How do we become our full potential? How do we discover what it means to become a true human being? Well, the very first step is letting go of our fixed ideas. Just stop feeding them energy. It’s those ideas that push us into certain patterns and shapes, so when we start letting go of them, and trusting our inherent Buddha-nature, we can begin to discover our true shape.
You can roll a barrel only when you are outside of the barrel. When you are caught by fixed ideas, it is as if you are trapped inside of a barrel, so you cannot freely use your mind. If you escape from your fixed ideas, you will see that all of the thoughts and perspectives that you considered so precious are utterly ridiculous. Mind is formless and can freely go anywhere in the universe, so if you give rise to thoughts in a wise and all-embracing manner, you can escape from the barrel, from bondage, and from the prison that has no bars. How can you freely use your mind unless you first step outside of your own fixed ideas?
Fixed ideas are like a wisp of cloud or smoke, but nonetheless people find themselves blocked or captured by these. You would laugh if you saw someone tripped by a cloud, or if someone claimed that they were imprisoned by the air. But, in fact, people are endlessly being trapped by things no more substantial than air or clouds. They make a wall with their mind, and then it imprisons them. Inherently, there is no wall or anything to trip over. These things are mirages they’ve created from the thoughts they gave rise to.
Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. Your persistence is your own narrow mind. If your mind is broad, it can easily embrace the entire world. However, if your mind is narrow, even a needle cannot enter. You have to keep letting go of your stubbornness, and always be deeply respectful of all life and things. This is returning to and relying upon the Buddha-Dharma. This is also how to become a free person. Always be humble. Be humble. The fragrance of your broad and generous mind will warm other’s hearts.
— Daehaeng Sunim, “No River to Cross,” page 42