuous and useful persons, see them reach adulthood, have charge of children being married, form their own families, etc. In the present society, as the unforthgoing Ones, we should be mindful that whether girls or boys, we only have one or two children so that we can easily nourish, teach, support, etc. them very well.
In the fourth stage, our spring age can be from fifty-one years of age to seventy-five years of age. This age group is the spring age group of the sunset. We who have stabilized our lives let go of gradual activities, give up external conditions, take care of cultivation, sit in meditation, chant Sutras, recite the Buddha’s names, accumulate, cultivate merits, and plant the good blessing tree for descendants to depend on. Vietnamese proverb has written: “Leaving a mountain of possessions is not as important as leaving merit for our children to depend on.To leave a mountain of riches, if the children in the family do not know to follow their parents’ virtuous example to do good blessings, to maintain family culture, tradition and virtue, then they will gradually destroy the riches until there are none left. But if the parents leave merit for their descendants, then the descendants use and inherit parents’ merit over their entire lives. We know possessions which are as much as a mountain are left by parents, can be compared to full water in the lake; the descendants use them for a certain time, and eventually the water in the lake will certainly be exhausted, but merit that parents cultivate and leave can be compared to subterraneous water in a mountain spring, the descendants use it constantly use it constantly, it will never dry up.
The foregoing meanings, which emphasize that to leave merits for the descendants, are more important than to leave possessions for them, admonish everyone to train, to cultivate, to try to do good, speak good and think of good in order to bring flowers and fruits of peacefulness and happiness to the many. A Vietnamese folk song says: “People plant their virtuous trees, hey, people! we who plant the moral trees are happy with our daily life.Indeed, when doing a good and useful thing, we are not only happy with ourselves, but also happy with the world.
The fifth stage is the last stage of our spring age from seventy-six years of age to one hundred years of age. This age group, which is the age group of solidity, maturity, density, richness of experience, is also that of tranquil cultivation, preparedness to carry one’s spiritual luggage to go to the Pure Land or Paradise by oneself. We know when we are still young, our psychophysiology is excitable, officious, and active, our living experience is not yet fully matured. We expect everything to go to our way, to come to us; our speaking, thinking, and behavior are not yet thoroughly developed. But as our spring age grows old, we have very much free time to consider, to contemplate, to be painstaking in cultivation and meditation contemplation, to take charge of the baggage of life gently and light-heartedly. Each of our thoughts is every good thought, each of our words is every amiable and loving speech, and each of our acts is every peaceful and blissful act for the many. We advise and teach our descendants how to live to deserve to become useful persons for themselves and for others right in this world.
Through the above-mentioned things, we are aware that though life is impermanent, though birth, ageing, disease and death occur to us, in this spring age we are young, in that spring age we do not remain young, we always hold onto the thought that we are really happy persons who are training the World-Honoured One’s Dharma, who are privileged to taste the peaceful fragrance of the World-Honoured One’s Dharma, and who are spreading feelings of love and understanding to many people.

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In brief, on the occasion of Tet coming, we respectfully wish the honored Monks and Nuns, the Monks and Nuns who are learning abroad, our Dharma friends, good male and female Buddhists everywhere, guests of honor, government leaders at all levels, dignitaries in friendly religions, overseas Students inside as well as outside the country, to entirely enjoy the Maitreya Spring brimful of joyfulness, and at the same time respectfully wish all of your relatives and loved ones plentiful health, peaceful bodies and minds in the Dharma, and perfect accomplishment in the Buddha Dharma.
The Dharma of learning, that of training, that of understanding, that of peacefulness, and the Dharma of guardianship which are penetrated have the ability to make your bodies and minds cool softly.
By Thich Trung Sy

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Looking at the Spring through the Contemplative Eyes

[1]  The Dharma age in Buddhism means according to every country, every year a Monastic practitioner can participate in the Raining Retreat or Summer Retreat (S. Vārsika) about three months, one month, fifteen days, or ten days, he or she has one more age of cultivated merits. 
[2] The Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
[3]  Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Meditative poem.
[4]  S. V. 421-2; CDB. V. 1844-5.
[5]  Speaking embellishing word, that is, going to person A, we say person B is good; going to person B, we say person A is good, or, conversely, not speaking embellishing word means we should discuss only peaceful and helpful matters.   
[6] Speaking a disparaging word means going to this person, we say that person is not good; going to that person we say this person is not good, and vice versa, not speaking disparaging word, that is to say, we should say things in accord with the Dharma to bring peacefulness and happiness to ourselves and to the others right in this world.      
[7] See Samyuktāgama Sūtra, N. 785.
[8] See Thich Trung Sy. The Path of Buddhist Education. Ha Noi: Religious Publishing House, 2009, p. 118-134.
[9]  Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Meditative poem.