My Cherished Goal

Today is the New Year day of the year of the Dragon. I am here, at the Patriarch Hall, to participate in the ceremony. On this occasion, some of you have requested me to give some words as a reminder so that from there, you can practice exertively to attain the Way. I accepted the request and will have some words to help you to understand and realize the Way so that you can apply it in your practice.

This year, my age is high. I'm happy at each moment I'm still alive. There is no guarantee. Therefore, I will tell you today all the thoughts I have kept inside of me that I would like to fulfill for a long time. If in the future you are able to discern the truth and your practicing is effective, then you should try hard to fulfill what I have kept inside and have told you today. Thus, I call today's discussion "My Cherished Goal."

My cherished goal is to fulfill my hidden thoughts, hope, and expectation. I have kept them inside for a long time, and have not had a chance to explain clearly to the monks and nuns so that you could understand them clearly.

Talking about my cherished goal, you probably feel it's strange because it's something that you have never heard or known about. But I have revealed my cherished goal to you, however, you still don't understand my intention. Thus, when talking about my cherished goal, I immediately raise a question so that you can remember. Why did I name this monastery "Thuong Chieu?" If you can understand its meaning, then you can understand my cherished goal.

I often explain "Thuong Chieu" with two definitions. The first definition is historical. It is the name of a Zen master who lived at the end of Ly dynasty. He resided at Luc To (Sixth Patriarch) temple and was a successor of Wu Yen Tong sect. But Luc To temple was a lineage of Vinitaruci sect. Until his time, these two Zen sects had become one. The place that he lived and taught was the place of unity. To me, he deserved to be the successor to union all sects in Vietnam into one and propagate it later. This is just a historical meaning, a small part. It's not yet my cherished goal.

My cherished goal relies on two words "Thuong Chieu." "Thuong" means "always" or "forever." "Chieu" means "illuminate." Thus, it means "illuminate forever" or "always illuminate." At the same time that Thuong Chieu monastery was established, Vien Chieu was established. They were the first built monasteries at this place. I gave nunnery the name "Vien Chieu" with two meanings. First, it's a name of a Zen master who lived in Ly dynasty and second, "Vien" means "complete" or "full," and "Chieu" means "illuminate." In the sense of time, Thuong Chieu means it always illuminates. It never stops. However, if it always illuminates, it could be confined in a particular area or it can be at any temple, as long as it's forever. Therefore, I have asked for an additional condition, which is the completeness. In sense of space, completeness means it's everywhere. Thus, "Vien Chieu" means it's everywhere. In the aspect of time, it always illuminates, while in the aspect of space, it is at everywhere.

Maybe I am greedy with my goals and thoughts. I would like Buddhist dharmas or Zen teachings and the torch of Zen masters always shine and forever shine at everywhere. This is what I have kept inside of me and been waiting for. Now, Thuong Chieu monastery is already formed as well as Vien Chieu and other three monasteries. For those places, I have used "Chieu" as the second word of the name to illustrate the "illumination."

You have seen my thoughts and hope for that particular day. In the present, what I have done so far is like I am lighting up a torch. There are two parts: In long term, when this torch is almost gone out, another one is lightened up to continue. And it continues to the next one, the next one and forever. This is "Thuong" (always and forever). But this whole cycle can only shine at one small location. This is not what I want. Instead, I would like one torch to light up ten to twenty other ones. And from those ten or twenty torches, they become thirty or forty other ones. Gradually, from one location, it spreads wider to everywhere so that those places are bright. This is my cherished goal. Do you think I am greedy? It's greedy only when I do it for myself. But in this case, I want to do it for the people, therefore, it might not consider to be greedy. Why did I use "Chieu" as part of the name? Let me explain this to you thoroughly. In the suttras, the Buddha had said, "You have to light up the torch to walk, and light it up with the dharmas." He had taught us to light up our own torch, but where should we light it from? Light it from the Buddhist dharmas because the Buddhist dharmas are the burning torch. The patriarchs and Zen masters often used this special phrase "Transmission of the lamp and torch." They taught us to transmit the lamp and torch so that the light is up all time. Thus, the Buddha had taught us to light up our torch first. Then, the patriarchs often taught us to continue to transmit the lamp and torch as the way to instruct our successors.

