Feb 9, 2020

Posted by in Giáo điển | 31 Comments

Letter from Sweden: WHAT I SAW IN EUROPEAN CORNER (Part 3) ( Thư Thụy Điển: THẤY GÌ Ở GÓC PHỐ TRỜI ÂU? (Bài 3))

– Where do we go now, sir?

– Let’s go to the center of Stockholm for breakfast, then have a cup of coffee in a nearby café.

The car rolled swiftly on the wide road. Soon we came to a street corner where all buildings are of the same height and stand in a row, unlike Paris where buildings grow chaotically. Among modern architectures joined with Gothic-style cathedrals, I chose to have breakfast at a big restaurant as a way to thank the kindness of Phill and Mark. The restaurant has two sides open widely to the street but its tables and chairs are arranged so neatly that cause difficulty for walking around. The waiter gave us the menu and we ordered our favorite dishes. I let myself relax in the floating sound of music to avoid speaking English which is not my strength. Looking at people walking on the street, streams of cars passing by, I couldn’t find any Asian brands and surely not my Mitsubishi Mirage

The building with blue top after me is where Mat Tu will do thesis defence for master’s degree

Tables and chairs are arranged so neatly that cause difficulty for walking around

I was checking the menu

– Here you are, sirs! said the waiter with pleasant smile on his face.

– Thank you!

I had breakfast at the restaurant

Shortly after we started to eat, I saw a couple hesitating in front of the restaurant. Maybe they are tourist, didn’t know much about prices. The man looked like want to walk in but his slow gesture implied that he was waiting for his girlfriend to stop him. May be by this way, he could be seen as a generous guy in his girlfriend’s eyes while “escape” from this “money-burning machine”. And just like my prediction, she said something and pulled him away from the restaurant. That’s it! It’s not easy to have a trip and more difficult to spend money during that trip. Suddenly I joyfully burst out of laughing at my “prediction” which made Mark surprised. Luckily, he didn’t dare to ask or I couldn’t be able to express my “impish” thought. “Thought runs fast like a rabbit but expression is slow like a turtle  – that’s the tragedy of foreign language learners”!

Here’s the breakfast!

An old man of around 70 with a bent back crossing the street

It should be admitted that the food was quite delicious but what impressed me most was the gorgeous view of the street corner. Suddenly I saw an old man of around 70 with a bent back crossing the street. My heart seemd sank thinking about the suffering of “birth, old age” of the sentient being. I’ve once heard about the popularity of stress and depression among the elderly in Europe, including Sweden. Their adult children, who they took care with all love, now with demanding job and their own family, are less inclined or able to care their parents. On the other hand, Swedish seniors have high self-esteem thus don’t want to be considered as a burden toward their children. They may choose to spend the rest of their life in a highly-cost nursing home or live alone within four walls of their house. Contrarily, in a developing country like Vietnam, the elderly is still found to be energetic and optimistic. They often set up their own clubs and joyfully take part in “gym dance” in a flower garden or a park every morning. What’s more difficult for aging people in Sweden is the freezing weather in winter season when the temperature may drop to below 0 Celsius degree. They hardly go out the house and often get sick and die in this season. Just within a morning, I heard the ambulance’s siren twice racing toward the hospital. Luckily, the vehicle density is rather low here or the patient may not be that kind of luck if they live in cities with heavy traffic like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City!

Old men and women perform “gym dance”

Witnessing this suffering, thinking about the six spiritual inventions of Song Nguyen Tantra House and my newly-accomplished research: “Research on the psychological effect of Thanh Tri Yoga on stress and anxiety”, I found them an effective antidote for mental illness in all ages which take less expense for treatment than other psychological centers which are running moderately efficient.

– Why do you look so gloomy?

– It’s alright! Good food! Have a cup of coffee after we finish!

Frankly, I wanted to tell him what I was thinking but my limit of socio-psychological terms had prevented me from expression. The best thing I could say is just: “ I saw an elderly man with a hunched back, I immediately thought of the suffering. I will be the same tomorrow. But I believe that my body will be old but my heart is still young, I will not be depressed like the old people here. That’s what I want to have a few words about this..” 

Our Song Nguyen Tantra House, known as a “spiritual resort”, always open for its old-aged members, handing on them an eternal

Our Song Nguyen Tantra House, known as a “spiritual resort”, always open for its old-aged members, handing on them an eternal spring. I’ve spent much of my efforts and money and will all my aspiration, without any regret, in upgrading the House’s infrastructure just for you with one condition: you must practice Dharma. Who will benefit from Dharma practice, do you think? It is you! But pitifully you’ve neglected my teachings, even breaking the most important Tantric vow No.1: “Having disrespectful and wrong thoughts of Guru”. How ironic that you can spend much effort and time in surfing entertainment websites while regretting your time to write down some lines of comment on chantuduy.com. Let think what you’ve done to deserve the membership of Song Nguyen Tantra House? I can see quite a few of you feel complacent about your names on the honor board showing your contributions to the House, but this is a serious mistake as “the ocean of Dharma does not retain corpses”. It’s too late to lock the stable door after the horse is stolen!

