Feelings After Attending the Level 6 Class at Divine Dharma Meditation Center in Anaheim
My deepest thanks to the Founder Grand Master and the 2nd Grand Master for blessing all members from all over the world the opportunities to attend the level 6th class at the new artistically built Head Quarter of the Divine Dharma Meditation Center in Anaheim. Our sincere appreciation to the two founder masters, Nguyen Duc Thuan, and Nguyen Ngoc Hai, all the instructors, and the Organizing Committee for taking good care of everyone during these three days of class.
Even though the Organizing Committee had been occupied setting up the level 4th, level 5th classes as well as the Grand Opening Ceremony for the new Anaheim Center the previous weeks, the Committee has whole-heartedly welcomed, and taken good care of all 118 members in level 6th class. I truly admire their iron will-determination for spiritual cultivation and serving humankind.
Due to the flight on Thursday Dec 9th from Houston being delayed 5 hours, I arrived at the airport late and thus could barely checked in hotel and got to the Anaheim Center in time to congratulate my fellow members for the level 5th graduation ceremony. The new level 5 grads were beaming with happiness and excitement in a vibrant environment. Level 5 requires lots of effort and dedication to overcome obstacles; thus everyone seemed relieved as if they just unloaded a thousand pounds off their shoulders. The joyful atmosphere here reminded me of level 5 graduation day, five years ago (July 2012), at the meditation center in Seattle, the place that made so many unforgettable memories for many of us.
I was very happy to meet Thầy Cô again after many years. They have been working very hard to build up the DDM discipline and nurture all disciples. Until now, there are more than 100 meditation centers in operation around the globe. Thầy Cô have never taken a break from the sacred mission to promote spiritual evolution. On behalf of the Founder Grand Founder and the 2nd Grand Masters, Thầy Cô have endlessly devoted their lifetime Dharma achievement to promote the spiritual development and the cultivation for Bodhisattva virtues.
On the first day of class on Friday, November 10th, the two masters seemed worried after watching every members. Some were still not spiritually qualified for level six. Thầy cô mindfully emphasized the importance of level 6 requirements as well as reviewed key lessons of level two to five. Most of the attendees certainly listened carefully to the teachings so that they could recognize and try to correct their own weaknesses to catch up with their fellow members at the local center in their homeland.
I think it is more important for disciple to cultivate slowly but solidly. Stepping slowly but steadily is much better than rushing up the level but lacking the ability cope with challenge. Many disciples have made this mistake, and have given up the Dharma. A many-storey house, if built with weak foundation, cannot sustain the wear and tear of weather and will collapse in no time. In this era of Dharma Deterioration, people don't have as much time for self cultivation as the Righteous Dharma era. There will be a massive purification to single out the noble souls to ascend to the higher realm. Whoever fails to strive for self-cultivation right now might no longer have a chance to advance to the next cycle of evolution. The last cycle of life is coming to an end. Time is running out and does not wait for anyone. In a nick of time, our hairs have turned gray and our bodies have suffered full of illnesses.
With my experience from 8 years cultivating virtue and practicing the Dharma, I found that the Divine Dharma discipline truly embraces the importance of Practice more than theory. There was a former saying, "Literature needs review, martial arts need practice". The more effort we put in, the more insight we gain, and the more chances we get to experience the miracles of our Dharma. As a result, we can build up strong faith to continue on the long journey for spiritual development.
The Buddhist robe can't create a monk. Likewise, in the DDM discipline, the class level can't create a virtuous disciple. Thầy Cô use level as a means to measure the spiritual development of a disciple. However, it all depends on the relentless effort and determination of each individual in their meditation practice, and in their diligence to learn and practice the Dharma teachings. Those who cultivate, can achieve awakening. No one can cultivate for others. However cultivators can share knowledge and experience to assist one another.
It's easier said than done because DDM Discipline is the dual paths of life and spirituality. There is a saying, "First is cultivation in public, second is at home, third is in a temple". Each has its own price to pay. The higher the degree of difficulty, the higher awards it produces. With strong determination, a cultivator can balance ordinary life and Dharma practice to overcome obstacles to achieve good results in spirituality. All the sorrows and sufferings in life are challenged to test and train disciples. Like tests and quizzes in schools, the higher the class, the harder the tests to match the qualification of the degree.
Level 6 is the transitional stage to move up to level 7 and instructional level. Disciples will be purified in all three Bodies: the Etheric Body, the Emotional Body, and Mental Body. As a result, they could reach a sodidified spiritual state, enabling them to fullfill their Dharma responsibilities. Therefore, in the future, disciples to attend level 7 class will be chosen by Thầy Cô based on their level of spirituality progress. This is one of the sacred mission that the two Grand Master s have entrusted Thầy Cô to consolidate the Dharm discipline. As for each disciple, one should also seriously and thoroughly cultivate level 6 in order to be able to absorb the essence of level 7 and higher teachings.
Thầy has explained in details the corelation between the five aggregates and the three Essential Bodies of the Soul in the process of life formation in this sentient world. Hense, disciples should thoroughly understand the impermanence of life and the non-self of a being. As one of the five aggregates or one of the three Bodies is missing, the human body doesn't exist. Everything returns to dusts. Being aware of the impermanence of things will help humankind get rid of sorrow and suffering and acquire inner peace. Therefore, to eliminate hardship and attain liberation for oneself and for others should be the ultimate goal for each disciple on the journey of spiritual cultivation.
On Saturday, November 11th, Thầy reviewed the evolution process of the universe through the seven realms and specified the goal of level 4 through 7 was to transform a sentient being in this secular world (the 1st realm) to gradually become the Bodhisattva in the Bodhi realm (the 3rd realm).
