Don’t. Make. Anything.

Dae Soen Sa Nim used to often say, “Don’t make anything!“ It took years and years for the full depth and dimension of this to really sink in. The activity and go-go nature of teaching in Korea for 20 years didn’t really give space to appreciate that, when I was with him. But it’s really so incredibly effing true: Don’t make ANYthing. In original stillness, that place before thinking arises, there is absolutely nothing needed. Nothing effective or helpful can be “made” or “done.” 

I guess this was something resembling the dilemma of the Buddha, sitting under the Bodhi Tree in the first hours of his fully awakened condition: “There’s no way anyone will ‘get’ this,” tradition tells us he thought to himself. “It would be pointless to teach or to even try: sentient beings’ eyes are completely full of dust. How can this infinite depth and boundlessness be transmitted to others?” Fortunately, according to tradition, the god Indra appeared and spoke to him, saying, “Go and teach. There are beings out there who have only a little dust in their eyes. You should teach for them. Help them to make their final step to liberation.” 

So, I put out these teaching-videos, create teachings for social media spreading of seeds of Dharma, and write this blog — all of it so reluctantly (hence the many long gaps between posts that can appear).  There are certainly days when I seriously contemplate deleting the whole mess (and I almost carry it out!).

But maybe… Maybe — out there in the digital wilderness — there might be people who can find some useful breadcrumbs in these “mistakes“, and they can be skilled and patient enough to employ them for returning to their True Self/ our True Self. So, when I receive letters from people in Iran and Turkey and Pakistan — where it would not be possible for Dharma teachers to visit to guide people — or even people in Israel, or Canada, Australia, and Malaysia — who say they have been helped by something that they have seen in one of our videos or on this blog, then the finger relents: I do not push the “delete” key.

Every single time I post something, the sense of Dae Soen Sa Nim‘s words ring in my mind. it is so much so that I often mutter to myself, right after pushing the “post” button, “This is the last post. Too many words and concepts and ideas. Stop polluting! Shut your mouth – – keep it as simple as possible. Don’t make anything, anymore!” (Plus, from a more selfish point of view, there is all of the web and digital stuff that I must always keep up on, update, download, upgrade to, etc., in order to function in this constantly changing digital world. Without the resources to pay for staff support, to have others use their better talents on these matters, it falls on my shoulders to constantly learn new computer things and be involved deeply there.) 

I’m not so sure if it is Indra or not, but if something occurs from this practice that I feel might be helpful, for someone, somewhere, some time, I digest the possibilities and often will post something again. “… for those who have only a little dust in their eyes…” Maybe I am kidding myself as to the value of these things! But I return to posting and sharing with a lingering awareness that I am not being so faithful to my Teacher’s insight — MY insight! — and especially to his passionate efforts.

And so I do reproach myself for that, and try always to keep it limited and essential.

In Hwa Gye Sah Temple, Seoul, 2003.