Letting go of Entanglement

Written on 4th July 2022 
Vietnamese version here

I am gonna tell you the story of me and my partner from 2 years ago.

So we’ve spent a few years together, there’s been a lot of disillusionment, and I’ve always been the one to take the initiative to end the relationship. However, it is not easy for anyone, for Eliott, it is not easy, because he would not let me go. He always knows how to sweetly coax, talk about his own shortcomings, make plans to change, to stop oppressing others. Physically, he clings, determined not to let go.

After so many times, I gave up the thought that I could break up with this person and had to live with him.

Then, once as always, being oppressed and bullied by him for no reason, I fell into a deadlock, seriously hurt, very painful. 

Seeing me in such pain, he was also shocked and asked “What made you hurt so much???”

In fact, he has asked this question many times. But this time it was beyond my ability to cope. I decided to use that question as a koan. Yeah, what is in me that makes me so hurt?

Being bullied, oppressed, and insulted for no reason would obviously create pain, in any normal circumstance, for anyone.

But, am I a person who is easily vulnerable because of what other people say or think of me?

Wrong assumptions and gossips from other people had been directed to me since the age of 4. As I constantly found myself in false notions of family and classmates since childhood, I soon broke the illusion of humanity and lived peacefully with the unjust world.

In other words, I considers judgmental and personal attacks as extremely usual part of a human life.

I scan a series of situations, if a student or friend turn around to make up wrong stories and insult me, I still find it understandable, as normal as I had accept the world not being perfect. Sometimes I know theses situation in advance, even before these people know that they would be like that. People simply act according to their level of understanding, and it’s just matter of time for the expression to take place. 

Then why did I get hurt so badly with Eliott?

I identify each person around me, if they have the same behaviour and expression like Eliott, Would I mind? I would make decisions to avoid causing more trouble for myself, but my heart wouldnt be hurt like that. 

Then why is it different when it comes to Eliott?

I ask questions and then settle my heart in stillness, submerge myself in curiosity without rushing. As always, this is how I got the answer.

Emotions become clearer, in my heart the answers appear more and more clearly

 Ah, got it, I found it!

I recognized this warm, reassuring feeling, of being accompanied by Eliott, a man who had come to his senses.

I carefully checked, “How do you know Eliott is awake?”

Suddenly there was silence, no response.

And the logical mind, as usual, struggled to find a way to explain.

My logical mind reviewed the images of two lovers sitting and talking about Tao, about self observing and knowing, my mind showed off moments in the past few years, whenever I realized something and excitedly shared it with Eliott. ..

My logical mind revisit those first days of our relationship when I told Eliott in detail how I guided people to find the “I” in my class, and I even urged Eliott to “find” his “I”.

“Wow, and then?” – What do these experiences have to do with whether Eliott is conscious or not? 

“Have I ever asked him directly: are you awake every day?”

No, never. All assumptions.


It turns out that the programming in my mind has trapped itself. The mind was like a thief, and when I am least wakeful, it concluded and recorded a false conclusion “Eliott is aware and observing himself daily”, all  because my mind relied on series of data, experiences, and favorable happenings.

Realizing this, my illusion of a conscious person suddenly shattered.

 It’s funny that, consciously, I’ve never judged whether Eliott was conscious or not, that doesn’t seem to matter at all.

But only when something happens, enough for the storm to knock me over, and listen to my heart again, I realize the deep programming of my subconscious, that “I’m with a sane person”. A superficial but deeply rooted conclusion.

“It turned out that Eliott was the victim, also due to my illusion. 

It turned out that even though I didn’t say it for a long time, I reacted strongly because subconsciously I kept asking Eliott to behave like a conscious person. 

Poor guy, struggling to fit the shirt without knowing what or how the shirt is

If only I were aware and saw that his behavior was normal for a delusional person, I would have treated and talked to him so differently. 

Realizing this, tears flowed .., I was happy to remove the veil of illusion covering my wisdome eyes, at the same time I was sorry for the the two of us who had poor eyesight and kept struggling to hold each other’s hands.

5 minutes of repentance begins, thus 

“When a fool knows he is a fool

Then that is wisdom, the ancients taught,

When a fool is mistaken that he’s smart

Just he stays a fool forever.

(Dharma Rule 63)

After 5 minutes of crying, I realized my stupidity, and woke up to the next question

“So what now?”

