In the Korean Buddhist tradition there is a text called “Treatise on the Ocean Seal Samadhi”. This was composed by a teacher called Myonghyo. The text is extremely complicated and encompasses a vast number of different Buddhist doctrines, but running through it all there is very simple principle: this is the principle of The Big Mind or we could say The Big Heart.
The ocean is a symbol for the big mind or the big heart; and it is a suitable metaphor because of its vastness, because of its capacity, because it can contain so many different currents running in different directions, so many forms of life. Because it has a great depth and it has a mysterious deep. This is all like the nature of mind, the mind is like this. The Buddhadharma is also like this. So, the Ocean Samadhi is simply the state of nirodha.
One passage in the treatise says: “In a person’s fivefold body emerges a tall and great sense of self. With a square inch of thought he attempts to measure the whole of empty space. It is like a little child trying to scoop out the ocean with a dipper saying ‘I’m measuring the whole great ocean all by myself!’ Living beings with limited views of weighing and measuring the Buddhadharma are also just like this. If you do not forsake and destroy your pride of self and do not repent with your original mind, it will be difficult to learn.”
This is an inspiring image that the mind is naturally like the Great Ocean means that we can have such a mind, if we just be natural.
So, although the text encompasses all the Buddhist virtues, it’s not in the least a moralistic enterprise. It’s not a matter of reducing everything to a set of rules and principles and then conforming tightly to these. A person who has such an awakened mind, will probably indeed by virtuous and generous and kind and have all these qualities that we so admire, but this will not come from holding oneself in some sort of straightjacket. True virtue flows from the Ocean Mind.
So, we’re talking here about being broad-minded, about being big-hearted, about being able to take everything that comes along as and for what it is. Everything has its place. In the Big Mind of Buddha everything has its place. This is why we can do our Chi Quan exercise and offer up everything that we have found in ourselves knowing that the Buddha will receive it happily, that in the Ocean Mind of Buddha there will be a suitable place.
Everything has its reasons and when we establish ourselves in the Dharma, we have the faith that this is so. We do not necessarily know the purpose of every single thing that happens, we do not necessarily understand everything clearly, because our understanding is like that dipper of the little boy at the side of the ocean. We can pull out a bit and we can learn some things: we can tell that the ocean tastes of salt and so on, but the amount that we don’t know is vast compared with what we do know. So, what we can have, is a great faith, a faith in the Ocean Mind; and when we have that faith, then we have the samadhi and when we have the samadhi, then we have nirodha, and when we have nirodha, then the dukkha of this life is naturally transformed into the Eightfold Path of Buddha.
Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much