The Noon Blessing (상단축원): The power of intention

joseph oregon

This the noon blessing we use at our centers. It’s a a fairly long text, and follows the tradition style, but one of the things I really like about it is how diverse and broad-minded the intentions are. It definitely made me think of a some aspects in ways I hadn’t before. Take a look, or a listen, and think about some of the different ways you can raise positive intentions, and try to come up with one for your life. Here’s a recording of this in English.




The Noon Blessing

All Buddhas throughout all realms,
all the limitless treasure-beings of one mind,
all the infinite Dharma net that connects all things,
both living and dead,
Please remember your great compassionate vows,
Please be present here today,
Please hear these intentions and offer your help.
Treasures of one mind,
may we always be present with your great compassion
may we always be one with this great energy of one mind,
may we always put this into practice,
throughout all aspects of our life.
May all the virtue we have accumulated since time immemorial
comfort those still trapped in suffering,
may it help those striving for enlightenment,
and may it lead all beings, all together,
to true freedom.

May this virtue help the entire world to be at peace,
may the great light of one mind shine brighter each day,
and may all beings far and wide encounter the Buddha’s teachings.
May these great teachings spread without cease,
may this land be at peace and harmony for generation after generation.
May the great light of the Buddha-dharma fill all realms.

Here at this place,
on this middle world called the Earth,
We raise the great intention that
within this country, everyone is at peace and safe,
that South and North Korea shall be peacefully reunified,
that all the world may be tranquil
that the Earth should be free of all great disasters.

Here at this temple where the reflection of our true mind
can be seen like the moon in pure water,
with the utmost sincerity, with these pure offerings,
We raise the intention that all Bhikkus and Bhikkunis, Shramanera,
Shramaneri, and postulates here at this temple are all healthy and safe.
May each and every layman, laywoman,
and child be healthy and safe.

Through the great compassionate, protecting power of one mind,
manifested by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
may each one of us attain that which all beings long for.
May we all be free of serious disease,
healthy, and live our full term of years.
May our senses and perceptions be free of desire and attachments,
and may we always enjoy the company the virtuous and wise.
May our hardships come to an end.
May every kind of virtue and blessing grow within us, and wherever we go,
may good fortune ever flow forth.

Physically, may we all be free from the sufferings of disease and disaster,
Mentally, may we all be free from every kind of lust, obsession, and hatred,
and never again be seduced by these.
Spiritually, may all those practice meditation have the great question burst open,
and enlightenment shine forth from within them.
Let all those who study the sutras open the eye of wisdom,
and may they truly understand how the things of this world work.
Let all those who practice chanting,
experience samadhi and be grounded in it.

May everyone who drives cars be safe and avoid all accidents.
May those cultivating the good seeds of virtue and merit,
achieve success in accord with their capacity to handle that,
and the efforts they have made.

May all those who’ve lost their way,
may all those who are confused,
find the bright path.

Let us remember the great determination that first arose within us,
and follow that now to true awakening.
As we do so, may all hindrances and obstacles drop away.
Let each and every one of us be filled with the joy of knowing our true nature.

Here in this place,
with our utmost sincerity,
with these pure offerings,
we raise the intention that each and every person,
be safe and healthy,
and with the great protective power of our one mind,
manifested by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
may they be safe wherever they go,
whether on long journeys or just short errands,
may all their encounters be positive and joyous,
and may disaster and misfortune always be strangers.

May every kind of legal trouble,
every kind of natural disaster and civil disorder,
and diseases of all types
utterly vanish.

May our families all be harmonious,
and far from the presence of those with evil intentions.
May couples love each other and get along well,
and may brothers and sisters care for and look after each other.
May those who are teenagers not get caught up
in activities that darken their spirit.

May others’ lives always be
just as precious as our own.
Don’t covet those things that belong to others,
let go of deceptiveness and overblown pride,
speak truthfully
and uphold trust,
and in all circumstances,
cultivate bright and upright wisdom,
always relying upon our inner foundation.
In this way, may we all come to realize our inherent nature.

May each and every one of us be filled with joy,
and may these intentions become the reality of our lives.
May the great power of one mind,
realized by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
protect and look after everyone here today.
May it shelter and guide all those unenlightened beings
who are lost and suffering.

Having evolved over eons beyond measure,
until at last reaching this point,
we take all of the karma that we’ve created
through the five kinds of desires
and the ten evil actions,
and every kind of ignorance,
and entrust all this karma
to the compassionate power of one mind,
where it will all melt down.

May all those who follow the Buddha’s Way
keep experiencing the deep truth of this,
and never lose sight of this path.
May they always be surrounded by the compassionate love of all Buddhas
of the past, present, and future,
and may they always meet awakened teachers.
In a single flash of lightning,
may they forever transcend birth and death,
and attain the highest states of enlightenment.

May all beings brighten and deepen their wisdom without delay.
Here now, before all heavenly and human realms we raise this intention.
All of us here at Hanmaum Seon Center and all of its branches
raise the great intention that water, fire, and wind should
all flow and circulate harmoniously.

We are all sharing this Earth together,
so the sea levels should not rise.
We are all living together as one body,
so there should be no great earthquakes.
As they go about their daily lives,
may all beings be free of accidents.
May all beings be free from poverty.
May every place of practice be protected,
and may its energy continue without end.

May all the work on behalf of helping people
to know about this great one mind,
may all these tasks, both large and small,
be free of hindrances from beginning to end.

