Clear Karma

Question: How does Zen practicing take away karma?

Zen Master Seung Sahn: Zen practice does not take away karma. If you practice Zen, your karma becomes clear. If you are not practicing, your karma controls you. But if you are practicing, you control your karma. So your karma becomes clear. Good karma, bad karma, whatever karma you have becomes clear; then only help other people. That’s the point. Sometimes when a person first starts practicing Zen we talk about “taking away karma,” but those are only teaching words. Bodhisattvas have bodhisattva karma. Karma means mind action. So, karma controls me, or I control my karma and help other people. These two are different, but same karma.

Zen Master Seung Sahn

Our intuition

Some of our actions are not visible to others, and the results will only appear in the future, but inside we know already what we are doing. Our true self, our intuition, is guiding us. If we are aware of this guide—in touch with it, hearing it—then there should be no problem deciding what to do. There should be no problem in quickly understanding the situation, choosing the correct action, keeping the correct action from moment to moment.


Why Don’t More People Practice Zen?

Our great grand-teacher, Man Gong Sunim, was once asked, “Why don’t more people practice Zen?” He said, “Everybody wants a good thing, but most people don’t understand that when you get a good thing you also get a bad thing. If they understood that, then they would practice Zen.”

So our life is not about getting good things and avoiding bad things. It is about attaining how to correctly use each thing that appears. Good things come, we use them to go the correct way; bad things come, we use them to go the correct way.

–Zen Master Dae Bong