Category Archives: Fina



”The source of sorrow is the pride of saying ”I”
fostered and increased by false belief in self.
To this you may say that there’s redress,
But meditation on no-self will be the supreme way.”


A few weeks ago, Fina picked up a mirror, gave it a good look, then pointed to her face in the mirror, and yelled, “Fee!”

As exciting as it was to see her identify herself by name for the first time, a part of me sank, knowing how much difficulty will come along with it. I felt almost as if I’d failed her in some way, even though I realized, realistically, there’s no other way.

teaching Fina “letting go”


A few months ago, Chong Go Sunim presented me with the idea (challenge) of teaching Fina “letting go,” an important theme throughout Seon Master Daehaeng’s teachings.

I think my mouth said something like, “Yeah, good idea,” but my mind was going, “Yeah, right! I’m not even good at letting go!” But in the end, that’s half the point. The best way to teach a baby to let go is to do it yourself and let the baby pick up on that.

After trying several times, when Fina would grab something, to try to emit a sense of, “I don’t want that…” I wasn’t sure how far I was getting. Then one day Fina spotted a big, stuffed Pororo (her favorite Korean character) doll in the toy section and squeezed it tight her arms, swinging back and forth, excitedly shouting, “Pololo! Pololo! Pololo!” (She learned Pororo’s name about two months before she learned to say “Papa”, even if she couldn’t quite get the r’s).

At first, I thought, “Well, we haven’t bought her too many toys, she’ll really enjoy this one”, then I saw the $70 price tag and almost choked. I had a feeling that mentally mimicking “let it go” wasn’t going to cut this one, and was in no mood for a baby-breakdown, then I thought of something different.

Fina was getting used to saying “Hi” when we say people we knew, but she was even better at saying “Bye!” so I tried it. I encouraged her to give the doll a kiss on the cheek, then waved to it and said, “Byyye~”

Just like that, Fina waved with one little hand, said bye to Pororo and carefully put him back on the pile of other Pororos.

Woo hoo! I’d never bothered keeping score with Fina, it would’ve been too humiliating! but score 1 for Papa anyway!

Monday Morning Blues; Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby


Louis Jordan • Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby

There’s a long list of similarities between practicing Buddhism and practicing parenthood.

Among the first would be that you can talk and read all you want, but when it comes to doing it, it’s a whole other story!

For the sake of context to this week’s song, one of the psychologically difficult I’ve been dealing with is one minute having Fina being all hugs and kisses and “Papa! Papa! Papa!” then not wanting me near her the next.

At first it was hard not to take it personally, and though it’s still gives a twinge of hurt, it’s easy to remind yourself not to when you have a baby sitting in front of, I have a feeling it won’t be so easy in 12 years from now!

Fina update


Fina had some good news today, her ears are fine, and her swollen glands are almost back to normal. She hasn’t coughed much over the past couple of days either.

I was really relieved because I know Fina wouldn’t have dealt well with three days hooked up to an IV, which is what the doctor said the next step would be.

Now she just has to finish off her antibiotics and go in for one more check up then.

I was probably more worried than needed, but it’s not fun getting used to these things. It was the first time Fina was seriously sick.

Thank you again for the thoughts everyone sent us, they were well appreciated!

Gwan Saeum Bosal, Gwan Saeum Bosal, Gwan Saeum Bosal for everyone. ♥

a sick Fina


At the beginning of the month, Fina caught a small cold but hasn’t been able to shake it off. I’d noticed her lymph glands in her neck where quite swollen but didn’t worry too much until a couple of weeks went by and they didn’t go down.

Last week we brought her back to the doctor and they found out, aside from a lymph node infection and a bad cough, she has an ear infection and a bit of a problem in her intestines. They prescribed some stronger medicine and told us to bring her back on Friday to see if she improves. If not they’d have to admit her into the hospital for a few days.

It’s not a hugely serious situation, but if you feel inclined would you please send her some good thoughts (I’ll return the favor anytime!). I really hope she doesn’t have to be admitted to the hospital, that she can get over it quickly, here at home.

