March 9’th, 2016 – The day this domain was activated and from here on is history.
Hello all, my Dharma name is Tâm Tịnh and I was born and raised in Southern California from parents of Vietnamese immigrants. Currently residing in the city of Los Angeles.
September 3’rd, 2019
As with the relaunch of this site onto a new server and with the intention of writing an updated bio, I’ll start off by mentioning some of things I left out back then, of which would made life more more easier if I was just a bit more transparent with my thinking at the time. As I re-read the original bio that I started out with back in 2016 and reflecting back on the subject of being born and raised in the US and after reviewing our google analytics site traffic data for the past 2 years while we were inactive without posting anything new as we took all that time to go on a lengthly retreat to continue our own individual dharma practices, I’m surprised that our site still attracted on average 3000+ site visitors a month consistently when we last checked all the history a couple of months ago, considering that our site originally was setup to serve the Việt kiều community at large with attempting to have most of our posts in both Vietnamese and English languages. I found the data to be surprisingly inspirational and motivating in a good way, mainly after the fact that I have no formal education in our Vietnamese language. I will admit my Vietnamese writing skills are very lacking and that I can barely get by reading it, even more so that I can’t even write it myself and need lots of help. More about this later.
When I was a child, my parents forbade us from speaking English and they did that because they wanted their children to be able to retain the Vietnamese spoken language and culture. You can say the way they raised us payed off, as I can speak conversational Vietnamese, including talking about dharma to a certain degree in a comical Việt kiều level for the present day. Since I wanted to express and share from my own personal experiences in learning and practicing dharma for over half of my life already being passed, to be able to share with all different generations of Vietnamese, from all around the world, because it’s not hard to see that so many people are still suffering everyday in their own ways and another reason that is meaningful and special to my heart that I just recently realized, is the self reflection based off my very own experiences of wanting to learn dharma at a much younger age but my karma was not ripe enough, since life was already hard on my parents at the time.
The desire to want to help inspire and motivate the next future generation, is to actually help other families bond through dharma as a possibility, as it has for all us here at WC. (In America with many but not all Việt kiều, we usually see parents going to the temple to do dharma practice and their kids would be playing outside). Just because there is sometimes a language barrier and or discrepancy of just trying to explain dharma effectively and why we must practice it now in order to purify karma that we created from many past lives or even in the present lifetime from earlier on in our lives, It doesn’t mean it’s any easier task to be able to explain and pass on to the next generation, especially for many native Vietnamese such as with my own parents, whom intended to move overseas because of the war in Vietnam and so that their children could have a better future. Having so many Vietnamese words and terms that is used in every day, daily dharma practice, it is even more an ongoing challenge for Vietnamese parents to be able to translate and explain it effectively to their younger kids, that either came over when they were younger and or even born here in the states such as I have.
When there are so many other traditions along with so many different schools of Buddhist thoughts, all across the world that are all beautiful and rich in respect to history in itself, along with so many other cultural interpretations and opinions that you can’t help but to find everywhere else on the internet. Back then before the internet was widely available, it was so much harder to find information and nowadays it’s just so common, that it sometimes causes many to falter in what we choose to practice and how to practice it properly and accordingly, making many want to learn dharma all on their own accord without finding the recommendation of seeking a qualified guru or teacher that can be able to guide you onto the right path, which is very dangerous and even harmful for spiritual growth and development without one. When this happens which is quite often based from my own observation and interaction with the rest of the world in the present day, it is even a harder pill to swallow as it would be more difficult, to be able to explain to our loved ones if our progress with the spiritual practices we partake in, is actually improving our lives or not for the better.
Buddhism in a nut shell offers so much more than we can ever imagine. I’m not a qualified teacher by any means, but what I do know is that learning dharma is never easy, especially when you first start out, it can take many times of failing and requires many years of practice. Because of these reasons along with what my mother used to always to scold me for, because I used to complain about suffering so much, that she used to always simply remind me that in order to practice dharma successfully, I would need to have to learn how to develop Trí Tuệ and be Từ Bi which translates to Wisdom and Compassion. I created this site, mainly because I wanted to share that when you actually do keep at it, that is can be very fun, joyful and very rewarding in the long run. And the only thing left that I can tell you at this point is; I take refuge in the three jewels, because everything there is to know that will help balance your spiritual life, is encompassed in all of the world renown Buddha’s dharma teachings).
