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English | New Year’s Salutations

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Author Jogye On08-12-29 17:43 Views14,303 Comments0


New Year’s Salutations

by Ven. Gasna Jikwan

Executive Director of Administrarion 

of the Jogye Order

New Year’s Salutations



In the endless passage of time, the conclusion of a year is a new opportunity for awakening.  In the bitter winter wind, the trees shed their leaves freely in preparation for a brilliant spring day.  The wild animals are asleep, happily waiting out the severe cold in preparation for a new day.  When spring comes again in the great forest, those who have endured together will be a benefit and resting place for each other. 


In this transient world Lord Buddha is called by other names:  Tathagata and Thus Well Gone.  This is the praise of the movement of life, which knows how to let go without attachment the things we must part from and to embrace rightfully things that needs to be embraced.  Despair and suffering, endless troubles, the things we wish to part from are inescapable realities that must be resolutely met and wisely endured.  Possessions and power, the things that we are afraid to part with and wish to have forever are mere shadows of desire, which we must let go detachedly.  The joy of birth is a fleeting comfort in the moment of lapse between endless deaths.  Peace is the feeling of a streak of light found between the breaths of the asuras of desire.  The merit of altruism will bring power and possessions, while following the shadows of desire; we will fall to the depths of misery.


To gain realization, one must pass through the threshold to great freedom: the lofty gate of non-duality.  Life and death, yoke and freedom, war and peace, Buddhas and beings; these are like two faces of a single coin.  If we want to be Buddha, we embrace beings; if we want peace, we can stop fighting; if we want to gain freedom, we can impede the yolk of self and other; if we yearn for hope, we must erase the shade while being with despair.


Not to the ambitious beings who dream of a future based on material progress, but to the citizens emulating Buddha, who through frugality are dignified humans.  Not to the arrogant beings who vainly stir up hope, but to the leaders emulating Jesus, who embrace despair and endure.  Not to the opinionated beings who yell out freedom and democracy, but to the learned who are worthy of being the heirs of Master Wonhyo, who practice in bondage and pain.  Not to those craving power and glory of the masses, but to the pious who pray quietly for all suffering sentient beings.  The door of this year’s blessings will undoubtedly be opened unto you.



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