Deepening Yourself – Dharma talk by Daehaeng Kun Sunim

The Columbia Gorge (I’m not sure who to credit for this photo.)

Here’s another small section from a Dharma talk in the collection “Touching the Earth.” Although this is fairly short, barely a page, there’s so much here! if we could just do this much, how many of our problems and suffering would just disappear? How many roadblocks and deadends would just vanish, leaving us free to move forward?

Deepening Yourself

If you would improve the level you’re living at, take all of those things that you would throw away or exclude, and entrust them all to the great furnace within you. There, they will all be melted down, and will come back out as something good. You’ll never be able to raise your level by manipulating the material world, or through scholarly knowledge or cleverness. Take all the things you know, and all that you’ve learned, and dump them entirely into this furnace; then, your true self will come alive, and your level will change.

What I’m saying is that your life right now, just as it is, should be meditation, and meditation in action. So live while taking everything that comes up in your life and completely letting go of it to this furnace. Don’t give yourself a headache by searching around outside of yourself, chasing after famous practitioners, looking for holy relics to worship, or searching for “special” places to practice.

What’s the origin of everything? It all arises from our true self. This true self perceives and responds to everything through our sense organs. It’s the one that does everything, the one that has been leading us and taking care of us for untold billions of years. Now that you know what it does, trust that it will take care of you. Living like this is the essence of meditation, and if you keep doing this, that which you’re seeking will be revealed.

If you have to meditate by sitting down and crossing your legs, then as soon as you stand up, your meditation is over. How could that truly be called Seon(Zen)? Sitting meditation and other kinds of physical training may be useful sometimes, and if you train your body hard enough, or sit long enough, your thoughts will calm down and you’ll feel a sense of peace. But that’s not enough. That can never lead you to the great meaning. Those kinds of practices can never help you penetrate the silver mountains and iron walls.

Go forward entrusting everything to your foundation, without missing a single thing. Know that although everything enters and leaves you, there’s no place for even the tiniest piece of gunk to stick to. Don’t let anything trip you up, including what you hear from inside. If you think it’s acceptable to steal others’ property because it seemed like your true self said so, well, that’s just nonsense. Anyone born as a human being has at least a basic sense of good judgment, fairness, and propriety. So it’s not necessary for me to say more about things like this, things that are so far outside the realm of common sense.

People who are serious about spiritual practice need to throw everything into this furnace that is our fundamental mind, including all ideas of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and so forth. Melt everything down there; then what arises again from that will be a treasure of this world.

Names and labels are made by dividing things, but is there anything that could exist outside of the truth? No. The ship you are now on isn’t some pleasure cruise. You don’t even know where it’s going. You’re just helplessly along for the ride. On this vast ocean, you don’t even know where you are, let alone where you’ve come from. Just following along with things, it never even occurs to you to try to look outside the boat. Not knowing where the boat has come from or where it’s going, how could you be so certain in your opinions, insisting that you know so much, criticizing others, and getting into all kinds of arguments?

Let’s compare the Earth to your body. The Earth also has organs that function like the stomach, liver, kidneys, and intestines. In order for each part to live, they have to cooperate. They have to work together. But what happens if they are always arguing with each other? If they start laying claim to different areas, and building walls around “mine” and “yours,” your body will die! The Earth, too, will die if something like this happens. If one place goes bad, soon everything that depends upon that area will collapse. Yet if minds become one and harmonious, then that collapse can be prevented. And then the direction of our society changes as well. Listen! When you don’t even know how to take care of yourself, when you argue with others and close yourself off to them, how could you be able to clearly see, to clearly hear, and to wisely respond to even your family, to say nothing of society, the world, or the universe?

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