Good things come in small packages, or, a fundamental teaching about spiritual practice

Daehaeng Kun Sunim

Here’s another excerpt from the Dharma talk I’m helping with now. It’s a wonderful teaching, that helps ground us in the most fundamental aspect of spiritual practice. It may not seem so sexy or exciting, but it is the basis that can keep us growing and moving forward.


Questioner: Thank you for this opportunity to see you in person. My son (indicating the boy next to her) is about the enter high school, but I’m worried because he often feels uneasy and his attention seems to wander. Is there anything I can do to help this?

Daehaeng Kun Sunim: Young man, please listen carefully. Do you suppose that tree(pointing) has any roots, or not?

Boy: I’m sure it does.

Daehaeng Kun Sunim: Yes, although we can’t usually see them because they’re covered with dirt, right?

Well, each human being also has their own, unseen root. We call this foundation by lots of names, such as true self or the true doer, but it is this root that can guide you and take care of you.

Within your body there are untold numbers of other life-forms, and its their consciousnesses that disturb you and cause your attention to wander. These are karmic states of consciousness, like karmic echos, but when you have faith in your root and entrust everything to it, it can guide all the lives in your body and cause them to work together harmoniously.

Remind yourself that, “It’s you, true nature, my root, that can guide me, and it’s you that can help me get through school. You’re the one that can let me perceive what’s really going on, and respond as needed.” And entrust it with whatever situation you find yourself in.

This true nature is your root and your source. It’s your eternal, best friend, and is never apart from you.


(later, to a parent whose son showed no interest in spiritual practice)

Anyway, it would be better for you to entrust the following, “This true nature, Juingong, will help him find the bright light within himself.” If you truly let go and entrust this, then it will be communicated and he will start to see his own light.

A real understanding is more like electric current flowing without any hindrance when two wires have been connected to each other. Communication and understanding just flow back and forth.


The Doctor within you


I’m helping to translate a new talk by Seon Master Daehaeng, and I came across this great piece:


Some of you only pay lip service to the idea of your inherent nature, and then come and tell me things like your son hasn’t returned home, or a sick person isn’t getting any better. What am I, a doctor? No. It’s your own true foundation, that can manifest according to your need, so why wouldn’t it manifest itself as doctor?

If you are sick, it will become a doctor for you, if you need to live longer, it will become the god of the Big Dipper. If you need a guide in the realm of the dead, it will become Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva for you. If you are desperately poor or in trouble, it will become Avalokitesvara for you. If you are at sea and need help, it will become the dragon spirit in order to help you. It will become the kitchen god, the earth spirit, and so on, no matter what your need may be.

So then, what’s wrong with you? What’s missing? The only thing that was wrong was how you used your mind. So. How you want to use your mind is completely up to you, as is how you want to address the things you face. These are opportunities for you to grow and develop; don’t cheat yourself by looking for someone else to take care of them.