Some of you may be wondering what’s happened to me (or not!) but this is the time of year when we get ready for the Frankfurt book fair. Book contents have to be finished so that layouts and artwork can be finished in August in order for everything to get to the printer’s in September.
One of the new books we’re finishing up is a collection of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s poems that have been set to music and used as Dharma songs. They all have deep meaning, and this one talks about an idea that Daehaeng Kun Sunim sometimes mentions: Unconditional letting go expressed as dying. For when we deeply let go of the things we want and the things we fear, it does feel a bit like dying, like a kid denied Christmas. And yet when we entrust all of this to our inherently bright essence, the places that we are stuck seem to lose their hold on us and we can move forward with a fresh heart.
Die Three Times and Truly See Yourself
(세 번 죽어야 나를 보리라)
Vast beyond imaging
filled with an infinite variety of life,
yet everything in this universe
is but a shadow of one mind.
From an inherently empty place
appear empty things
they all vanish.
If I truly realize that everything I interact with is empty,
this is dying one time.
From great Buddhas who rule the heavenly realms,
to tiny weeds alongside the road,
without excluding a single one,
die together with them all
die together with this empty “me,”
and realize that everything, just as it is,
is the truth.
This is dying a second time.
Among all the people, plants, and animals,
among the stones and the clouds,
there is nothing that is not me.
You and I, all of us together,
are sharing the same place
and the same body.
Everything is the manifestation of this inherent Buddha,
so when can you freely take care of everything with life,
and without life,
this is called dying a third time.
My one mind, which brings in and sends out everything
is my true foundation, that which is truly doing things.
We have to die in order to truly live,
die three times and see yourself.
– Daehaeng Kun Sunim