Bomb Enlightenment

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] This point is the birthplace of all Buddhas and Patriarchs, but Buddhas and Patriarchs do not understand this point. So, this point completely kills them.

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.]

This point is the source of all Buddhas and Patriarchs. It is the Absolute in all its purity, but this is just someone's idea.

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.]

This is the Truth. Buddhas and Patriarchs never leave this point. However,things are always changing, changing--so, how can they not leave this point? How can we ever escape this dilemma and be truly free?


Outside today it is cloudy, inside there are many bright and shining faces.

I would first like to congratulate the European sangha on your twenty years of sincere and strong effort. Also, congratulations to the Polish sangha on this wonderful new dharma hall. I'd especially like to thank our teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, whose tireless efforts around the world made all this possible.

Last night Zen Master Seung Sahn said that Zen started in China, then it went to Korea, then to the United States, and then to Poland. Receiving this great gift requires more than just thanks, but also a responsibility to practice, and to continue spreading this teaching.

I'm very happy to be here in Poland. Actually, you don't know this, but for twenty years I've been secretly visiting Poland. For many years I've been seeing Polish faces at our Zen Centers around the world; so my eyes have visited Poland many times. Also, I've heard many people speaking Polish; at Providence Zen Center, Polish has become our second language. So, already my ears have visited Poland. Providence Zen Center also serves up some really good Polish food: lazanki, pierogi, barszcz, [laughter] prepared by the Perl family. So, my tongue too has visited Poland many times. However, better than all of that, this Friday I actually came to Poland.

So far I've had two exciting experiences. The first thing I saw were these strange, round balls in many of the trees. I'd said I'd never seen anything like that in my life. The driver laughed and said, "That's mistletoe." I always thought that mistletoe was just something that you hung from the doorway at Christmas which gave you an excuse to kiss a girl. [laughter] Now I know where mistletoe comes from.The other thing I saw was storks. Wow, I had no idea how big storks really are. And their nests are even larger -- in fact, huge would be an understatement -- even bigger than an apartment in Hong Kong!

The Buddha taught that our world is always changing, changing; that's impermanence. Poland is a perfect example of this. Someone recently told me that twenty years ago you had very food, no nothing. Then the government changed. Suddenly, within days, there was plenty of food for sale in the stores. That's our life -- always changing. Good, bad, up, down, all around. Changing is not the real problem; the problem is that human beings want something. One time I was discussing a little problem at the Zen Center with Zen Master Seung Sahn. He leaned over and shared a "secret" teaching with me: "Everybody wants something." [laughter] This is also the Buddha's teaching. Buddha said that everybody wants something; because of that, they suffer. Therefore, change is no problem if you don't want anything for yourself. However, if you want something, all the suffering in the world appears from that point.

A couple of days ago we had a very interesting experience in Lodz. After finishing a two-hour session of sitting and interviews, we all went downtown to have lunch. We had just parked the car when there was loud noise -- BOOM! -- glass and debris were blown all over the street. A bomb had gone off in a small bar. Soon there were police and firemen everywhere. We went on to dinner. That night during a public talk we had just begun three minutes of meditation, when -- BOOM! -- another bomb went off. At that moment, everybody got "bomb enlightenment." [laughter] These bombs are no good or bad; that's our world's karma, cause and effect. But these bombs mean suffering, because they come from a mind which wants this and doesn't want that. Our teaching is very clear: cut off all likes and dislikes, then your Original Mind appears, very clear--then helping this world is possible.

Our European sangha is a very clear example of that. Indeed, this twenty years is not twenty years. This is just the beginning of our big job, because in our world there's still a lot of suffering. I have a kong-an for you: One time Man Gong Zen Master was walking past the temple garden. It was Kyol Che time, so there were many monks in the Zen hall. In the garden was an old man working, hoeing the ground. The old man looked at Man Gong Zen Master and said, "Master, what are those monks doing, sitting in there looking at the wall?" If you were Man Gong Sunim at that time, how could you answer this old man?

Now our sangha has a new dharma hall here in Warsaw -- that's wonderful. But most important is, what will you be doing in this dharma hall? That's a big question. A twenty year celebration is great. But how can you really attain twenty years of practice?

[Hits table with the Zen stick three times.]

Happy Twentieth Anniversary to all of you. Thank you very much.