There were only five people at Seon Club last week; me, Young, Arthur, MJ, and, of course, Hyedaeng Sunim, and yet the discussion was incredibly rich and covered a whole range of topics of concern to all in the group. I wish I’d taken notes, but some things stood out for me very clearly, and this month I’ll try to relate a little of it here on this blog.
The first was Sunim’s response to a question from me. I’ve asked this before, but it still bothers me. I understand, and can see in my own life, how everything we suffer is a manifestation of the Buddha-nature and necessary in order to learn and make progress, and in fact, last time I raised this, Sunim talked about how suffering is itself the compassion of the Buddha.
It’s like a father, she explained again to me on Saturday night, who cares for his child. Sometimes the father will reward the child, sometimes the father will need to use discipline. But the child, far from seeing the love, might see only the suffering and not the bigger picture and the opportunity to learn.
“Yes”, I argued, “Yes, I understand that, I see that, but look at the awful suffering in the world, the poverty, the hunger, the concentration camps. Rape, murder, torture. Surely there are better ways of disciplining, ways that don’t involve flaying the child alive. I mean, it’s just not fair.”
“This world” Sunim replied with gravity as well as a smile, “is perfectly fair. Everything you create eventually comes back to you.”