Buddha was given 10 names to clarify some of his important attributes. The following is a direct translation of a Zen Monk teaching the Diamond Sutra (금강경). The translation was not refined in order to preserve, if possible, the intonations expressed by the monk. I ask the reader to imagine the voice of a “Yoda” or an old Kung-Fu Master to complete the feel.
It was through Zen Monk Bub-Ryun, that I began to really gain an understanding about Buddha. And I feel that through the understanding of Buddha, my understanding of Baba finds itself further refined. So let’s hear the spoken words of Bub-Ryun in English:
Bool (불佛) means Buddha, or realized one. We call him Bul (불) or Buddha because he is ‘such a man that is realized’.
But what is a realized one like? How does he behave? A realized one neither comes nor goes (for he is not a creature of time and space). He is neither here nor there. He is neither born, nor does he die. In other words, for a realized one, the world is neither dead nor alive. He is of the unborn. In his world there is no birth and there is no death.
In his world, nothing can be clean, nor can anything be filthy. If clean and filthy were to exist, wouldn’t one be impelled to covet one thing and discard the other? But because nothing is clean nor filthy for the Buddha, he has nothing to covet, and nothing to be rid of. And because he has nothing to covet and nothing to be rid of, here is a man who has no reason to do anything at all. The kind of man who has nothing to do— and by extension of reason, must therefore never have done anything— that kind of man is what we call a Bool (불 or Buddha). Note: I believe when Jesus says “It is not I but the Father”, or when he says “it is not my will but the Father’s will ” he speaks of this ‘doing without doing’.
That changeless being who comes without coming and goes without going forever unchanged, we call him Yeo-Rae (여래), the changeless. So His first name is Yeo-Rae (여래), the Changeless One.
His second name is Un-Gong (은공), or man worthy of alms.
Un-Gong is the title we give to a man who is desireless. This is a man who actually doesn’t want anything. He has no wants, because he experiences no lack. Regardless of what activity he engages in, his actions leave no trace, no imprints, for he has no attachments. This is why his deeds cannot incur any debts (i.e. sanskaras). No bindings! This type of action is called Mu-Wei (무위), or doing without doing; doing without attachment, with no care at all for results. Mu-Wei is the type of doing where nothing was ever done. Regardless of how many alms a man like this were to receive from the multitudes, he would not incur any sort of debt or binding. Why is this? How could this be? Whatever this man receives is returned, or reflected back in the form of Grace (Blessings), as a true mirror would accurately reflect what’s before it. Such a man who takes nothing for himself and reflects back all that was given is deemed worthy of alms, so we call him Un-Gong (은공).
His next name is Jung-Byun-Ji (정변지)
This name is given to a man who has attained to the state of unsurpassed enlightenment and equanimity. Such a man has complete, total, absolute, all-encompassing knowledge and wisdom. He is a man who sees reality as it really is.
Myung-Heng-Jock (명행족) means that his understanding perfectly matches his actions. In other words, his theories and his actions perfectly match each other. Sometimes we say of certain persons “that guy is all theory and no action.” Sometimes we say of certain other persons “he seems to go through the motions but doesn’t understand why.” We call Buddha Myung-Heng-Jock (명행족) because his actions speak in the same voice as his teachings.
We call him Son-Seoh (선서) for he is a person who has leaped over ‘the sea of suffering’ to that place of everlasting peace beyond.
Because he has intimate knowledge of the suffering of every single sentient being, and further because he is capable of rescuing every last sentient being from their suffering, we call him Sae-Gan-He (새간해), the Savior, Rescuer, Omniscient & Omnipotent This name implies that this man has what it takes to complete his mission—His mission being the salvation of every sentient being—every last one, from rocks to human.
We call him Jo-Oh-Jang-Bu (조어장부) because he has the ability to attract the vast multitudes of impure (sinful) minds of all types to himself and draw upon himself their surrender. As a capable horse whisperer can read his horse’s mind, this man intimately knows the mind and heart of every single sentient being. Not only can his inexplicable charisma draw the surrender of the multitudes, he can also be said to be the very cause of surrenderance itself. For his capability (or capacity) to bring about the surrenderance of the multitudes, we call him Jo-Oh-Jang-Bu (조어장부). Some Western scholars translate this name into English as “The Tamer.”
To the Good Tamer does the horse willingly surrender its heart and will.
As if hypnotized, the horse is drawn to the Tamer for reasons unknown.
Because the man is not only the Master of men, but also the Master of Gods, we call him Chun-In-Sa (천인사); which means the teacher of both man and God.