May each and every one of us be filled with grace,
and may all of these great intentions become the reality of our lives.
Neither the living nor the dead are separate from each other,
with this in mind,
we raise the intention that all spirits
who have a connection with those of us here today,
whether from this life or past lives,
whether they were our grandparents, parents, brothers or sisters,
nieces, nephews, or even our children,
whether present here today,
or in the next town or the one beyond that,
whether awakened or lost in darkness,
whether currently having a body or not,
whether they are able to live freely,
or are caught up in ignorance,
may they all gather together here, now,
like streams flowing to the ocean.

May every kind of suffering spirit,
may every spirit with a connection to Buddhism,
or any other religion,
may every spirit around the world,
through the virtue of their affinity with those here today,
or through the virtue of their ability to be touched by our intentions,
may each and every one of these spirits,
immediately enter one of the heavenly realms,
and there meet Amita Buddha.
May they thus give rise to the desire for enlightenment.
Having thus done so,
may they be reborn in a virtuous realm,
where they are able to practice and awaken.

May all of us as well be reborn in the heavenly realms.
May all of us here,
practitioners at this temple,
as well as those in other places,
understand the meaning of “one mind,”
and so get along harmoniously with each other,
and so keep brightening the light of our inherent nature,
and without delay,
attain true and upright enlightenment.

Let us never forget the kindnesses
and blessings of Buddhas and awakened teachers,
let us never forget the grace that we have received,
and thus always work to help free those beings
still lost in suffering.

Let us always go forward,
in this life and those to come,
following the path of the Bodhisattva
and thus attain ultimate enlightenment!
Let it be so!

Namu Sakyamuni Buddha,
Namu Sakyamuni Buddha,
Namu Sakyamuni Buddha!


The Light that Shines from Within


Here’s the Dharma talk for next month’s Hanmaum Journal. I thought it was too nice to wait!

Raising Our Level

If we work diligently and raise our spiritual level,
most people just shrug and say, “So what?”
However, the light of that is already shining forth.
All Bodhisattvas, sensing this, surround and protect such people.
Such a person can communicate with all Buddhas,
and all lives and things protect and help them.
Thus, whatever circumstances or place
they should find themselves in,
they will survive.

– Daehaeng Kun Sunim

A Bamboo’s fart


Here’s a nice little Dharma talk I found while cleaning my desk!

Life, mind, and body exist together as one
that is called our foundation, Juingong.

Nothing you do,
nor the thoughts you give rise to
remains the same for even an instant.
Even “I” and “me” cannot be found,
so what is there that would grasp hwadus or koans?
If you take everything that arises from inside or out,
and entrust it to this foundation,
you will attain
the seed of a bamboo’s fart.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim

*A bamboo is hollow inside, likewise, a fart is nothing you can see. In Korean, a similar expression is “a ghost’s fart.”

True Knowing: When energy silently flows back and forth – Finding a New Hope, Week 6


Here’s this week’s talk! This is a really important topic, about how we can find our own way forward. Once we begin to get a sense of our inherent nature, and begin working with it, we begin to know what we have to do, what the next step is for us.

Daehaeng Kun Sunim: In cases like that, the parents need to have first developed their own practice to a certain point, then they will be able to guide their children. I think you’d better guide him by telling him the analogy of the tree and its root, and encouraging him to have faith in the true nature that’s always leading him. Once he begins to feel and experience this working in his daily life, he won’t lose sight of it.

Question: I gave him a book published by the Center, called Maum ui bulsi (The Living Spark Within) and although he read it and said he understood it, it didn’t seem so to me.

Daehaeng Kun Sunim: Listen, if you want him to know about this, then stop trying to do it through words. Let go of any idea that you know something, or even that you don’t know something, and just let the electrical wire that is your mind make contact with the wire that is your son’s side. When they connect, energy and light will flow naturally between both sides. This is how to help him know the essence of 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 that will be communicated and he’ll start to see his own light.

The First Step of Freeing Ourselves: Letting go of “Me” and “I.” (Finding a New Hope, Week 5)


Doing without doing

Think about the labels we use; about what you and others “are,” about what people are “doing.” Such as, “I am….”, “She is…,” “He’s doing…”

Tell yourself ten times that someone is a wonderful person. How do you feel? Now tell yourself ten times something fake, but negative about that same person, and see how you feel.

When Daehaeng Sunim uses the expression “doing without doing,” generally she uses it to describe a method of spiritual cultivation where one actively lets go of all thoughts related to the mistaken view of a separate doer, i.e., “I,” “me,” “mine,” etc. By letting go of thoughts of “I,” and practicing “doing without doing,” one is able to overcome the limitations inherent in the construct of “I.” Letting go of thoughts of “I” dissolves the persisting labels and dualities that “I” creates, and allows things to change and grow naturally. One’s actions and thoughts naturally move into harmony with the fundamental nature of reality, which in turn makes awakening and true spiritual development possible. About this, Daehaeng Sunim said:

The essence on mind cannot be described with words, and its functioning penetrates everything…You must discard the illusion of “I.” If you discard this illusion, all difficulties will subside. Your worries will disappear. But if you do not discard these persistent thoughts of “I did” or “I must live,” which are based upon your concepts of the material world, you cannot die. This does not mean the death of the body. It means instead that you harmonize yourself with the truth, the truth in which everything flows, constantly changing from one form to another.

(Here’s the link to the audio file of this week’s talk:)

YouTube Channel, at last


I realized that a bunch of English Dharma talks I’ve given at Dongguk U. have been up on YouTube. So, with their permission, I copied the videos and re-uploaded them on their own YouTube channel. Here’s a link to them for those who are interested.