Why does Buddhism emphasize on the lamps and torches? It's because when we talk about Buddhism and the Buddha, we should understand that Buddha was enlightened and Buddhism is a path that leads us to enlightenment. Enlightenment means "bright." So, talking about enlightenment, we are talking about the brightness. Therefore, the enlightenment is represented by the brightness of the lamps, the torches, even of the sun and moon.

Talking about enlightenment, we also talk about wisdom, or the brightness. Thus, when we propagate Buddhism, we actually propagate enlightenment and wisdom. We would never propagate the dullness. Because Buddhism is a religion of enlightenment and wisdom, its representation is the lamps and torches. Without enlightenment and wisdom, Buddhism can't exist. Thus, what is important to Buddhist practitioners? The attainment of enlightenment in our practice. We must open our eyes of wisdom. Once we have the wisdom, we will be able to instruct others to open their eyes of wisdom. How can we instruct people when we are uncertain? Can we take others out of darkness when we don't have the burning torch in hand? Only having it in hand, we would be able to take others out of darkness.

If we don't emphasize on the enlightenment and the opening of our eyes of wisdom, we are not true Buddhist practitioners. The meaning is so clear. But recently, we have seen that practitioners are a bit less serious in their practice as they don't emphasize on the wisdom. The more we practice, the further we are from the religion. It's because we are not aiming at the target that the Buddha had aimed. He had ordained, practiced, and become Buddha because of the enlightenment. From enlightenment, he did the teachings. Thus, without enlightenment, Buddhism could not exist. Talking about Buddhism without mentioning enlightenment, it's a big miss. Therefore, we need to identify our responsibility of how to have a torch in hand so that we can take people from the place of ignorance to the place of enlightenment and from the place of darkness to the place of brightness. This is our responsibility. Any other task is just secondary.

You can see that Buddhist studiers and practitioners are expected to be bright or enlightened. Thus, the lamps and torches are imperative. When I use the word "Chieu" (illuminate), what do I mean to use to illuminate? Obviously, we need to light up the lamps or torches. This is the focus. We have vowed to practice our entire life to become Buddha. Becoming Buddha means the attainment of perfect enlightenment. If after one year, two years, three years, even ten years, we are not yet enlightened, then are we practicing Buddhism or practicing a different way? This should be the question that you should ask yourself.

If the more we practice, the less we know about the root of enlightenment, then we are not practicing Buddhism. Even when we adore Buddha, prostrate or offer him, we are not yet practicing Buddhism because we still live in ignorance. It's because we are not bright, therefore, how can we shed the light to the people. Thus, the opponent of brightness is ignorance. It is like the opponent of the lamps or torches is the darkness. We light up the lamps and torches because it's dark and it's the way to destroy the darkness. It's the same that in order to destroy prolonged ignorance of mankind, we have to practice Buddhism to attain enlightenment. Only enlightenment and wisdom can destroy ignorance. This is the root of practicing. There are many Buddhist practitioners out there who have done many good deeds, love people, and save animals. However, because they are still not enlightened, they're no different from a blind person leading another blind person to nowhere. Therefore, we have to be determined to attain the brightness and enlightenment in our practice. Wherever is dark, we should light up the lamp or torch to clear it. The darkness of the world can be destroyed by the lamps and torches. What should we use to clear up the ignorance of mankind? We use wisdom and enlightenment. Only wisdom and enlightenment can destroy the ignorance of human being. What is human being is ignorant about? And where at? Are you ignorant? These are the questions that we are used for self-assessment. Are we ignorant or dull people? For sure, not so many people admit that they are ignorant or dull. But the fact is we are all ignorant.