The self-transformation at these levels is extremely important for the success of a cultivator because it is tightly related to the four stages of Enlightenment of Sainthood in Buddhism (Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, and Arahant). Arahant is the fourth stage for the fully awaken one who is free from cycle of birth and death.
In order for an ordinary person to ascend through these Four stages of Enlightenment, he should endeavor to serve humankind with altruistic compassion. Helping mankind is also helping oneself paying off karmic debt, and accumulating unconditional spiritual merit, with which, a person can attain enlightenment when the time is right.
Another crutial and indispensible trait that goes hand in hand with altruism in the spiritual practice is humbleness. No matter at which level , we should never consider ourselve better than others. Ego breeds arrogance and mistakes. Altruism mixed with ego will turn into ego with fame, wealth, and love. We have no supernatural or magical power at all. Divine energy is the means to assist us in our cultivation and service to humankind. It is the sacred healing energy from the Higher Being granted to only those who live with their true selves and practice the Dharma. Without loving kindness, divine energy will also vanish.
In a community, each individual has his own experience and expertise that he can share with others, not to satisfy one's own ego, but to build up team bonding, and promote and develop the Dharma. A grain of sand can't make a desert. Be like an airplane, the higher it flies, the smaller it appears.
We all aware that the bad habit of believing in superstitious worships from a majority of the population in the twenty first century is still very prevalent. This is a non-pragmatic aspect in our life and it is contradicted with the DDM doctrine that our masters have taught. Indeed, our experience is own evidence. We pay our own karmic debt, reap our own blessing. The masters of all the religions or the Dharma disciplines only show us the path and give guidance so that followers can themselves cultivate and evolve. Worship alone doesn't help. If the holy messengers can granted all the prayers, then they would have saved all mankind long time ago and all of us would all be liberated from suffering and from the reborn cycle without any need to do self- cultivation. As a result, there won't be any suffering human being in need of help from religions.
On Sunday, December 11, all disciples felt so happy and uplifted after the longest morning meditating session, and then Thầy cô spiritually open the gate of their Emotional Body. This is a part of a person’s True Self that has been conquered by the Ego in almost all daily activities.
The evolution progress of a person’s spiritual chakras shows a true reflection on his real level of self-cultivation. It serves as a tool to determine if a person is an ordinary human being or in a progress of evolving to a super human being. Everyone will have a chance to find more accurate answers once he practices the Dharma. The three days of cultivation had been successfully concluded under the full blessing of the Founder Grand Master, the Second Grand Master, and the two Founder Masters. All disciples received more Divine Force from the Founder Grand Masters and the blessing from the Founder masters so they can re-enforce their own five spiritual powers. Only when the five Spiritual Powers- Faith, Diligence, Mindfulness, Equanimity, and Wisdom – have a solid foundation, then a person will be happy with his own great self-cultivation progress.
All happy reunions must have an end. Everyone felt sad when saying good bye to Thầy Cô and all classmates. We were going back to our local DDM centers to continue our spiritual journey to serve the community as the children of the Founder Grand Masters and disciples of Thay Co. We will help each other with genuine love and with one main goal in our mind: to serve the humankind in order to accomplish a mission that The Grand Masters passed on to us for years.
All services have the same spiritual values; from cleaning the DDM centers to cleaning the altar, helping the sick people, or helping classes at the other centers. In order to accomplish the highest holy mission of the Grand Masters, everyone needs to learn to serve others in mindfulness and with a selfless mind. He should serve without expecting anything in return. He should to stay calm in all situations praising or accusations, winning or losing. He should not criticize others, boost up his own ego, and cause chaos in the DDM center.
We are all equal as the children of the Creator who send us to earth to learn and pass all life lessons. Each person carried his own personal belonging including his own karmic debts. As the law of causation, everyone must pay his own karmic debts. Paying the debts quickly or slowly depending on how well he serves and helps other to make great evolution. The more progress he makes on his cultivation path, the faster he pays off his karmic debts.
Therefore, we need to do self reflection regularly to find and fix our own mistakes in order to reduce our karmic debts faster. As a result, our physical illnesses will gradually vanished since 80% of all illnesses caused by our restless mind. We need to look into our inner self to clean up harmful thoughts instead of looking outward to find other people’s mistakes.
As one remembers the biography of the Sixth Chan Buddhist Monk, Huineng,(Luc To Hue Nang), when he was self-cultivating at the temple, he was assigned tasks in the kitchen. He didn't have much opportunities to attend dharma teachings in the main court. However, he still tried to listen to them from the kitchen. One day when he heard the phrase, "You must be non-local for the appearing of this mind" in the Sutra "Diamond", he was spiritually awakened. Not long after he attained awakening, he became the 6th Patriarch of the Chan Buddhism in China. His story reminds us that we should listen to the Dharma teachings with a peaceful mind. Wisdom will follow through and thus we can deeply understand every details of the teachings. If a misleading mind can create dispersed thought, and delusion, a right mindfulness can transform them back into goodness. Our Masters often teach that: "The Meditation center within oneself has to be solid before the meditation center outside can flourish.
Once again, with gratitude, I would like to thank Thầy Cô, all instructors and all people in the organizing committee and the culinary committee who diligently took great care of all disciples in level 6 class and made a successful outcome. We will treasure and keep a deeply touched memory in our heart for a long time on the path of cultivating, practicing, and expanding the DDM Doctrine around the world.
I sincerely wish that all of my classmates will come back to your local DDM centers and practice DDM Dharma with a beautiful smile on your face all the time.
Trí Thiện Lâm
Holy Center Houston Texas.
Lam BÍCH NgÀ
DDM Of Milpitas