If you do what everyone else is doing…

I posted this elsewhere, but Evelyn in Germany offered such an insightful comment that I thought it was worth reposting here.

A few weeks ago, I overheard Daehaeng Kun Sunim say the following sentence during an interview:

 If you just do what everyone else is doing, you’ll be screwed.*   

How’s that for a to-the-point Dharma talk! She was talking about the cost of following the herd, but even more than that, the cost of not making an effort to find your own, true root; and the cost of not listening to this root, your Buddha-nature.

Following the herd – in the beginning it may seem the easiest way… you don’t offend, you aren’t blamed. there are many places and opportunities ‘following the herd’ isn’t just wished but wanted from you – at school, in your job, at home. not to follow the herd implicates annoyance, dismissive treatment and a general uncertainty. you’ll think twice to dare! you try to please everybody. you run… up to the day you are at point zero. you are shattered. and yes, you are screwed. you feel desperately helpless. finally you start thinking again. who’s to blame if you aren’t where you want to be? who’s to blame when you aren’t doing what you want to do? how to untangle this situation and not to destroy everything?

You have to be brave. you have to take the risk. and you have to take the responsibility. then maybe you’ll find out wherefore you are here. it’s worth the effort…

   *The word Daehaeng Kun Sunim used was ‘mang-ha-da’, which could be literally “ruined,” but the nuance was much more like “screwed” or “up a creek.”