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The Laughter of One Mind

The Laughter of One Mind (한마음의 읏음소리)

The heavens, Earth, and human beings,
every kind of thing in the universe,
unfolded in an instant.

In this vast land,
everything is constantly gathering together and then separating.
All the mountains and rivers,
the flowers and trees,
all follow this rhythm,
conveying its sound far and wide.
The song of my awakening
is the sounds of every peak in the universe
giving a patient sigh,
“So, now you know?”

Born into this world,
you have to live this life,
and whether you live like this,
or like that,
everything, both material and living beings,
just keeps unfolding on and on, endlessly.

The laughter of my one mind shakes all realms of the universe,
causing every drop of water to give off a sweet fragrance,
and every blossom to transform into fruit,
ripening those utterly free of all traces of craving,
as well as those for whom some traces yet remain,
and so each and every life sings this song of endless unfolding,
each according to its level.

You have this life,
whether you choose to live in this way or in that,
but if you can awaken to this unfolding,
interconnected whole
that is you as well as the universe,
where each mind is connected to every other,
then forevermore,
you will be free.
Truly free.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim, August 7, 1993

 

 

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Health and Healing

 

 

We’re working on translating a series of Dharma talks about health and healing, but it’ll be a while before those come out. But this part was so good, I felt like people should be able to read it right away. 

 

The cells that make up this body of ours have no idea what the body as a whole is doing or where it’s going. Therefore, if you let them know that they, you and all the other cells, are actually one whole body – if you become one with their consciousness through this foundation – then one part won’t end up hurting another part. They’ll understand that, “All of this is me!”

(I want to repeat that paragraph!! If people just understood this, problems of countries would also fade away.)

So, have unconditional faith in your own foundation – whether an illness improves, or doesn’t, whether things start going the way you want, or don’t, trust that in all of this, your foundation is leading you forward. It guided you through billions of years, helping you evolve into a human being while you’ve hunted and been hunted. And now that you’ve been born as a human, this process hasn’t stopped. Now you’re being pushed to evolve your mind.

No matter what kind of hardship you encounter, take it as something to practice with. Even if the world were to end right now, even though you’re nervous, have firm trust in your foundation. If you can watch it happen and laughingly say, “What, again?” everything will turn out fine. Faith in this essence that’s been guiding you is so important. To not have trust in it is like abandoning yourself.

You have to believe in this divine essence that exists within you. Could you really not trust this? It’s what is animating you right now. What else, where else would you rely upon? Is there anyone else who can take your place when you fall ill? Is there anything else who can stand in for you when death comes? No. No matter how much your children love you, no matter how much your wife or husband cares for you, no one can even stand in for you when you need to use the toilet. No one can take your place when you need sleep, or are sick, or are dying.

“Rely upon and trust your inherent essence, and in this way grow and develop so that you can live together with all beings brightly, as one family.” This is the essence of all the Buddha’s teachings.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim, December 20, 1992

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The Five Precepts

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We’ll be holding the yearly precepts ceremony for laypeople this November, so I thought I’d put these up. They shouldn’t be understood as something designed to control you, rather, they are reflections of the way the world really works. Inherently all beings share the same mind, the same body, the same life, work together as one, and freely give and receive whatever is needed. When we live in tune with this, then our own life goes much more smoothly, with fewer painful situations.
Along with fewer painful events, there are fewer karmic hindrances, and fewer hindrances to us being able to perceive this great flowing for ourselves. Svaha! 

The Five Precepts

The Precept of Not Killing:
Knowing that all other lives are part of your life, treat all other bodies as your own.

The Precept of Not Stealing:
Letting go of desires for others’ possessions, cultivate a spirit of generosity.

The Precept of Avoiding Improper Sexual Conduct:
Letting go of lust and harmful states of mind, strive to keep your mind pure.

The Precept of Avoiding Harmful Speech:
Refrain from lying, and being careful of what you say, live with truth and sincerity.

