"All conditioned things are impermanent – when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification."
~ The Buddha, Translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita,
(Chapter: The Path, Dhammapada verse 277)
"Tất cả hành vô thường
Với Tuệ, quán thấy vậy
Đau khổ được nhàm chán;
Chính con đường thanh tịnh."
~ Lời Phật Dạy, Dịch Giả (1969): Cố Hoà Thượng Thích Minh Châu,
từ bản chữ Pali, (Phẩm: Phẩm Đạo, Kinh Pháp Cú - 277)
Newsletter #4: March 2022
Winter is upon us. During this time, we often move a little slower, stay inside most evenings, and sleep in when possible. The winter months are conducive to retreating inwards, reflecting back on the year that just passed, and planning ahead for the years to come. This winter season, our thoughts turn to the winter years of our lives.
For the past 2 years, Christina has been a part-time caregiver for her sister’s mother-in-law, who is 91 years old. While providing care for an older person, especially one who has difficulty walking, getting dressed, and preparing her meals, Christina has been contemplating the kind of care she would like to receive herself and how to prepare for it.
One of the stories that has been resonating deeply with us is about a Father, Son, and Grandfather. In summary, a man builds a wagon in order to take his elderly father out to the forest to die alone. The man reasons that his father has become a burden to him and his young family. The man’s son sees his father building this wagon and says, “When you’re done taking Grandfather to the woods, be sure to bring back the wagon, so that I can use it to take you to the forest when you get old.”
This story is a reminder of the cycle of life, death, and our Karmic actions. The Grandfather was once a Father, and his son will also be a Grandfather. The child shows wisdom in the way that he can see things as they are. It brings to mind the poem, My Heart Leaps Up, by William Wordsworth where, “The Child is father of the man.” None of us are free from illness, pain, aging, and death, but we can be free from suffering. You can find the full story (translated from the original Vietnamese text) among our Wisdom blogs: Leaving the Father in the Forest - Bỏ cha vào rừng or the Zen Koan version on our Zen Koans page: A Useful Life
Along with her siblings, Phuong has also been a caregiver for her mother for several years. Phuong’s mother passed away in December 2021. She reflects on the experience of losing a loved one and how the Noble Truths have helped her to grieve, mourn, let go, and ultimately find peace and comfort in the loss she experienced and in the Teachings of Buddha.
You can find Phuong’s story here:
Our next newsletter will include an explanation of the Dharma name and our thoughts on names in general. Do you know the meaning of your name or where it came from?
For those who would like an introduction to the Teachings of Buddha, please check out our Life of Buddha series.
We pray that you continue to reside in tranquility, awareness, acceptance, and the Present Moment.
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About the authors:
Phuong Pham is the creator of this website. In 2019, Phuong transitioned to become a Buddhist nun and transformed her home into Thong Tri Temple in Santa Clara, California. Her Buddhist name is Lien Hanh. You can read more about Phuong’s story on our Profiles page.
Christina Shon is the content editor of this website. Christina is a former high school English teacher, program coordinator in an Education non-profit, and program manager in Higher Education. She currently lives in Timnath, Colorado.