I felt a sudden sadness come over me though I was being on a crowded street. It’s a benevolent sorrow for the ignorance of sentient beings. I got up and paid the bill of around 60 euros for both of us, then we left the restaurant for city tour..

I would stop here. See you in next letter. May suffering of all sentient beings be relieved and their joy be multiplied.

Om Mani Padme Hum!

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van Mountain, January 12, 2020

Thinley-Nguyen Thanh


Vietnamese version: Thư Thụy Điển: THẤY GÌ Ở GÓC PHỐ TRỜI ÂU? (Bài 3)


RELATED ARTICLES:

Letter from Sweden: FRIENDSHIP ON THE FLIGHT (Part 1)

Letter from Sweden: HUMANITY IN A FOREIGN LAND (Part 2) ( Thư Thụy Điển: TÌNH NGƯỜI NƠI ĐẤT KHÁCH (Bài 2))

Letter from Sweden: WHAT I SAW IN EUROPEAN CORNER (Part 3) ( Thư Thụy Điển: THẤY GÌ Ở GÓC PHỐ TRỜI ÂU? (Bài 3))

Letter from Sweden: FIKA AT A GLANCE (part 4) ( Thư Thụy Điển: MỘT THOÁNG FIKA ( Bài 4))

Letter from Sweden: IF IT’S FATE, WE WILL MEET EVEN IF WE ARE SEPARATED BY A THOUSAND MILES. IF IT’S NOT FATE, WE WILL NEVER ENCOUNTER EACH OTHER EVEN IF WE’RE FACE-TO-FACE (Part 5) (Thư Thụy Điển: CÓ DUYÊN NGÀN DẶM GẶP NHAU, VÔ DUYÊN TRƯỚC MẶT TƯỜNG RÀO CÁCH NGĂN (Bài 5))

Letter from Sweden: MANY WORDS, ONE HEART. (Part 6) (Thư Thụy Điển: NHIỀU DÒNG CHỮ, MỘT TẤM LÒNG (Bài 6))

Letter from Sweden: ON RETURNING DAY (Part 7) (Thư Thụy Điển: NGÀY TRỞ VỀ (Bài 7))

  1. tantra mahavita says:

    Dear Saint GURU … We are so fortunate to have Song Nguyen Tantra House … our spiritual complex for the elderly … and our Guru who so kindly with his wisdom and compassion guides us in this ocean of the precious Dharma Yearning and aspiring that all sentient beings can find this jewel that grants all desires. May the suffering of all Beings be alleviated and their joy multiplied .OM MANI PADME HUM

  2. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:

    Dear holy Guru,

    My name is Tantra Ashihata .

    I appreciate you for this wonderful article you have given to me I bless your holy name. After reading the article I understanding the suffering at old age is not easy most especially if there is nobody to take one responsibility.

    May Guru help us to have a wonderful old age by provide aid for the aging one and those that are coming to the school of old age.

    May Guru live long for the happiness of all sentient beings and may all sentient beings free from suffering.

    Om Mani padme hum

     

  3. Mật Diệu Hằng
    Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy tôn quý!

    Con là Tantra Ashihata.

    Con hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh của Thầy đã viết bài viết tuyệt vời này và cho chúng con cơ hội được đọc bài, được nhận ơn phước từ Thầy. Sau khi đọc bài, con hiểu được những khổ đau, nỗi niềm của người già, đặc biệt khi họ không có ai sẻ chia, chăm sóc.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy gia hộ cho chúng con có được tuổi già bình an và có nơi nương tựa.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì hạnh phúc của tất cả chúng sanh.

    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đạo trừ khổ đau.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

     

  4. Mật Diệu Hằng
    Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment cảu đạo hữu Tantra Mahavita sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy tôn quý!

    Chúng con thật may mắn khi được nương tựa Mật Gia Song Nguyễn. Con cảm thương cho những người già nơi đây nặng nỗi niềm mặc cảm. Và Thầy là vị Đạo sư quá tốt với trí tuệ và bồ đề tâm đã hướng dẫn chúng con đi trong biển pháp diệu kỳ.

    Con cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được nương tựa bóng lành Tam Bảo và viên thành mọi ước nguyện chính đáng.

    Cầu nguyện khổ đau của tất cả chúng sanh được đoạn trừ và hữu tình có được niềm hạnh phúc.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

     

  5. Totte Nordahl
    Totte Nordahl says:

    Good morning dear Guru

    Thank you for shareing your thoughts and impressions about Sweden. It is very interesting to read about things from another perspective.

