Transmission Speech

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

Transmission is no transmission. No transmission is transmission.

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

Originally, nothing. What is transmission?

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

Sky is blue; trees are green. Transmission is transmission.

So then, what is it?


Outside, white and purple crocuses are blooming in the garden. Spring is coming everywhere.

Nowadays, human beings are very clever, so there is much suffering. But our true way is the stupid way. Mountains, rivers, sky, the great earth never attain anything, yet they always function perfectly, moment to moment. Somebody said, "rock's head talking to rock's head." If you want to find the true way, you must become a rock's head. If you completely attain rock's head, then you and the universe are one. You attain universal substance and the correct way. Then you become a bodhisattva.

At that time, when you see, when you hear, everything is truth. The sky is blue; the trees are green. Then, keeping a great vow, take one more step: hungry, eat; tired, sleep; somebody is hungry, give them food; somebody is suffering, help them. That means just do it: not for me, for all beings. The name for that is Great Love, Great Compassion, and the Great Bodhisattva Way.

Last night, I had a touching experience. I saw three people I had not seen for fifteen years. We lived together twenty years ago in the Zen Center. Many people live as if in a pond feeling that if more fish come in, it is more crowded. Last night, I experienced that when more fish come into our pond, our pond gets bigger. There is more space.

One of Zen Master Seung Sahn's students is a famous sutra master from Hong Kong. When he lectures, five thousand people attend. He teaches in China at the temples of the Sixth Patriarch and Zen Master Un Mun. His practicing life was always reading and teaching the sutras, but after he met our teacher, he became a Zen monk. For a few years, we would see each other very often; he became my dharma brother. One time, a couple of years ago, Zen Master Seung Sahn and I and this monk, Dae Oh Sunim, were in the back of a Hong Kong taxi cab together. At that time, Dae Oh Sunim still wasn't doing so much meditation. He started to talk to us about how he had been to India and visited many Buddhist places. Zen Master Seung Sahn went to sleep on the far side of the cab, and Dae Oh Sunim turned to me. Then, lots of talking: "I went to Bodh Gaya, I saw this, I saw that, I saw that, I saw that." Talking, talking, talking about holy places. You know how sometimes you want to hit your brother? Finally, I turned to him and said, "You went to Bodh Gaya! Did you get enlightenment?" His mouth just hung open. Just at that moment, Zen Master Seung Sahn woke up, poked him, and said, "You say to him, 'Second time not necessary.'"

If we want this kind of clarity, compassion and confidence, we have to attain human beings' condition and situation.

When we are young, everybody makes a robot. We program this robot and the robot always follows the program. However, when we humans get older, our consciousness is not so clear. But this robot's consciousness is very clear and always follows its program. It just does it. But it has no love and no compassion.

So when you are young, you control your robot; but when you get older, your robot controls you. That is human beings' condition and situation. If you want to control your robot and make it function correctly, you must keep the correct situation, correct function and correct relationship moment to moment. Then you become a true human being.

So how can we find the true human being?

[Points Zen stick straight ahead.]

Death sword!

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

Life sword!

Where is your true sword?


The sun in the sky is always shining. The great earth turns around and around. Now is the end of the world. How can we help all beings? How can we help this universe?

May I help you?

? The Kwan Um School of Zen