Inka Speech, Chon Mun Sunim

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.]Hot is cold. Cold is hot. [Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] No cold, no hot. [Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] Hot is hot, cold is cold. If you like any of these three statements, then you are attached to something, either to your thinking, emptiness, or name and form. So please tell me, which one is correct? KATZ! Candles behind me are burning hot. There is cold wind outside. I would like to start this talk by telling you a short story. Actually, it's been so long that I could start it, "A long time ago in Poland." It happened in the beginning of the eighties during Zen Master Seung Sahn's third visit to Poland. It was my second meeting with him. It happened that another important religious person, the Pope of the Catholic Church, was visiting our country, his home country, at the same time. Zen Master Seung Sahn had this very interesting idea. He wanted to get in touch with the Pope and ask him in person to call a meeting of important religious leaders from all over the world to get together in Rome and make real world peace. What Zen Master Seung Sahn had in mind was not only a conference with a lot of talking and exchanging ideas and opinions about the world peace, he also proposed that these spiritual leaders take a hot bath together where they would have shed their clothes, and along with them the distinctions and differences between various traditions. Contacting the Pope was easier said than done; it proved to be very difficult to get through to him. Zen Master Seung Sahn tried sending letters, but there was no response. He knew that the Pope would be visiting Poland at the same time, so before he came he asked us, "Can we arrange a meeting?" And we said, "We'll do our best, we'll see." After quite a few phone calls and a lot of try mind, we managed to get a date at the headquarters of the Catho- lic Church. The only thing they didn't tell us was with whom we would be meeting. Obviously the Pope was kind of out of the question, but we were hoping that maybe one of the Cardinals would meet us. On the day of the meeting, Zen Master Seung Sahn, Zen Master Wu Bong, Mu Sang Sunim, Diana Clark and a couple of American students and four Polish students went together in two cars. We came in, and after waiting for a few minutes, an old priest received us. He was some sort of, I don't know, undersecretary of an undersecretary, not quite what we hoped for, but that was the best we could do. He led us to the audience room and we sat around the round table and Zen Master Seung Sahn started talking, with Myong Oh Sunim translating for the priest. And he was saying, "this is the very important thing, I would like to ask His Holiness John Paul II to call this meeting," and he just tried to explain the important points of the letter to the priest, but the old prelate was not listening at all-it was obvious to all of us. Zen Master Seung Sahn at one point brought up the name of Kwan Seum Bosal as the embodiment of compassion, and that was enough for the priest. He just interrupted him, cut into mid-sentence of Zen Master Seung Sahn's talk, and started to speak about Mary, Mother of God, because that was the embodiment of compassion in the Catholic Church. From this point on, Zen Master Seung Sahn couldn't get a word in edgewise. So he just sat patiently and listened to the priest who was just talking and talking and talking, and obviously the whole message we tried to deliver was lost in the process; it just didn't drive home. Before the meeting started, the prelate told us how much time he could spend with us that morning, so we were checking our watches and it became obvious that the audience would be over very soon. Finally, Zen Master Seung Sahn at one point just interrupted the priest. His voice had risen; he was almost shouting, "Listen! This is very important thing!" And then he proceeded to repeat again what this letter was about and why it was so important. The old priest was stuck, he couldn't say anything, his jaw dropped and finally he was just listening. And then after that, Zen Master Seung Sahn presented the letter and said, "please deliver it to His Holiness John Paul II." Then we thanked the prelate, we bowed to each other, and we left. As we were leaving, we obviously thought, "Okay, it's not over yet, what kind of guarantee do we have that this letter will be delivered?" So we asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, "Sir, what can we do to help this message get to the Pope?" And Zen Master Seung Sahn just looked at us, and smiled, and he said, "We did our best, now, don't worry, put it all down, it's already done, finished." That was a really interesting teaching at that point for me, because Zen Master Seung Sahn was really showing us how to do things one hundred percent, and absolutely not to get attached to the result of it. Just put your best effort, only do it, and forget about it. (As a footnote, the Pope organized such a meeting in Rome a couple of years later. Zen Master Seung Sahn was not invited to attend it and the idea of "true world peace in a hot bath" was not utilized.) Then, I came to the United States in 1986 and I was here at the twentieth anniversary of our sangha in 1992, and I remember somebody, at one occasion or another, asked Zen Master Seung Sahn about the core of his teaching here in the West during the last twenty years.  He said something like this in response: "For twenty years, I taught only two things: only keep clear mind "don't know" and if you do something, just do it. That's all, but nobody listens." That was also very interesting-it reminded me of the story I just told. Zen Master Seung Sahn actually lives the teaching and this whole Zen teaching really is very simple. If we could only do it, and not get attached to it, not get attached to the result of it, just put our best effort, only do it and keep clear mind, then everything is already complete, everything is finished the moment we do it. In the opening statement of this talk, I was asking you about hot and cold. There is a kong-an that we use in our school, which I'm sure many of you have heard. It goes something like this, "When hot comes, hot kills you. When cold comes, cold kills you." But actually, if we make anything, then anything comes, anything kills us. If we don't make anything, just do it, then everything is already complete. In every moment, everything is already complete, without us making anything. If we make anything, it usually results in suffering. Zen Master Seung Sahn teaches that if you make something, then wanting something appears, then checking something, then holding onto some- thing, then getting attached to something, and the only result of that is suffering. There is one teacher in Korea who is a very good friend of Zen Master Seung Sahn. His name is Byok Am Sunim, and somebody told me when I was in Korea that the only kind of calligraphy he makes is: "You make, you get." Very interesting. I had heard a saying before which was somewhat similar to the teaching in Byok Am Sunim's calligraphy: "Watch out what you want," or "Watch out what you make, because you may get it. Don't be surprised." When I was still living and practicing in Poland, we had many different teachers coming to visit and teach the Polish sangha. Zen Master Seung Sahn could come only once a year, maybe once every two years, and some of our Ji Do Poep Sa Nims were coming, but also teachers from different traditions. At one time a very interesting monk came to visit us; his name was Muhen Roshi. He was an old Japanese monk and he was very kind, gentle and soft-spoken-it was really nice to be around him. He somewhat reminded me of Maha Ghosananda. And he had also very a interesting ability; he could heal people by touching their bodies. At one of the meetings with him in Krakow Zen Center, we had some time to ask him questions. One person was going through some problems in her life at that time and she asked Muhen Roshi: "Roshi, if you have a serious problem, or if you want to help somebody, what kind of practice is good for that purpose; what can you do?" And the Roshi just smiled, and said, "Oh, that's very simple, just do Kanzeon." (Kanzeon is the Japanese name for Kwan Seum Bosal.) "Do a lot of chanting of Kanzeon, and then you will get it." And then he smiled again, and he said, "You may get not what you wanted, but you will get it!" So, it's the same teaching. If you don't make anything, then you can get everything, because this moment [hit] already contains everything and it's already complete. If we want something, then we are just adding something to it. If we put it all down, then everything is ours. It is very, very simple, but often very difficult to do. So, it all comes from our mind. Keep it clear, no problem. Get attached to whatever arises in it, don't be surprised! So, one of the sutras says, when mind appears, then everything appears. [Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] When mind disappears, then everything disappears. [Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] But, when mind neither appears nor disappears, then what? KATZ! Standing here in front of you on this Buddha's Birth- day, finishing my talk. Thank you very much.