Here’s a great comment and answer from a Dharma talk I’m currently translating. I particularly enjoyed this one, because so often it happens when we strive for something, we are subtly despising where we are at, and desiring to be someplace other than where we are right now. The longer I practice, the more I think the key is having goals but still accepting the place we are in this moment.
Questioner 1: When I hear your teachings like this, I feel like I’m about to awaken and fly into the sky like a bird.
Daehaeng Kun Sunim: Look! Don’t try to awaken! [Laughs.] If you’re focused on something called “awakening,” you’ll wind up filled with frustration.
Whether you succeed or not, just keep going forward on the path in front of you, taking things as they come. Keep quiet about what you encounter, and stay centered on your foundation, knowing that, “My foundation can take care of this.” Then it will be taken care of in that instant.
When entrusting something to your foundation, sometimes you see the results instantly, and sometimes it takes some time before the result works its way into the material realm. But when you entrust things like this, your foundation works like a blast furnace, melting down whatever you put into it.
So even though you put in grubby and twisted scrap, all of that will be melted down and only bright, shiny metal will be left. Which is then sent back out into the world. But how could someone experience this if they aren’t thoroughly entrusting the things and emotions that confront them?
(a couple of paragraphs later:) A mind like this becomes deep waters, and so large boats can sail there and take many beings across.
3 thoughts on “Don’t try to awaken!”
This is great advice. It’s so easy to get tangled up trying to “get it”. And, keeping quiet is sound direction, too — though keeping quiet is not always easy.
” I think the key is having goals” , the goals are the obstacle, that is what Kun Sunim is saying here, I mean the way I see it. Mind is not something you can touch and check where it is connected to, but it is connected, and what it is connected to is actually doing things, so they way I see it – having goals and accepting the place of now is like wanting to cross the river, but running along the shore, I mean if we are talking about achieving some results, goals in this life, then we can do that by wishing for it and just having it happen, for some people it is easier than for others due to karma and stuff, however if we are talking about this “awakening”, then dropping all goals and the thought of this moment is the key, because the door has no key.
” A mind like this becomes deep waters, and so large boats can sail there and take many beings across” – that is compassion, this awakening is for the sake of others, cannot have goals, because goals involve “I”
“But how could someone experience this if they aren’t thoroughly entrusting the things and emotions that confront them?” – that is feeling that you are thoroughly connected to that which is actually responsible for you being alive and your being in general, meaning you don’t really exist in terms of independent separate something.
Beautiful Dharma, right to the essence
We all have to accept that we can’t do more than the very best we can do at this very moment, ‘accepting the place we are in this moment’ – and then stay centered on our foundation, as Daehang Kun Sunim says. Nevertheless we should try to make the right effort, the right endeavor (= ‘having goals’). The Noble Eightfold Path requires from practitioners they should make a persisting effort to abandon all harmful thoughts, words, and deeds. – I think this is what Chong Go Sunim wanted to express. (‘…the key is having goals’ is not a fullstop sentence, rather an ‘as well as’ sentence, as I see it)