I’m doing it again. The details aren’t important, but it goes right to the heart of what it means to be following a spiritual path. Ever since I was a child I’ve argued with people, taken up positions and defended them, attempted to prove myself right on every little thing I’ve ever believed. It’s caused so much harm to others, and handed myself so much unhappiness too.
I am getting better and have made great progress, and yet still I sometimes feel the need to put forward a position, and to then defend it, sometimes in Dharma discussions, and especially on the Internet. But I’m getting better at seeing how ridiculous this can be. I need to ask if helps myself or others. And who cares if I’m right or wrong? Why does it matter to me so much?
The Buddha defined Right Speech as “abstinence from false speech, malicious speech, harsh speech, and from idle chatter.” So there’s hope for me yet, I’m good at giving things up! I welcome another abstinance. But after all what does it mean to believe in the active working of the Buddha which is my True Self, if I am still battling to defend opinions rather than letting go of them?
Here’s something to cut out and pin to back of the door or the side of the computer, somewhere I will see it often! Something I want to learn.
Daily Life Seon
At those times when your speech can disturb others,
when your words can lower your spiritual level,
when you understand that if your level is lowered, the whole is damaged,
at those times return inwardly all the thoughts and feelings you’d like to express.
Let your inner foundation take care of everything,
and use speech when skillful means are necessary.
No matter how much you talk, it won’t help a bit,
if there’s no sincere behaviour backing it up.
Let this inner power plant take care of things,
(instead of chasing after outer things).
This is the premier method, the true shortcut of ‘daily life seon’.
– Seon Master Daehaeng Kun Sunim,
Hanmaum Journal, September – October, 2009. Used here with permission.