If you do what everyone else is doing…

I posted this elsewhere, but Evelyn in Germany offered such an insightful comment that I thought it was worth reposting here.

A few weeks ago, I overheard Daehaeng Kun Sunim say the following sentence during an interview:

 If you just do what everyone else is doing, you’ll be screwed.*   

How’s that for a to-the-point Dharma talk! She was talking about the cost of following the herd, but even more than that, the cost of not making an effort to find your own, true root; and the cost of not listening to this root, your Buddha-nature.

Following the herd – in the beginning it may seem the easiest way… you don’t offend, you aren’t blamed. there are many places and opportunities ‘following the herd’ isn’t just wished but wanted from you – at school, in your job, at home. not to follow the herd implicates annoyance, dismissive treatment and a general uncertainty. you’ll think twice to dare! you try to please everybody. you run… up to the day you are at point zero. you are shattered. and yes, you are screwed. you feel desperately helpless. finally you start thinking again. who’s to blame if you aren’t where you want to be? who’s to blame when you aren’t doing what you want to do? how to untangle this situation and not to destroy everything?

You have to be brave. you have to take the risk. and you have to take the responsibility. then maybe you’ll find out wherefore you are here. it’s worth the effort…

   *The word Daehaeng Kun Sunim used was ‘mang-ha-da’, which could be literally “ruined,” but the nuance was much more like “screwed” or “up a creek.”

7 thoughts on “If you do what everyone else is doing…”

  1. Hi,

    Ouch, the cost of not listening to your Buddha-nature, to that voice of wisdom and compassion within us – oh yes, been there! Haven’t we all!

    Thanks so much for the reminder and guidance Chong Go and Evelyn! And do please tell us something about that rather interesting photo!

    With palms together,

    Marcus _/\_

  2. After living in Korea for a few years (and being married to a Korean), I can see how much more relevant this teaching must have been the the receiver.
    I’m still surprised what my wife will give into because it’s the way everyone else does it.
    I’m learning to look within and ask, “Is this actually harmful or just more annoying to me?” before saying much…

  3. Thank you Evelyn that hits home. I shared this with my husband and son:).

    So true about how, for me, the hurt of others’ criticism makes me try to conform again, yet when I do, I blame and resent doing it…:) Then I look inward and know I’m the one doing it!, so STOP, and do it the way my inner voice says despite the external! How easy it is to be caught in the external and let it sway me! When will I know my light is stronger than words, ridicule, acceptance, and it will be my salve for all?!

    I like what Barry said:). I think I do like it too. I think I need to keep being beaten to help build my strength and to see each slap as, “you’re not gonna find it here!”.

  4. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the great comments.
    About the photo, it’s called the Monolith, and is from the Vigeland Scupture Park in Oslo, Norway. Vigeland studied under Rodan, and was a really interesting person. The city of Oslo basically put him on salary, gave him a studio and an expense account, and let him make whatever he wanted to. The only condition was that it would be displayed in this park. So the whole park is full of these great scupltures reflecting the human condition, both the good and bad aspects.
    To see more, seach under google images. (I have a lot of photos of this park, but some aren’t so great, and it would be difficult to post the others here.)
    The weather was too bad for me to visit places like the fjords, so I just stayed in the Oslo area, but this park was definitely the highlight of my visit there. In Korean, people would say that his work was embued with his sincerity. And you could really feel this.

  5. Thank you, Chong Go, for the link to this Park. I’ve never heard about it so far. Amazing! I’d never thought this column was so tall – the figures are lifesized it seems. and this man must have worked day and night for years … so many sculptures…
    Bliss to everyone here 🙂

    1. Hi Evelyn,
      It really is quite amazing, he apparently had a good sized staff of assitants, and just spent year after year at his work. There’s also a separate museum with the plaster models of some of his work, and some smaller pieces. And I’m a bit amazed that the city fathers of Oslo had the daring to set that up.

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