Heart Sutra Day 10 – Even the visible world and the realm of consciousness are always changing

Even the visible world and the realm of consciousness
are always changing.

보이는 세계와 의식세계까지도 따로 고정됨이 없느니라.

What does this mean? I’m certain it has layers beyond imagining, so if you think you understand, great, but don’t cling too tightly to that understanding! Even that too, needs to be put down so that you can move beyond it.

Heart Sutra Day 8 – These too, are always changing

Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body,
and intellect
are also always changing.

눈·귀·코·혀·몸·뜻도 따로 고정됨이 없으며

Today marks the 9th anniversary of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s passing, or more properly, when she was finished with her physical body. When you can only perceive the material realm, someone dying looks like someone disappearing. Probably, much the same as a pet thinks their owner has disappeared forever once you go to work in the morning. Those that know better, understand that you’re just out of sight, not gone forever.

Heart Sutra Day 5 – Perfectly complete as it is

Sariputra,
ultimately every life and phenomena in the universe
has never come into existence,
nor have they ever disappeared.
Nor is there anything
to increase or decrease,
nor to be called pure or impure.

사리자여,
우주 생명과 모습은
본래 생겨났다 없어졌다 함도 없으며
더러운 것도 깨끗한 것도 없으며
늘지도 줄지도 않느니라

I’m slightly cautious interpreting this verse, as I should be!, because there are likely multiple levels of meaning all happening at the same time. But, for me, what this means is that everything is inherently complete as it is. All is connected and flowing as one whole, with nothing that could be cut out and held apart and labeled “this.”

This doesn’t mean there’s nothing for us to do, because we still have to do the work of helping eons of karmic states of consciousness move forward. We still have to make an effort to be positive. We still have to make an effort to behave in helpful and constructive ways. We still have to deepen our experience of this nonduality. To say that everything is nondual, while still stuck in duality and not making an effort, probably wouldn’t end well! And, nearly everything I’ve seen in live leads me to believe that our efforts are never wasted. Sooner or later, we’ll be grateful to ourselves for the efforts we’ve made.

Heart Sutra Day 4 -Feelings, thoughts, and actions, even consciousness itself, follow one mind

Feelings, thoughts, and actions,
even consciousness
itself,
are also like this;
they, too, follow one mind.

느끼는 생각과 행하는 의식도
또한 둘이 아니어서
이와 같나니라.

So, this things too, will change if we entrust them to our one mind.

Heart Sutra Day 3 – all material phenomena, without exception, follow one mind

Sariputra,
matter and mind are the same as this,
mind and all phenomena are not separate:
all material phenomena,
without exception,
follow one mind.

사리자여,
물질과 마음이 다르지 않고
마음은 모든 물질적 현상과 다르지 않나니
모든 물질적 현상은
곧 한마음으로 좇아 있나니라.

If I understand this verse correctly, there’s something interesting going on. Daehaeng Kun Sunim is saying that our mind and material phenomena are inseparable. That we can’t say which came first or which was the source of the other (this might be more of a nuance), but, that the material will follow and react according to our one mind, according to the intentions we give rise to and (this is important!) then entrust to our foundation, our fundamental mind.

So, how do we deal with what confronts us? Whether things seen or unseen, whether material issues or personal issues, input a positive, non-dualistic intention to your foundation. (Ie, something that will leave everyone better off, imo.) Because we are all connected, this nondual energy, this fundamental nature that we are, will start moving in that direction (remember “ceaselessly manifesting and changing”?) But, you want to be careful that the thoughts you input aren’t just reflections of your own self-centered desires or fixed ideas of how things should be. That’s why, unless the situation is urgent, it’s better to just unconditionally entrust it with the thought, “Okay, you’re what’s really doing things. You take care of this for the best.”