Because he is the most precious man in the world, we endear him with the title, Sae-Jone (세존), or “precious”—if you are a “Lord of the Rings” fan. (:
As such, Buddha has 10 names, and in Zen we collect all 10 names into one phrase Yeo-Rae-Shib-Ho (여래십호) or “The Ten names of the Changeless One.”
Surrender = SSWEMD
When I was asked to write my thoughts about surrender, what came to me was the seventh name of Buddha Jo-Oh-Jang-Bu (조어장부), the Good Tamer that causes one to willingly surrender one’s own free-will in favor of the Tamer’s Will. Baba says that “Spiritual advancement is a succession of one surrender after another until the goal of the final surrenderance of the separate ego-life is completely achieved.” He further adds: “The last surrender is the only complete surrenderance.” On another occasion, Baba even put surrender above obedience and even love saying “Greater than love is obedience, greater than obedience is surrender…”
Wow, I said to myself, this “surrender” must be Some Super Weapon of Ego Mass Destruction (SSWEMD). In fact, I am pleased to submit to you that this indeed seems to be Baba’s position on the matter. In the Discourses, after a long string of chapters on all the various forms of Meditation and Sadhanas, Baba concludes by saying “In most cases it is only when the aspirant is driven to realize the futility of all his efforts that he approaches the Master.”
And then just in case I didn’t get it, he rubs it in even thicker by saying “The stubborn persistence of the ego exasperates him, and in this clear perception of helplessness he surrenders to the Master as his last and only resort.”
And then for the death blow, Baba delivers: “The self-surrender amounts to an open admission that the aspirant now has given up all hope of tackling the problems of the ego by himself and that he relies SOLEY upon the Master.” Baba makes it clear that on the spiritual path, surrender is not optional—but integral.
Baba says that love seeks union with the Beloved, and that obedience seeks the pleasure of the Beloved. But—he says—surrender seeks Nothing. Surrender does not seek union. Surrender does not even seek the pleasure of the Beloved. Why?
Surrender no longer seeks.
One can try to be obedient; one can even try to love. But all trying runs counter to surrender. Effort itself grinds against the very grain of surrender. Surrender can only be effortless, because unlike effort, surrender seeks nothing. To try to surrender is nonsensical, yet we feel we must try to surrender. In fact, Baba does tell us that the aspirant “must make a real effort to surrender himself to the divine will…” Wow! What a paradox! This is like being a finger asked to point at itself, or a tooth asked to bite itself. To deal with this paradox Darwin Shaw gives us a new word he had to invent: “effortless-effort.” It is where total and absolute desperation and infinite patience embrace each other in happy matrimony. What a paradox! It is some sort of “do-less doing,” not unlike the Taoist Moo-Wei (무위). So the real question becomes, if we cannot “do” surrender, how does surrender even occur anyway? Meister Echart, in dealing with this issue, said “the pupil of the eye had to be colorless in order to see colors.” Likewise, the only way to truly achieve surrender would be to promptly give it up. So the real question becomes: how does surrender even come into existence?
According to Buddhism, surrender requires the presence of the Tamer (조어장부). The Tamer is the cause of surrender itself, having planted the seeds of surrender in us all. In Buddhism they say that all sentient beings have Bul-Shim(불심), which literally translates “the Buddha Heart”. As if hypnotized, we are drawn to the God-man, sometimes without even knowing why. To return to the horse analogy, the horse’s heart is drawn to the warmth of the able horse whisperer. Without the use of any coercion, eventually the horse willingly approaches the horseman on his own. In the same way, for actual surrender to occur in us, we need that charismatic God-man, the Tamer of men, to draw our surrender inexplicably without coercion, not unlike a lamp for moths. In Zen, the Tamer is said to be the very source and causal principle of surrenderance itself. In other words, the very concept of surrender came into existence only after, and by virtue of the fact that, there exists a being worthy of surrenderance—the Avatar.
To be worthy of being the Tamer, one must first be capable of saving all sentient beings. Buddha’s sixth name, Sae-Gan-He (The Savior, Rescuer) describes him as someone who is fully capable of completing the task of saving all sentient beings, unaided. Ironically, this fact is not well known by many Buddhists who tend to rely on their own efforts to achieve self-liberation. This is called JaRyuk(자력), which means “one’s own strength.” But there are those in Zen who rely entirely on TaRyuk(타력) or external help, meaning the help of the Buddha. We Babalovers tend to rely on the TaRyuk of Baba, “the sole player in this divine game.”