“A fool, even if for a lifetime

being close to wise people, he would remain in vain 

How would he be able to understand the sublime Dharma,

Like a spoon, that tries to scoop up the soup 

Scooping from morning to night

Yet the spoon cannot taste the delicious soup”

(Dharma Rule 64)

As we ​​accompanied each other through many classes that I taught, through many sharing, of so many “aha” moments.. I thought he would absorb more or less of what I was practicing but it turned out to be completely useless. 

Above all, it’s my own stupidity and subjectivity. Eliott is one who I embraces and shares transparently all my realisations for the past many years, and he is still like that. 

How about people like my parents, my students, my friends… ? Am I too subjective to think that everyone close to me is knowing and aware of themselves..? 

This is an illusion of mine, I’ve been so wrong. 

Suddenly I remember the teaching 

When we walk the path of life together

If you can’t find someone to company with

A person more or at least equal to you

Then it’s better to seek truth alone,

It’s a burden to be in the company of foolish people

Don’t make friends, you would end up being hurt

(Dharma Rule 61)

Yes, when we walk together on the path of life

I had myself identified him as “ awake and sane!”

The stupidity comes from that.

Suffering is the right cry !!!!


Living together, or close to fools

One will feel sad, worried, and attacked all the time,

It’s miserable living near the fools

Because it’s like living next to a dangerous enemy,

When one lives with people who have a lot of wisdom

Life is peaceful as if living next to own relatives 

(Dharma Rule 207)

Read this paragraph I laugh and cry, and see that all my pain and stupidity was really exposed. But  who can blame blindfolded people?

Being blind they can’t see the right way, so they mistaken a knife for a spoon, poking their love’s eyes thinking they are feeding with love..

It was so true, I was sad and anxious, but who would understands hahaha.. , after attacking me for his own assumptions he would always innocently asked “Why are you so sad?” Hahah

The ancients have already concluded their wisdoms, but it is true one has walk ones own way, experience it oneself, and then sit and absorb lessons learned from it.

So where do the fools go? If everyone only associates with people more  awake than or equal to themselves?

I remember a passage from a sutra that once said that, if you find someone who makes you look at life simply, gradually getting rid of your delusions and waking up every day, then even if that person tries to chase you away, you must still be determined not to leave, at any cost. 


So Eliott, knowingly or unknowingly, did the right thing. 

This person definitely did not leave me, now there is no reason to send him away, he is doing the right thing, even If its just by chance.

So is there any situation in which a person can live with someone who is better than himself?

Yes, it’s a situation where the more awake people are aware of each person in the relationship without any confusion. Being aware of the reality, one can decides to give just treatment, avoiding bringing harm to ones own self.

It’s like when we need to explain something to a random person whom we know his or her level of understanding, then we know how much to say, which way to explain it, and depending on his receptivity and acceptance attitude, we would know whether to continue explaining or to keep quiet, or to stay away to avoid disaster.

Or when a person still can’t understand recognise the alphabets, we cant keep pointing at the text book and force that person to read, only to get impatient because they can’t read it. 

As I comprehend all of these, I texted Eliott “I want to talk”.

The two of us sat on the bed, I leaned my back against the wall, hugging my pillow, and he leaned back on his side across from me. For me, the bed is the most comfortable place, giving me natural comfort, so it is easiest to express my sincerity, with body and mental expression 

He looked at me, his eyes filled with regret.

I began to speak:

– I want to ask, do you ever observe or be aware of your own mind?

– Uhmm… When you told me to try observing, then I try.

– Yes. I mean other than when I told you to, are you ever aware of your mind?

– Oh no. I just tried it when you said it.

– So over the years, you have observed yourself a few times, each time .. for how long?

– Uhmm.. 30 seconds or something… Every once in a while I try to observe myself, it will last a few seconds I’ll be swept away.. And that’s it 

  • Yes. You know, you asked me “What makes me so hurt”. If other people were cursed for no reason, they would get angry and soon forget it, but I on the other hand would be in such incredible pain and shock, that it’s so hard for you to understand. I also tried to sit down to find out the reason. And I’ve realized I’ve made a serious mistake, which is to have an illusion that you’re a sane, self-aware person. It is this illusion that makes me unknowingly have an expectation of you, of your ability to treat me properly, or that if you make a mistake, you would quickly recognize and correct it. But since this is an illusion that has nothing to do with reality, that you are not awake, I was so disappointed that it caused indescribable pain. In fact, realizing this, I feel that I am the one to blame all this time, for having raised you up to a person equal to me in terms of cognitive level, while you are completely natural as you are, not having any opportunity to discussing this illusion of mine, no wonder why we keep messing around and hurting each other like that.

