Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mind to mine?

Last week I was working on a very important koan, "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha," with my teacher Rev. Paul Lynch. It was a very humbling process, as there are many layers to the case. The next day I was preparing to meditate when I spotted a picture of Zen Master Seung Sahn, my teacher's teacher, and the one who developed the Dropping Ashes koan.

I was immediately struck with a visceral connection to him. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was filled with extreme reverence for this man who had journeyed across oceans to a foreign land that spoke a foreign tongue.

Here I was standing in my Dharma room, years after his death, decades after he first journeyed to the West, practicing the Dharma that he had so carefully and gently transplanted  from Korea. It was a tangible insight into Indra's Net and the interconnected nature of the universe: a Korean monk attains his true nature half of a century ago and then an American practices that same Dharma in New Jersey fifty years later. It's breathtaking.

But it was also more than that.

There was no gap between Seung Sahn and me. To say that he and I were one would be to miss the mark, because "one" invites "two" and that wasn't the case at all. Seung Sahn, me, the Dharma, were we the same or different? Same, different, these are ideas; and at that moment, the reality of the moment needed no--or defied--categorization.

Was it a mind to mind transmission? A glimpse of Tathata, suchness?

Open mouth already a mistake.

It was remarkable, that's all I can or will say, a moment I will never forget, for I have never felt closer to my Dharma heritage.

Thank you, Rev. Lynch for sharing this precious Dharma with me. I hope to continue your and Seung Sahn's Dharma legacy to save all beings.

Photo taken from Sweeping Zen.


  1. What a touching story, and very thought-provoking as well. Thank you so much for sharing.