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

Nothing marks a Budha

Enlightenment is not special; It means just let go, just now. So we call that “Don’t Know.” Don’t Know means not attached to thinking. Actually the simplest thing in the world is getting enlightenment. You just think it’s complicated so you never do it. That’s just your thinking. Let go of the thinking and that’s it. It’s not complicated. That’s why the Buddha said in the Diamond Sutra, “nothing marks a Buddha.” Meaning the Buddha has no characteristics. The Buddha also said, “there is no formula for getting enlightenment.” That means enlightenment is not dependent on this technique. The technique is just pointing towards something. And all of this comes from the fact that you are already “It.”

–Zen Master Dae Kwang

The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong (part 4)

What Am I? The Necessity of Finding Your True Self

16. True nature is an indestructible diamond body that cannot die. Beyond time, it has endless life. Each life and death of the form body is just like changing clothes; the true person is able to take off and wear the clothes of life and death freely.

17. The knowledge you get through seeing and listening will not lead to the attainment of your true nature. Thinking about true nature is already not true nature.

18. True nature can be only found ‘before thinking’ because the ‘before thinking’ world contains all existence and is already complete.

19. If a person attains final enlightenment while having the Buddha as a goal then one will find that they themselves are the Buddha. This means that you must find true nature within yourself.

From the book, The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong.

Mind Light

If you put on a light, it’s bright and you can see sick people, happy people, everything. Without light you can’t see anything. The world is the same either way; it’s only whether we have light or not that makes a difference. If it’s dark, everyone is fighting each other and suffering. Everyone cries, “Where is the door? I want to go outside!” But with the light on, why would people fight? “Oh, there’s a door here, a road there; one person can go here, another person can go out there.”

How do we get out of this suffering ocean? With mind light. When it appears, you can go out the door and down the road. Mind light changes the suffering ocean into the dharma ocean. Everyone becomes harmonious, like happy children. Everyone gets true, unchanging happiness. Some people call this “pure light’ or “nirvana.” If you attach to nirvana, you will have a problem. But if you attain the correct function of nirvana, you can save all beings in this suffering ocean.

–Zen Master Seung Sahn

The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong (part 3)

What Am I? The Necessity of Finding Your True Self

11. Everything is true nature (big ‘I’). If you apply effort to anything else other than finding it, even the smallest effort, is a waste.

12. Everyone has three bodies: a physical body, a karma body and a dharma body. For a true human being, these three bodies are not separate but function as one.

13. All action originates from the dharma body. Since the dharma body is not separate from the physical body or the karma body, all phenomena are also beyond life and death.

14. The place beyond life and death includes both the sentient and the non-sentient. Therefore, all the weapons of the universe cannot destroy the true nature of even one blade of grass.

15. In our world, there is a lot of teaching about how to find and understand our true nature. These are all just the understanding of the small ‘I’ from the point of view of our karma. Our true nature is inconceivable and beyond imagination.

From the book, The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong.

Akhila Katuri

Don’t Worry About All This Karma

Sometimes we look at our path like it is one line, and we hope that going on this path just means getting better, being more happy, having more joy, having a more successful life.

But that has never been my experience. It doesn’t go like this; it’s not a linear movement. It always goes around. We have life and death, and we have samsara. You are going up, then you are coming down. You have success; you have a good sitting. We can see this during one week. Every day, every block of sitting: one moment you are happy and you feel good. “My meditation is great, so clear, so strong.” And the next moment, even the next round of sitting, sometimes the next five minutes, “What happened?” Some fear or maybe anger just came out of the blue. But if you sit long enough then you don’t pay so much attention to that. It’s changing, changing, your thinking, your feeling, your emotions are changing. Don’t worry about all this karma coming and going; what is most important is to return back to before thinking, our original mind, over and over. We practice letting go, and we practice starting over again and again. What a privilege!

–Zen Master Bon Shim

The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong (part 2)

What Am I? The Necessity of Finding Your True Self

6. If I shout someone’s name and they immediately answer, “Yes!” –that is true nature. True nature has no birth or death. It can’t catch fire, get wet, or be cut with a knife. It is completely free and without hindrance.

7. Just like the prisoner screaming as he is dragged, twisting behind a horse, the chains of karma drag us down the road of suffering. Repeatedly, we follow the cycles of life, sickness, old age and death. Only your wisdom sword can cut these chains.

8. No matter how well educated or respected you are, if you haven’t resolved the great question of life and death, you are like a person who has lost their mind.

9. When Sakyamuni Buddha was born, he pointed with one hand to the sky and the other to the ground and said, “Between the heavens above and the earth below, only ‘I’ am holy.” This ‘I’ means the true nature.

10. Everyone already has Buddha nature (true nature) but they cannot become Buddha because they do not understand themselves.

From the book, The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong.

The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong (part 1)

What Am I? The Necessity of Finding Your True Self

1. It is said that human beings are the most precious of all things because they can attain their true nature.

2. True nature means total freedom, being in charge of one’s life, yet human beings are rarely free anytime or place. They cannot control their lives because their deluded thinking (small ‘I’) becomes the boss while their true nature is just a slave.

3. The small ‘I’, deluded thinking, is the offspring of true nature. Deluded thinking arises from selfish desire. True nature (clear mind or bodhisattva mind) is correct mind, which has no beginning and no end; it has no existence or extinction, yet it lacks nothing.

4. How is a human being who has lost sight of his true nature any different from an animal which only pursues sex and food instinctively? No matter how great or famous you are, if you do not attain your true nature, you are just like a molecule, subject to the four types of birth and death and the six realms of existence (samsara).

5. In our world most people live together, sharing a lifestyle, mindlessly following their karma. Their lives just happen, without direction. They don’t see the terrifying thing waiting for them. When death comes, they are blind to what lies ahead.

From the book, The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong.

Nothing Mind

“What is the purpose of life?” I asked many old people in the hospital this question, or “What did you get out of life?” and many said, “Nothing.” Maybe they have a good job, good family, good wife or husband, but these things cannot help them now. They want something they cannot have, and they understand this, so they say, “Nothing”. This is understanding nothing. But understanding cannot help them, so they are suffering.

Zen means attain this nothing mind. The Buddha said, ‘If you keep clear mind moment by moment, then you will get happiness everywhere.”

Zen is attaining this nothing mind, and using this nothing mind. How can you use it? Zen means making this nothing mind into big-love mind. Nothing mind means no “I, my, me”, no hindrance. So this mind can change to Great Compassion mind, action-for-all-people mind. This is possible.

Nothing mind does not appear, does not disappear. So moment by moment, it is possible to keep your correct situation. Then your mind is like a mirror—when you are with your patients, only become one. Then helping them is possible. When you are with your family, only become one; then understanding what is best for them is clear. Just like this.

–Zen Master Seung Sahn