(Zen Master Dae Bong about practice)
In Zen, meditation is not special. It is not separate from everyday life. When you’re doing something, just do it. But that’s very hard for people to do, so we have very simple forms of the formal meditation, sitting, bowing, chanting. Then we use these simple forms to take away our karma, then finally, when we’re doing something, we can just do it. Then our meditation and our everyday life aren’t separate. Then our whole life becomes spiritual practice. So, in this world, many people understand the word meditation, but they think it’s something special, and don’t understand true and correct meditation. That is why Zen teaching is very wonderful, very clear.
The purpose of form is to help us put down our opinion, to help us put down our opinion and attain original mind. Anything we do in life has some form.
So, by making a simple form and simply doing it together, it gives us a chance to see our opinion moment to moment, put it all down, then suddenly attain our original mind, which is open, wide, and free. Most people who like freedom, especially in America, are attached to freedom, and they’re not really free. When they’re in a structured situation, their like and dislike mind appears and they can’t follow the situation. But if you’re really free, that means that you’re also free from your likes and dislikes. Even if you have likes and dislikes, you’re not controlled by them. So it’s possible to follow any kind of form to help others. So the first purpose of form is to help us put down my opinion and attain original mind.
Next purpose is to help us function together harmoniously. Zen Master Seung Sahn often said, “follow the situation, then get happiness.” So in each situation, our teaching is always to follow the situation. If you go to a Tibetan temple, practice Tibetan style. If you visit a Japanese temple, follow the Japanese style. If you come to a Kwan Um School of Zen temple, then follow the Kwan Um School of Zen style. If you learn this way and can live this way, then in any situation you can make harmony, and also you can put down your opinion and attain original mind and get wisdom and be of great help to people. This means keeping our great direction.
Correct Direction & Try Mind
Zen Master Seung Sahn often said that in practicing, two things are very important: correct direction and try mind. Correct direction means wanting to find our true nature and save all beings from suffering. Try mind means doing whatever you are doing, no matter what. Just do it, just try. One day he said, “If you have try-mind and correct direction, then you have correct practicing. Then one day you realize, try mind and correct direction is Enlightenment.” So correct direction we can get from our Dharma teachers, it can be pointed out to us by our dharma teachers, by our Zen Master. But try mind, only we can provide. So it’s very important for everybody to try.
Zen Master Dae Bong, a Zen monk, received dharma transmission in April 1999. He began practicing with Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1977 and became a monk in 1984. Before studying Zen, he worked as a counselor in a hospital and as a welder in a shipyard. He has practiced and taught extensively in Zen Centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is currently living at Mu Sang Sa, Kye Ryong Sahn International Center in Korea.