    The north, together with the Saami culture, has more mindfulness in the everyday life compared to mid and south Sweden. I think that is why I feel more at home here, and I (think I have) a natural place here.

    I have told myself to take one hour each morning to read, and I feel with in my core that it affects me the whole day.

    Dear Guru

    Thank you SO much and may your wisdom and compassion affect all the sentient beings.

    Take care and have some wonderful fika-pauses this day

    Dearvvuođat (means Regards in the north Saami language)

    Tantra Mitraga

    Om Mani Padme Hum

     

  6. paul yawney says:

    Dear holy Guru, thank you for another fine article.It is sad that the younger generation in many countries do not value you when you are older. they forget the older generation is a wealth opf knowledge. Many younger ones could learn from that. I learn and enjoy each of your articles. so many kind words and thoughts in the lines. Thank you. Om Mani Padme Hung.     Tantra Himataru

  7. C H Lakshmi narayan says:

    These pictures depict my dream to see in future the “Spiritual Resort!” Which Guruji had made reference contains all the features of human development in the spiritual field under one roof of Song Nguyen Tantra House seeing which all the Spiritual leaders should raise their eye brow looking at the another wonder of the World !

    Old age people who are willing take benefit of these benefits Incorporated in the ” Spiritual Resort” with the east bkdhicitta and benevolence of Guruji alongwith Surrounding Nature preaching Buddha’s Nature with compassion and love really enjoy the happiness of Nibbana, no doubt about it !

     

  8. Petra says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences from your Sweden trip. I thank you for your wisdom and may all sentient beings be free from suffering

  9. Petra says:

    Yes Dear Guru. I live in Sweden. Born and raised. Live in the south of Sweden. Close to the border of Denmark

  10. Petra says:

    I hope to meet them one day

  11. Jason says:

    Dear Guru, you are right… … … ! I have only had poor thoughts because to me you are new, you are exciting, and yet I do not understand.

    I will not make excuses further. You have shown me much grace and respect, it is unfortunate for me that I do not always comment. I deeply respect and somewhat understand your method of read and comment. In a way, it is like dialing you on the phone, but with a postcard.

    I am often lost as to whether I should be brief, or wordy. Guru, I would like to share with you a story… of how I found great meaning, but I do not think I can convey what I want to, unless I can successfully translate it. It is vague. I am no polyglot, but indeed I am a story teller.

    I thought of you today on my own actually as I wrote it. My thought was, what good am I to Guru, when Guru has been so kind to me, without having been required to do so. Thank you for your words and wisdom… they do mean a lot, even if I do not express gratitude correctly. I blame it on myself not understanding myself. Please forgive me.

  12. John says:

    Dear Guru,

    It is interesting to read about your travels and to have insight to your introspective thoughts. Thank you for sharing with us!

  13. prem lal says:

    Respected Guruji Namaskar

    The Article is very beautiful and enjoying.It teaches us how to admire Buddhism.It bestow light on the old age also as the youngers are busy in their jobs and children.They have no time for their parents.Respected Parents have to seek shelter in the old age homes or clubs.This is the depiction of the society today.Guruji you press the vein which has the pain.Thankyou so much Guruji.

     

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  14. Tena says:

    Dear Guru, Thank you for your letter of reflection regarding Sweden and what you saw in the european corner. Your have worked hard to make Song Nguyen Tantra House to be an inviting place. You have also worked hard to help  your students to find the Buddha path. I see this very clearly. I am grateful for your persistent  help.

  15. Josephine says:

    Dear Guru! Thank you for this article. Its True that sweden ppl suffer from alot of stress. Somethimes I would like to move to another country. Because of the stress and The cold weather.
    People in sweden dont have a nice attitude. All that matter is to have the best job, best house, best friends and put it up on instagram. I feel sorry for thoose People because I think they feeling very bad inside.

  16. Tantra Pramitdhita (Josh Hacker) says:

    Holy Guru,

    I bow my head before your lotus feet!!!! Thank you for sharing “Letter From Sweden: What I Saw in European Corner (Part 3)”. I have never been to Stockholm or Sweden for that matter but it looks like a very beautiful place and the food you ordered looked very delicious. What did you have?
    Even though growing old is a natural part of life it can be sad and troublesome to watch others suffer from this circumstance. Especially when you notice that they are suffering and have no one to help them or no one will help them because they are “too busy” with their own life. It is enough to break your heart.

    May Guru live a long and healthy life for the sake of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature

    May the global pandemic caused by the Corona virus soon end

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  17. Tantra Tanshami (United States) says:

    Praise, Homage and Namaste Great Guru. Yes old age does come. I am very grateful for what you do for others. I know first hand to be very thankful for blessings and grace because life has been very hard, and Dharma is an oppurtunity that must be turned to when it is there.
    Please have a long happy life and turn the wheel of dharma for all, and be able to bring happiness to all.