Let me explain in order. First, let's discuss about the ignorance in Buddhism. As I have said, practicing means to attain enlightenment. And to do so, we need to light up the torch of wisdom. Once wisdom appears, enlightenment can appear. Thus, when talking about Buddhist practitioners, we talk about enlightened people, not ignorant people. Enlightenment requires wisdom. However, nowadays, it's so pitiful as we have seen at many places and temples, people just have a belief, not the wisdom. They believe that offering to the Buddha will gain his blessings and prostrating to him will return merits. Whatever they do, they rely on the Buddha for his blessings and protection. When they suffer with the disturbance of greed, hatred, and ignorance, they visit the temples and pray to the Buddha so that he could clear their afflictions. They reply on the Buddha for everything. They do not practice, but ask or pray to the Buddha for free giving. Do they practice with wisdom or belief? If it's a belief, then there's no wisdom. And if it's not the wisdom then there's no enlightenment. So, what should they do when there's no enlightenment? Sometimes, I feel sad to think about the Buddhists who keep relying on the monks and nuns. When they are ill, they ask the monks to pray for their health. When someone dies, they ask the monks to pray for his/her liberation. They continue to donate money to the monks to pray for peace and liberation. They feel satisfied with that and think that they have practiced carefully.

Let me ask you this question: If the Buddhists are sick, the monks can pray for their health. But when the monks are sick, who can pray for them? Maybe, the doctors. Thus, why don't people ask the doctors to treat them instead? If the monks or nuns can pray for their health, then the people can do the same thing. But in this situation, the monks or nuns rely on the doctors to treat them, while the Buddhists rely on the monks or nuns to pray for their health. Can you believe it? Did they do that with or without wisdom? So far, I have talked about live people. How about dead people? If we can pray for their liberation, then the Buddha should have prayed for their liberation all the time. Isn't true because his principle is to deliver sentient beings? However, reading the history, have you ever heard the Buddha praying for the liberation of the deceased at any funeral? Never. The Buddha was so compassionate to save all sentient beings, but he would never pray. Now, we are more compassionate than he is as we pray for their liberation. Thus, we have instructed the Buddhists to know only praying, not practicing.

In the suttras, the Buddha had stated clearly that the people who make good deeds would be born in good realm. The people who make bad deeds will have to descend in evil sphere. No one can pray for us. They can only help us before we die. At the last moment, the monks or nuns can remind or instruct us as to keep us stay awakened. This is a useful method to do. I remember clearly that in Agama suttra, the Buddha had praised Anathapindika as the layman who made offer of reverence the most to the monks. Before his extinction, he asked someone to notify the Buddha. He told the messenger to request the Buddha for venerable Sariputta's visit. The Buddha granted his request. Venerable Sariputta visited him without performing any type of praying for peace like we do. He only asked Anathapindika:

- Householder, on typical days, what have you practiced? Have you abided the Five Precepts?
- I could abide the Five Precepts.
- Could you practice the Six dharmas (Generosity, ect...)?
- Yes. I already attained it.

Then, venerable Sariputta kept reminding him all of his promises and practices so he could remember. Once he remembered, the Venerable concluded, "So, don't worry. You will enter a good path. There's nothing to be afraid." Then, he left without chanting any verse. This is the principle of truth.

Nowadays, we chant without knowing if it's effective. In the past, only when we are near death, the monks would remind us of our daily practicing methods. They wanted to ensure that we remembered it. That's enough. So, did they use belief or wisdom? They just remind us the disciplines of the Buddha that we abide and our study of his doctrines. This is a way to reveal their wisdom. Doing so, they could make progress in their practicing. How about us? We don't say anything, but chant. After chanting, we make prayers. That's all to do. The emphasis is on praying. And the emphasis is also on the belief. But the belief is not relevant to wisdom. Therefore, having a belief means having no wisdom and vice versa.

We practice Buddhism and teach people the practicing methods, but we don't teach them how to be bright and how to attain wisdom. We just develop a belief in them. This is not the principle of Buddhism. It's ignorance.

