Both teachers sat in silence, neither saying a word to anyone. A slight human sadness that permeated the soul. Master Nyaneinda is a true monk. Because of the poverty of Yadaw Kuma, the teacher helped him to overcome the difficulty. How could he heartlessly deceive you like that?
During this pilgrimage to India, we were very fortunate to be welcomed by monk Thich Huyen Dieu, abbot of Vietnam Phat Quoc Tu Temple, welcomed, guided in practice and stayed at his temple. In the evening, sitting and enjoying tea with the teacher, knowing that I was a meditator, I was writing a reportage on Causality, karma, and karma, so he was very happy. The teacher said: “Causal law is the law of nature, the law of the universe, proven for thousands of years, very accurate and fair. But because of human ignorance and bottomless greed, they did everything. So they have to suffer in many different cases. If everyone in this world believed in cause and effect, determined to abstain from evil, and vowed to do good, this world would have peace, joy, and happiness. I am a journalist, so I should use my pen to convey the good teachings of Buddhism to sentient beings to make life less miserable. Your merit will be great.” That very night, he told me a rather creepy story about cause and effect that happened in Bodhgaya, Gaya district, Bihar, India.
For many years now, in Bodhgaya, there are many pagodas and monasteries of countries such as China, Japan, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Nepal, Ceylon, Bhoutan… Near Vietnam Buddhist Temple Master Huyen Dieu’s temple is the Burmese temple. The abbot of the temple is Venerable Nyaneinda. Because they live close to each other, in their free time, the two teachers often enjoy tea together, watch the sunset, and talk about life and religion stories, in which, one of the main topics is about cause and effect in this life. Both teachers are expatriates, their bodies are isolated and work in foreign countries, so they often advise each other to “sell brothers from far away to buy neighbors near and far”, to establish good communication with families living around the temple.
The story of cause and effect: Retribution in Buddha’s land
Near Nyaneinda’s temple lived a family of Indian farmers named Yadaw Kuma. The couple has many children, so they are poor, although they are very hard-working. During 20 years of living near the temple, whenever the temple has big and small things, Mr. Yadaw Kuma is always present and very helpful. Therefore, Master Nyaneinda is very precious. Once, he went to the temple and asked for a loan of 40,000 rupees from Mr. Nyaneinda to buy two dairy cows. He said: “My husband and I are poor, so we are miserable. Suffering goes hand in hand with humiliation. I don’t want my children to live in misery and humiliation like us, so I plan to buy 2 dairy cows to take care of, hoping to earn enough money to feed them. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money. Hope you can help us. Throughout our lives, we will never forget you. I promise, in 6 months, I will pay you back.”
In 1985, 40,000 rupees was quite a lot, equal to a year’s income of ordinary workers, even more than a true monk like Nyaneinda. Moreover, he himself is lacking funds to build the temple. But every day, Mr. Yadaw Kuma also came to see the teacher, begging, begging and begging. In the end, the teacher fell in love. He wiped out all the money he had. Not enough. He went to borrow another place, which he had never done before, lending enough 40,000 rupees to lend him Yadaw Kuma. On the day he lent money to Yadaw Kuma, Mr. Huyen Dieu was also present. With trembling hands handing over the bundle of money, Master Nyaneinda said slowly: “This is the money of the temple, the money of the hearts of Buddhists everywhere who sincerely make offerings to the three jewels, so it is very sacred. In fact, the teacher did not have the right to lend him, but because his situation was difficult, he helped. I hope you try to return it to the temple as soon as possible, at least 6 months.” He said it over and over again, his voice was gentle. Yadaw Kuma replied firmly: “I will definitely pay you back on time. Don’t worry sir.” Raising his hands to hold the money, he bowed his head three times, his face was happy and radiant, then he turned to teacher Huyen Dieu to bow repeatedly, his mouth said quickly: “I am grateful to you! I thank you, teacher!” making Master Huyen Dieu both surprised and embarrassed. I don’t understand why the farmer pardoned him like a sacrifice? What can you do to help him? Only later did he understand, he must have thought that he had lent him that money to Nyaneinda, so he bowed to him.
Woven fleeting time taken. Six months went by. Mr. Nyaneinda waited and waited but did not see Mr. Yadaw Kuma mentioning the loan. Promptly, he cited enough reasons, found a way to delay and then disappeared, not paying attention to the temple. Impatient, worried, one day, the teacher sent an attendant to his house to invite Mr. Yadaw Kuma to the temple to drink tea and eat cakes that someone had just sent from Burma. As soon as he arrived, seeing Master Nyaneinda and Master Huyen Miu happily drinking tea, he suddenly burst into tears. He cried while saying: “I’m so miserable, teacher! My family is very sick these days, but I don’t have money to take her to the hospital. My family must be dead, master.” Saying that, he covered his face and cried. Master Nyaneinda sighed softly, his eyes filled with pity, and then chose words of comfort. The teacher opened the bag, gave him some money, and said: “Go home and take her to the hospital right away. Save the sick like a firefighter.” Seeing that, Master Huyen Dieu also helped Mr. Yadaw Kuma with some money.
