Find Buddha in the Family

by Kim Han-su, Digital Chosunilbo, April 18, 2005

Seoul, South Korea -- It is not in the temples that we must look for the Buddha, says the revered monk Pubjeong. It is in the home, in the family. ?Because of broken homes, there are many cold houses that are just shells, while the warmth of families has disappeared," he said Sunday. "Don?t look for the Buddha or bodhisattvas in temples. We must gather our thoughts and through studying our hearts bring them inside ourselves and into our families.?

He made the remarks during his regular spring dharma talk at Gilsang Temple in Seoul?s Seongbuk-dong, which drew some 1,500 Buddhist to a scene resplendent with the colors azaleas, forsythias and cherry blossoms.

The monk picked a telling example. ?A 70-year-old grandfather moved in with his son after his wife died. One day, he went into his son and daughter-in-law?s room and by chance caught a glimpse of the housekeeping book. In it he read the words, ?Spending money for the country bumpkin ? W20,000 (US$20).?? The father recognized that the bumpkin was him and left the house forthwith, Pubjeong said. ?A family without warmth is like a body without a soul," he said. He attributed family breakup to a growing tendency to selfishness and egoism. ?These days, we?re born outside the home, and we mark our first, sixtieth and seventieth birthdays and even deaths outside our homes. In such circumstance we need seriously to look back at what the home and family are to us.?

Pubjeong stressed that study of our own hearts is needed when we want to understand the breakup of the family. ?It?s easy to get divorced these days, but if we cannot correct our karma, even if we divorce, we cannot untie the tangled knot," he said, quoting Buddhist teachings. ?Because the world is darkness, filth, want and pain, regardless of our personal intention, what we have in our hearts is important, and how our lives are depends on how we resolve to live.? He said if we think of our families and neighbors as our reflections, "and correct our hearts moment to moment so that we think, ?The Buddha has come? rather than ?The husband I hate has come,? we can change our cold homes in ones full of joy and thankfulness.?

Pubjeong ended his talk with a quip. ?We must study our hearts so that in the future, instead of ?spending money for the country bumpkin - W20,000.? we can write ?spending money for the Buddha ? W200,000.'"