Friday, November 22, 2013
A line from Seon Master Daehaeng's Dharma talk that I'd lost while while writing the last post suddenly returned to me as I crossed the street coming home from a student's house tonight.
I'm not scribing a perfect recitation of Chong Go Sunim's translation but in my own words/understanding, Seon Master Daehaeng taught us that there is not your suffering and my suffering, nor is the suffering of different people, different beings more or less. There is only suffering. We all suffer equally. Suffering is not dualistic. Because you suffer, I suffer. Because there is suffering we all suffer. We are all one. Therefore, we should do whatever we can to not breed more suffering but to cease it.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It was a special day together yesterday with my old friends and Dharma Brothers, as much for the ceremony as for the simple company of dear and wonderful friends. Something we've all been struggling with is being isolated from friends and even just a single hectic day together helped fill the void. We all recognized how great it was for our paths to meet again, especially in this way.
Chong Go Sunim did a lot of running around for us, providing us royal treatment at the ceremony. We had front row seats for the ceremony, just behind the group of monks on the right (nuns on the left). After a few minutes of meditation, a video made of Daehaeng Kun Sunim before she passed was projected beside the main shrine which seemed to bring her to life and I could truly feel her presence as she looked out upon us. A dharma talk she had given on the precepts was played which Chong Go Sunim later translated for us. What I was able to retain of it, and I may be totally botching it, was that the five precepts are the gateway but when we let go of "I" we also let go of the precepts. However, when "I" is dissolved and we see all beings, every single being in the universe, is ourself, we natural hold the precepts because when other is self, how could we cause harm? One does not even need to "know" the precepts to hold them. Simply not doing harm to others, one will naturally follow the precepts. Every opportunity to help, no matter how small, must be taken. If you were to come across a struggling worm, wriggling on the sidewalk, help it to a safe place. There are no words to express what it means to help in this way. Our thoughts and intentions come back to us perfectly. Hurry, hurry, come, become a Buddha. (Chong Go Sunim, please correct me if I'm terribly off, even even a little!)
Then, the Juji Sunim (Abbess) of Hanmaum gave the precepts, with a stronger emphasis on the doing aspect than what not to do, asking if we will do it after each one, and we repeated our intention to uphold them. Once that was done, the monks form a long row of assembly lines, preparing incense stick to mark our arms with. Chong Go Sunim told us it was the luck of the draw as to which monk burned as, which didn't really matter to me at all, but I sarcastically whined to him in my best imitation of a spoilt child, "But I want Juji Sunim to do mine~~~." "And that's why it's the luck of the draw!" he responded.
I went to the nearest nun, bowed, held out my arm, and she pressed the three incense sticks into my arm. It doesn't hurt too much, but the sting did make me flinch. I thanked her for burning me, which sounds a bit odd if you decided to think about it, with palms together and bowed again. Before leaving, Chong Go Sunim snuck us over to great Juji Sunim, who was set up in the middle. I bowed to her and she motioned for my arm. She planted the incense into my flesh much firmer than the other nun had and though I didn't flinch, hers hurt! I wondered if she knew how bad I'd been since initially taking them five years ago... haha I didn't even notice at first, but the ember of one of the stick had actually stuck to my arm and continued to smoulder. As I returned to Chong Go Sunim and Marcus, I noticed the thin line of smoke rising from my arm. "Sunim," I called, with a bit of a tremble, "do I have to leave it there or can I put it our" "Uh, you'd better but it out right now." I was joking, but I actually didn't mind the extra-strength burn. Chong Go Sunim once said that the mark left by the incense will open doors for you in the unseen realm, I'm hoping that one will open them really wide! (^_^)
Thank you to my friends, Joe, Marcus, Chong Go Sunim, thank you to Daehaeng Kun Sunim (Zen Master Daehaeng), Juji Sunim, and all the nuns and monks at Hanmaum Seonwon (One Mind Seon Center), and thank you to the 3000 other people who joined us on Sunday. May the karmic momentum of the day be long lasting and far reaching.
Later, at Bongeunsa
|Juji Sunim's burn is the top one, with the black spot in it! (^_^)|
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Five and a half years ago, my friends and I took our 5 precepts at the Hanmaum Seon Center. This weekend we will be reunited (most of us) for the first time in nearly five years at Hanmaum again to have our vows renewed.
I'm looking forward to seeing them again, even more than the ceremony. Great friends have been scarce though out my time in Korea and even a hectic day together will be rejuvenating, just as I anticipate the karma of the ceremony will be rejuvenating in the direction of my life (I can always use a swift kick in the dharma pants!). The precepts can be a powerful prescription.
Looking back at the photos, I have to laugh at the four of us showing up bald. People may get the impression that it was necessary, but it wasn't! Two of us by circumstance, occasional habit for myself, and a total surprise by the other! I'll be wearing my full-blown mop this time...
Anyway, looking forward to seeing my friends this weekend! I hope we all arrive safely!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Excerpt from Khyentse Rinpoche talk:
"How does chanting Om Mani Padme Hum help us to maintain the worth of Avalokiteśvara? Because Om-ma-ni-pad-me-hum, these six syllables, actually bring the presence of God. These six syllables manifest six kinds of experience. In order to counter and manipulate these six realms, we have Om Mani Padme Hum."
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Excerpt from Khyentse Rinpoche talk:
"Avalokiteśvara is everywhere. When you go to places like Burma or Sri Lanka, Avalokiteśvara is understood as the Gate Keeper. This layboy, layman who holds the lotus. A very nice layboy who is a disciple of the Buddha. Now in Tibet, Avalokiteśvara is a very big deal. Almost everything about Tibetan practice is related to Avalokiteśvara. And when Avalokiteśvara arrives in China, it looks like Avalokiteśvara has a sex change! And Avalokiteśvara suddenly is a female. So, Avalokiteśvara is not a deity only, it is a phenomena, it is the phenomena, it is universe."
Friday, November 8, 2013
Excerpt from Khyentse Rinpoche talk:
"The absolute nature of this mind is Avalokiteśvara. It's beyond form, beyond colour, beyond shape, beyond any conceptions. Actually, for this reason, to express that Avalokiteśvara is beyond form, beyond colour, beyond shape, many times we also have different varieties of Avalokiteśvara; with 1000 arms, with four arms, with eleven heads, as woman, as man, as a pig, as birds, everything. There is Avalokiteśvara is the form of a horse. Sometimes in order to express the inexpressible we have to express in many myriad ways. When I discovered that Avalokiteśvara is a female in China, I was so happy. This alone proves the non duality of Avalokiteśvara."