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18:49 _ 21-10-2018

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Ngành Thanh

 

The six perfections

I. Definition:

"Độ" means to overcome or complete; to overcome ignorance to liberation, suffering to happiness, samsara (rebirth cycle) to Nirvana (Niết-Bàn). "Lục-Độ" are the six methods which guide beings to overcome ignorance and sufferings which would lead to the life of happiness and purity. "Lục-Độ" consists of: Giving Alms, Preserving the Precepts, Patience, Diligence, Meditation, and Wisdom.

II. The aspects Of Six Perfections:

1. Giving Alms:

a. Definition: Giving Alms is to donate private ownerships (goods or spirit) to all beings with no distinction between people or animals, a close friend or an unknown person, a person with the same or different nationality. If there is a being in need of useful alms, one should happily donate them without being stingy.

b. Donation of goods:

1) Donation of money or materials: Use private properties to help the poor and the sick

2) Donation of Dharma: Educate and benefit other beings by sharing Buddha's teachings so they can eliminate ignorance and evil thoughts...

3) Donations of Encouragement: Use courage and braveness to help the beings eliminate fearfulness, feebleness. There are two types of encouragement donation:

_ Use the courageous words to encourage beings while they are in fear or suffering.

_ Use all possible ways to rescue beings while they are being oppressed.

c. The Merits of giving alms:

1) The Elimination of greed and selfishness: Alm giving has the capability to eliminate greediness and selfishness, and build up the equality of compassion.

2) The Delivery of Prosperity: The donations of goods has the capability to help beings escape poverty and hunger and the ability to obtain a happy living condition.

3) The Development Wisdom: Donation of Dharma has the capability to eliminate ignorance, to build up wisdom, and to understand the truth.

4) The Delivery of Calmness: Donation of encouragement has the capability to help beings eliminate worries and sadness, and obtain peaceful living condition.

2. Preserving the Precepts:

a. Definition: Preserving the Precepts is the observance of Buddha's rules and the prevention of the bad conduct. In other words, to avoid doing wrong actions, speaking harmful words and thinking bad thoughts; on the contrary, only do good things, and guide other beings to a right path.

b. The Precepts:

1) Impose Precepts: Precepts established by Buddha such as the 5 Precepts for lay Buddhists, the 6 strict Precepts and 28 other important Precepts for lay Bodhisattvas, to prevent the sins created from actions, speech and thought.

2) Virtuous Precepts: Precepts established by Buddha as a foundation for one to practice charity which benefits oneself and others at present and in the future, such as 10 Virtuous Acts (10 điềuu Thiện) and 4 Assistant Methods (TÙ Nhiếp Pháp).

3) Benefitting Being Precepts: Precepts established by Buddha for a Buddhist to apply to save all beings from sufferings.

c. Capabilities of Preserving the Precepts:

1) Purify the three major karma: By practicing the Precepts, the 3 major karma (body, speech and thought) are completely purified; there are no wrong doings or evil thoughts.

2) Develop merits: By practicing the Precepts, good merits are obtained: Compassion is built up and Wisdom is expanded.

3) Build up good reputation: By practicing the Precepts one avoids violating it with bad actions, thus building up one's good reputation.

4) Gain love and respect from beings: Do no harmful thing to others and animals, rather only help and benefit them. This results in respect and love from others.

3. Patience:

a. Definition: Patience is the capacity of forbearance; to be tranquil and calm under a favorable circumstance or an adversity, a praise or a criticism, a success or a failure; not to be pessimistic of an adversity nor optimistic of a favorable situation.

b. Types of patience:

1) Patience in a favorable circumstance: Not to be arrogant or conceited by praise or respect from others.

2) Patience in an adversity: Not to be angry or resentful of an insult or abuse from others.

3) Internal patience: To be internally tranquil and calm in the oppression of the defilements which are created by greediness and anger. Always keep our mind bright and pure, and not let it be controlled by defilements.

4) External patience: Do not complain, or be angry when facing the oppression of unsuitable conditions such as hunger, cold and hot.

c. Capabilities of being patient:

1) Not doing thoughtless actions: Patience has the capability to eliminate anger. From this, one can avoid doing unthoughtful things.

2) Be calm under all circumstances: Patience leads to concentration and peacefulness of one's mind under all adverse situations.

3) Not dominated by the five basic desires: Patience has the capability to control all defilements, ambitions, and the five basic desires such as wealth, beauty, fame, foods and sleep.

