I hope the new year has been finding everyone well! Things here are proceeding along; we’re still working on translating Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s edition of the Diamond Sutra, as well as a couple of great talks about health and healing. Kind of looking forward to seeing those in print!
I realized that I haven’t done anything with the blog for quite a while, so I’m changing the theme, as well as reposting some excellent posts from long ago. Please bear with me! There may be few hiccups as I get this sorted out. As we approach the lunar new year, may your families all be healthy and happy, and may all your worries about health and finances soften and turn out well!
In his post a while back, Joseph relayed the story of a monk who died in the Jiri Mountains (A glimpse). It highlighted two critical truths, namely, that we are not our bodies, and the importance of how we use our minds.
In Chapter 2 of No River to Cross, Daehaeng Kun Sunim also covers these points:
Even after your body falls away, your consciousness remains. It often happens
that people do not understand that their body does not exist anymore, and they do not realize that living people cannot see or hear them. So, sometimes, in their confusion and desire, they cause other people to suffer. If you sincerely cultivate mind while you have a body, then you can leave without having any attachments. However, if you don’t practice, then even though you’re dead, you’ll be caught up in all of your old relationships, and won’t be able to freely leave. Instead, you may just wander around, stuck in that state for a very long time. When people die, if they have never practiced spiritual cultivation, their consciousness cannot see and cannot hear. In the middle of the darkness, their consciousness cannot correctly perceive things, so those people may (accidently) enter the womb of a pig or a magpie. However, people who have cultivated mind give off a great light and thoroughly illuminate their surroundings. Even their families tend to live brightly, although individually they may not know anything about spiritual practice. (p 20-21)
Have you ever gotten caught up in a dream about walking through a building that no longer exists? Those steps you were walking up are now only empty sky a hundred feet off the ground. After we die, we no longer have physical senses, so with what are we seeing and hearing? If we haven’t practiced while alive, then we’re only experiencing the arising of karmic states of consciousness. However, we think those things are really happening, and so chase or flee them. In essence, we’re running outdoors at full speed, while blindfolded.
Thus, how we use our minds while alive is critically important to us.
In order to be born as a human being, it may have taken a thousand years of accumulated virtue and merit. It’s so hard to become a human being. Nevertheless, if you don’t let go of the habits you developed prior to becoming a human being, and if you think of only yourself, your suffering will be endless. If you live this way, you may live like this for many, many lives, stuck like a hamster on a wheel, unable to evolve. Or you may devolve and be reborn as an animal. Once you are reborn as an animal, you will suffer a lot, having to eat others or be eaten. There will be very little opportunity to reflect upon your state, and if you develop the habits of an animal, it will be even more difficult to free yourself from that state, even over billions of eons.(p 19)
We go where we look. Or in this case, where we think.
From the perspective of evolution, lives are affected by circumstances and the
environment, and can adapt themselves to a certain degree. However, the more fundamental things all depend upon consciousness. (p 21)
Once the level of mind changes, the body also changes accordingly. Evolution is the process of the mind becoming brighter, while creation is the outward manifestation of the minds design. Thus, while this process is evolution, it is also creation.
Mind is the basis of both evolution and devolution; they aren’t separate forces. Devolution is also done by mind. All of this is the manifestation of our fundamental mind (and how we use it.) (p 22)
Farmer’s band: one of the great things about the day are incredible traditional music groups
We’re working on translating Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s Korean version of the Diamond Sutra into English. This is from the last chapter. There is still some work and review to go, but even so, this seemed like a nice way to start the new year!
Everything is arising and responding
in accord with you yourself.
Because you are here, it is here.
So in whatever situation you find yourself,
with whatever confronts you,
entrust all of this inwardly,
entrust everything you need inwardly,
All sorts of flowers,
every kind of flower
blooms and fades,
blooms and fades,
blooms and fades,
fades and blooms,
You have to bring to ripeness
the fruit on your own tree,
without being too narrow
or too diffuse.
As fruit of your tree ripens
and becomes able to respond and manifest
to whatever arises,
it will feed every kind of unenlightened being,
feeding, giving, feeding.
When they too can go forward with wisdom,
with future enlightenment assured,
with the future ability to manifest
according to any need encountered,
then this world will become at peace,
the universe will become at peace,
everything will become at peace.
As every color of flower
blooms and fades,
fades and bears fruit,
that fruit has to ripen
on its own tree
for its true flavor to appear.