For us, our Tamer is Baba. He is the one who brings about in me the very willingness to surrender to His will. He is the Tamer who draws me in with his tantalizing smile. He gently lures me in with his smile, and then he springs the trap door shut. Then he tames me—molding me to His Will.
The Tamer’s paradoxical smile
Yet paradoxes are most awesome!
Even how I feel about paradoxes is paradoxical. Why is this?
Surrender is the final state of any mind trapped in a paradox. Paradoxes do violence to the mind. When faced with a paradox, at some point the mind gives up on trying to resolve the irresolvable. Yet, it can’t seem to let the problem go either. Eighty years of quantum physics went as far as to conclude that “if you think you understand quantum physics, then for sure you don’t.” When confounded by a paradox the mind eventually comes to the near absolute certainty that it may never know. An existential paradox can not only perturb the mind, but freeze it. This is the goal of all Zen Koans—to permanently freeze the mind in a labyrinth of paradoxes.
Every Avataric advent seems to offer us a whole new set of paradoxes to augment the previous pile of paradoxes. These paradoxes are like slave hunters and they hunt in packs. An unguarded mind can easily fall prey and get ensnared forever in one of these paradoxical labyrinths. It all starts with the Tamer’s paradoxical smile. The smile draws in the victims like flies to poop. The victim reads a couple books about Baba until he feels he’s got the basic gist of Baba’s message. But after some time—some more than others—the “revealed truths” begin to cook his noodles. Slowly at first. Just slow enough so the frog won’t jump out of the water, if you know what I mean? Before you know it, you, the frog in this case, find yourself in a hot Jacuzzi, unable to leap out.
As such, once the victim’s mind is encircled by the “revealed truths” of the Tamer, the trap is set. Now, it is but a matter of time before the paradoxes close in on the mind. Unable to reconcile a series of existential contradictions, the mind begins to shut down. Realizing this, in a panic the mind tries to flee, but there is a problem. To the mind’s dismay, it finds that the heart has fallen in love with the Tamer (the enemy in this case), and is stubbornly refusing to leave Him.
As the reality of the paradoxes set in, the mind starts to spasm. At some point the mind comes to suspect that the only way out of this Trap may be with the Tamer firmly on its back. In Zen they call this trap Bub-Jip (법집). Bub-Jip is the refusal of the mind to recognize and comprehensively assimilate the various paradoxes in Buddha’s teachings. Instead, the aspirant paints an image of the Buddha’s teachings and worships the image instead of seeking the truth therein. There is only one way to exit this trap, and that is without a head(mind).
It is when the mind is being tamed into complete submission that the heart suddenly finds itself free from the grip of the mind. The heart sees the mind over there in the corner, dealing with glitches in its CPU. She sees the mind trying to resolve a maze of irresolvable contradictions, which to her surprise, simply make total sense. When the heart first encountered the Tamer, she instantly, and for no reason at all, totally fell in love with his presence. Enamored by the Tamer, the heart couldn’t help but instantly fall head over heels for him. Meanwhile, the Tamer’s paradoxes continue to perturb the mind. The heart sits there and watches the scene unfold in amazement. The Heart watches carefully how the once-so-powerful mind can be so utterly helpless when faced with the Truth.
“But why? Why does the Truth perplex the mind? Why can’t it understand? I thought the mind was smart? Why can’t the mind get it like I do?” thought the Heart.
Baba says that “ EVERYTHING PERTAINING TO THE SPIRITUAL IS PARADOXICAL.” I did not capitalize this. I found this quote already fully capitalized. Everything means everything—not some things—or most things—but every single last thing. In other words, every spiritual Truth is paradoxical. Zen Master Suzuki Roshi says it another way— “If it is not a paradox, then it is not true.” In a similar vain, a noteworthy physicist once said: “If it is not a paradox, be suspicious that it is the truth.” Now, here is a man who is beginning to understand the very nature of so called “truth.” He has come so far as to rationally suspect that all truth must be paradoxical, based on historic trends in scientific discovery. The heart and the mind are now beginning to see that ‘if it doesn’t perplex the mind, it probably ain’t true’.
One glance at the Tamer’s paradoxical smile sends the mind hurling back into its dark corner shivering helplessly and afraid. Questions like:
Could it really be true that this material world is an illusion? Yet it feels so real to me.
Could it really be true that God is the only doer? If so, what am I doing?
Could it really be true that He alone exists? If so, where is it that I exist?
If God is everything, and everything is nothing, then how is God not nothing? Tell me, says the mind.
