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Buddhist Essays

"Beginning with the belief that you can do it is itself the Buddhist practice of finding the path to happiness.”

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Writer admin Date27 Nov 2006 Read11,324 Comment0


The reason we practice Seon and attend Buddhist services is to improve the quality of our lives. We generally begin this task by placing money as the prerequisite for a higher quality of life. However, money represents our desire, which is precisely what Buddhism aims to dilute, because it only triggers complications and conflicts with others.   
Certainly Buddhism is not something that can be resolved with desire. Yet, because we fail to understand our attachment to desire, we assert that material success is an absolute condition to support our lives. Such claims are naïve. Buddhism is about how to live a good life in permanent terms. If you think that you can achieve happiness through material success or by satisfying your desires, your idea will prove a fallacy, because the achievements that you consider as preconditions for your happiness prove to be only temporary by nature. On the other hand, Buddhism aims to achieve everlasting happiness. To that end, you must live with a sense of direction from moment to moment. This does not just apply to your practice of Buddhism but to every behavior in your life. If you lose a sense of direction in your life, you will plunge into despair. Once you fix upon a certain goal in your life, you must make every effort to achieve it. The harder it is to achieve your goal, the more diligent you must be in moving towards it. Otherwise, life will simply weed you out.
People’s commitment to Buddhism is often quite weak. The practice requires a broad perspective. Instead of praying for success in your business, good health for your family, and good entrance exam results for your children, you need to engage in Buddhist practice as a means to find your true self. Only then will you be able to achieve true happiness, for yourself or the ones whom your pray for.    
Among other things, Buddhism gives a logical explanation as to why you are here. It provides solutions to the fundamental problems surrounding your living conditions, on the level of both common affairs and the larger questions of life and death. Nevertheless, if you find your life is not in good shape and that your practice is detached from your daily life, it is not the teachings that are at fault, but you yourself who must be held responsible.
In each moment, we must maintain samadhi (meditative concentration). But where does such a state of mind come from? Samadhi reaches from this life and into the one beyond, originating in wisdom. Accordingly, finding your true self is equal to finding wisdom. Thus, we must perceive that place of our original being. When you return to this point, we will find that the “I” actually does not exist in the way we believe it does.
Seon is beyond description, something that exists before thinking arises. Before thinking arises, the “I” does not exist. Yet we identify our body and its many contributing substances with “I,” and we regard the mind that results from this combined body substance as “I.”  
Seon is often easier for people with little knowledge of Buddhism. Some people who participate in Buddhist training courses say it is hard to follow, while others find it easy. This goes to show that any endeavor can be thought of as easy or difficult, depending on how one approaches the task. The more knowledge one has of Buddhism, the more difficult it is to enter into Seon practice. The more ignorant one is of Buddhism, the easier it is to practice Seon. This applies to your life, in which you find it holds more complications with each year you grow older. Not surprisingly, it is often children who can learn Seon most easily. Although many describe Hwadu meditation as the most difficult practice to take on, middle school students don’t find it to be so difficult. When you practice Seon, it best be done with no preconceived ideas. If you think the practice will be difficult, this perception itself will serves as a hurdle for your practice, a self-fulfilling prophecy.        
It is of our own accord that the “I” can both destroy and save ourselves. Society undergoes rapid changes. Necessities become abundant everywhere. Yet our mind fails to match the speed of these changes. As families gets smaller and smaller, sons and daughters are increasingly raised by overly protective parents. As a result, many of them grow up to be extremely selfish. Through the healing process provided by Buddhist practice, however, their ego-centric behaviors can be cured.   
Among the religions of the world, it is Buddhism that most values individual human beings. That is because Buddhism sees every individual being as a Buddha, rather than simply as a sentient being. Accordingly, Buddhism gives us an awareness about the importance of each one of ourselves and provides solutions to help us negotiate the endless conflicts that arise in our lives.     
Seon is beyond description. When you enter into Seon practice, you need to reach beyond your desires for a wealthier life or even to master the Buddhist teachings. Seon refers to a state of mind before thinking arises and where the self “I” doesn’t exist. Seon aims to simplify complex things whether you have a Hwadu or not.  
Practicing Seon means freeing yourself from anger and desires for fame; getting back to an unwavering state of mind. When you are free of every sort of conflict, you can return to the point where you originated before you were born.  
Seon refers to Hwadu meditation, which has some 1,700 gongan(Jap. Koan)). This meditation aims to lead you to the discovery of your true self.  
If you haven’t had any opportunity to practice Seon or gave it up because you thought it was too difficult, please abandon your negative thinking and restart your practice by visiting your Seon teacher once again. If you think you can’t do it, you should be aware it is you that is sabotaging your own efforts. Rather than negating yourself, you need to rekindle your meditation with the positive belief that you can do it. Only then will you be able to find a way to true happiness.

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