Go Drink Tea

The following talk was given at the Opening Ceremony for Kwan Lin Chan Lin Zen Meditation Centre in Singapore, on September 25, 2012. In this world and in our life, many things are in duality: negative and positive, good and bad. When we hear something negative, we would probably feel bad. At that moment, our life is not on the middle path. Learning Zen gives us a way out; to be free from good and bad, free from our emotions. It leads us back to the middle path. Zen Master Seung Sahn often said, Our original state is like a mirror. When red appears, it reflects red, when white appears, it reflects white. Our practice is like a rehearsal, training ourselves to become like a mirror. When hearing others' speech, only reflect. This means to accept reality. Salt is salty, sugar is sweet. This is truth. When someone says something irritating, perhaps you could invite him to have a cup of tea. In many kong-ans, when someone said something to Zen Master Joju, he only answered, Go drink tea. When we first learn kong-ans, it feels like we are using a formula or giving random answers. Even when we do give the correct answer, we lack confidence in our answer. We tend to think that as long as we have passed, i's all right; however, we do not appreciate this process. I encourage everyone to experience kong-an practice, as it is like a continuous rehearsal of life. During times of difficulty and karma, you will then know how to apply the different kong-ans to resolve your problems. I encourage everybody to have confidence in kong-an practice. In every moment, whenever emotions arise, just bring up the question, What is it? At the moment when we have no answer, we call this cutting off thinking, or don't know. Thus we return to the middle path and are no longer slaves to our emotions. In our life, we should rehearse continuously until nothing can bother us. Then you become free. At this point, you are the master. I would like to congratulate and thank Gye Mun Sunim (Ven. Chi Boon) for his perseverance and clear direction in founding Kwan Yin Chan Lin, offering us a place to return to the middle path, to practice the dharma and attain our true nature so that we can repay our country, our parents, our teachers and all beings. Gye Mun Sunim, thank you for your effort. You are great!