In Korean Buddhist temples, we bow a lot. So much so, that at times we can lose sight of the way, the reason for all that bowing. In one sense, it’s propriety, but it also serves to make us humble.
I suspect that, in some language, “arrogance” means “above the rest,” “better than the rest,” but in losing this, we begin to move in tune with reality, the truth. We are all connected to every other.
While we have different physical shapes, we are all part of one undivided whole. Sharing the same live, the same mind, the same body, working together as one, and freely giving and receiving whatever is needed. Awareness of this, being able to truly live in accord with this, and to help manifest this so that others may find their way, is (I suspect) the essence of enlightenment.
Bek-jung, or Umlambala, was last weekend, and is a time for repaying our debts to those who have passed on. With that in mind, this Dharma talk from issue #100 of Hanmaum Journal seems appropriate:
Repaying the Many Kindnesses We Have Received
Everything we do to help our ancestors also helps us.
We have to keep raising and entrusting the intention that
our ancestors and parents will reside together with the Buddha’s,
so that they may awaken to the truth of nonduality.
In this way, we can repay them for all their help.
When we bow during a memorial service,
we are not bowing to the physical shell they used to wear,
rather we are bowing to our foundation,
which is already one with all our parents and ancestors.
You have to bow like this,
then you and they will be connected as one,
along with everything else,
and true virtue and merit can arise.
– Daehaeng Kun Sunim