The next type of ignorance is from each of us. Are we ignorant or enlightened? 100% for sure you will admit that you are ignorant. No one has courage to say that you are enlightened. But what are you ignorant about?

Let me explain so you could understand. In the first discourse at Deer Park, the Buddha talked about the Four Noble Truths. Even though he was talking about the Four Noble Truths, the first question he asked the Bhikkhus or Kondanna and his brothers was "Are we suffering?" Many people say that they are living in happiness. But in fact, we are living in suffering. How so? The Buddha explained, "The suffering of birth, aging, decay, and death." Is there anyone who can get away from these four stages? If we have forgotten our suffering at birth, then will we feel the suffering when we are old? Before getting old, we suffer the lost of our teeth, the weaknesses and aching... Everything is unstable. Thus, we suffer at the old age. Are we suffered when we are ill? No doubt we are. How about death? Thus, birth, aging, decay, and death are the existing sufferings of human being. Even the kings still have to go through these stages. No one can get away from these sufferings. In addition, the sufferings of separation, dissatisfaction, hatred, and the raging of Five Aggregates. All together, they are eight types of sufferings. Can anyone extricate from those sufferings? Do humans live in happiness or suffering? Suffering. Do you accept the sufferings or try to ignore them?

Nowadays, we have many types of provisions. At lenient places, after the chanting, we can watch TV for a while, and then we go to sleep. Morning comes, we do particular tasks. Or we wake up in the middle of the night to do chanting, then do several tasks. At night, we watch TV again. Is that a suffering? How could it be a suffering when we are watching so many interesting scenes? Why do people create all types of entertainment such as soccer games, operas, etc? Because they want us to enjoy and forget that life is a suffering and humans are suffering. People produce different smells of perfume and soap. Why? Because they know that we smell bad, therefore, we can use those smells to take away our personal odor. There is nothing strange about it. Because they don't want to reveal their bad sides, they have to produce those things. It's the same that life is a suffering. If we keep pondering about it, we might suicide. Therefore, they often find all types of entertainment to cover the sufferings. This is the common behavior of the people in this world.

So, everyone has realized that life is a suffering. If we don't think that life is a suffering, then there's no need to create so many types of recreation. We are happy by ourselves. For instance, reading Chinese books, have you seen saints suffered? They are so delighted to ride cranes, go out, play chess, and drink wine. Do they need recreations such as soccer game, operas like we do now? They don't need those things. We need those things because life is a suffering. Understand this, we will be able to discern the truth that humans are suffering. It's an inargumentative fact. This is the truth of Suffering (Dukka).

Buddhism has a different view. The Buddha had discerned the root of suffering. Therefore, when people accept the sufferings, he immediately explains that it comes from a cause, not from a coincidence. What is the cause? It's the Accumulation (Tanha), which is union of greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, false view, etc... They union to create the effect of suffering. Thus, suffering is the effect and accumulation is the cause. What did the Buddha teach us to do? He taught us how to use the wisdom to observe carefully if human life is a suffering or happiness. When we discern the truth from our observation, we attain the wisdom. On the other hand, if we refuse to observe, seek for the truth, but instead, we just believe, then how can we attain the wisdom? Wisdom is the observation and assessment of the truth. Perceiving the truth with no doubt is wisdom. However, if we only know the effect of sufferings without looking for its cause, then that wisdom is unusable and unhelpful. That's why the Buddha had taught us to observe carefully its cause. The greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, and false view are the root or cause of sufferings.

Let me make an example We are greedy. There are many types of greed. In Buddhism, special term for greed is "affection in self." "Affection" is a greed in affection and "affection in self" is the number one thing. Is there anyone who doesn't love himself/herself? For sure, all of us love the body. The love for this body is the "affection in self." Because we love it, we feel sad when it's aging, sick, and we are afraid of death. The sadness and fear are the suffering. We suffer because we are afraid to loose the body. If we don't love it and look at it as a toy, straw, or trash, then are we afraid when it's gone? Seeing wither or dry grass, are we afraid? They are trash, therefore, we should not be.

