Drying out wet firewood

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the new year finds you well, and growing deeper and deeper in your spiritual practice!

The quote below is from the video Dharma talk today (It was shown at Anyang, as well as on YouTube.) And this is a section that jumped out at me. The questioner was commenting that it felt like he’d barely made any progress even after coming to the temple for 15 years. Here is part of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s answer.

January 7, 1996

You mentioned feeling like you haven’t made any progress after even years of practicing, right? Like you’re still just licking the outside of a watermelon?

Think about firewood. If the wood is dry, with just a bit of flame, it will catch fire. But when the wood is wet, it won’t burn even though you use the same amount of kindling, will it? Your kindling and tinder just burn up, leaving the wood untouched. If you want it to burn, you have to use a lot more kindling to get it to catch fire. Well, spiritual practice is what dries out the wood. Then if it meets a flame, it will ignite with just a spark. If you haven’t done that much work, the wood is probably still wet and hard to ignite. To dry out that wood, you have to dissolve the habit of looking for others to save you. Dissolve those old habits by believing in your own foundation unconditionally! Then your fire will burn hot and bright!

그러니까 아직까지…, 불을 지피는데 말입니다. 젖은 나무로 불을 지피느냐 마른 나무로 불을 지피느냐에 따라서 쏘시개가 덜 들어가고 더 들어가고 하죠. 그러니까 마른 나무와 젖은 나무에 똑같이 불쏘시개를 한다면 젖은 나무는 안 타요. 그죠? 마른 나무는 불쏘시개를 조금만 해도 타 버리는데 젖은 나무는 불쏘시개를 똑같이 갖다 놓고 하더라도 그 불쏘시개만 홀랑 타 버리고는 안 타죠. 그거와 같은 겁니다. 우리가 수행이 어느 정도 돼 있어야 나무가 말라서 잘 타는 것과 같고, 수행이 돼 있지 않다면 아주 젖은 나무와 같아서 안 타죠. 그러니까 아직도 껍데기에, 즉 말하자면 타의에서 구하는 습성이 많이 있으니까 그것을 녹이려면 아예 진짜로 무조건 믿고 그렇게 해 보세요. 그러면 훨훨 탈 테니까요. 꼭 그렇게 하실 수 있겠죠?

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