Dharma Songs

Koreans love to sing, and so the members of our temple have taken a number of poems and verses by Daehaeng Sunim and turned them into Dharma songs. This Saturday and Sunday we’ll even be having a festival of Dharma songs at the King Sejong Cultural Center in downtown Seoul. If you already have tickets, be sure to come! (I wanted to invite as many people as possible, but it sold out almost immediately.)

There will be a lot of performances by different lay choirs, as well as a sunims’ choir. Here’s one of the songs by the sunims during the 2004 Dharma Song festival, accompanied by traditional Korean instruments:


(This song is taken from a verse of Daehaeng Sunim’s translation of the Thousand Hands Sutra)

Sincerely entrusting everything to one mind,
Determined to know the real and help all beings,
Raising these great wishes,
May my Samadhi wisdom swiftly brighten.

May I attain every kind of virtue.
May the blessings arising from my practice guide and sustain all beings.
May all beings attain Buddhahood


This second song is called That Mind, Just As It is. It’s sung by the nuns of Hanmaum Seon Center, and is actually just a practice version.(They’ll kill me if they know I posted this!) The translation I did still feels a bit off, but here it is:

That Mind, Just As It Is (in Korean)

When water is clear, we can see the moon,
when water is murky, the moon is invisible,
but the moon doesn’t rise because the water was clear,
nor does it set when the water is murky.
When we dissolve all defilements and delusions,
mind becomes calm and clear,
and Buddha spontaneously appears.

 When our mind is clear, Buddha appears.
When our mind is murky, Buddha is unseen.
Buddha didn’t come from somewhere else,
Buddha didn’t go anywhere else.
If we calmly and flexibly guard the six senses
so that they don’t become thieves,
if we’re careful not to be caught by the functioning of the senses,
unenlightened beings at once become Buddhas.

The green mountains use no words,
running water isn’t caught by anything.
Like nature, when mind remains
solemn and settled,
that mind itself is Buddha.

6 thoughts on “Dharma Songs”

  1. WOW, so beautiful, Sunim!

    Especially i love the line, ‘but the moon doesn’t rise because the water was clear’. Everything Dahaeng puts into words is a great pic at the same time.

    Thank you so much – not least for the translation;) =

  2. Superb! Thank you!
    Oh, I wish I could join you there. Perhaps next time I’ll be able to?!
    (And the concert raises money for charity too, right? Wasn’t it a cancer charity last time?)
    Thanks again so much Sunim!

    1. Thanks for reminding me, Marcus.
      All of the profits from this will go to two charities, one that translates and distributes books for children in East Timor(the books are translated into their own language. Apparently there is a huge shortage of books like this.) The second is, I think, one that focuses on music education for children, as a way of giving them a sense of fun and empowerment.

  3. Sunims’ choir should make a tour, because just singing in Korea does not make much sence to me. I was totally mesmerized by the sunim’s choir, the power of Dharma was so strong and so concentrated that I thought even birds outside were listening and understanding Dharma! I cannot say that I like to listen to lay people’s choir much, but sunims’ choir made quite an impact, those two songs I listen to over and over and over… many times. So I think sunims should seriously consider make a concert in a few places, like where HanMaum Centres are. But then again, what do I know…
    and “They’ll kill me if they know I posted this!” is funny! Why is that though?
    Is it because if mind is just as it is, then why bother singing? Or I am just too tired. Being neither lay nor a monk is a comfortable limbo.
    Thanks for using my youtube video !

Leave a Reply to kimball amram Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s