We’re working on a new Dharma talk that we should have published in August, and the opening has haunted me.
Daehaeng Kun Sunim opens with a couple of paragraphs about how anger and resentment, blame and despising hinder us. She just touches on it – poof – and moves on, leaving me devastated in her wake.
Her whole point is that not only do these states damage us, while we are spending time on them, we aren’t moving forward! We’re losing daylight. We have stopped taking steps down our own path, the one we were born to fulfill. The path we need to travel to ensure we don’t end up right back here.
All the effort, all the time complaining about the stupidity of politicians, (or silently looking down on them,) of city employees, of, of, of, — none of that was spent doing what I needed to do. All that time was me just standing in a wide spot in the road, looking off into the fields. All that time was neglecting my real work.
So I’m not going to look back. I’m not going to get caught up in whatever people over there are doing. As best I can, I’m going to go forward with a light heart, wishing well for everyone. And if I see blame or resentment, or the desire to despise or compare, I’m going to take that as a sign that I need to be letting go of something heavy, and looking forward again.
This daily life of ours is like walking on a frozen lake, all the while trying to juggle a hundred different things. And the ice is thin. Very thin. Would you stop and build a campfire on such ice? No. But that’s what happens when we get angry.
People don’t realize just how thin the ice is, yet they build a fire there and keep feeding it with anger, blame, resentment, and attempts to dominate and control others. How soon before the ice gives way? How long before they’re left flailing and struggling, trying to escape the freezing water? They certainly won’t be taking any more steps forward on their path.
For example, suppose this building was on fire. Finding a way out would be the only thing on your mind. Every other problem would be forgotten. Learning how to rely upon your fundamental mind and free yourself is exactly this urgent.
— Seon Master Daehaeng, “Dancing on the Whirlwind,” 2019, forthcoming