Chớ khinh thường việc ác nhỏ mà làm; đốm lửa nhỏ có thể thiêu cháy cả núi rừng làng mạc. Chớ chê bỏ việc thiện nhỏ mà không làm, như giọt nước nhỏ lâu ngày cũng làm đầy chum vại lớn.Lời Phật dạy
Hạnh phúc và sự thỏa mãn của con người cần phải phát xuất từ chính mình. Sẽ là một sai lầm nếu ta mong mỏi sự thỏa mãn cuối cùng đến từ tiền bạc hoặc máy điện toán.Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Tôn giáo không có nghĩa là giới điều, đền miếu, tu viện hay các dấu hiệu bên ngoài, vì đó chỉ là các yếu tố hỗ trợ trong việc điều phục tâm. Khi tâm được điều phục, mỗi người mới thực sự là một hành giả tôn giáo.Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Chúng ta trở nên thông thái không phải vì nhớ lại quá khứ, mà vì có trách nhiệm đối với tương lai. (We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.)George Bernard Shaw
Cho dù người ta có tin vào tôn giáo hay không, có tin vào sự tái sinh hay không, thì ai ai cũng đều phải trân trọng lòng tốt và tâm từ bi. (Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.)Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Đừng làm một tù nhân của quá khứ, hãy trở thành người kiến tạo tương lai. (Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future. )Robin Sharma
Sự nguy hại của nóng giận còn hơn cả lửa dữ. Kinh Lời dạy cuối cùng
Yêu thương và từ bi là thiết yếu chứ không phải những điều xa xỉ. Không có những phẩm tính này thì nhân loại không thể nào tồn tại. (Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.)Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Hãy dang tay ra để thay đổi nhưng nhớ đừng làm vuột mất các giá trị mà bạn có.Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Thật không dễ dàng để tìm được hạnh phúc trong chính bản thân ta, nhưng truy tìm hạnh phúc ở bất kỳ nơi nào khác lại là điều không thể. (It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.)Agnes Repplier

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The Beauty Of Multiculturalism
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A Message of Love

Where are you/we heading?
May I send a few words?
Don’t be sad in the uncertainty,
Don’t cultivate joy with the hungry heart.
Don’t get mad with the young,
Don’t war with the familiar faces.
Good friends bring us happiness,
Bad ones give us life lessons.
Happiness and sadness are intertwined,
Celebrate and cherish all occasions.
Do not make promises when you are happy,
Do not be reactive when you are angry.
Do not make decision when you are sad,
Do not laugh when others cry or are mad.
Do not be angry or rebuke,
Life will be easier.
Where are you/we heading?
May I send a few words?
Smile at life, which is ever-changing,
And not have too much pity for life and death itself.

Happiness

There are tiny sources of happiness
like the falling leaves of the autumn,
or the smells of the wild flowers,
or an early sunrise,
or a late full moon night,
or the song of the cardinal,
or observing the young get his milk,
or the way the mother loves her kids,
or the wind blowing by the windows
or the clear evening once the rain stops.
Oh, once the soul is at peace,
happiness arises—
To have all the great joys.
They start with these tiny sources of happiness;
And to have great success,
it must come from small achievements;
and to have a long-lasting peace in the world,
it must come from the peace of mind of each individual.
From the red lips to the sound of the forest,
there is a source of happiness.

Just Love More

In silence for many days
Just awoken in pure consciousness,
knowing everything is fragile and changing
We need to just love more
and
have more love in this life.

The Seed of Compassion Lies in the Leaf Of A Mulberry Tree (Interbeing)

Looking deeply, ordinary things become
holy and meaningful,
From the tiny cellular phones, to laptops and a spoon.
A fragile thing becomes indestructible.
Are things impermanent
or do they just change from one form to another?
Realizing the concepts of impermanence.
Do you ever hear the sound in the emptiness?
Or the wind blowing through the hair
of a dying body in the desert?
Or a floating body on the high sea?
And no one cares enough to cry.
Have these sacrifices gone unnoticed?
The seed of compassion lies in the leaf of a mulberry;
The homeland lies in a tree’s leaf.

April, 2006

Wake Up - The Awakening from Within

At dawn, everything is just about to wake up.
The wind howls in the stillness of this earthy place,
The ocean is forever powerful,
The waves crash into the shore,
The foam is as white as the clouds,
The ocean is vast, immense and sacred,
It is as deep and wide as the love of our father,
It is vast and limitless as the love of our mother.
Looking at the ocean, I realize how tiny we really are;
We are but a small stream, flowing into the big sea;
A sea of compassion, a sea of wisdom,
and a sea of awakening.
Life is beautiful and ever-changing,
like today’s rain following yesterday’s sunshine,
Life is a constant change and as fragile as a drop of dew,
as sea foam or as evening clouds.
But we are lucky because we have
all the basic conditions for happiness,
From your feet, your breath, and your lips to your eyes.
From your brain, your heart, and your mind
to your healthy hands.
From the hope and encouragement
of your friends and family.
From the everlasting care and love
from your parents and ancestors,
Embedded with much pride, virtues and traditions,
We must live to nourish our mind and heart,
We must live to cultivate
understanding, compassion and courage,
We must live to make this world a better place for all.

