Archive for March, 2017

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.”

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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.

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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:) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwEuidbLSTnhYkFMZlhyYXNXWDg

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golden tara

We’ve also slowly been working on adding English subtitles to Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s video Dharma talks, and have made a separate YouTube channel for those as well. Here’s the link:


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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.


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Here’s a neat piece of the daily ceremonies at most temples in Korea. Take a look at this, and if you feel touched by it, try reciting it once a day for just the next week. See how you feel after reciting it. 


(here’s the link for the audio version of this week’s talk)





The Seven Homages (칠정례)
(from the Hangul translation by Seon Master Daehaeng)

With my whole heart, 
I vow to be the loving guide and teacher of all beings,
throughout all realms.
The foundation within me is my teacher,
and is none other than Sakayamuni Buddha.

With my whole heart,
I vow to remain calm and unstained by whatever confronts me,
taking care of it all while leaving behind no traces of myself.
This is fulfilling the role of a Buddha.

With my whole heart,
I vow to be present in the world, and with all embracing wisdom,
will realize the truth that is ever present.
Thus awakened,
a single thought raised from my foundation can free whomever I encounter.
This is manifesting the Dharma.

This wisdom of one mind,
with no barriers of learning nor material limitations,
taking care of everything far and wide,
is the Bodhisattva of Manifestation, just as it is.
With the compassion of one mind,
our inherent foundation sees everything in the world,
looking after it all, quietly vowing to save all beings.
This foundation of ours,
is found only by those who cherish its fragrance.
Everything venerates this fundamental mind.
It is the great Bodhisattva,
that takes care of all beings,
both living and dead,
and my own body as well.

With my whole heart,
I vow to brighten and follow my compassionate one mind,
my source,
limitless and endowed with everything.
In this great one mind that embraces every place,
all are my parents,
all are my brothers,
my sisters,
all are my disciples.
In this great one mind that embraces every place,
where body and mind are empty,
1,200 beings kept themselves clear and upright,
practiced without ceasing,
and so attained the great awakening,
the ultimate awakening,
and with the power of one mind,
share limitless compassion with the myriad beings of the world,
saving them all.

One mind,
where East and West are always one,
is manifesting in each and every moment,
ceaselessly shining forth the powerful light of wisdom,
ceaselessly transmitting the light of mind,
ceaselessly helping all beings to open their eyes.
When small beings gather and become true people,
become ripened people,
they are called teachers.
They gathered together everything under heaven into one,
until one day it burst forth,
and they realized its interconnected essence.
Then from within the song of this flowing one mind,
this Spring of the deepest wisdom,
great beings see that there is truly no dying or being reborn,
and from this place,
they raise great intentions that touch all life.
Thus, they come to be called “great beings.”

With my whole heart,
I vow to become someone who can ceaselessly take care of all beings
using the infinite discernment and penetrating wisdom of one mind.
Doing this in harmony with the principles of the unseen realms
is to be a true practitioner.

One mind,
the precious treasure of all times,
may I always follow its great love,
its great compassion.
May I always maintain an upright mind,
and with the great power of one mind,
may I banish all ignorance and dissolve the frozen ice.
In this way,
my greatest wish is that all beings,
every single one of them,
awakens to their great essence.

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(Here’s the audio file for this talk.)

Notice the similarities to last week’s topic? Not only does the way we use our mind affect other people, it also affects the people and situations that are drawn into our life. What things in your life seem to follow you across the years and circumstances? 

This is Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s answer to a woman who asked whether she should leave her husband or not. Kun Sunim saw that the answer to her problem wasn’t quite so straight forward. 

“Let me begin by saying that your current spiritual level is the result of how you’ve lived in your previous lives, and this level naturally brings people of the same level to you. So, getting married to a person does not occur by chance. If there were 10 people in the  world who had the same spiritual level as you, one of them would be who you chose to marry.

Of course, there are many people at each level of spirituality, but you’re going to meet the ones most similar to your level.

So, if you want to change your “destiny” or “fate,” you have to change your current level. Raise your level to that of a free person. Even if you left your current situation and found another husband, you would meet someone who is on exactly the same level. Your shadow will keep arriving ahead of you.
You’ll keep meeting the same sorts of people. This is true for both men and women. If you really want to free yourself from the suffering this is creating, parting from the person is not the answer.

Instead, you should remind yourself, “Every single encounter I have, everything I go through, is possible because I am here to be part of it. I have to be here in order for there to be “others.” So, no matter what I experience, those results are only possible because I am there participating. This is true now, it was true in the past, and it will be the case in the future.” And then entrust everything you are confronting, along with this teaching, to your Juingong.
What you did, how you lived in the past was automatically input into your foundation, so when you add new input like this teaching, that too will be automatically recorded there, and when you keep practicing like this, it overwrites and erases what was previously there.

However, if you try to escape from your situation by leaving each other, you still won’t be free from the underlying causes of it all. To be free from the past input that is the source of this, you have to fix the problem right there, where you are confronting it. Otherwise, no matter where you go, the same problem will always follow you. If you do not address the problem in the moment you are confronting it, how can you expect it to be fixed?

How can you expect things to be different in other places?

The only way is for you, yourself, to take what’s coming out and keep returning it back inside.”

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