Hoa-Hao Buddhism, The Four (4) Sky Directions and the Ten (10) Buddha Directions

Happy Holidays! ;+)
Along the Line of a Return to Simplicity, For Your Entertainment (FYE)
“In 1939, Prophet Huỳnh Phú Sổ, a native of Hòa Hảo Village in Tan Chau district, Chau Doc province, founded the Hòa Hảo Buddhism.  Since then, it has grown rapidly into a major religion.  Its influence spreads over the Mekong River Delta forming the Western part of South Vietnam notably in the following provinces:  Chau Doc, An Giang, Sa Dec, Kien Phong, Vinh Long, Phong Dinh, Chuong Thien, Kien Giang, Ba Xuyen, Bac Lieu, An Xuyen, Dinh Tuong, Long An, Kien Hoa, Kien Tuong, and the capital of Saigon-Giadinh.
The highly fertile area of the Mekong Delta plays a very important part in the agricultural economy of Vietnam.  In fact, most of the rice exported come from here, known as the Rice Basket of Vietnam.
The Western Area covers an area of 18,850 square kilometers of arable land producing 3,000,000 tons of rice per year, in addition to fishery and animal husbandry, and various other agricultural activities.
South Vietnam with total area of 173,260 square kilometers, has about 30,000 square kilometers under cultivation.  The Western Area where Hòa Hảo Buddhism was founded, occupies 60 per cent of the total cultivable land of the country.”
“The mountains of the Western area have been the source of many unexplainable mysteries.  The most famous of these are the Sacred Mountains of Tay Son on the border of Chau Doc and Cambodia.
Since 1849, a living Buddha reverently known as Master Buddha of Tay An made His first appearance on the Sacred Mountains of Tay Son and began his salvation mission by creating BUU SON KY HUONG Buddhism.  About 90 years later, exactly in 1939, also near Tay Son Mountain, another living Buddha, Prophet Huỳnh Phú Sổ, continued the tradition of Buu Son Ky Huong and founded Hòa Hảo Buddhism.
Therefore, although Hòa Hảo Buddhism was founded in 1939, it is a continuation of the Buu So Ky Huong established in 1849.  Thus its existence is over a century old.
Both Master Buddha of Tay An and Prophet Huỳnh Phú Sổ have been revered throughout South Vietnam as two Buddha coming into the world to save mankind from sufferings.  They have also respectfully regarded as two genuine patriots.”
“According to the reform, worshipping at Hòa Hảo Buddhist home should be very simple.
No Buddha statue, bell, or gong may be displayed on the altar.  Only a piece of brown cloth symbolizing human Harmony and the color of Buddhism should be used.  This is Buddha’s Altar.
Under the Buddha’s Altar is the Ancestral altar for the cult of Ancestors.”

(Traditional Hòa Hảo Alter)
In front of the house is set up a Heaven’s altar to enable communication with the universe (sky and earth), the four Sky Directions and the ten Buddha Directions.
No food of any kind including fruits may be used to worship Buddha.  Only fresh water, flowers, and incense sticks are needed.

Fresh water is to represent cleanliness
Flowers to represent purity.
Incense sticks are to freshen the air.

Hòa Hảo followers must worship Buddha at least twice a day, morning and evening. 
On the 1st and 15th of each lunar month and on Buddha’s Holy days, they have to go to pagodas or Hòa Hảo Preaching Halls to pray and listen to sermons.
Prayers are to be in a low voice while no bells or gongs may be used.  When the time of worship comes, if we are away from home, let us turn westwards to pray to Buddha.  We should also encourage others to pray silently in their heart wherever they may be.
At each hamlet, there is at least a Preaching Hall equipped with loudspeakers.  Everyday, at specific hours, a Preacher would come there to read prayers or to give sermons to the audiences.
Hòa Hảo Buddhist Preaching Halls are small Pagodas used for the unique purpose of preaching.  As they do not have residential quarters, they are much smaller than pagodas or temples, because as said before, Hòa Hảo Buddhism puts more emphasis on the practice of Buddhism at home.
Hòa Hảo Preaching Halls with their special architectural design are found today at many places throughout South Vietnam.  Statistics of 1965 mentioned a number of 390 Hòa Hảo Preaching Halls.
“South: Fire ~ Summer ~ Childhood ~ Embodied Aliveness ~ Passion ~ Sexuality ~ Wisdom of the Body”
“West: Water ~ Fall ~ Adolescence ~ Emotions ~ Wounding ~ Grief ~ Mystery ~ Wisdom of the Heart ~ Visions”
“North: Earth ~ Winter ~ Adulthood ~ Will ~ Manifestation ~ Responsibility ~ Wisdom of Giving ~ Nurturing”
“East:  Air ~ Spring ~ Old Age ~ Wisdom ~ Completion ~ Non-attachment ~ Peace ~ Death ~ Birth ~ Inspiration”
“The Buddhas of the Ten Directions referred to in the Lotus Sutra and as delineated in the Dasa Bhumika Vibhasa Sastra, attributed to Nagarjuna:

