We just finished up a series of English Dharma talks here about living with joy and confidence, and some of the things that go into that. We started with readings from “No River to Cross“, with a different page (roughly) every week. The talks were usually a mix of Korean and English, which can make for difficult listening if your Korean isn’t up to speed, so I decided to rerecord these and put one up each week for the next five weeks. There will be a recording of me reading the text, as well as one of a short talk (10 minutes or so). The thing about these is that as part of the Joy and Confidence thing, I’m not being over perfectionist about them. I’m trying out a simpler microphone solution, and if I flub a sentence while reading from the book, I’m just going to leave it in! Let’s move forward! (I’ll try this for a while, so let me know what you think. If there are problems with the sound or whatnot, we’ll try something different.) So go ahead and take a listen, and if something clicks with you, try to put that into practice.
with palms together,
This week’s Dharma talk:
Reading of this week’s text (it’s the same as below)
The Correct Attitude for Practicing
You must not try to search outside of yourself. Take your inherent nature as your teacher. Because your inherent nature exists, everything in the universe functions together, so take your inherent nature, your fundamental mind, as your teacher.
In this practice, you teach yourself and you learn from yourself. You let go and you receive. You surrender and you accept the surrender. Spiritual cultivation is done like this, between you and your true self. Don’t be caught by outside things.
God, Buddha, and Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva all exist within you. If you would find and know them, start by brightening your own inner light. Then you will also be able to correctly perceive yourself and the world around you. However, if you abandon your own inner light and search for Buddha and God outside yourself, you will not find them, and little you do will turn out well.
Flowers bloom naturally when the conditions are right. People should learn about the conditions that cause flowers to bloom, and then create those conditions. Instead, they often wander around trying to find some unique and astonishing method. Instead of searching outside of yourself, you should first center your mind, and then take those thoughts that are focused on outward things and return them inward. Do not be dazzled by or chase after other people’s enlightenment. Instead, create the conditions that will allow the flower of enlightenment that is within you to bloom. You’re already endowed with it, so just help it to bloom naturally.
— Daehaeng Sunim, “No River to Cross,” page 51