Heart Sutra Day 2 – Inherently, all beings share the same life, the same mind, the same body

This light of one mind reveals the truth of all realms
seen and unseen:

Inherently,
all beings share the same life,
the same mind,
the same body.
They work together as one,
freely giving and receiving whatever is needed,
ceaselessly manifesting and changing.
But because they don’t know this,
they walk the path of suffering.

모든 중생들은 본래부터
공생·공심·공용·공체·공식 하며
고정됨이 없이 나투고 화하여 돌아가건만
그것을 몰라서 일체 고苦의 길을 걷나니라.

As you can see, these sections are much longer than those of The Thousand Hands Sutra! I think most of the sections will be shorter going forward, but because there was so much tied up in this one idea, it just wasn’t possible, or ideal, to split it up.

That out of the way, this is probably on of my favorite verses of all time! “All beings are inherently sharing the same life, the same body, the same mind, working together as one, and freely giving and receiving whatever is needed, ceaselessly manifesting and changing. But because they don’t know this, they walk the path of suffering.”

Just wow. Right here. It’s all right here. How we are living, how we should live, and why we suffer. (mostly, there’s more detail about suffering, but this covers the basics.) The “why” behind all the Precepts. Why we should view things positively, and why we shouldn’t engage in negative views of people and events. It all flows from this truth. If you want to grow, if you want to live a happy life, if you want to be reborn in a good place, memorize this and reflect on its implications! (Okay, I’m getting a bit beyond my own spiritual ability in promising all those things, but I suspect I’m not wrong, lol!)

The Heart Sutra (뜻으로 푼 반야심경) – Day 1

By the memorial pagoda to Daehaeng Kun Sunim. The stone is engraved with a brief record of her life.

The Heart Sutra (뜻으로 푼 반야심경)
(from the Hangul translation by Seon Master Daehaeng)

One mind,
deep all-embracing wisdom

shining forth throughout all realms of the living and the dead,
seeing everything,
functioning freely everywhere.

두루 차고 깊은 지혜 한마음은 밝았으니
저 세상과 이 세상을 두루 살펴
자재로이 행하시는 한마음이
죽은 세상 산 세상 한데 비추어 보시니

[Looking back over what I wrote below, my commentary got a bit more academic than I’d intended! Still, the goal here is to remember to recite these out loud several times a day, the more the better. Not only does it lead towards memorization, it helps input the meaning deep within us, enabling it to arise when we need it.]

This first verse of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s translation of the Heart Sutra seems to be quite different from traditional translations. I was a bit concerned about this, not so much for the “truthfulness” of it, because this and the next verse are deeply incredible (“tune in tomorrow!” lol), but because I was worried about people not accepting it.

However, when I actually did a careful comparison with the Chinese characters (for a paper I wrote), I found that it was actually possible to read the Heart Sutra as Daehaeng Kun Sunim had translated it. Here’s the relevant section from the paper:

Instead of following tradition and using the characters commonly translated as “Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva(觀自在菩薩)” as a proper noun, Seon Master Daehaeng expresses them as verbs describing the function and essence of their object, Prajnaparamita. Viewing this phrase in terms of the concepts it contains, gwan,(觀) is to observe, jajae(自在) is to function across all realms without limitation, and bosal(菩薩) means the manifestation of our inherent essence.
Likewise, instead of following the common tradition of explaining “Prajnaparamita” as “supreme wisdom,” she gave a longer description of its essence and functioning.[1] This is quite a departure from traditional translations, but one that is actually consistent with the style that Shakyamuni Buddha used in the sutras when relating a story of a Buddha or Bodhisattva from the past — the names he gives them are descriptions of their characteristics rather than mere labels of social convenience.

Thus in the Lotus Sutra, there is the Buddha “Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom” and the Bodhisattvas “Wonderful Sound,” “Flower Virtue,” and “Never Disparaging,” among many others. These titles are actually descriptions of their behavior and characteristics, and should not be mistaken for regular names.


[1]            “One mind, deep, all-embracing wisdom, shining forth”