Before when I started this site, it would of not of been possible without me actively seeking and enlisting the help of dharma sister Chân Thanh Mỹ, who writes all of the bài thơ – Thi Kệ (Vietnamese dharma poems) on the site along with selflessly helping me translate all of the main static pages which don’t need to be updated often and that receives somewhat quite a bit of traffic from our serious site visitors. Then there’s also Hạnh Tài, who I eventually recruited to encouraged to take an active role whenever we need transliterations of mantras and dhāraṇīs to phonetically spell out each syllable in Vietnamese, that’s why the audio recordings of me reciting all the mantras/dhāraṇīs on the site, play back clearly annunciated and slow enough to follow, as they are the same one she uses, for her to be able to transliterate them to the best of her abilities. Pema Choedon is also another team member I met in Saigon several years ago who I observed from afar being in the states, as I saw her having ability to be able to translate Vajrayāna pecha texts I had, that had Tibetan with already English translations included, straight over to Vietnamese with her many years of practicing both Vajrayāna Buddism and with her more than capable command of the English language. All three of 3 of them volunteer their time to help me with translating posts directly into Vietnamese, so that we can share and publish decent works, accepted by the Vietnamese community as a whole and and as a team working well together to benefit all sentient beings. Overall we pray and hope that our work is acceptable enough for everyone’s standards and tastes.
I also want to clarify that this is a personal dharma blog site and that our posts are just that, personal opinions, so we are bound to have spelling or grammatical errors every so often. Most of the time we try to triple check and review all the effort we already put in, to make sure that we can present the best of what the dharma provides and that it benefits all sentient beings the way it was intended. So please forgive us if whenever you see mistakes but know we will follow up and get it corrected as soon as possible. Just like the Buddha taught, don’t just believe everything he has taught himself, but test it and apply it yourself within a given timeframe of practice, to see if it brings back positive results. Talking about translations, I believe chị Chân Thanh Mỹ may yell at me since I’m trying my best to not to make this longer than it should be, so that I can get ask her to translate this bio update for me, to be able to add onto my Vietnamese bio page. 😉 _()_
The work we do here is very time consuming, even though we are volunteering, we know we have to give it our best with every project we take on. That’s why we chose to name our site Wisdom Compassion as when we try to talk about dharma we do it with the positive results of having practiced it to receive the type of Wisdom, that allows us to develop more skillful, effective means and give back close to similar type of inspirational compassion that all Bodhisattvas vow to do so tirelessly.
Since this website started off initially for overseas Vietnamese with the intention of writing our own original posts to be of best value, we also expanded through means of our research of finding posts and articles from other resources that already have a direct translation from English to Vietnamese or vice versa, but the problem that we encountered while doing the research was that the two translations of each language was usually never posted together, so we wanted to provide a solution to this problem which we inherently took upon ourselves as there aren’t that many sites that actually provide both translations at the same time, that’s why we will take the time to prepare, recompile and format the translations for everyone to have a pleasant user experience, whenever we choose to re-share them on our site with a citation and mention of such actions, providing proper credit to the original authors and or website links. Everything has a root cause and origin and we actually wanted to emphasis this, especially when we also understand all the hard work involved whenever drafting up an original piece of work ourselves. We are delighted when you share our work with others as that lets us know that what we are doing, does benefit everyone in the long run.
In the present I practice Rimé, meaning I support a universalistic, unbounded and all-embracing of all Buddhist lineages and schools of thought approach. My dharma roots in this lifetime actually started off receiving lay five precept ordination from my first Vietnamese Mahāyāna teacher; Venerable Giác Nhiên (1923-2015) from Tại Pháp Viện Minh Đăng Quang in Westminster, California, nearly 21 years ago. I didn’t know much Vietnamese Mahāyāna dharma terms at the time, that’s why this website allows me to practice and also allows me to try show my gratitude for Venerable Giác Nhiên of what I learned from Vajrayāna traditions, as texts are usually translated from Tibetan to English and now I’m trying my best to honor my Vietnamese Mahāyāna roots, that’s why I chose to specifically make this a bi-lingual site. My focuses in present day are mainly as a Sakya, Karma Kagyü, Drikung Kagyü and Nyingma lineage holder, having received my first ‘Wang’ empowerments and oral ‘Lung’ transmissions and teachings from highly realized Gurus such as from His Holiness Sakya Trizin. I later recived Wang and Lung from Venerable Lama Thubten Nima who is a Drikung Kagyü lineage guru, as well as from Khenpo Sonam who is a Nyingma lineage guru and also from Lama Dawa who is a Karma Kagyü lineage guru.
The Buddha Dharma is the only thing I know of that is more valuable and precious than anything else in the world. With the help of entrusted dharma friends I chose to create this website to be able to share with everyone the knowledge, experience and benefits taking refuge with the three jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) brings.
There are so many benefits of taking refuge as sentient beings being fortunate enough to be reborn in this very human form, in this lifetime, depending on our types of sufferings and the different types of Dharma practice we take on as the historical World Honored Sakyamunī Buddha himself taught over 84,000 different ways to reach enlightenment, helping us overcome all types of obstacles and suffering we endure, in one form or another whether it be mental, physical or lack of any spiritual practice.