Eliott nodded in agreement, I saw him relax a bit..

– So I accidentally put on you a pressure with standards that you never know, and then locked you in those pressures.. So these sufferings and injuries actually were greatly contributed by me

Eliott breathed heavily as if extracting some mysterious resentment..

– You know, maybe this delusion of mine came from many reasons. Partly because I spent a lot of time enjoying talking to you about how to practice mindfulness, what I teach people, and then invite you to try observing.. The way you listen so attentively, nodding, laughing and discussing with me.. makes me think that you are practicing the same as me. Actually that’s your love, you are always happy to hear me share and always be there to listen, but that doesn’t mean you will practice, it’s another category that I should not equate.

Another reason is that when I accepted the invitation to be with you, I had an invisible assumption that the man I chose to accompany me in life is of course equal or better than me. This is a default that comes from the old conception, planted in my subconscious from a young age, maybe because of my culture, maybe because of my upbringing, maybe simply because I am a Vietnamese woman. Or may be this false idea had been installed in the gene passed down through generations..

Eliott sighed.

– And I realized one thing, one thing that I must frankly and courageously admit. And when you see it, you have to be frank and brave to share it with you, so that you are also an insider and fully understands the situation..

That is: You and I are definitely not Companions. And from now on, I would like to no longer consider you as my companion, we can live in the same house, raise our children together, treat each other with affection and respect, but I will no longer consider you as my companion

Eliott suddenly panicked, his eyes became red and watery..

He shook his head, trembling.

– What you said is not true. I dont agree. We enjoy life together, get along in so many things, do everything together and love it. No one is more suitable to you or to me. Why can’t you see all those memories that we shared?

That’s the problem.. On the surface, you hink you also enjoy life like me, like dressing up, enjoying gpood food, travel, and explore life. We look alike, don’t we? But the difference is that you do all of that in illusion, while I am aware of everything I do. I have fun and enjoy but I don’t depend my happiness on them, I know every choice I make, every decision I make, as passionate as I could be but I’m ready to throw them all away at any moment. Because I live not for those things, but to realise myself, and I’ve been on the path of knowing myself for 10 years now, that’s what I really care about.

When it comes to ‘Companion’, you have to be at least in the same direction, right? Walking the same path is companionship, right? So how do we accompany each other when we go our separate ways? I worked hard to go inside and you kept looking outside? No wonder you emphasizes the role of responsibility in the family, no wonder what you care about most, to the point of going crazy and oppressing others, is to build a family that looks good, looks happy .

 No wonder why you kept struggling to build things to reinforce the outer appearance or experience.

I do not deny that we raise children together, choose the right house, do many things together.. even though many times I have to pay the price by listening to you defamation. But for me, it’s just a cooperation between people A and B, it’s not a companion on the path that I’m on. I always tell you, you should get married with the same ideal person, because I don’t have the ideal of building a family or being a perfect mother. I just have the practice of living every day and knowing myself well, not harming anyone, that’s all. Even in this work I’m not done yet, there are still illusions to be seen and to be let go every day.. It’s been 8 years bro.. And have you started yet?

– We can start over. From now on I will start…? – Eliott hastily replied 

“Yes, the sooner you begin to know yourself, the better it is for your own self. But let me finish the story so you can see the whole picture clearly.

“For the past 8 years, 4 years before I met you, since I first realized that I am not all these things, in fact, I am nothing to anchor.. Every day I watch my inner self. You know, the more I pay attention and more I witness, the more I realize how many prejudices, prisons, and ideals I had locked myself in to suffers from them. Every 2 days, I would burst into tears because I realized the prison that I sacrificed my life to protect was actually all imagined and built up by myself. So many programmings accumulated in me throughout a lifetime or for several generations.. layer by layer were one by one seen and dropped, day after day, month after day, so that every day I behave more purely, more honestly, more realistically.