We suffer because we have "affection in self," or love this body too much. Therefore, when it ages, decays, and dies, we suffer. If we can terminate the "affection in self," can the suffering retain? Because of "affection in self," we elevate its value. When someone insults us, we get angry. Thus, from the "affection in self," greed exists, then the hatred and all types of ignorance follow.

Observe it and discern it as so, we attain the wisdom. By lighting up the torch of wisdom, we know the causes of suffering. Once we terminate those causes, suffering will end. That is the reason for the third truth, the Extinction (Bhavetaba). From the extinction, we attain peace. In order to terminate suffering, it requires defined methods. Therefore, the Buddha had taught us the Way, which is the fourth factor of Four Noble Truths.

Thus, in the first discourse, did the Buddha talk about the belief? Absolutely not. He taught us how to observe the occurrences to this body to conclude that it's a suffering. Then, he showed us the cause of suffering so that we could observe it carefully. Next, he taught us the methods to terminate the causes of suffering. And when all causes are terminated, we are free from suffering, or live in state of Nirvana. The whole process got nothing to do with belief, but based on the wisdom.

Let's say we have malaria. We visit the doctor for a checkup. He identifies it's malaria. The shivering of our body is a form of suffering. But there is a cause to this shivering. What is it? The doctor has to find what type virus that could cause this type of illness and shivering. Knowing the virus is the knowing the cause and effect. Is that all he need by knowing the virus? No. He needs to find the medication that could kill it. Then, he shows us how to treat it, either through injection or by mouth taking. After taking the medicine, the virus dies. This is called termination. No more viruses in our body mean we are healthy. The healthy state is Nirvana or pleasantness.

How realistic they are the practicing methods that the Buddha had taught us. It's not mystical or superstitious. However, we don't want to practice that way by making observation, or trying to understand it. We only have a belief. We believe in Buddha's blessings, protection, and relief, instead of making a careful observation to apply his teachings in our practice to terminate all types of ignorance. If we are able to terminate ignorance, we no longer suffer. How can we be free of sufferings when we don't want to do it? That's why the number of practitioners is large, but no one is free of sufferings. Some people have asked the monks if they have terminated their sufferings. Who, even the monks and nuns, has courage to say that he/she is free of sufferings? Because we don't know the cause of sufferings and are not able to terminate it, sufferings still exist.

That's the reason I say we need to fully understand what causes our sufferings. When we can terminate those causes, the sufferings will vanish. Reading the doctrines sometimes would make us feel pessimistic. The Buddha said (Diamond suttra, Paramita suttra) that this body is filthy or impure in order to destroy the "affection in self." We only need to use the wisdom in contemplation to discern the truth of the body as it's filthy and impermanent. This thorough discernment will terminate the "affection in self." The suffering is terminated from there. Isn't it the contemplation? Contemplation is the brightness. Brighten ourselves to understand thoroughly about ourselves and to realize the cause of our sufferings. From the contemplation we reach ultimate discernment. Then, our wisdom illuminates. Perceiving the truth is wisdom - the truth about the body and mind. If we keep praying to the Buddha without contemplating, how can we attain the wisdom?

Because I want to always remind you the practicing method of Buddhism, I had named this place "Chieu" (illuminate). You should be bright and stop being ignorant. Have everyone agreed to that? You still prefer to pray than to brighten up your mind. This means that you still don't want to open the eyes of wisdom. We are ignorant about the body, then the mind.

