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California, USA

Dear Friends,

My Vietnamese name is Tuongvi, I was born in Laos, when I was 8 years old my family escape to Thailand and we lived in the refugee camp for 7 long years before we came to the United States.  The hardship we faced in the refugee camp had taught us to appreciate everything we have here in America.  I have been a Buddhist for all of my life.  I have been taught to give more and not to expect anything in return.  In Buddhism, we are taught to limit our desire for any material things because desiring is the cause of suffering.  There are five simple rules to happiness that one should remember and remind oneself:  (1) free your heart from hatred, (2) free your mind from worries, (3) Live simply, (4) give more, (5) and expect less.

Another rule for all Buddhists to remember and practice is to worship your parents because your parents are the live Buddha, they give you life and will do everything to raise you and teach you to be a good person for yourself, and society.  We believe in the "what goes around, comes around".  If you want someone to be nice to you, you should be nice to others first.

Sometimes we feel like we don't like someone, we will be preoccupied with the hatred in our thought, thus, make us unhappy.  Buddha taught that you can't make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth.

I have a lot of friends from different parts of the world; most of us have different religions.  They often put down my religion but I didn't want to argue with them because I believe that every religion has the same concept, and that concept is to teach everyone to be good person.  I don't need to argue with anyone to make them believe that my religion is the best, because every religion is unique, and we have different teachers (Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc.).  What they want to deliver to us was the message of how to be a good person.  It is easier to be bad, and it is harder to be good person.  Why?  Well, sometimes people doesn't want to say something nice to others because he/she has too much pride, but she/he forgot that "It is better to lose your pride to the one you love and care about, than to lose the one you love and care about because of pride."  When you truly care for someone, you don't look for faults, you don't look for answer, you don't look for mistakes.  Instead, you fight the mistake, you accept the faults, and you overlook the excuses.

Buddha taught that to forgive others from what ever they've done to you, is to free yourself from hatred, thus, to find happiness within.  I never have any problems with anyone that has different religion than mine, because I accept their thoughts, their beliefs as theirs but not mine.

We Buddhists, also practice meditation to free our mind and thoughts from all worries so we can find peace and happiness within ourselves.  If you are interested to learn more about Buddhism, I recommend the book The Art of Happiness written by the Holiness Dalai Lama.

Tuongvi (Nina)


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Last Updated:
25 June 2002

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