Don’t Check, Just Do It! That Is the Miracle

Francis Lau (Article extracted from “Primary Point Fall 2021”)

I had the precious opportunity of joining the 1,000-People Meditation in the recent years, and the experience was invaluable.

Organized through the collaboration of different Buddhist temples of various traditions, the annual event attracted more than a thousand participants every year. In the first year, Su Bong Zen Monastery was responsible for the venue. It had to organize all volunteers coming from different backgrounds, and to place a thousand cushions within an hour and a half. All the cushions were to be placed neatly in straight lines and rows in a space the size of twelve standard basketball fields. All the sudden changes and challenges encountered were totally a test to our practice on the cushion.

There was one episode to share: One morning, the admission time was supposed to be 10:00 a.m. At 9:00, while I was feeling relieved that the last row of cushions had just been perfectly set, suddenly there was an announcement onstage. There was a space problem with the stage, and all thousand cushions needed to be moved backward by about ten feet. All the volunteers’ jaws dropped. How could that be possible? There were only thirty minutes left, and everyone was exhausted! It seemed to be an impossible task, unless some miracle happened. 

And a miracle did happen! All the volunteers put down their work and gathered together. We all stood behind the last row of cushions, ready for instructions coming from the sunim onstage. Through the loudspeaker, Sunim gave us the rhythm. More than a hundred volunteers bent down, took up the cushions and, “ 1, 2, 3, step back,” then “1, 2, 3, step back,” and “1, 2, 3, step back...” It was just like planting rice seedlings! Within twenty minutes, all thousand cushions were moved to their new positions, smoothly and neatly. It was a truly touching moment. Everyone was overjoyed with the miracle! 

Coming from different temples and all walks of life, the volunteers were just strangers with different skill sets. Yet in front of challenges, they put down their I-mine-me, and did together action without any chaos or complaints. There is only one mind — serving others! Everyone became master of “don’t check, don’t hold, put it all down, and just do it!