A few days later, by chance meeting some of Mr. Yadaw Kuma’s neighbors, Mr. Huyen Dieu eagerly inquired about his wife’s condition at the hospital. People were dumbfounded and didn’t understand. Only later did they find out, they said, that his wife was not sick at all. On the contrary, she is very healthy, staying at home with her children milking cows to sell for money. Now, it was Master Huyen Dieu’s turn to bewildered. He then talked about this with Master Nyaneinda. Hearing this, Master Nyaneinda froze, his face contemplative. A moment later, the teacher said, his voice worried: “Perhaps Yadaw Kuma has deliberately deceived me. I have a hunch that this money will be lost.” Seeing that, Master Huyen Dieu quickly comforted: “Yadaw Kuma must be in trouble, so he can’t pay it yet. Don’t worry sir.” Master Nyaneinda said, with a sad face: “I got hurt because I loved people.”
A week later. Bodhgaya has a big festival, many people have come to the temple to attend, including famous figures of Bihar state and local. When the festival was almost over, almost everyone left, only a few close friends were drinking tea with teacher Nyaneinda and Master Huyen Dieu, when suddenly he saw Yadaw Kuma and his wife passing. He invited them in for tea. As soon as he sat at the tea table, Yadaw Kuma praised this year’s festival, which was grandly organized, crowded with many high-ranking figures. He also praised the people who sat drinking tea and eating cakes with him. After he finished talking for a while, Master Nyaneinda gently reminded him of his debt of 40,000 rupees: “Because some parts of the temple are in disrepair and decay. I try to arrange to send some part of the temple back to the teacher for repair.” As soon as the teacher finished speaking, Yadaw Kuma immediately widened his eyes in surprise and asked: “Oh good! The money borrowed from my teacher has been sent back a long time ago, why do you still ask for it?” Master Nyaneinda was dumbfounded: “When did you pay me back?”. Yadaw Kuma affirmed emphatically: “I gave it back to you right where you were sitting. Or maybe the old teacher should have amnesia?” It was Nyaneinda’s turn to be surprised. After a while, the teacher said, “Is that so? If it is true that you have already paid for the temple, then stand up, raise your hands to the sky and say three times over and over: “I have already paid for the temple”. Without waiting for the teacher to finish his sentence, Yadaw Kuma stood up immediately, raised his hands, looked up to the sky, said: “I have paid you in full!”. Master Huyen Dieu was very surprised. I sat and counted and saw him say it again and again 5 times, not 3 times as Master Nyaneinda asked. After saying this, he sat down calmly pouring tea, drinking it slowly, his face full of confidence, so confident that all the eyes of the guests turned to Nyaneinda with suspicion. Yadaw Kuma’s natural demeanor made everyone believe in his promise.
The arduous journey of building a temple on Buddha’s land of Master Huyen Dieu
The tea party is over. Yadaw Kuma and everyone left one by one, leaving only two teachers. When night falls. The fog is thick. The space is so quiet that you can hear the sound of boiling water in the copper kettle, the crackling of coals, the sound of fire burning. Both teachers sat in silence, neither saying a word to anyone. A slight human sadness that permeated the soul. Master Nyaneinda is a true monk. Because of the poverty of Yadaw Kuma, the teacher helped him to overcome the difficulty. How could he heartlessly deceive you like that?
Master Nyaneinda sat as still as a statue, his expression pensive, sad. Late at night, it gets colder. The fire that burned red in the afternoon was almost extinguished. Master Huyen Dieu said, hoping to ease the sadness of his soul mate: “Stop! We should not be sad about the story of Yadaw Kuma cheating to get money from the temple. I must have deceived him in my previous life, so now he cheats. Otherwise, he will pay the retribution very soon.” Master Nyaneinda nodded, “I agree with that.” Master Huyen Dieu got up and asked for permission to go back to the temple to recite Buddhist scriptures. But a few days later, when they met again, Mr. Nyaneinda still recalled that Yadaw Kuma had cheated on the temple money but still dared to swear innocently. He said with a sad and disappointed face. Master Huyen Dieu quickly advised: “You should forget about that so that your mind can be at ease and take care of other more meaningful things. You can rest assured, the truth will always be revealed, Yadaw Kuma will always pay the retribution very soon. Because this is a sacred place. I have seen many epiphanies.” Hearing Master Huyen’s words, Master Nyaneinda smiled and promised not to mention Yadaw Kuma’s business from now on.
Until one early morning, outside the yard was still foggy, teacher Nyaneinda personally knocked on the door of Master Huyen Dieu’s room to invite over…