Monday, May 31, 2010

Dharma Talk Summary

May 30, 2010

Talk Given by Rev. Hye Kyong

9 Minutes

Dhammapada Reading: Chapter 20 "The Path"

The spiritual path is the eightfold path,
the truths are the four noble truths.

This is the path for purity of vision,
following it protects you from temptation,
following this path leads to the end of suffering.

This truth was declared once Buddha learned
how to pull the arrow out of suffering.

You must do your own work,
a Buddha can only guide you.

You know what I like? You ever see those things with the fan and the tube and looks like a person dancing? Every time I see those things they crack me up. I really like them. They don't have anything to do with my talk but I was just thinking about those things.

The other morning, I woke up and looked at myself and thought I looked like crap. I walked back and saw a picture of myself with my mom when I was 31 and looked pretty good.

Later on, my wife and I were driving and saw a couple pushing a baby carriage. The guy had gray hair and the woman did not. It got us talking about how when we get older we noticed how the media puts all this attention on youth.

My wife asked me "If you could go back would you want to go back?" I thought about it for a few minutes but said "no." It got me to thinking, when you're old, like Hae Doh (everyone erupts in laughter), living in the moment is easier, when you look out in your future there isn't much there. When you're young, you're living in the future all the time, thinking about I'll be this and I'll be that. But when you do that, a lot of everything else escapes. The moment escapes. Here's a little quote ---

"Most of us aren't willing to face the reality of impermanence and death.
That's because we forget our lives are transitory. We quarrel with each other as if we're going to live forever. But if we face the fact of death our quarrels will come to an end. We will realize the folly of fighting, when we ourselves are doomed to die. Excited by emotions, our thoughts are clouded. We do not see the truth about life. When we see the truth however, we become free of emotion."

Be happy now. Every moment you had in your life is leading to this moment. Going back sounds nice in your head, but you wouldn't be who you are today, if every moment, good or bad, didn't lead you here. You can make the most of your life now. But how can you do that? Take something you love, something you're passionate about, take that same passion and apply it to everything in your life.

A lot of times we lament on stuff we used to have. This job I had before, the girlfriend I had 10 years ago is hotter than the one I have now. We have all had the situations but the key is to make today the best you can. Forget about that stuff. Apply your efforts to today. That's Viriya Paramita (joyous effort).

I got this other quote that I thought was really good. ---

"The triple world originates from the discrimination of unrealities and where discrimination takes place there is duality, and the notion of permanency and impermanency. But the Tathagatas do not rise from this discrimination of unrealities. Thus, as long as there is discrimination, there will be the notion of permanency and impermanency. When discrimination is done away with, noble wisdom, which is based on the significance of solitude will be established."

Back to those dancing things. I was asking people about them to see if I was strange that I was finding so much happiness in them. People told me I could buy one. I thought about it for a while but I started thinking that if I had one that it wouldn't be cool anymore. The cool thing is that I can see it and be happy but if I had one all the time I would get sick of it. The thing is you have to appreciate it and let it go.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vesakha Puja Recap

This past Sunday the Muddy Water Zen sangha and friends celebrated Vesakha Puja (Buddha's Birthday) after a special morning service which included a "bathing of baby Buddha" ceremony, in which everyone was invited to wash the baby Buddha statue and promise something to themselves.

The temple was also decorated with colorful paper lotus lanterns which were donated by individuals and families. The lanterns also have personal wishes attached to them that will remain hanging in the temple for 30 days and then the wishes will be burned to send them out into the Universe.

After the morning service many of us stayed to share a potluck lunch that included a lot of delicious food and snacks. Some of the pictures taken at our potluck party are displayed below. Be sure to check them out!

Dharma Talk Summary

May 23, 2010

Talk Given by Hae Doh Sunim

15 Minutes


Dhammapada Reading : Chapter 14 “The Awakened”

The person whose victory is not diminished,

Whose victory no one in the world can touch,

That one is awakened, of limitless sphere, trackless.

By what path would you lead that one?

The person for whom there is

No ensnaring, entangling craving

To lead him anywhere at all,

That one is awakened, of limitless sphere, trackless.

By what path would you lead that one?

They are wise who pursue meditation,

Delighting in the calm of renunciation.

Even the radiant ones long for those

Who are fully awakened, the mindful.

Difficult is the attainment of a human birth.

Difficult is the life of mortals.

Difficult is the hearing of the good way.

Difficult is the appearance of those who have awakened.

The refraining from all that is harmful,

The undertaking of what is skillful,

The cleansing of one’s mind---

This is the teaching of the awakened.

Enduring patience is the highest austerity. (Emphasized in talk)

The awakened ones say that unbinding is supreme.

A person who injures has certainly not begun to practice;

One who harms others is not a seeker.

Not abusing, not harming,

Restraint in line with the discipline,

Moderation in eating and seclusion in dwelling,

Exertion in meditation as well---

This is the teaching of the awakened.

The Dhammapada: Verses on The Way Glenn Wallis


Hae Doh Sumin began the Dharma talk by posing a question to the women in the audience asking them to imagine what it would be like to be 40 years old, pregnant for the first time, while sharing a husband with your sister. This was the predicament that Queen Maya, mother of the Buddha, found herself in.  Queen Maya was probably scared and rightly so, after dying only a week after giving birth to Siddhartha. His stepmother, who later became a major supporter of the sangha and one of the first female monks, raised Young Siddhartha.

Hae Doh Sunim next told a personal story about his surprising and somewhat unexpected pregnancy with his former wife, Myo Sung. While they were both overwhelmed and amazed by nature and the possibilities they were warned by their doctor that the baby could be possibly born with Down syndrome since they were both older. They both agreed to accept whatever they got, healthy or otherwise and would not abort. In Buddhism, life begins at conception.

Next, he told the story of his experience adopting a baby with his first wife 29 years ago. He told how it was a 2 ½ year process and the trials they were put through before being allowed to adopt. Their only request was that the baby is under 1 year old and they did not give any preference for race or gender, accepting what they were given.


Hae Doh Sunim recently received an email from a man asking him to introduce himself to the man’s children to teach them about meditation after they tried several different places and found walking meditation and chanting to be “silly” and “laughable”.  He basically wanted to design a religion that fit his lifestyle and pick and choose which parts he deemed suitable.


For many of us, Buddhism is not our birth religion but our adopted religion. Like adopting children or having them naturally, there should be no different feelings. When you adopt a religion you should adopt everything and should try to live by the “vinaya” (rules). In Buddhism there exist the Tripitaka (three baskets). The Vinaya Pitaka are a set of monastic rules, but still rules all Buddhist can try to follow, the Sutta Pitaka, which are the Sutras and teachings, and the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the philosophical underpinnings.


Luke wrote Jesus saying; “From everyone who has been given much, much more will be demanded and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even much more will be asked.”


“If you’re going to call yourself something; Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Wiccan, it doesn’t matter, as long as you manifest it and commit whole heartedly.”

“Today is Buddha’s Birthday. Buddhism is all about dying to the self, dying to your ego, letting go of small mind and becoming part of big mind. Are you willing to die? Like Queen Maya died? Are you willing to die? Are you willing to give it up for liberation? If you are, I would also wish you not only a happy birthday, but also a happy death day.”