The Precept of Avoiding Intoxicants:
Avoid drinking to excess, and for the sake of yourself and others, live with moderation.

 

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Woohoo!

The audiobook version of My Heart is a Golden Buddha has come out!

This has been something we’ve been working to make happen for a long time, and at last, we found a truly great narrator, Garan Fitzgerld, and he did an awesome job!

If you haven’t read the book, these are kind of different stories! While some are very traditional Buddhist tales, I can pretty much guarantee that others are like nothing you’ve heard before. Yet the endings and Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s explanations are really satisfying. It feels like they scratch an itch so old we stopped noticing it. Go ahead and take a listen!

Sample the first story

Available at Audible,   iTunes,   and just about every other audiobook outlet.

 

 

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Mind and body

As with most things, this is easy to say, and a bit harder in the execution! But also absolutely necessary if we don’t want to be haunted by one-time concerns. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind and Body

If you’re truly practicing,
you won’t have to worry too much about your body.
Of course, if your body is sick,
that shakes your mind and makes it harder to think clearly,
but when you really have faith,
when you are really trying to practice,
then you know that pain and illness too came from your foundation,
so you just entrust it back there, understanding,
“You formed me. You’re what drags this body around,
so whether it’s a healthy body that travels around or not
is up to you. I’m not going to worry about it.”
You just entrust the whole thing there,
and get on with what you have to do.
This is how to practice without getting trapped and distracted by events.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim

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Hye Won Juji Sunim

Some sad, but not unexpected news here. Juji Sunim passed away yesterday afternoon at 4:58pm. 
The memorial service will be here in Anyang at 10am at the Cultural Center(문화회관), with cremation to follow at 2pm (서울 추모공원.) 

Remembering Juji Sunim

I first met Juji Sunim* when she was on a tour of the North American branches of Hanmaum Seon Center. She would visit each branch, spending a few days up to a week or so, giving talks, meeting lay people, and basically inspiring them. I suspect she also encouraged the local sunims, and offered ideas for potential improvements.

I’d been offered a seat at her table for dinner, and as I passed her a dish of food, instead of the polite, Korean version of “Please try this,” I accidentally used Korean that was a bit more “Yo! Eat this.” But while all the Korean sunims went rigid with shock, she just gave a friendly laugh. She knew what I’d meant, and thought it was cute that I’d botched the Korean.

It was only after I got to Korea that I saw her with her “guardian” face on. One of her jobs as abbess was screening the people who wanted to see Kun Sunim, letting through only the most urgent. (The people wanting to see Kun Sunim outnumbered the hours in the day.) When her job required fierceness or stubbornness, she was utterly fierce and unyielding. But when it didn’t, she could be very kind and gentle. I began to suspect that a lot of the toughness she displayed as abbess was more about having to deal with stubborn people, sunims included!

Here’s something she said to me, one evening at the Anyang Center, as I was standing outside waiting for something:

         Start your practice with application. Don’t try to wait until after enlightenment to apply the energy of this fundamental mind to the world around us. If you want to see clearly, application is the fastest way to go. And you need energy from the experiences that will result; without this, it would be hard to keep to go forward as a practitioner.

     So work hard, and keep making an effort to entrust whatever confronts you to your foundation, your Buddha-essence.

    The more effort you make, the more results and experiences you will get. And the more effort you make, the harder your true nature will push you. Don’t be satisfied resting in one place, on one or two experiences. You have to let go of even those and keep growing and experiencing.

* Juji Sunim ( Hye Won, 慧圓) was born in 1938, and was ordained by Daehaeng Kun Sunim in 1981. In 1992 she was appointed as abbess of the Hanmaum Seon Center in Anyang, and passed away on August 21, 2017.

“Juji” actually just means abbess or abbot, but she was the Juji Sunim at Hanmaum Seon Centers.

 

 

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Here’s a Dharma talk I gave at Dongguk University last month. 🙂

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