It’s okay to change plan
Staying in the Buu Tho temple in Mong Tho helped me to realize how beautiful life was without phone. Moreover eating vegetarian food made me feel easy inside that after I really didn’t want to eat meat anymore. However I couldn’t go anywhere and during the day I couldn’t do anything beside sweeping, eating, doing laundry and sleeping. So I decided to leave before than supposed to.
As I announced being offline for two weeks and I stopped it after six days, I felt bad and didn’t know whether I should change accommodation or not. Because if I change I had to use my mobile. But I didn’t want to waste my time there when I could have travelled somewhere else as well. I realized that it was fine to change my plan. It was fine to break what I promised and admit it. We all make mistakes. The difference is whether we dare to admit it.
So after 6 days I had to use internet again but I still didn’t use social media like facebook or instagram. Many times we associate internet with facebook because when we are on the phone of course why not surf on FB? But in reality those are two different things. Internet became crucial for our life. So the FB. But we need to know how to use them in order not to be controlled by them. Not using FB was a freedom to me. I saved time as I didn’t waste it on scrolling the newsfeed.
As for the Internet I only used it to search for my next destination. The reason I changed to another Buddhist temple in HCMC was because this master does volunteer work in different areas of Vietnam. I wanted to join him. But it turned out he didn’t do volunteer work when I could stay in HCMC. As the time didn’t match I had to change place again. For that I had to use internet to find a suitable, interesting destination.
In conclusion not using social media and minimizing the time of using internet made me feel free and had time to realize things around me as well as forcing myself to talk to people. I still didn’t talk too much though.
Filial piety in the temple
Since it was period of Vu Lan, the masters couldn’t go out freely, that’s why in Mong Tho they couldn’t take me anywhere. Vu Lan is a celebration of filial piety of Buddhism when Muc Kien Lien saved his mother from the underworld of malice ghost. You can read the whole story here.
This is the day when everyone is reminded to respect their parents. To think of their hardship and sacrifice to bring us up. Every buddhist temple celebrate Vu Lan and many students participate in it. It’s one of the most important day. Usually the celebrations starts with a praying. Then the host will read a text about the sacrifice of our parents and how we usually treat them in return. This results in a big cry as everyone see themselves in the role how disobedient and disrespectful they are.
I also cried a lot as I realized how much my parents had to work to raise me up and send me to school. I was in a period when I didn’t know whether I should continue my studies or not as I didn’t like it. But then the event made me remember how much my mum wanted me to study and how much they worked to give me anything I could have. In the end I decided to finish my master study. Once again I try to stay calm when I get mad at home and to respect my parents and help them when needed.
This is not some theory anyone only listen then cry and that’s it. It should be put in practice. In our everyday life just think about how many time we talk back, shout at our parents. How many times don’t we listen to them, then get in trouble and make them solve it for us? How many times do we take them for granted thinking they will always be there for us no matter how we treat them? But in reality they are also human. And human is mortal. So one day our parents will leave us. Then we will realize we are left alone with our own agony.
The message and the goal of Vu Lan is to remind us of our parents. Everyone will get a rose. If the parents are still alive, they get red roses which reminds them of appreciating them. If they’ve gone, they get white roses to remind them of their deceased ancestor and to live a better life with gratitude, compassion and integrity.
As I cried a lot due to my sin towards my parents I was very tired. The next day I planned my trip to Phan Thiet where I needed internet. At the end of the day I got to talk to the master and was convinced he was one of the most generous Buddhist master who really does something for the environment and for the people.
However after living in Buddhist temple for few days I also realize that the monks are also human. Some people only become monk when they are old so they still bring their typical human behaviour in the temple. It really takes a lot of time for a person to become Buddha. The most important trait is to be open-minded for the new and accept things that we are not used to. Also to acknowledge our mistake and vulnerability and be ready to change them. In order to do this we should put ourselves into other person’s shoes and treat them the way we want to be treated.
This is something that is told many times but the power of it is huge. Instead of just listening to it and say we know, we should strive to put it in practice and admit when we are still lacking to achieve that level.
It’s not easy to live in a Buddhist temple. Because in order to achieve the level there are many rules and order a monk need to follow. I had always wanted to become a monk as I thought I would find peace and enlightment in there. But after this I realized I can do the same even in the outer world. Buddhism life is merely a different world with their own rules. No offense. I still respect them and the Buddhism. But at the same time I also believe I can be honest, fair, live a peaceful life even if I’m in the outer world. This is also what Buddhism about. Everyone can reach the enlightment as long as they live their life rightfully and with compassion to other people.