Zen koan

Hearing Sounds Through the Eyes, by Jisu Sunim

Sometimes people feel afraid because they don’t know what the teacher is talking about! `How we can face our own reality?’ But the teacher also has difficulty in getting the student’s discursive mind to understand what he is talking about. The best policy for the teacher, then, is to let practitioners continue with their practice, giving them time for some perspective to slowly come into focus. The most chronic disease for people who find it difficult to face reality is, indeed, this discursive mind…

Mu, by Maezumi Roshi

It’s not a matter of intellectually figuring out what mu is. To see muji you must put yourself completely into it until you are mu itself. Concentrate on muji until you and muji become one thing, and then keep on working.

We must not stay at the Zen of Words, by Haechun Sunim

We can say, ‘As yet, I do not know for myself, but the Buddha said this … And Bodhidharma said that… Let’s practice together in this way.’ This is fine! Who knows, the student may awaken before the teacher. In Buddhism, there is the saying: Although there might be a hierarchy according to who has entered the temple first, in awakening, there is no hierarchy, there is no line — it is according to our roots and our efforts.’

One Door by Kusan Sunim

Sometimes, while practising, it is as easy as pushing a boat over ice. At other times it is as difficult as trying to drag a cow to a well. Thus at times it goes well and at times it does not. However, when it is going well, do not be pleased. For then you will succumb to the demon of joy. And when it is not going well, do not be upset. For then you will succumb to the demon of sadness…

Life in a Korean Monastery, Jisu Sunim

At the beginning each practitioner is given a hua-tou, a kind of koan. For example: What is this? I-Mo-Ko? What is this? The idea is to concentrate your entire attention and mind on this one particular koan or hua-tou: What is this? What is this? What is this? It is different from vipassana meditation where the intention is to be aware and solely aware of what is going on. When you eat, you just acknowledge how that feels—approaching the spoon, touching the spoon, feeling the coolness of the handle, and so on. In koan meditation, however, your attention is single-pointedly directed to this question—What is this?—right now. Initially, it is very difficult to concentrate because all kinds of thinking comes up . . . comes up . . . comes up . . . like clouds, or smoke from a chimney…

Who are you? By Beopjeong

Don’t get distracted. Don’t look for the Buddha anywhere apart from your own mind. When you are a really free person, you hesitate nowhere when you are only “you and self.” Even when living in the common world, if you don’t become attached to or imbued with worldly things, you can become your true self…