Nagarjuna’s CommentsVerse of the Dasabhumika Vibhasa Sastra

The Buddha’s virtue is pure in that it creates only peace & contentment, unlike the virtues of gods and dragons that can distress living beingsIn the east there is a realm called Without Distress
Where there is a Buddha named Virtue of Goodness.
His physical signs are like a mountain of gold,
His name is heard boundlessly.
When people hear his name
They will attain the stage of no retreat.
I now fold my hands and worship Him
And pray He will abolish all grief and distress.
The Buddha’s spiritual virtue makes gods and people be without sadness.In the southeast there is a realm called Moon Light
Where there is a Buddha named Without Lament.
His bright light is like the sun and the moon,
Upon meeting Him emotional distress is extinguished.
Ever teaching the Dharma for living beings,
All the inner and outer sufferings are abolished.
Praising the names of the Buddhas of the 10 Directions,
I bow my head in worship
The Buddha is like sandal incense and a cool pool. Hearing the Buddha from afar is like detecting a current of incense, and in extinguishing the heated distress of the three poisons He is like the refresh-ment of a clear and cool pool.In the south there is a realm called Rejoicing
Where there is a Buddha called Sandal Virtue.
His face is like the full moon,
The brilliance of its light being without measure.
He is able to extinguish the heated distress
Of the three poisons in living beings.
Hearing His name one reaches the stage of no retreat
Therefore I bow my head in worship.
Because of the Buddha’s spiritual qualities, powers, awakenings, etc., treasures are always being offered to living beings.In the southwest there is a realm called Host of Signs,
Where there is a Buddha named Offering Treasure.
Always with countless treasures of the Dharma,
He offers them broadly to all living beings.
The heads & faces of the gods worship
Their bejeweled hats bowed down to His feet.
Now with my five limbs on the ground
I take refuge in the honored one that offers treasur
The brilliance of the Buddha’s body and wisdom is without limit.In the west there is a world called Skillfulness,
Where there is a Buddha called Limitless Brilliance.
The light of His body and the brilliance of His wisdom
Shine without bounds or limits.
Those that hear His name
Will attain the stage of no retreat.
I now bow my head in worship
And pray He will extinguish the bounds of Life & Death
The Buddha’s physical body is like a wonderful blossom, with its virtues being without limit.In the northwest there is a world called Host of Sounds,
Where there is a Buddha names Blossom of Virtue.
The world has a multitude of bejeweled trees
Broadly issuing forth the wonderful sound of the Dharma.
With the seven blossoms of awakening,
He is ever adorning living beings.
The sign of His white tuft of hair is like the moon,
I now bow my head in worship.
The Buddha’s blessings of virtues are lofty and revealed like banners and signs.In the north there is a realm called Unshakeable
Where there is a Buddha called Signs of Virtue.
His body possesses the major and minor signs,
By which he adorns Himself.
In breaking the hateful host of devils
Good influences all the people and gods.
Hearing His name one reaches the stage of no retreat,
Therefore I bow my head in worship.
The Buddha is ever teaching the practices of the disciples, the self-awakened and the Bodhisattvas. With people speaking of lower, medium & higher levels of diligence, there is that called ‘Practicing the Three Vehicles’.In the northeast there is a realm called Peacefulness,
Where all the treasures are attained together.
The Buddha is called Practicing the 3 Vehicles,
His body is adorned with limitless signs.
The light of wisdom and insight is without measure,
And is able to destroy the darkness of ignorance.
Living beings are without grief or distress,
And so I bow my head in worship.
Brilliant refers the brilliance of the Buddha’s body, the Buddha’s wisdom, and the light of the bejeweled tree.Down below there is the world that is Broad and Great,
Where there is a Buddha named Brilliant Virtue.
The signs of His body are wonderful and superlative,
A golden mountain of Jambu River sand.
With the sun of wisdom and insight He always
Opens the blossoms of good spiritual roots.
The precious ground is very broad and great,
And I bow my head in worship.
The blessings of Buddha’s disciples spread a host of virtues broadly.Up above there is the realm of Many Moons,
Where there is a Buddha named Ocean of Virtues.
The great virtues of the Disciples
And the Bodhisattvas are without measure.
The Lion among those that are noble
Is named Spreading Many Virtues.
The devils all have fear of Him,
And so I bow my head in worship.

“The Buddhism of T’ien T’ai Teachings

The Dharma & the Spiritual Realm
The Spiritual Realm of Life & Death
The Two Vehicles & Detachment
The Bodhisattva & Engagement
The Buddha & Enlightenment
The 3000 Spiritual Aspects in a Single Thought
The Wonder of Spiritual Enlightenment
The Ten Wonders that are the Manifestation of Enlightenment
The Ten Wonders that are the Source of Enlightenment
The Lotus Blossom – The Cause & Effect of Spiritual Enlightenment
The Illustration of the Spiritual Life
The Lotus Blossom Illustrating Provision & Reality, Manifestation & Source
The Ways & Means of Provision & Reality
The Sutra – The Living Word of Spiritual Enlightenment
The Spiritual Body & Life of the Buddha
The Sutra and the Practice of Faith
The Living Word of the Buddha
The Pure Land – The Sphere of Spiritual Enlightenment ”
Any questions, please start a conversation about it with Ba Ngoai, among all the other things she should be teaching/writing (or having someone write about it for her, like the birds names and songs in Viet Nam) even though I am her very bad student, she is my so venerable Teacher “Si Fu” about it!  ;+)
Happy Holidays to All! ;+)


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