Day 44 – Developing the ability to take care of the land

The five-story pagoda from Wanggung-ni near Iksan(that’s the local region), built during the late Baekje period, around the 7th century. Here’s a link to the relicary boxes and bottles found inside when this pagoda was shored up in 1965.

May I let go of my greed and desire.

May I develop the power to dissolve all habits of the body.

May I develop great spiritual ability and take care of the nation.

Day 43 – Raising Great Intention

The pagoda marking the geographic center of Unified Silla Kingdom, built during the 8th century

This next series are a set of intentions we can give rise to, which seem slightly random, but are things that naturally arise when we see every thing and being around us as another part of ourselves. There’s two ways to approach seeing like this: One is to just awaken and do it (that’s all, lol), the other is to begin moving our thoughts and perspectives in tune with this truth, even though we don’t yet see it for ourselves. With time, as we keep doing this, the underlying truth of this will suddenly become clear to us.

May I see the world as it truly is.

May I awaken to the great truth.

May I uphold the principles of the unseen realms, as well as the rules of society.

May I become one hand.*

* “One hand” means the hand of Buddha that reaches every time and place.

The Noon Blessing, part 3 (상단축원)

This is the third part of the Noon Blessing, which is chanted everyday during the midday service. The senior sunim present reads this out after the Thousand Hands Sutra has been recited. It’s not originally read in parts; I’ve only split it up here to keep the length from getting out of hand. (It grew in the translation!) Still, try to read it through a couple of times and let it sink down within you.

Here in this place,
with our utmost sincerity,
with these pure offerings,
we raise the intention that each and every person attending this ceremony,
be safe and healthy,
and with the great protective power of our one mind,
manifested by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
may they be safe wherever they go,

whether on long journeys or just short errands,
may all their encounters be positive and joyous,
and may disaster and misfortune always be strangers.
May every kind of legal trouble,
every kind of natural disaster and civil disorder,
and diseases of all types
utterly vanish.
May our families all be harmonious,
and far from the presence of those with evil intentions.
May couples love each other and get along well,
and may brothers and sisters care for and look after each other.
May those who are teenagers not get caught up
in activities that darken their spirit.
May others’ lives always be
just as precious as our own.
Don’t covet those things that belong to others,
let go of deceptiveness and overblown pride,
speak truthfully
and uphold trust,
and in all circumstances,
cultivate bright and upright wisdom,
always relying upon our inner foundation.
In this way, may we all come to realize our inherent nature.

Day 42 – May the bright eye of Wisdom

When we repeat these lines to ourselves, we’re teaching the lives within us, the untold numbers of consciousnesses of the lives within us, to see from a higher perspective. A perspective that they either haven’t achieved on their own, or one that they sort of tasted, but couldn’t figure out how to take that and move forward. Now, here, are instructions on how to move forward.

May the bright eye of wisdom
fill the universe with light shining brightly, illuminating all.
May all beings
become one,
become one
one with all Buddhas
one mind, one mind
one body, one body.

May all beings escape together
escape from suffering and become free.

Day 38 – I will become one with my foundation

“How do we change? How do we become someone better? How do we transcend our habits?”

This really is the issue, because often times it looks like this only happens after a lot of pain. Yet even those habits happen because that’s the way we’re viewing things. That’s the way we look at the world and the way we expect that things should work. So if we want something different, then the first step is to practice viewing ourselves and the world from a different perspective. A more harmonious perspective. A perspective more in tune with the truth of how the world worlds. That’s what reciting these verses from the Thousand Hands Sutra can give us.

All things arising or disappearing, coming or going
are done through the foundation.
With a quietly flowing mind,
I will become one with my foundation.

The Noon Blessing, part 2 (상단축원)

This is the second part of the Noon Blessing. I’m, frankly, at a bit of a loss for words. What more can be said about this? Just let the meaning sink down within you. Does more need to be added to that? If we all keep raising these kinds of intentions, if we all using our minds like this, if we all keep viewing the world like this, then could we even guess at all the wonderful things that may grow from that?

Through the great compassionate, protecting power of one mind,
manifested by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
may each one of us attain that which all beings long for.
May we all be free of serious disease,
healthy, and live our full term of years.
May our senses and perceptions be free of desire and attachments,
and may we always enjoy the company the virtuous and wise.
May our hardships come to an end.
May every kind of virtue and blessing grow within us, and wherever we go,
may good fortune ever flow forth.
Physically, may we all be free from the sufferings of disease and disaster,

Mentally, may we all be free from every kind of lust, obsession, and hatred,
and never again be seduced by these.
Spiritually, may all those practice meditation have the great question burst open,
and enlightenment shine forth from within them.
Let all those who study the sutras open the eye of wisdom,
and may they truly understand how the things of this world work.
Let all those who practice chanting,
experience samadhi and be grounded in it.
May everyone who drives cars be safe and avoid all accidents.
May those cultivating the good seeds of virtue and merit,
achieve success in accord with their capacity to handle that,
and the efforts they have made.
May all those who’ve lost their way,
may all those who are confused,
find the bright path.
Let us remember the great determination that first arose within us,
and follow that now to true awakening.
As we do so, may all hindrances and obstacles drop away.
Let each and every one of us be filled with the joy of knowing our true nature.