Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Khai Bút Đầu Xuân

         Ở vùng trời đó

Không có quán trọ
Cho Lữ khách
     thức trong mộng
     hay ngủ trong mộng

Hoa Mạn thù sa là
               hoa Mạn thù sa

Nhưng nơi góc khác
Bỉ ngạn hoa không khác hoa Vô ưu

Lá lay một giây in đậm thiên thu
Chân Như như gió thoảng

Con vành khuyên hót chậm
Chữ kinh trải như thiên nữ tán hoa
                                                           tám hướng
                                 không trung

Bước chân trên đồi cát
          bay vào vô tận

Tiếng chuông có khi vọng tới
                miên mật
                      diệu âm

Trống gọi ba la mật
Những đồng tử
        khiêu vũ trên lụa trời

Người ngồi tan vào vũ trụ.

Mồng 5, M/tuất 2018

Transition Time between 2 years at Huệ Quang (LHNam)

We were there last night at Huệ Quang ( Wisdom Light) pagoda, Santa Ana, CA

The firecrackers show started about 11 pm, both types-- Disneyland type and the "detonating" type, mostly the latter. Some detonating chains of firecrackers lasted about 1, 2 minutes. The smoke from incense and firecrackers mingled together, exhorting past remembrance, nostalgic drifting. Hue Quang temple has been known for celebrating Lunar New year this way-- with firecrackers work, dragon dance and musical performance in Orange county for about 30 years. Each year , some 5000-7000 Vietnamese Americans come to pay homage to Buddhas and enjoy the show. Most venerable, Abbott Thich Minh Mẫn and his staff seem delighted in providing such memorable and delighting activities for people to remind them of cultural root. Vietnamese are very, very fond of "exciting" firecrackers and exciting themselves  Firecrackers, according to Vietnamese folklore, are meant to scare away the cruel, evil spirits to keep people safe and tranquil.

In a moment, normally right at the first minutes of the New year, if you were lucky ( because you come early--about 7pm), you might be able to experience the real and "surreal' experience of hearing the sutra/mantra, the pagoda bells, the ranting pronunciation of firecrackers ; of smelling the incense, the smell of firecrackers and witnessing the firecrackers' flying detonated "dead bodies". It can be very vibrant and pulling.

Pháo chùa Huệ Quang. Dễ sợ không đồng hương các t/bang xa.
Thầy trụ trì Thích Minh Mẫn , có lẽ rất thích tiếng pháo, và muốn cống hiến một phần nghi lễ mà Phật tử VN rất mến yêu là tiếng pháo, hòa trong mùi hương, quyện bên lời tụng kinh/chú, mùi pháo, xác pháo để chào mừng năm mới. Cũng đã hơn 30 năm rồi thầy tổ chức Giao thừa như thế. Tới đây , nếu đúng lúc, có thể có được một kinh nghiệm vừa thực , vừa 'siêu thực' của mắt thấy , tai nghe như vừa nói.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Breaking things into smaller steps

                                                                                     * *

This one is for people 50 years old and above, but the ones from 45 on  may take heed, too J

Ever trip and fall in a hurry; ever spoil the whole work because you rush at some points ? Here are a few things you may learn to improve by breaking things into smaller steps’

I belong to the group of men who like to get things done efficiently and fast, or very fast. But as time goes through and I go through, I realize sometimes we need to slow down— especially with important things or work— to avoid (some) mistakes and trippings..

Here are some observations and advises to break things in smaller steps and slow down :

1.     The wiring process : As we grow, the autonomous working of our mind-body complex grows faster too, facilitates our ability to finish work faster , more efficiently. We are wired to the process of accomplishing work, jobs, things faster, and people “with speed” seem to develop this process even at a impressively higher rate. Look at the Karate , Tae kwondo  kicks, punches of the martial artists, or the sprinters, swimmers at Olympics games, and you see what I mean. With others, who place the speed priority in getting things done, they are wired to hurrying up, or pushing things in the fastest way possible. This, consequentially, turns the clocks in their system to run faster.  Chances for them to achieve and win prizes in life are high, but chances to make mistakes are not low, either.

2.     And as the “faster” people look back at their works, plans, agendas, sometimes they may feel , at different steps, or stages, phases, they could avoid some mistakes, or defective parts, if at the time they slow down.

