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Happy Birthday

Vesak, May, 1986


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To all you noble Buddhas currently living in prison, happy birthday.
To all you austere Buddhas selling your smiles in taverns, happy birthday.
To you countless Buddhas twinkling in the night sky, happy birthday.
And happy birthday to all of you brightly smiling, beautiful Buddhas in the gardens.

To all you Buddhas who have become endlessly changing clouds as you drift across the sky, to all you Buddhas who are quietly biding your time as boulders―a very happy birthday to you, too.
And happy birthday to all you cute little Buddhas swimming in the water. To all you lively Buddhas soaring about the sky. To all you reverential Buddhas singing hymns in churches, and to all you handsome Buddhas chanting in temples.

To all you Buddhas hoeing and plowing the fields and paddies, to all you Buddhas sweating in the humming factories, to all you Buddhas working in dust and dirt, and to all you Buddhas quietly studying in classrooms-let me wish you all a very happy birthday.

When I open my eyes, you are Buddha. When I close my eyes, you are Buddha. Every place in the universe is filled with Buddha!
The heavens and the earth are from the same source, and everything in the universe is One Buddha. Although we all have different guises and appearances, we're all manifestations of this One Buddha. Everything is equal, and everything is magnificent! So let us transcend our torments in this world of Buddha, and enjoy happiness. How marvelous that every single place is a site for liberation from suffering and ignorance!

To all you Buddhas wearing the gentle smile of compassion and delivering the Dharma in a sound even greater than thunder, to all you Buddhas who fill every corner of the universe-every day is a wonderful day, and every day is our birthday. So let us all eternally respect and congratulate one another!

About the Author

Toeong Seongcheol (1912~1993)

Master Seongcheol, standing as one of the most influential Seon Masters in the history of modern Korean Buddhism, through his exhaustive Seon spirit and his easily understood dharma lectures, led the common people to a deeper, broader understanding of Seon Buddhism.