Forum on the Thousand Hands Sutra

the German edition of "A Thousand Hands of Compassion"

The German publisher, Diederichs, had just published a German/Korean translation of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s version of the Thousand Hands Sutra, called Umarmt von Mitgefühl, and everyone thought this was a good time to tell people more about the history of the Thousand Hands Sutra, and the significance of Kun Sunim’s edition.

The forum was held in Hall 6, and was in four parts; first I discussed the history of the sutra, together with how the recitation version formed. Next Dr. Sunhee Suh discussed the characteristics of the recitation version and the significance of Kun Sunim’s edition. Dr. phil. Ralf Päsler discussed the cultural aspects of the translation and the problems associated with transferring concepts and ideas across cultures. Finally, Hyo Rim(임효), the artist whose work illustrated Umarmt von Mitgefühl and A Thousand Hands of Compassion, discussed the significance of the details in the paintings, and what had inspired them. As Hyo Rim talked about each painting, his descriptions felt like Dharma talks.

When we first decided to undertake the forum, I was somewhat concerned that it would be too detailed for the stressed and busy audiences at the book fair. But this is what our team members here in Korea and in Germany wanted to do, so I just threw my whole heart into it while relying on Juingong, and went forward. Actually, this is what we all were doing. And because we were all doing our best to practice like this, the forum touched many people.

It opened when Hye Jin Sunim, Hye Bek Sunim, Hye Jong Sunim, and Hye Bo Sunim began chanting the opening section of The Thousand Hands Sutra from the back of the forum center. Wearing their formal robes while hitting a moktak, they were very impressive and the entire area fell silent while people looked to see what was going on.

For the next 40 minutes we discussed the sutra and tried to give people a sense of this fundamental mind, or Juingong, that we all possess. A few people wandered off, but remarkably most stayed for the entire time. I say “remarkably” because during the first three days of the book fair, publishers are very busy, with different appointments every 15 or even 10 minutes. So they don’t have time to do other things. And yet here they were, ignoring their schedule, to hear more about practice and the Thousand Hands Sutra. The head of one German publisher even expressed his gratitude to us for presenting teachings of such depth at the book fair.

The rest of our time was spent talking with different publishers about Kun Sunim’s books and important aspects of publishing them in other countries. Several publishers from France and Germany were interested in Kun Sunim’s books, particularly translations of her Dharma talks. There was also much interest from other countries that will hopefully lead to Kun Sunim’s teachings be published in still other languages.

In addition, we had several reading sessions at our booth where Hye Jin Sunim and Dr. Ralf read from The Thousand Hands Sutra as well as a collection of Kun Sunim’s stories, called My Heart is a Golden Buddha. Hyo Rim was there talking with visitors, and visitors from years past came to the booth, often carrying well-read editions of Kun Sunim’s books.

6 thoughts on “Forum on the Thousand Hands Sutra”

  1. I didn’t know Dr. phil. was into Buddhism! ^_^ (sorry!)

    it is amazing that that many people stayed and listened. They must have recognize what was truly important at that moment.

    1. It´s funny you call him Dr. Phil, because the person who made our name tags made the same mistake, and called him “Dr. Phil Ralf” (Dr.phil is a bit like Ph.D versus a medical doctor.)

      We actually just had another forum yesterday, about Daehaeng Kun Sunim, her life, the similarities of her thought with the Sixth Patriarch, Wonhyo, (in German) and then in English, our work making her teachings availiable in other languages and how practice as she teaches it transcends language and geography. We really had a full house, and even during the English part, all of the German publishers stayed and listened. It was really a great audience. All of these “executives” are also serious practitioners!

      1. Dear Sunim,

        years ago, when i started practising regularly, a friend said, we are many and we’re becoming more and more… first i couldn’t believe that, meanwhile i know he’s right.

        The time is ripe and that’s why Great Masters like
        Daehaeng Kun Sunim and many other Gurus have decided to generously share their wisdom with people like us. our world badly needs some change. and changing into a positive way of thinking and acting has to begin deeply inside of each one of us. we are the seed Great Masters put their wisdom in with hope; and hopefully by their wisdom and guidance we’ll grow and learn to look after ourselves, our beloved ones, our friends, our fellow men, our enemies – because we are all one. and urgently we have to look after our environment, which is often treated so unreflectingly.
        I bow to Daehaeng Kun Sunim and all other Great Masters who let us have a part of their wisdom.and to all those of you who have translated their words into our different languages and to you who are now in Frankfurt to spread the written word.

        we’ll definitively become more:)

  2. i sent this post to my son Leon and said, look who’s sitting here and who is unfortunately hidden behind a column;)
    (exactly at this place we’d liked so much to sit again…)

    he answered:

    haha, cool!
    grüße an dieser stelle, wenn du mit ihm kommunizieren solltest! er hat endlich mal ein wochenende im oktober erwischt, wo es nicht minusgrade hat! 🙂
    greetings from here in case you communicate. finally he (Chong Go Sunim) has catched a weekend without minus-degrees!:)

    next year…let’s try again…

    1. That is you in the photo! I didn´t catch that when I picked it.

      Leon really wasn´t kidding about the weather, it must have been nearly 20C when I left the fair at 5pm yesterday. Last year I got off on the wrong platform and had to wait 30 minutes for the next train, and nearly froze to death before it came. This year ít feels like I arrived in early september!

  3. Chong Go Sunim,

    Great post, and congratulations! It really sounds like the Han Maum presentation at the book fare went smashingly. I am really happy for you. Knowing you were concerned and then turned this concern into concerted effort with the confidence born of “whole heartedly” throwing yourself into the project is most encouraging. As Suzuki said: ‘Consume youself in your task until there is nothing left,’ or something like that. (sorry!)

    Sincerely wishing you Peace and Joy,


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