    Om Mani Padme Hum
    May all beings be happy and peaceful, and free from suffering worry and anger. May they be always liberated, enlightened and free.
    May disease turn to ease.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment and your wishes! I will live a long happy life if my learners and disciples practice diligently, so you contribute to that. Please read more!

  18. Thomas Ralph Nissen says:

    Dear esteemed Guru,
    Thank you for this insightful message from your travels.
    It was nice to get your perspective on the cultural differences you noticed.
    As I am nearly 68 years old, issues related to aging are of great interest to me.
    I think practicing mindful meditation and learning about the Dharma has helped me to avoid the depression that seems to come to many older people. I think it has helped me improve my physical health as well, especially through doing the lotus walking meditation.
    I was also impressed and inspired when I learned how many older people in Vietnam continue to exercise and live healthy active lives as the grow older. I am glad I could read this article today. Thank you for all of your great efforts for us.
    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      I think we should have a meditation on Bodhicitta and meditation with Lotus walking is useful very well!

  19. Tantra Kasumahiru (Lee Samuel America) says:

    Thank you Guru for your contemplative thoughts…As I practice in my mind I often am taken to the Retreat and Lotus walk with you and my other Brothers and Sisters in Dharma….May all sentient beings feel the Spirit of our Guru.

    OM MANI PADME HUM

  20. Tantra Midhita says:

    Suffering comes, suffering goes, as does the life. I am of guilt but not with intention. I admit I did not readily read the article when forwarded to me for I wanted to give full attention in the morning, which now I am. I do intend to read and comment here more frequently. I am thankful for Guru and chanhtuduy. I could do less with names or titles. I came for learning, but learning does not always come for me. I am apologetic that I have been slacking. Guru is wise and knows. I see this article’s age, I am glad Guru had graceful time in Sweden. I will try harder not just for Guru but for everyone who relies on me.

    May the world receive the blessings they need
    Om mani padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Dear Tantra Midhita, you are very welcome here anytime! Don’t feel guilty at all. I hope you feel relaxed and comfortable anytime you read and comment. As long as you keep me and my teachings in your mind, that’s fine. You can increase the level of frequency gradually!

  21. Tantra Mahacitta (Robert Clayton Jr - America) says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank You very kindly for sharing your experience and insights from your trip. As always, you have touched on many thoughtful and insightful topics.

    The US is also very bad at caring and respecting our elderly. Much like Europe, members of our society get so caught up in taking care of career, children and their personal life, they fail to care for the ones who tended and cared for them in their youth. I believe this is a symptom of a deeper societal problem in many of our modern societies. I believe it lies in a ego driven, duelistic view of the world that is promoted in our western society. And, in turn, I believe Guru’s six spiritual practices, particularly Guru’s 5th Mind Dharma, can begin to heal these problems in our society and world. If we are going to truly advance as a society, we must work for the good of all, not just self.

    I also have to address Guru’s 3rd Mind Dharma, developing Right View. I find all of Guru’s six spiritual practices extremely beneficial. I also find nearly all of Guru’s practices to be easy. There is one exception. I fail my Guru with making time to comment on his articles. While I do make time to read and to sit and contemplate on Dharma, writing has never came easy for me. It is a struggle for me to make time to write my thoughts. I believe the opportunity to comment on Guru’s articles is a tremendous blessing. Unlike the Sutra, which no questions can be asked, no clarification given, our Guru is a living, breathing man, solely dedicated to the enlightenment of all sentient beings, who can have a dialog with us. Even if we live in a remote are or an area with no Buddhist, we have access to Guru and his wisdom. I can only continue to make the personal commitment to comment more frequently.

    Finally, I want to thank you, Guru, for your comments on the depression and anxiety that can accompany old age, sickness and death. These are very real issues faced by many older people in our society. I have a close friend who is a nurse at a nursing home (a place for the sick and old who can no longer live alone) and she sees this first hand all the time. I think it is absolutely wonderful that your research has shown your six spiritual methods can reduce and even eliminate depression and anxiety for our aged and people of all ages. I do not find this surprising though. Once a person begins to see their interdependence (anatta) and the impermanence (anicca) of things and the nature of suffering (dukkha), many of our worries over life, sickness and death begin to subside. This has been my personal experience anyway.

    Thank you whole heartedly for this sharing. As always, I not only enjoyed your article, it has also given me many things to contemplate and learn from.

    Praise and honor to the Three Jewels!

    Praise and honor to our holy Guru Thinley Nguyen Thanh!
    Prayers for long life and good health for our Guru!

    May all sentient beings walk the path on enlightenment that leads to liberation!

    Om Mani Padme Hum

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