“Where is paradise found? Within my mind.” That seems like such a little phrase, just a few words, but think of how much energy and how many years people spend unconsciously thinking that the happiness they want exists somewhere else.
If it truly exists in our minds, then all of that time…. Well, work on discovering it within your own mind! Among other things, that is what you can take with you between lives. There’s very little that actually goes with us, just our habits and our orientation. If you deeply know that paradise is within your own mind, and have practiced living there, then I suspect that wherever you might be reborn, that would be something as natural to you as adjusting your pillow during the night.
The Ten Vows made by all Tathagatas (Vow 7)
Paradise is found within my mind, I vow to attain it.
What is Tathagata? Although it sometimes is used to indicate beings who are fully awakened, it also is the state where all minds are one. Where ultimately everything is seen as part of the ceaselessly manifesting whole.
(And try to recite these out loud a few times. Feel free to keep reciting just this one line throughout the day!)
The Ten Vows made by all Tathagatas (Vow 5)
The truth of non-duality, taught by all Buddhas. I vow to ceaselessly learn and practice.
“So what do the vows of Tathagatas have to do with me?” some people may wonder. Well, this is one of those parts that takes the perspective of “follow the example of the people who’ve already got there.”
If you want to be rich, then do the things rich people do, at your own scale. (Fwiw, these are things like not spending too large a portion of your income on things like vehicles, saving up money for emergencies, avoiding debt, etc.)
If you want to be healthy, then look at the habits of healthy people and/or athletes. What are they doing? You don’t have to exercise as much (who could?!), but you might notice that they get plenty of sleep, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, avoid sugary food, and so on. These are things that most anyone could follow along with, regardless of their current health.
Likewise the understanding and awareness of awakened people. You don’t have to already be there; the most important thing in the beginning is to raise the intention to get there! This vow also reminds us of where we can find the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. We don’t have to travel to far away lands or wait until after we die – they all can be found within us, right now. Just knowing this, just being familiar with this idea, is an incredible first step.
The Ten Vows made by all Tathagatas (Vow 3)
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha all live within my mind, I vow to always listen to them.
This next section was translated slightly differently by Daehaeng Kun Sunim, in that she added the part “existing within my mind” to most of the verses. Perhaps practitioners of the past felt this was so obvious it didn’t need to be added!
But Kun Sunim wanted to make it clear where the issue was! In a real sense, what other people are doing isn’t *that* important to my own practice. What they are doing only lightly affects how I’m viewing things and the choices I make.
The Ten Vows made by all Tathagatas (continued)
Greed, anger, and ignorance existing within my mind, I vow to dissolve without delay.
Kun Sunim sometimes used the expression “stages that aren’t stages” when talking about spiritual practice. In general, she was talking about the fact that there is stuff to learn, there is progress, there are steps in spiritual practice. But. Don’t get caught up in those. Don’t try to imagine that as some separate stage that you want to achieve, but haven’t. Or that you have attained, while there are others that haven’t.
Best to stick with the idea that there is stuff to learn, there is stuff that you can do better, but do that, do your best, while immediately letting go of any idea of “I’ve attained.” “I’ve gained.” “She or he hasn’t gotten that far.” As Kun Sunim often said, just keep letting go of what you know, of what you don’t know, (and what you think you know!)
The mantra for relying upon one mind, Juingong, which is itself the mind of all Buddhas
Mind, with uncountable stages that are not fixed stages. I will pass through these and truly turn the great jewel of mind.
Candlelight ceremony from the lunar new year’s, January 2020 B.M. (Before Masks, lol. Sigh. Stupid corona virus. The lady wearing a mask is probably wearing it because she has a cold and doesn’t want to spread it to others.)
How is evil dispelled? How do we heal ourselves? How do we deal with all the aches and pains we have? How do we deal with the mental aches and pains we have have? We entrust them to our foundation. We make the actual, conscious effort to remember that we have a foundation, we have this source that’s guided us and taken care of us for a billion years, and entrust what we’re facing to it.
Why has it take a billion years (or more)? Because we’ve been doing things the hard way, would be my guess. We’ve been trying to solve things with our bodies. We’ve been trying to solve things with our intellect. We’ve been trying to do it with power, or with gold and silver. We’ve been trying to get bigger powers to show up and take care of things, either gods or politicians or those stronger than us.
But not all that often with our own inner light. Not very often by trying to rely upon our own inner foundation. Now it’s time to learn to rely upon this. Now it’s time to fully open this path.
This doesn’t mean getting what I think I want, with is often just a reflection of my own fixed ideas, but trusting this inner light. Trusting it to take care of things such that they’ll turn out for the best. Such that I’ll be able to grow and develop as best I can, given my circumstances and ability.
(Remember to try to recite these three times out loud. And more if you like. That really helps get all the lives within you to wake up and pay attention!)
The mantra showing the profound and subtle functioning of one mind