*At the Wake Up Retreat in San Francisco, CA. March, 2014.

Another Day Passed

This early morning, waking up,
Do we forget to watch mist on the leaf
or marvel at the blue sky?
Did we miss a chance to look at the oak tree
in front of the house?
The road passing by the cemetery—
But to and from where?
The gas station on the left,
Little house on the quiet hill,
remind a time...
I see a small white cloud
floating in the blue sky
appear and disappears
like the fog
like the rain
like the snowflake
or sources of poetrym
as if it is the shadow—presence or absence;
There is or there is not.
Do you think so?
Another day passed.
Do we not use it effectively?
Is it stolen or forgotten?
Why did I write a poem without beginning or ending;
no rhythms or flow?
There is nothing wrong with it,
(if one) not to mention
pleasure / happiness
right / wrong
white / black
pain / suffer
or sadness / melancholy
The time is passing
and we look at our lives
clearly
as-is
Dew is still clinging on the leaf
Air—chilly.

Sacramento, November 26th, 2012.

Spiritual Leadership - Leading by Example

Leadership,
any leadership model must have guidelines.
Set solid principles and objectives,
then create the standard of excellence.
Leading by example

is the foundation of life and leadership,
for others to follow
and inspire,
to have a shared common vision
with abundant enthusiasm and action.
There are many different paths
to our ultimate goals,
but these paths must be built on
the foundation of compassion, wisdom and courage.
We must envision the future,
create a practical ideal,
consider the potential uniqueness of the organization,
persuade and take quiet action
for all to see and follow.
An exciting and wonderful future.
We must take the challenge,
and look for innovative ways
to improve our organization.
Experiment, take risks,
and learn from the mistakes and failures—
They present opportunities for growth
and transformation.
For a better future
we must take action,
promote and support each other.
Cooperation and collaboration
for sustainable change.
Positivity,
mutual respect and unity
are all so precious,
like the rhythm of the heart.
Extraordinary effort,
inner values and human dignity
are the key,
My dear friends and mindfulness practitioners,
Hard work is ahead,
Our hopes and dreams
will come true
when we live for the greater good,
and when we contribute to the development of humanity
with great understanding and love,
tolerance and forgiveness.

Sacramento, March 10th, 2012.

Offering for Oneself and to The Buddha - The Reflection
To Jacques, Diane and to all the 2012 BP3 participants

At the beginning of time
‘til the end of it,
there is nothingness;
Emptiness—the non-existence of the self
and the dependent origination.
All Dharma are interdependent,
All the essence of life and non-life,
The way they are—As is.
Seeding, blooming, fragranting,
conditioning, manifesting, transforming.
All physical beings are subject to change,
Everything is impermanent,
Including our thoughts, emotions and intentions.
The potential to awaken
is sprouting with our daily diligent practice
of mindfulness, wisdom, compassion and selflessness,
Serving others is an offering to the Enlightened One
and to our own Buddha nature within.
At the beginning of time
until the end of time,
there is Emptiness.

Institute of Noetic Sciences
Petaluma, CA. September 1st, 2012.

In Front of the Buddha Statue

The drizzling rain drips softly,
The wind blows swiftly,
The yellow leaves are falling,
People’s minds keep wandering.
The drizzling rain drips softly,

The tall redwoods are moving
in the direction of the wind,
People are dreaming and wondering.
The drizzling rain drips softly,
soaking the Buddha statue.
Still, he sits comfortably and smiles naturally,
disregarding what’s real or unreal.

Kim Sơn Monastery
Watsonville, CA 2004

Like the Floating Cloud

The grass is so green on the mountain.
The white cloud is drifting and bobbing freely, purposeless.
Yet it’s formed like the shape of the dragon.
It flies high and low, but it still appears far and near.
The cloud is sometimes just like a human emotions:
real and unreal.

Morning Dharma Lotus

The universe is in the dew drops,
sparkling and fanciful,
Realizing the dew is clouds—
A state of being,
The wisdom of the mind itself.

Walking in Mindfulness One Afternoon

Walking in the empty park one late afternoon,
Just walking its courses without thinking
where I am heading.
It feels like life is so beautiful
when we don’t think about the future or the past.
At that moment, life is precious.
Once we don’t think about the past;
Once we don’t worry, don’t plan things for the future.
At this moment, the sky is so wonderful,
and everything else around you:
Our ordinary hands, our eyes, our feet—
They suddenly become the most precious things.
Our hands give a feeling of completeness,
Those beautiful eyes open up to the invaluable nature,
These feet walk peaceful steps
once we really know we’re still alive,
Just walking in mindfulness alone,
we can find peace and solitude in this life.

The Canoe

To cross the river, one needs a canoe;
Once one reaches the shore, does one still need the canoe?