4. Diligence:

a. Definition: Diligence means to concentrate on practicing the doctrine of liberation from the cycle of life and death to attain enlightenment. Not to step back, not to be disturbed by the impured environments.

b. Types of diligence: (Four essential methods)

1) If bad action has not yet developed, diligently keep them from happening.

2) If bad action has already developed, diligently eliminate them.

3) If goodness has not yet developed, diligently generate them.

4) If goodness has already developed, diligently expand them.

c. Capabilities of diligence:

1) Build up courage and enthusiasm: Diligence has the capability to eliminate timidness and laziness. Therefore, always be courageous and eager.

2) No retreating or giving up: Diligence has the capability to build up confidence that helps one not to withdraw under any adversity; instead always stay committed and courageous on the way toward enlightenment.

3) An effective way to enlightenment: Diligence has the capability to eliminate evilness in order to build up the goodness to liberate and attain englightenment.

5. Meditation:

a. Definition: Meditation is to purify the defiled thoughts of greed, hatred and ignorance by mindful of an object so that one's mind cannot be disturbed by these thoughts.

b. Types of Meditation:

1) Mindfulness of the impurities of body: Observing the body as impure, which contains blood, mucus phlegm etc.

2) Mindfulness of compassion: Use the compassionate mind to observe the sufferings of the beings: birth, aged, illness and death.

3) Mindfulness of dependent origination: Observe that all existing forms in the universe are interdependent.

4) Mindfulness of Buddha's images: Observe all Buddhas and reflect their merits.

5) Mindfulness of breathing: Concentrate on one's breathing to keep the mind from being disturbed.

c. Capabilities of Meditation:

1) Pacify the desire: The mindfulness of impurities of the body has the capability to pacify materialistic desires, and to avoid being damaged by unrealistic ambitions.

2) Eliminate anger: Mindfulness of compassion has the capability to eliminate anger and cruelty. Instead it builds up morality and cultivates one's compassion.

3) Eliminate ignorance: Mindfulness of dependent origination has the capability to eliminate ignorance, thus cultivating wisdom.

4) Eliminate distress: Mindfulness of Buddha's images has the capability to reduce sorrows, expand wisdom and merits.

5) Eliminate unawareness: Mindfulness of breathing has the capability to purify the mind in avoiding any disturbing indulgences.

6. Wisdom:

a. Definition: Wisdom is the understanding of what is true, right; wisdom is the knowledge, the brightness. Use wisdom to realize and distinguish things clearly.

b. Types of Wisdom:

1) Penetrating wisdom: Wisdom of hearing and learning the truth

2) Thinking wisdom: Wisdom of thinking the truth

3) Practicing wisdom: Wisdom of practicing the truth.

c. Capabilities of Wisdom:

1) Eliminate suffering: Ignorance is the source of suffering. Wisdom has the capability to brighten one's mind and eliminate one's sufferings.

2) Clearly see the nature of reality: Wisdom has the capability to understand the truth of the interdependence and impermanence of all existing forms.

III. The conditions to apply the “Lục Độ”

1. Express the compassionate heart: Limitlesly expressing the love to all beings by practicing the four Vows:

a. However innumerable beings are, I vow to save them: The universe is boundless and beings are many. With innumerable types of beings, there exist different attitudes in many. However, when vowing to practice the "Lục Độ" one tries to help all beings, even when the task takes more than one life time, or when one has to deal with different adversities with different types of beings.

b. However immeasurable exhaustible the passions are, I vow to extinguish: The characters and attitudes of beings are always changing with time and their immeasurable defilements are developed and accumulated over time. Practicing the " Lục Độ ", one vows to eliminate all the defilements, even the smallest one.

c. However immeasurable the Dharma-Doors (methods of practice) are, I vow to master: The attitudes and levels of understanding of countless beings are different; therefore, the appropriate Dharma-Doors for all beings are also innumerable. Practicing the " Lục Độ ", one vows to learn and practice all the Darma-Doors.

d. However incomparable the Buddha-truth is, I vow to attain it: Attaining the Buddha path is the highest accomplishment. To attain this level, one has to eliminate all the defilements, learn all the Dharma, and help all types of beings. Practicing the " Lục Độ ", one vows to attain this level.

2. Disregard one's life and properties: Practicing the " Lục Độ ", a Buddhist must widely express his/her heart, disregard one's life and properties, and only focus on benefits for all beings. If called upon to sacrifice one's life or property to rescue another being, a Buddhist must happily and willingly do so without regret.