The Wild Geese over Han River
- Guru's Talk: The Wild Geese over Han River
- By Living Buddha Lian-Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
- Translated By Cheng Yew Chung
- Edited by TBN
The majestic Han River
of Korea originates from the Chang Bai mountain range in China.
As I was traveling in the city of Seoul from the south river bank
area to the north river bank region one early morning at dawn, I
noticed a black mass hovering above the running waters of the Han
Someone said, "It's a flock of water ducks."
Another person said, "It's geese."
One fellow said, "Geese are water ducks."
These geese had arrived from the freezing lands of Siberia and descended
upon Korea's Han River to spend the winter. When spring comes, they
shall return to Siberia.
Are these geese migratory birds? I don't really know.
I observed a solitary goose in flight, dashing upwards and then
diving downward, presumably separated from his flock. I was absorbed
in its actions.
Am I, the solitary traveler, a migratory bird too? Am I a lonely
traveler who has left his group? Who shall be my companion in this
Dwelling between heaven and earth, in the midst of the wide ocean,
I have nothing at present except for a broken spirit wrapped in
an aging shell. Who would have thought that my years of hard work
and effort would eventually come to this during my old age? It can
What about home? I have long lost the feeling of home. My son and
daughter have left to be on their own, so where is my family? Perhaps
family is itself a burden! Without it, life becomes clear-cut. I
am left only with my cultivation and nothing else.
Do I miss the past? Of course I do. Alone I travel, and alone I
cry. Who could have known that I am now wandering in Han River?
I do miss my disciples. I am sure they miss me too. It is sufficient
to hold these thoughts for each other. Honestly, my luggage weighs
[heavy] with all my thoughts. Indeed, those were the days I had,
and today I am left only with their memories.
What are you thinking about, wild geese of Han River?
I have no idea. But the Buddha says, "Where there is life, there
is death. Where there is prosperity, there is downfall. Where there
is gain, there is loss." Isn't this true?
Many philosophers have raised the same question, "Where does life
begin? Where does death lead to?" The remarkable reply is, "Life
begins where life is, and ends where the end should be."
That solitary goose in flight is me. I am a wandering boat sailing
slowly across the Han River.
How I wish I could dump all my happiness, sorrow, goodness, ugliness,
gains, losses, achievements, failures, cleverness, stupidity, etc.
into the Han River and empty myself completely.
Yet, the Buddha says, "This is life!"
So I ask the Buddha, "How should I proceed?"
The Buddha replies, "Be natural."
Thus, the wandering cultivator cries at times, laughs at times,
becomes conscious at times, and loses his mind at times. So I do
as the Buddha says, and be natural.
Listen practitioner! As long as you establish the work of liberating
sentient beings and make the vows to help them from lifetime to
lifetime, you literally walk on the razor's edge. All kinds of obstacles
and slanders shall confront you.
You shall face afflictions of the body and mind. You shall undergo
the suffering of hunger, thirst, and sickness. You shall face the
threats of death.
But if a practitioner wishes to partake in bliss without interruption,
he needs to see through such afflictions and reach the other shore
through patience and tolerance.
I finally understand it. I am an individual who has boarded the
Dharma ship and this lifetime is all too important to me. Apart
from my own attainment, I want to help others reach attainment.
Physically, I may be wandering, but within my heart I am firm in
Unlike the lost solitary goose, I am clear about where I should