[FOUNTAIN]Find a balanced outlookThe Diamond Sutra, or “The Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom of the Diamond that Cuts through Illusion,” is the highest Buddhist teaching. Translated by Kumarajiva, it teaches the four notions that a person has. The first is the notion of self, an attachment to one’s own opinions. The second is the notion of person, the sense of superiority for having been born as a human in the cycle of rebirths by Karma. The third is the notion of sentient being, a feeling that one is unequal to Buddha, and the last is the notion of life span, an attachment to status regardless of right or wrong.
In fact, there are different interpretations of the four notions. The Kumarajiva’s translation into Chinese had relatively clear messages, and other versions have different interpretations. Scholars explain the meaning differently. However, they generally agree on the meaning of nimitta, a Sanskrit word for obsession for the appearance of an object.
We describe an arrogant person as one having too much notion of self, and a person who only values external appearance without looking at the inner essence is said to have an excessive nimitta. For some time, appearances have been dominating Korean society. The president, who has been constantly making trouble as he advocates reform and renewal, has an obsession with the appearance of reform and renewal. His aides, the former 3-8-6-generation activists with powerful influence, have the nimitta of “the code.”
Those who do not seriously take into account the reality of the confrontation against North Korea and the real capacity of national defense of Korea, or who hastily accept the transfer of wartime operational command from the United States, could be said to be obsessed with the nimitta of self-reliance. At another extreme, those who are criticizing the blunders of the current administration without paying proper attention to Washington’s intention to transfer wartime operational control are obsessed with the nimitta of a defender. The opposition party that only wants to benefit from the misgovernment of the ruling party is obsessed with the nimitta of an advantage-taker. The media that have failed to report the amplified misunderstandings and discord while criticizing the faults of the ruling party are obsessed with the nimitta of a critic.
Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, is the day of the harvest and full moon. How should we make up our minds as we look at the full moon? We need to contemplate the image of the moon, shining on every river in the world in harmony with all creation.
by Yoo Kwang-jong
The writer is the Beijing correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.