From the day I discerned the truth about the mind, I realized that we have real ignorance about the mind. What is our mind? Most of you will say is the thinking of better or worse, right or wrong, good or bad, etc...If the thinking of those are our mind, then isn't it right that when they disappear, our mind no longer exists? Like when we meditate, we don't have any thought of better or worse, right or wrong. Isn't true that we don't have the mind? If we don't have the mind, how can we realize the existence of false thoughts and their flow? When we realize the arising of false thoughts and the agitation of the mind, there should be something else that is hidden inside. And it is not the arising of better or worse, right or wrong, and good or bad, etc...For long we only misperceive the arisings, which is the differentiation between good and bad, right and wrong, better and worse, to be our mind. From there, we make bad karmas. Whatever claims to be good, we fight with each other to possess. Everybody wants to get it. This is greed. When someone else gets it and we don't, we are mad. This is hatred. From the mind of differentiations, the karmas of greed, hatred, and ignorance develop. Not only so much karmas have created, the suffering that is caused by them is immense.

Thus, the Buddha had taught us to look into our mind and not to let the mind of differentiations control us. We should let it go to attain the true mind. When we can discern the true mind and live with it, it means we have done practicing. As long as we still run after the gain and lost, right and wrong, we could never practice. I would like to ask if all of you could sit down and do a self-assessment to see if you have those two misperceptions. The first misperception is about the body as we think it's real, precious, and beautiful...This kind of misperception is from our affection in self. From the affection in self, greed, hatred, ignorance, and other things arise. Because we love it, we feel upset if people don't share with us nutritious foods because they bring longevity and health. But if we realize that this body is impermanent, the life expectancy will not be important. The importance is either we are ignorant or awakened. If we are short-lived, but awakened, it's still a good thing. But if we are ignorant, it doesn't matter how long we can live. You have to remember this point. Sometimes we think this body is so important so we desire to live even though we live without realizing and understanding the truth. What do we live for? We have to live with wisdom. Without it, it's better if we die. It's because it's not worth to live with ignorance. On the other hand, although we can't live for long, being awakened is still a precious thing.

Do you remember Zen master Huyen Giac? How long did he live? Over forty, but we still study his teachings such as the book of "Attainment Hymns." We remember every word he said. How about a typical person, who lives for hundred years with no accomplishment? Is there anything for us to study? This proves that the value of mankind is based on the value of enlightenment, awakening, not the value of ignorance. No matter how long we live in this world, it's not important when we are still ignorant. The importance is our brightness or the attainment of wisdom. Therefore, the focus of Buddhism is to open our eyes of wisdom.

Do you perceive yourself ignorant? As long as the affection in self exists, we are still ignorant. Even we, the practitioners who have learned and understand the Way, are still ignorant. Thus, typical people are no different. How can they not be ignorant when they have not yet practiced or learned Buddhist dharmas? Now, we should try harder to practice, ponder, and self-assess in order to be awakened. Once we are awakened, it's the same as we're having a burning torch in hand. Using that torch, we bring the light to others so that everyone could be awakened as well. If everyone is awakened, then this place is place of ecstasy. No more affection in self means no more greed, hatred, and ignorance. It also means that we live in happiness and will never cause pain to each other.

In our time, the civilization is progressing. All civilized nations in the world could do many unbelievable things. However, are their people free of sufferings? The more advance they are, the more they are afraid. In ancient time, people fight their enemies with swords and spears. In our time, a press on a button will destroy everything. Thus, the advancement of technologies would not necessary relieve the people's sufferings. As you have known, there are many damages people have created. Thus, the Buddha had taught us the practice of terminating greed, hatred, and ignorance. There are many other things but those three are the root. When people has no more greed, hatred, ignorance, they are free of sufferings. Rich or poor is not important. The importance is the termination of those three poisons. People in this world only care of how to become rich and the end of sufferings. However, are those nations, which are wealthy like the U.S., free of sufferings?

We have seen that the root of suffering is the ignorance, greed, hatred, etc... Thus, if we love sentient beings, we have to turn the light on to awake people so that they can terminate their greed, hatred, and ignorance. When those are terminated, we have alleviated the sufferings of sentient beings. On the other hand, if we still pray, implore, we can't alleviate their sufferings. Sometimes, it becomes a deception.