When I met you, I had 4 years of awareness to purify myself like that, and 4 years of living together, every time I am still continuing to know myself, removing barriers, seeing my own perception mistakes. So in terms of time, I have had 8 years of pains, experiencing, seeing and letting go of programming and illusions. And you havent started yet. 

But things don’t stop there. Let’s say each of us has more or less similar numbers of programmings, prejudices and illusions.. Then when living in this world, if you are not aware of yourself, every day you would add to yourself a few new illusions and prejudices. Well, while I’m slowly letting go of these programmers and it’s been 8 years, you’re still accumulating new illusions and programming every day. Every time we have a conflict that hurts each other, I look at myself, realize what mistakes and illusions have pulled my strings, then I let go of that illusion. You too, you also try to correct your mistakes, but not by looking at your illusions, but by trying to program yourself with MORE prejudices and illusions… so that your behaviour can seem like it resembles the ideal outlook.

 So, although you also want to purify yourself, you on contrary sink to more and more programming and conditionings, like a computer operating system that’s heavier and heavier with virus each day. Then the distance between the two of us is too far when you want to start observing yourself, isnt it right?

– That’s right.. Then what to do???

– That’s not the problem. Because when fully awake, any programming will be discovered. At first, you may not get used to it, you will often get caught up in different programmings, but if you have someone to guide you and you are really interested and serious about seeing the truth, it is not difficult. However, if your intention of seeing yourself is to earn the “a companionship” with me, then that itself will teach you a lesson..

– No, no.. I have known about mind observation for a long time, but I get caught up in life without practice. Now that you say that is also a good opportunity for me to start doing, I do this for myself, not for you. Even if we break up, I will still observe my mind.. 

– Yes, but I also want to make it clear that even if you practice observation and start today, I still would like to not consider you as a companion.

– Why?

  • I have read this verse of the Buddha:

When we walk the path of life together

If you can’t find someone to company with

A person more or at least equal to you

Then it’s better to seek truth alone,

It’s a burden to be in the company of foolish people

Don’t make friends, you would end up being hurt

(Dharma Rule 61)

– Then it’s not fair! If everyone only accepts people who are equal or better, then those who are less will stay with whom???

– In fact, they can live with someone as delusional as them. However, there are also many cases where the disciple is with the teacher, but the teacher must know the level in order to behave and protect himself properly.

When I say “no companionship” with me, it doesn’t mean that we end our life together or stop living together, those is up to fate. But Not Accompanying means that I no longer consider you as an equal in ability in perceiving reality, and therefore will no longer be bound to have a truth seeking companionship with you. Before, I was frustrated because I didn’t recognize this blind spot, so the more I said it, the more I didn’t understand, that was my mistake.

When I don’t consider you as a companion anymore, then you go your own way, bump into any bush or pond, I will no longer be surprised or impatient, of course I will still tell you according to my conscience. But whether you hear me out and understand or not is not as important as before.

When you scold me for no reason, I don’t have to remind you to look back or see reality anymore, I just need to go away and take care of myself.

It is like in a situation when you recognize this person is actually drunk, you might still warn him not to fall into the pond, but if you get hit by him, you should not need to waste explanations or instructions, just hide and be safe, so that person can learn it himself.

– No, I don’t want that. I want to be guided by you, I don’t want to live together without getting a lot of wisdom from you..

  • If you want to be guided, just come ask me and listen to my sharings sincerely, if you see something you don’t understand or feel contrary to what I said, then you should actively ask me with sincerity. I do not refuse anyone who seeks guidance from me.

But if you don’t ask questions. Or if you communicate only to complain, blame, and finger pointing, or if you make a wrong assumptions and then struggle with that assumption by attacking and blaming me, then I’m not involved. So I inform you in advance, that it will be very different from before, when I was too stupid to enthusiastically explain and expect your sanity, from now on I will not be the same again, I will just not be there. It’s not that I would go away  from our home, but I would temporarily stop communicating and go to another room, let you calm down and then continue living, and whether you are delusional or not, is not my concern anymore.

“I know I have such madness, but I don’t want to be abandoned by you. Over the years, thanks to you, I have seen many things..

“Actually, you haven’t seen anything yet.” Although I tell you a lot, but how can it be as clear as you seeing your own mind? Therefore, my words to the unenlightened person are useless and that reflects even my own illusion. Now, I have repented and vowed to only share wholeheartedly with those who share the same path.

