Thursday, March 25, 2010

what is it?

it is a simple rose
that blooms in spring
and brings with it
the beauty of this mysterious cosmos

it is a quiet moment
with your lover at night
when words aren’t necessary
and I love you is said without opening your mouth

it is a somber moment
of suffering and dis-ease
when your father tells you
that his illness is getting worse

it is a challenging moment
of confusion and then insight
when you face another problem
in your work-a-day life.

it is a comfortable moment
when you relax in the hot tub
and the bodily stress of
another day seems to melt away.

it is a moment of profound stillness
when the question permeates
the very core of your being
and there is only clear being there.

the profundity of life’s lessons
is in the simple ness of the answers
that come to us only when we are completely awake. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zen Master Cheon Kang Sunim

Dear Rev. Cheong On Sunim—

Homage to the Three Treasures. In memory of the great Zen Master, Cheon Kang Sunim, I fold my hands before the altar of the Three Treasures. The news that our great master has entered into Nirvana reached me through the Buddhist newspaper, and I would like to express my heartfelt grief and sadness. His original face, of course, is still there among the Blue Mountains and the White Clouds; furthermore, there is no life and death or even Nirvana, yet life is life, and death is death, and I feel greatly grieved. I feel all the more so because I cannot go and see the image of the great master who was particularly kind and loving to me throughout his lifetime. Far away in America, I look to the Eastern sky, with hands folded, with incense burning, in a deep meditation in behalf of him.

(We wish that you not forget your original vow, and return to the suffering world again as soon as possible, to find again enlightenment, the great work of life and death, and widely benefit all sentient beings.) Reverend Cheong On, you shall be busy giving 49th day and 100th day memorial services for him. Please give my best regards to all those in your temple. Buddhism in the U.S.A. is developing day by day. It is my great regret that I did not have the chance to invite our great master to the United States once.

Wishing an eternal bliss to our master again, and continuous efforts for greater achievements to you, I remain,

Seung Sahn

for Cheon Kang Sunim

In the great enlightenment
achieved by one word,
Many blue-eyed disciples originate.
In the hairs which grow on teeth,
Many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
die and disappear.
The Great Zen Master,
Cheon Kang Young Shin,
Where are you going?
Aigo, aigo, aigo.
I am weeping.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

for kwanjŏk

perceive stillness

in the
great brightness.
a sharp sword
of wisdom
kills and gives life.
the edge is honed
but keep it sharp
from this
wisdom peak
the journey home
is a long and tenuous trek.
stay in this moment
and don’t delude
your self.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Great Abbot

what is required
to see your way through?
a strong center
and only go straight
don’t know mind.
there is no doubt
that our abbot
the Buddhadharma,
he is forthright
and true.
just do it
is the way of the Buddha’s,
but Buddha
never had a wife;
he left that all behind,
so finding
husband mind,
and father
and student mind,
and teacher mind,
and mentor mind,
and therapist mind,
are all realms the Buddha
approved of,
yet did not endure.
our path on the Dao
isn’t as easy as a Monk’s,
so watch your step
and dance in the middle
of the fire.
three bows from
your teacher
on your magic forty.
an age younger than
your years,
and older than
time immemorial.
stop—and pay attention
to each fleeting moment
you give
and today
allow others
to shower you
with the recognition
you so deserve.