The Noon Blessing, part 5 of 5 (상단축원)

All of us here at Hanmaum Seon Center and all of its branches
raise the great intention that water, fire, and wind should
all flow and circulate harmoniously.
We are all sharing this Earth together,
so the sea levels should not rise.
We are all living together as one body,
so there should be no great earthquakes.
As they go about their daily lives,
may all beings be free of accidents.
May all beings be free from poverty.
May every place of practice be protected,
and may its energy continue without end.
May all the work on behalf of helping people
to know about this great one mind,
may all these tasks, both large and small,
be free of hindrances from beginning to end.
May each and every one of us be filled with grace,
and may all of these great intentions become the reality of our lives.
Neither the living nor the dead are separate from each other,
with this in mind,
we raise the intention that all spirits
who have a connection with those of us here today,
whether from this life or past lives,
whether they were our grandparents, parents, brothers or sisters,
nieces, nephews, or even our children,
whether present here today,
or in the next town or the one beyond that,
whether awakened or lost in darkness,
whether currently having a body or not,

whether they are able to live freely,
or are caught up in ignorance,
May they all gather together here, now,
like streams flowing to the ocean
May every kind of suffering spirit,
may every spirit with a connection to Buddhism,
or any other religion,
may every spirit around the world,
through the virtue of their affinity with those here today,
or through the virtue of their ability to be touched by our intentions,
may each and every one of these spirits,
immediately enter one of the heavenly realms,
and there meet Amita Buddha.
May they thus give rise to the desire for enlightenment.
Having thus done so,
may they be reborn in a virtuous realm,
where they are able to practice and awaken.
May all of us as well be reborn in the heavenly realms.
May all of us here,
practitioners at this temple,
as well as those in other places,
understand the meaning of “one mind,”
and so get along harmoniously with each other,
and so keep brightening the light of our inherent nature,
and without delay,
attain true and upright enlightenment.

Let us never forget the kindnesses
and blessings of Buddhas and awakened teachers,
let us never forget the grace that we have received,
and thus always work to help free those beings
still lost in suffering.
Let us always go forward,
in this life and those to come,
following the path of the bodhisattva
and thus attain ultimate enlightenment!
Let it be so!

New Video! Kun Sunim’s statue, the Seon Center, and some great teachings

Alright! We’ve got a new video up with English subtitles! This is a big one, too. It was originally done in Korean, and is the story of how the new statue of Daehaeng Sunim came to be. There’s some great teachings here, as well as some wonderful views of the Seon Center as it is now, and what it looked like 20 years ago.

Day 49 – The one mind of all Buddhas

In praise of the truth
that my past, present, and future consciousness always functions together as one.

The one mind of all Buddhas is my one mind,
inherently free of stained or pure.
My past consciousness as an unenlightened being,
my present consciousness as a being striving for enlightenment,
and my future consciousness as an enlightened Buddha
will all become one,
and everything in the universe,
just as it is,
will be the continuous flowing of my one mind.

Day 48 – The Thousand Hands Sutra

Change is hard. It really is. Have you ever hit ice with a hammer? It mostly just absorbs the blow and shrugs it off. A few chips may fly off, but not much more than that. The best way to melt ice? Put it out on the road on a hot summer day. Then it will be gone before you know it.

Likewise, if we change the way we’re viewing ourselves, others, and what we are trying to do, then we’ll naturally start to act in different ways. Once that viewpoint truly changes, then everything else will follow. So we have to input new ways of seeing things, new ways of looking at things that are more in line with a “higher” perspective.

The very last things to fall away will likely be the most ingrained habits of thought and ways viewing things, which also usually cause the worst of our problems. But if we keep working at trying to live in tune with this Buddha essence of ours, one day we’ll suddenly see through those too, and laugh at how silly we’ve been.

So try to repeat these verses three times or more, because it often takes that many times to begin to really ponder the meaning and let it sink down inside us.

In Praise of One Mind

All places of energy and inspiration,
all places where enlightenment can be realized,
are found within one mind.
Just thoroughly entrust one mind with everything that confronts me,
such that all discriminations and views
about myself and the world utterly disappear.
At that instant I combine with my inherent nature
and the past, present, and future are all the Buddha’s Pure Land.
If my mind is thus empty and pure,
I will be at ease in whatever place or time I find myself.

The Noon Blessing, part 4 of 5 (상단축원)

This is the fourth part of the blessing that’s read every day during the mid-day ceremony.

May each and every one of us be filled with joy,
and may these intentions become the reality of our lives.
May the great power of one mind,
realized by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
protect and look after everyone here today.
May it shelter and guide all those unenlightened beings
who are lost and suffering.
Having evolved over eons beyond measure,
until at last reaching this point,
we take all of the karma that we’ve created
through the five kinds of desires
and the ten evil actions,
and every kind of ignorance,
and entrust all this karma
to the compassionate power of one mind,
where it will all melt down.
May all those who follow the Buddha’s Way
keep experiencing the deep truth of this,
and never lose sight of this path.
May they always be surrounded by the compassionate love of all Buddhas
of the past, present, and future,
and may they always meet awakened teachers.
In a single flash of lightning,
may they forever transcend birth and death,
and attain the highest states of enlightenment.
May all beings brighten and deepen their wisdom without delay.
Here now, before all heavenly and human realms we raise this intention.

Day 47 – Flowers of every color, fruits of every taste

The memorial pagoda of Seon Master Doui 道義 (died 845), who was a grand-disciple of Mazu Daoyi, and is considered the founder of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order. This pagoda is over on the east coast, near Sokcho, and used to be almost unknown, although the area isn’t remote at all. (It’s on the edge of Seoraksan National Park, but just outside the city of Sokcho.)

All Buddhas,
may ten thousand flowers bloom,
and ten thousand fruits ripen.
Let me know their true taste!

Day 46 – May everything in my life surrender to my inherent nature

While many traditional surviving pagodas are built of square sections, this 8th century pagoda near the Seokgulam statue (outside the southern city of Gyeongju) uses squares, circles, and 8-sided sections.

The use of the word “surrender” is interesting; it’s a bit more common in Korean, and is sometimes used in the sense of “behave,” “wise up,” or “get with the program.” So the unruly things, whether outside me or inside, recorded as the consciousness of the lives within me, upon meeting this inherent nature, settle down and get with the program. So in that sense, part of spiritual practice is taking whatever arises, and introducing it to our inherent nature.
I’m reluctant to write so much, either here or in the captions, because I don’t want to take anything away from this text. It’s only two lines, but there is *such* power there! There is such power in raising an intention like this.

May everything that arises in my life
surrender to and follow my inherent nature.