3.     For all of us, slowing down can help us avoid tripping, and when we look back, we may realize we have skipped a couple of steps in reaching a point, a job, or a process, in which we may have better results, less loss , if we have slowed down. For example, you and a friend need to attend a meeting very soon and you could be somewhat late; the water is boiling for tea, and you need to get a cup for her/him in a cupboard, which is higher than you can reach by length of a hand, or two inches, Instead of getting a stool to reach it, in a hurry, you try to extend your arm so far, and stretch a muscle, or ligament and it hurts badly the next day. In a more drastic situation, when a stool is also not higher enough, you may trip and break a couple of bones.

4.     In some important plans, when you slow down you may realize you have skipped “rather significant/ decisive”, or even important steps when you’re in a hurried mindset

5.     Slowing down can offer :
a)     A more relaxed manner, interval to finish work. It may get result a little slower [ if you calculate and project your work, job well, taking a more relaxed, a little slower process will not impede your work much], but you are surer that the work, the job will be completed on a more solid ground.
b)    Having more time to observe, see more of the on-going process of actions, work, job; therefore maybe able to have less missing steps
c)     And here is the impressive, good point : Stop, hold the rush,  the “wired” pushing waves from the eight consciousnesses at bay will surprise you—more than you may think— by its effect. At least it can show you the foreseeing, the possibility of an error-bound pathway in a rush attempt, and you can stop and think about a couple of  possible improvising steps.
6.     Meditation practitioners, artists, writers often feel :
        a) With slowing down, we have more time to enjoy, appreciate what
            we do, what we eat, what we read, or listen. More than often you
            probably have heard of people who are so hurried in their lives
           and work that they forget how the foods they just ate yesterday
           tasted. That’s pretty ‘lousy’, isn’t it ? Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh
           said a long time ago: Take time, slow down, taste your tangerine;
           wash your face, put on your robe etc. The main point is “not to
           finish things fast, or rush things”, then you can see/feel how fully,
           how permeating the flavor of the tangerine is etc.  Arco gas stations,
           some years ago reminded customers : Take the time to smell a
b)     Accustomed to meditation, meditation practitioners often do
    things, contemplate on things very slowly. As such they can
    observe the processes ( of how their bodies react to the environment, of
    how minds jump from one thought to another; how ideas, feelings
    come and go, and many other things ), see clearer how they form
    and disappear, how their reactions to them are etc. Seeing things
    clearer is a wonderful thing, I believe. In the same vein, more solid steps
    in sequences can give processes, work more stability.

7.     Point for reflection : Why hurried many times , when after 50 years
     in life , after many things have been accomplished, or done in many
     ways ? Usually the things of importance in our lives, we normally
     have either accomplished, done it, or not  in the 25-45 years of age.
     After 50  years, what is there that is so important anymore, in most
     cases ? Isn’t that result of something , taken to be ‘important’, is just
     of a futile nature, which we may blow it out of proportion, regarding
     its “importance’ ?


*  I recently tripped when I renovated my ceiling, not because I was in a hurry; but the happening “trips” me to write this.

*  Life in our more mechanized ( after the Industrial revolution), and now digitized world ( after the coming of the computer) , has put a lot of emphasis, pressure on speed, on efficiency { and many time efficiency is let equated with speed}.  For its efficiency, I used to be 75% for it, now I still am at 65% for it, because I believe in efficiency in work and plenty of time,in speed also. But as I grow older, I also reckon the importance of slowing down in life’s activities. And the beauty, as well as the efficiency of it in another way.

* One very fascinating thing is : when you stop the rush, hold the pushing waves of the combined effect of the eight consciousness at bay, you will see the dynamics of them being very much reduced, changed course, diffused and disintegrated. You, then , can stir it slowly to the direction you want.

 * The best part of holding the pushing stream at bay is , if you devote time to explore more, gradually you can learn how to partially control it, stir its direction somewhat. That is a source of happiness.

Chân Huyền
Feb. 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Vương Giả Chi Hoa

Mỗi năm, mỗi lần lan nở, lại nhớ Võ Hoàng, tới văn tài, cái văn tài 'rất khác' của anh, và truyện ngắn "Vương Giả Chi Hoa" trong tập Góc Bể Bên Trời.

Thế mà đã 30 năm từ ngày anh lên đường phục quốc và vĩnh viễn trở về lòng đất.

Nhớ Võ Hoàng yêu chữ “nghĩa dũng”. Và con người anh thể hiện chữ đó.