Life

The course of life is like a wave’s
foam—forming and breaking.
Chasing fame and power is delusional with
tears flowing
The calm sea and a reflective moon—
Just rippled

Walking Meditation

In a walking meditation,
Calm and serenity.
A flock of wild turkeys followed.
I stopped and observed
Without saying a word.
More quietness.
Life is subtle
And the truth, truly is magical.

Spirit Rock Center, 2016.

Why We Are Here

An environment of non-harming, silence, and solitude
Always at ease and peaceful,
friendly and loving
without hostility, only nobility.
All come to practice with gentleness and relaxation,
cultivating loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
With hope, we continually engage in the practice
to change ourselves, others, communities and societies.

In and Out at Will
To Gus and Jeff

I am in and out of the maximum-security state prison at will
What a release…
A comfortable feeling.
Finding peace, even bliss in this violent prison place,
Even here Dharma seeds are sown,
It is a miracle.
The criminal elements, once foolish
now show remorse and regret inside the prison.
They come to the Buddha’s door
and join the meditation retreat,
personally sowing their own fresh Dharma seed
in the middle of stagnancy and uncertainty.
Tonight I see many benefits for the inmates—
Even the prison guards are peaceful.
The criminals look for ways to be transformed by finding
in the Chapel of cement cold walls true independence and freedom.
Tonight I came out of jail and found
how beautiful things really are,
The golden deer looked at me bewildered,
The crescent, dormant. Moonlight is sparkling the night.
I listen to my footsteps
on an immense footpath going home.

Folsom State Prison, CA. November 2011.

Experiencing The 3rd Gate in My Life - Like a Bad Hangover

Today, like any other day, is a beautiful day.
This early morning, there is low flying fog.
Then, the mellow sun warms the gentle space.
My beautiful wife took me to the hospital
for an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).
This is a medical procedure to see if my intestine
has an ulcer or not,
This is my first time to experience such a procedure,
even though I have witnessed my parents go through it.
Perhaps this was another sign of me getting old.
What I fear most is the needle and withdrawing my blood, but now I have to face it
Herman Chan, a nurse, took care of me and put the IV needle into my flesh.
Mindful breathing—taking deep and powerful breaths in and out—is the method I’ve used in every situation,
And it was also effective in this case.
The IV needle was in the skin, and I felt the rushing
of the Sodium chloride solution
My right arm started to pangolin
and warmed up the skin.
I almost felt the loudness and quietness of the ocean waves.
Then I lay there relaxing, waiting for the endoscopy
In the operating room, two more nurses greeted me,
including a male Vietnamese nurse named Lan Cao and a female Filipino nurse.
Dr. Yasser Al-Antably gave me an anesthesia (sedative medication) and I started to feel drunk.
I just remembered that they put something in the mouth
to prevent my mouth closing and perhaps they put
the “ endoscope” into it... and I fell asleep...
I remembered what the great Vietnamese poet Nguyen Du has taught us:
“When, late at night, wine fumes had all cleared off,
One’d start from sleep to sorrow for oneself.”
Being drunk can be suffering for you and for others,
not only torment to each other.
So, moving forward—
Do not over drink or get wasted.
Once at home, I woke up and I still felt drunk....
No one was in sight...
Except for my gentle and loving mom, who was sitting quietly near my bed with her worried eyes.
In that “drunk” process, I vaguely remember
how I got home and how long I slept.
I only know that my brother-in-law, Le Minh Tue,
drove me home because they previously refused
my admission without a driver.
Whatever happened in the process tarnished progression,
I don’t remember clearly.
No wonder the doctor told me not to drive or drink alcohol for another 24 hours.
Thus, the moral is DO NOT drink and drive since you have no control over yourself whatsoever.
The dawn,
The loved ones around you,
the chill wind or an old hill,
and all things considered,
or all existence is simply beautiful.
For the first time on the sick bed,
it is as if I experienced an old aging phenomenon.
Thus, life is fragile
and has many hurdles,
We will overcome its hardship
with a serene, mindful and optimistic attitude.

Sacramento, December 29th, 2012.

My 9-Day Silent Retreat Experience

Ninety-three unique individuals
from doctors to educators, married to single, young to old and from all walks of life
leaving behind their families, work and everything in between
to seek calm, peace and equanimity
The meditative sessions are hard at times,
though the vegan food is delicious.
We learn to take what is offered
and learn to let go of the materialistic life.
Learn to accept, not demand or reject,
Learn to be humble and frugal in our living
and relearn how to be kind
to love,
to forgive,
to live
in this burdened world.
With all the diligent practice
our desires are shrinking,
our visions are expanding
as does our knowledge, wisdom, compassion and loving-kindness
to take back and apply to everyday life.
Embracing, loving, empowering and serving more life
to be harmonious in the world.
Peace in oneself. Peace in the world.

Spirit Rock Center, 2016.

This Life

Between coming and going
Realizing we are a powder of dirt
Dissolving in the immense emptiness.

Letting Go

1.
Autumn leaves falling,
Palms opening,
Letting go.

2.
Life is unreal,
with much negativities,
Let it drop.

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