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[Intro to Ganhwa Seon] 05. From Fierce Competiton to Shared Growth

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Writer Jogye Date04 Mar 2016 Read11,814 Comment0


Introduction to Ganhwa Seon

Chapter 1. What is Seon (
Jp. Zen)?

5. From Fierce Competition to Shared Growth


The Virtuous Path of Shared Growth


Today, conflicts in our society are on the brink of an explosion. Divided into groups, people are in confrontations and conflicts. For example, some are fervently for development while others are on the opposite side and some advocate conservative ideas while others are strongly against the ideas. As our society becomes more opened and liberalized, differences among groups have become more distinctive and clear, making the gap hard to be narrowed down. Blinded by one's own interests, more and more people are getting less considerate towards others and making no concession at all, stubbornly arguing that their points are the only right ones while turning a deaf ear to what others have to say. Without noticing it, we sometimes find ourselves become excessively opinionated.


Conflicts and taking sides can also be found at workplace, organizations and even at home, as well as social groups. Some think others, except for the group he or she is in, are absolutely wrong, criticizing that no one tries to put oneself in his or her shoes. They never show any intention to reconcile and work together with others, ending up spotting flaws of, criticizing and hurting others while turning a blind eye to their own weaknesses. The result is never-ending confrontations.  


Ironically, our society encourages competition. Ordinary people as well as mass media often mention infinite competition, pointing out winning and bringing others down equals their own victory and success. This never-ending competition is not different from the law of the jungle, or survival of the fittest. 


Confrontations and conflicts only lead to fights and chaos. In this situation, no one explores better ways for harmonious and shared growth, ending up holding each other back. Eventually, both sides cannot make any progress or whatsoever and the society turns into a cruel one filled with wide-spread inequality, dissatisfaction and jealousy. This is no longer a place where human beings live in harmony but a jungle which is solely dominated by the rules of food chain. Sound home, organizations and society are communities that aim to achieve shared growth, where those who support and collaborate with each other in the direction of infinite advancement, instead of fierce competition, live.


Flowers make a field full of flowers when they give honey to bees and butterflies which, in turn, help pollination of flowers. Similarly, helping each other with no strings attached forms a harmonious community for shared growth. Genuine happiness begins right here. As all participants in the community are happy for others, happiness index only goes up.


The so-called blue ocean strategy has gained popularity in red ocean-like fiercely competitive business environment. The strategy is about achieving profitable and sustainable growth with low capital cost by creating new value without the need to compete with others, as opposed to fighting over an existing fixed pie. With this transformative innovation of value that enables market participants to create new pies and thereby get away from competition itself, tranquil ocean-like peace can be realized.


However, this blue ocean strategy has its own shortcomings. It cannot go one step further to sacrifice oneself for others. Devoted sacrifice makes genuine growth, which requires self-assurance and spiritual practice, going beyond mere knowledge. Mature relationships and relation between nature and human beings can enjoy benefits of shared growth through harmony and mutual support.


Let Us See the True Self


Shared growth makes us become one. I become you. I become the sky, a bird and fish. I become a flower, wind and a tree. I become the universe. More precisely, however, it is recognizing the fact that I am you because I was you originally. I am a flower, wind, the sky and a bird. I am you. Ven. Seongcheol (1912-1993) said at Dharma talk on the occasion of the Buddha’s Birthday as following:


Let us see the true self.

Everything in the universe, whether it is tangible or intangible, reflects our true nature. Therefore, twinkle stars and dancing butterflies are all us. 


With this recognition, selfish greed only for oneself, one’s family and group ceases to exist. Indeed I am the whole as one. There is no hurt from separation. 


First and foremost, we should be changed to be genuinely become one with others getting out of confrontations and fights. Changes in us lead to changes of the world. In most cases, people blame the world and others without transforming themselves. If this continues, everything remains parallel. Emptying oneself through honest repentance alters one’s view. Changes and practice of us also transform others. By doing so, others see genuine value at the heart of us and cooperate together. Home, societies and the world all head to a better direction through changes, leading to the world worth living. In this world, everyday is renewed and auspicious.


This way, Buddhist teachings and Seon practice improve us. Practicing Seon starts from having such self-assurance and values. We already took our first step toward Seon by turning the first page of this magazine. We can enjoy happy life immediately through dedicated Seon practice. Such capabilities and talent are already inherited in ourselves. Let us see the true self. 


 Please note that this writing is an excerpt from the book, "Introduction to Ganhwa Seon" published by the Bureau of Dharma Propagation and is contained in the spring 2016 edition of the Lotus Lantern magazine under Buddhist Culture Section on page 18~24.   


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