[I’d planned on posting this, and chuckled when I opened my email this morning and saw that Carl’s post beat me to it! A good example of working together, on some level!^^. I thought twice about posting again on the same topic, but figured it’s such a nice theme, it’s worthy of investigating together… Maybe others will be inspired to add more!]
In August, on the Ox Herding blog, Barry posted about the Responsible Life, where he quickly discussed intention and the Great Vows:
The Four Great Vows
Sentient beings are numberless, we vow to save them all.
Delusions are endless, we vow to cut through them all.
The teachings are infinite, we vow to learn them all.
The Buddha way is inconceivable, we vow to attain it.
In the ensuing conversation, someone asked if the original text used the word “I” or “we”.
Chong Go Sunim responded,
In the Korean and Chinese versions, there’s no personal pronoun of I or we. Statements like this depend upon the context, and in this case, the most natural choice would be “I.”
However, I can easily imagine Seung Sahn Sunim putting a spin on it with a “we,” and no one here would complain at all. They would see that as a teaching in itself, one that compliment and enrich the usual emphasis on individual effort.
From there, Barry added,
This brings to mind two Korean phrases that I’ve heard (in translation), sometimes said in greeting or parting:
– May you become Buddha!
– May we together become Buddha!
I hadn’t really thought much about the translation before, but at the end of Ye’bul (ceremony) people turn to each other and with palms together say, “Seong Bul ha’ship’shi’yo.” In this context “Seong” is to accomplish, achieve, attain, complete, fulfill, or succeed in, “Bul” is Buddha, or Buddha-nature, and “ha’ship’shi’yo” is a very polite way of saying, “do it”. There is, indeed, no I, me, or you, but in a Dharma Hall full of people, simultaneously wishing each other to become Buddhas, the feeling of, “Let’s become Buddhas together,” emerges.
On my blog Somewhere in Dhamma, I wrote of an afternoon trip I took to YongJu Temple, with my family and friend, Carl. But one part I saved to share here. We stayed for the beginning of Ye’bul, just long enough to recite the Heart Sutra, then followed the monks as they left the hall. One monk who I’d spoken with before the ceremony waited for us by the door to say good-by. Our parting wish to him was, “Seong Bul ha’ship’shi’yo,” But he answered with palms together, a bow, and large, “Ahhh’ni’yo! Gaaaat’chi, seong Bul ha’ship’shi’yo!”
Noooo! Together, may we become Buddha!