– How can I share the same path with you?

  • Walk it yourself. You can practice observing yourself, then you should actively share and ask me questions. See for yourself. I won’t remind, and I wont test or push, that’s your job. But if you still look at me like a little girl in the house, who would lean in your arms and listen to your instruction, you won’t learn anything. Sincerely consider me as your teacher in this, and your mind will be open. But if you still maintain a provocative and insolent attitude, are instructed but use an insolent tone, no teacher will teach you, you can learn by yourself.

– I agree, I consider you as my teacher, please guide me.

From then on, within seven days of self-observation, Eliott took the initiative to call his biological mother and cry, telling her, “I have never experienced a more revolution in my life than this. I realize too much mess in myself, I’m a puppet who constantly hears exciting sentences in my head “Kill it, get rid of it, punish it”.. which is always for the one I love, when I was not awake, I knew that I unconsciously got angry and cursed at others without even realizing that I was a puppet of the mind. I have never seen you change as much as this week.. This is the revolution of my life..”

After years of struggle, teasing, oppression and cursing for no reason, I didn’t expect all the hatred, stabbing, and gnashing in the name of love, family, morality… from his side has gone down from 100% to 5% in just 1 week. I am officially at peace 😆.

The two of us are “like two trees standing side by side on a windless day” (Trinh Cong Son) 🤣, happy, leisurely, healthy, friendly.

Up to now, it has been 2 years since he observed himself, there were times when he hugged me and cried for a week, every day he looked at me with tears falling, muttering “I’m sorry, I’m too bad without even knowing it. I was so stupid and tormented you so much..”

“Ah, you just discovered some programming, didn’t you?” i laugh 

“YES. Huhu, why is it so disgusting…”

“Heh heh.. there’s a lot more, there’s a lot more, just enjoy it calmly, but I understand your feeling, it’s great, hehe hehe..”

This experience showed me too many lessons, since then I am no longer subjective about the practice of mind observation. I set up Nhu La just to share and discuss about mind observation.😄

In addition, I realized that, if a couple (friends or lovers) has no awareness in it, sooner or later it will reveal the nature of the relationship, which is not carefree but has binding and intangible contract. Contracts are not problem, but it’s better when it’s acknowledged and transparent between partners. 

Back to the present moment when writing this

My family life had many disturbances due to Covid, moving house to Nha Trang ..etc. but every disturbance comes in knowing composure. Sometimes there are disturbances but we would quickly realize the illusion and let go and return to reality.

I often say that my house is like a temple now. Except for the screams of children, absolutely no one said a word to anyone. What to say is already said, but what needs to be said is also what is here now or short-term plans. Very concise and practical, no more distant illusions.

Each minds his own work, whoever finds the house messy and free, will happily clean up by themselves. Anyone who feels craving for someone’s warmth, then snuggles up and enjoy, if its not the right time then it’s okay, it’s still fun. No more tormenting and worrying about stories and conclusions in your head.

By saying our home is “like a temple”, I mean we have the feeling of being self-sufficient, independent, but intimate. But of course we are not monastics, so we still live a normal married life.

To end this chapter, let me tell you a story about me and him a few days ago:

– Honey, I miss you..  you are so handsome.. – I leaned on him and kissed him

He hugged me passionately, whispering: “uh, I’ve known since morning..”

“Can you feel me loving you..?” I tenderly give you a sweet kiss forever

“Ah no, the app just announced that I ovulated today..” – he enthusiastically responded..

Oh yeah!

Một suy nghĩ 6 thoughts on “Letting go of Entanglement

  1. Hi phanyly 🙂

    I usually advise people to blog in just one language — otherwise (IMHO) a lot of your readers will feel lost.

    WP has settings for language — and what I am referring to is the language the reader sees.

    🙂 Norbert

    Đã thích bởi 1 người

    1. Hi Nobert
      I am thinking of writing more in English so I really appreciate your advise. Thank you for leaving comment. I guess I will start an English blog on WordPress to make it easier for readers.

      Đã thích bởi 1 người

      1. Excellent! Please post a link (I have only quickly scanned this post so far, I usually DL to read & perhaps review later). What is the (English name for 😉 ) main language of this blog?


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