Let me be straight to say that we should never protect whatever holds no truth. We need to discern and know the truth. That makes us be closer to the truth (Way). If we keep protecting the unreal for personal gain, then we are far away from the truth (Way). Thus, I hope that who has been practicing should utilize his/her wisdom to awaken others. This means to attain enlightenment and enlighten others. In your opinion, how can we become Bodhisattva or Buddha? Is there any ignorant Bodhisattva? He/she is an enlightened one, who enlightens others - A compassionate being who is enlightened is called Bodhisattva. He/she then enlightens others. Thus, Bodhisattva means enlightenment. How about the Buddha? Buddha means perfect enlightenment After he attained enlightenment, he enlightened others. At last, he attained the perfect enlightenment.

Can we become Buddha or Bodhisattvas without being enlightened? These days, people are mistaken those who do much of charity works and givings are Bodhisattvas. Which one is practicing the Boddhisattva virtue? The person who makes good deeds or attains enlightenment? In the suttras, it defines clearly that Bodhisattva is an enlightened one and the one who enlightens others. After being enlightened, he/she is compassionate to help others to be enlightened. This is the mind of Bodhisattva.

So, what is the meaning of "Thuong Chieu" and "Vien Chieu" that I have used? What kind of virtues is it? Is it a negative virtue? We should be enlightened; in other words, we should turn on the light. Then, we can shed or transmit the light to other people. This means that we could destroy the ignorance of sentient beings. We and other people are all enlightened mean we have attained self-enlightenment and awakened others.

As we are enlightened, we feel compassionate to find ways to help people to attain enlightenment. Understand thoroughly the Way, we don't make mistakes. Sometimes we misperceive because we don't understand. All true practitioners do teach people how to be enlightened.

The virtue of generosity is consisted of generosity of goods, generosity of dharmas, and generosity of fearlessness. Generosity of goods must be the first one because people can't listen with a hungry stomach. Next, we use the generosity of dharmas to awaken them. After, they are awakened, we show them how to extricate from sufferings. This is the generosity of fearlessness. Thus, even though the Buddha had placed the generosity of goods first, it's not as important as the generosity of dharmas. Among the three, it is the primary virtue.

With no enlightenment, how can practitioners do giving? How can you teach others when you are still ignorant and refuse to discover the truth? Therefore, as practitioners, you should try harder to open the eyes of wisdom and see the truth so that you can teach others. That is the truth.

What do you think about my cherished goal through the name of "Thuong Chieu?" My cherished goal is to have you light up your own torch, then transmit it to many people as you can. Bring the light to every where to clear up people's ignorance. The end of their ignorance means a relief of their sufferings. That light doesn't last for 10, 20, or 40 years only, but more. To be more realistic, it's not coming from my torch, because mine will extinguish. I want to transmit it to others before it's burned out. We keep transmitting light so that this world is no longer in dark. This is my goal and expectation.

Not only the light will shine at one place, but at every where. This life will be brighter and sentient beings will no longer suffer. This is my goal and expectation that I would like to pass on to you. Will you take that responsibility? If I assign it to you and you refuse to take it, then it's your fault. Everyone has a responsibility. If your ability is not strong as much as the brightness of the sun or moon, then at least as much as the brightness of the lamp or torch. Even if it's small as a candle or oil lamp, it's still good. As long as it's a light. No need to have an electrical bulb in order to get the light. We should be the lights. If we are not burned clay balls or punks, how can we start the light for anyone?

I have told you the thought that I have since the day I put my feet on this place. Building this monastery, I have wished and expected this cherished goal. From that day until now, I don't know when my torch is going to extinguish. Therefore, I hope that you will attempt to light up your torch or your lamp from mine. When mine is extinguished, your lamp or torch will continue to shine.

I have only one torch, but yours are hundreds or thousands. This is the true meaning of "Thuong Chieu" or "Vien Chieu." That is my words of reminder in the beginning of the year. And I also would like to pass on this responsibility to you to make sure that you follow the correct path, fulfill your duty, and should never carry away. This is my expectation from all monks and nuns.

At this time, I would like to pray to the Three Jewels to protect all of you to become the people whom forever "transmit the lamp and torch."