As you can see, these questions can really cook your noodles, provided the aspirant truly takes Baba’s “revealed truths” seriously. Yet, at the same time, the heart loves this stuff. The heart finds that she cannot take her eyes off the Tamer’s beauty, especially his tantalizingly paradoxical smile. The very Truths that pickle the mind seem to tickle the Heart.
The Heart likes to giggle, so it likes to be tickled,
And nothing tickles the heart like that which pickles the mind.
Encircled by a kaleidoscope of paradoxes, the mind begins to freeze over. The mind doesn’t know what to think anymore, let alone what it wants. Uncertainty begins to solidify into a frozen lake of Uncertitude. Yet, all the while, the Heart is beginning to forge an unbreakable diamond of certitude — otherwise known as faith — that matures into conviction. The Heart cannot take her eyes off the Tamer’s warm smile. She is tantalized by His paradoxical love. To her the paradoxes make perfect sense. That which is seen as impossible for the mind is exactly what rings true for the Heart.
The Heart acts like a lie detector, but for the Truth. I guess one could call it a “Truth Detector.” When it hears the truth, it cannot help but ring “true!” Like Pinocchio’s nose, the heart has a “truth” of its own. The Bible says, the Law of God was written in our Hearts — that’s hardware — not software. Baba says the heart’s intelligence is greater than the intelligence of the mind. The heart can embrace the Truth (Paradox), while an honest mind cannot. An honest mind cannot hold as True that which perturbs it. If Truth indeed is necessarily paradoxical, then it follows that Truth must perturb any given sane mind, provided it is honest with itself. Thus, unlike the un-sane, the sane mind finds itself trapped in the paradox. Now it’s just a matter of time before it freezes over.
Then one day, the Tamer says the most astonishing thing.
He says to the mind, “Hey mind, this is an A to B conversation between mySelf and your heart so you can C your way out of it.”
“What?” replies the mind. “You want me to leave?”
“Yes. Be still and die.”
The mind pleads with the Tamer. “But you need me for the faculty of understanding, don’t you?”
And the Tamer responds, “No, not anymore. The heart can understand just fine without you.”
“But the heart will give everything away. She couldn’t possibly survive without me. It’s a dangerous world out there. She needs me to think for us to sustain us, doesn’t she?”
“No she doesn’t,” says the Tamer, “It is I who sustains all. I am the Sustainer(Vishnu), not you, remember?”
“But what if you don’t exist?” yells out the mind. ‘There,’ he thought. ‘I finally said it.’ “What if you don’t exist? What if you are not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent but just like me, limited?”
“There, there…” the Tamer consoles the mind, stroking his head as you would a dog, “You have done well. You have done your best. You have been a very good dog. But you have already served your purpose well, and it is time for you to go now. From here on, it is your absence that is required, and the ego you created for yourself can go too.”
The heart understood exactly what the Tamer meant, which only baffled the Mind even further. The heart thought, “effortless-effort makes perfect sense to me!”
Yet, the Mind knew that this was nothing more than an oxymoron.
But over time, slowly but surely, together with the Tamer the heart RATIONALLY convinces the mind of the paradoxical truth. Then, one day, like a cancer cell who suddenly realized that it was he himself that was causing the health problem, the mind, in a sudden gasp of realization, rises up with a new determination— to kill itself. The mind decides to take the Tamer’s advice and actually become the hero of its own murder. Like St. Francis, the mind finds itself uttering words like “it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Awakened, the mind most eagerly awaits its own funeral. Like a dog who sees his owner at the gate cannot wait to be with his owner, the mind becomes anxious for the Tamer to deliver his death embrace.
All the while, while this is going on, the Mind is still able to see clearly, how insane this sounds. He imagines what it would be like if he were to actually tell his family and friends about his thoughts. The mind clearly sees the insanity of total surrender. Yet, it also sees total surrender as the only sane solution. See the problem?
So, it surrenders….
Here is a quote about surrender from Aurobindo, one of Baba’s sixth plane Saints:
The most important surrender is the surrender of your character, your way of being, so that it may change. If you do not surrender your very own nature, never will this nature change. It is this that is most important. You have certain ways of understanding, certain ways of reacting, certain ways of feeling, almost certain ways of progressing, and above all, a special way of looking at life and expecting from it certain things – well, it is this you must surrender. That is, if you truly want to receive the divine Light and transform yourself, it is your whole way of being you must offer – offer by opening it, making it as receptive as possible so that the Divine Consciousness which sees how you ought to be, may act directly and change all these movements into movements more true, more in keeping with your real truth. This is infinitely more important than surrendering what one does.
We are all born with the Red pill in our mouths.
To the Tamer, the very cause of surrender.