Thank you!

Fina’s 2nd birthday


Fina’s birthday didn’t start off quite as nicely as we’d hoped. She woke up at 5:30am demanding to watch Pororo, the animated penguin, and realizing it would take a bit more pushing to get her parents up at that hour, so she quickly turned up the volume until we weren’t quite as excited for her birthday as we’d been when we went to bed a few hours earlier. We tried telling her Pororo wasn’t on TV, but when EunBong turned the TV on to show her, there was Pororo and all his friends. I was half impressed that Fina knew her show was on and half terrified that this would know be a recurring habit!

I managed to get a couple more hours of sleep between Fina’s excited shrieks and by the time I was ready to get up, Fina was passed out cold on the floor, with the place looking as though she’d had quite a bash while I slept! Actually, she looked like she’d had quite a bash the way she was spread out on the floor. I put her on the couch, where EunBong was also passed out, and got ready for work.

When I got home from work, we had our cake ceremony and Fina made sure to get her $1.50’s worth out of the candles, asking me to relight them about a dozen times before I told her it was enough. We could wait anymore to dive into it!

What’s worse, death or rebirth?


From what I’ve gathered about leaving the body, there is a sort of confusion, especially if you are unaware that you’ve just died. You’re literally out of your senses, which can be disorienting, but, again from what I’ve gathered, there still seems to be some continuity.

Watching Fina struggle and get frustrated trying to make her body do the simple things she sees everyone else doing, or possibly even remembers doing herself before, it occurred to me, “Dying isn’t the scary part, being reborn is!”

Whatever continuity there was is seriously interrupted, your somewhat back in your senses, but stuck in this body you have little control over, and you’re at the mercy of a bunch of people you can’t effectively communicate to. Crying seems to work, and if it doesn’t, continuing to cry more will make them keep trying until they get it right!

As much as it’s hard to keep a level mind at times, I’m finding a great deal of compassion for the situation she’s found herself in!

Yankee Fina


Growing up, I disappointed my dad in a lot of ways. I suppose one could say my dad was the source of his own disappointment, but it usually seems the other way. Most of the disappointments weren’t very serious and have been forgotten, but the one thing that I can probably never make up for was not growing up to be a Yankees fan…

My dad probably just figured that I would like the Yankees. What it came down to, though, is that I loved the color blue, and blue jays were my favorite bird. If only my dad would have known, maybe he could have told me that the Yankees colors were also blue, or if I’d been aware of the suffering I was causing him, I might have chosen my team more compassionately. It didn’t help that after winning the World Series the year before I was born, they went on to have the longest streak in their history without winning a championship. Also, the mid-80s were when the Blue Jays really started becoming popular. The fortunate thing is that it wasn’t the Boston Blue Jays. I just might have grown up without a father!

There’s little I can do to make up for the past now, but I hope dad will be happy to know that Fina is very fond of the Yankees hat I bought in New York last year. And I’ll do my best to see that she’ll be her grandpa’s little Yankee fan when we make it home someday for a ball game!

Another year older (in Korea…)


As if anyone really needs one more excuse for cake, everyone in Korea turns a year older on New Year’s. It used to be on the Lunar New Year, but things change…

On top of already being counted as one year old when you’re born, the years seem to pile up quickly. Fina is 19 months but my count, but 3 years by her mother’s. It’s not that big of a deal until I read a label saying “ages 3 and up” then things tend to get confused real fast!

baby karma


I sometimes catch myself wondering, “If I was a better behaved child, if I didn’t cry as much or throw as many tantrums, would it, in turn, have helped my chances of having a well-behaved baby?”

Of course, this isn’t a very good attitude. There’s actually not much concern for the time my parents went through or the time my baby is going through now, just a self-interested good/bad karma sort of thing.

Both past and future karma are best dealt with right now, with the thoughts and actions of this moment. And really, I wasn’t that bad of a child, and neither is Fina. It only seems that way when I want this moment to be something it’s not!