When the Korean says “all beings escape together,” there’s a nuance the English reader may not notice. While on the surface it comes across as “wouldn’t it be nice if we all became free,” in Korean, there’s also a meaning of “The only way to become free is altogether.”
To put it another way, it’s setting aside our attitude of discrimination, of exclusion, of thinking that some are better or worse than others. For while some beings may not be doing a great job of things, we are all inherently manifestations of the one, and “awakening” is knowing and manifesting this “one.” If we want to know this for ourselves, we have to start by trying to move in tune with this, even though we don’t see it for ourselves. Then, the more we can move in tune with this, easier it will be for us to become aware of it.
That’s why (broken record!) reciting these verses from The Thousand Hands Sutra is so helpful. They reflect how things really are, and when we recite these and let them sink down within us, all the lives that make up our bodies are also learning these truths.
May everyone discover the bright light within themselves in this new (but old) year of 2021!
with palms together,
May all beings escape together
escape from suffering and become free.
만물이 함께 고에서 벗어나 벗어나 자유인이 되게 하옵소서.