Theme Photo

Su Bong Zen Monastery and Gaksu International Zen Center provide Zen training according to the teaching and guidelines of Zen Master Seung Sahn, the 78th patriarch of Zen from his lineage of Korean masters. As part of the international Kwan Um School of Zen, the heart of our teaching is in the daily practice, retreat programs and together action. Students and visitors eat together, work together and meditate together - gradually attaining a clear and compassionate mind from moment to moment, and are able to help all beings.

In Zen, formal practice consists of sitting meditation, bowing, chanting and kong-an interviews. These forms are used as techniques to perceive our before-thinking mind, our don’t know mind. With practice, we are able to use our Zen training to attain wisdom and compassion, to use them in our everyday life situations to attain correct situation, correct relationship and correct function moment to moment.

Zen Tools

Zen Tools

Someone asked: "What is your teaching?"

Zen Master Seung Sahn replied: "Right now who is asking the question?"

How do you find the master of who is speaking right now?

Zen Master Seung Sahn Zen Master Seung Sahn
The followings are the tools that Zen Master Seung Sahn used to open his students' mind.
Help us cut off our thinking. Checking mind cannot give us a peace of mind, if we cannot attain the inner balance, we cannot see our true nature. Meaning don't attach to good and bad.
If you cannot skillfully work on "Don't check", try not to attach to it, if you continue trying, slowly you will not be controlled by the outside situation.
Why do we have to put it all down? It is because if we have "I", "mine", "me", there will be hindrances and obstacles. Therefore, to put it all down is a way to set ourselves free from suffering and see into our true nature.
Primary point is to return to the before thinking mind.
At this point, your before thinking mind, and my before thinking mind are the same, which means return to our original substance.

Zen Master Seung Sahn said, "If you sincerely asked 'What Am I?' all your thinking will come to a blind end, don’t know will appear." This don't know mind already help us to cut off all thinking. Your before thinking is your substance. An eminent teacher once said, "If you enter this Zen gate, don't give rise to thinking." So 'Don't Know' is not don’t know. If you practice until this 'don't know' is clear, you will see your true nature. With this mind you can perceive all dharma as they truly are and will not be tainted by bad or good. If you use it in your daily life you will be free without hindrance.

When you are doing something, just do it. What does that mean?
The Sixth Patriarch once said: "One who recites the Sutra with his tongue and puts its teaching into actual practice with this mind turns around the Sutra", if you just recite the sutra without putting into practice, then it is not "Just do it".

When you attain this point, the form will not control you nor you will attach to emptiness.

Whenever the students attached to good and bad, Zen Master Seung Sahn would hit the student: "Don't make anything."

"When the occasion requires us to use our sense organs but the concept of "using" does not arise. One can distinguish between all Dharmas, but the idea of "distinction" does not arise." This is what it means by "Don't make anything".

When you have the correct direction, don't doubt about it, just do it, and don't ask for the rewards. Therefore, "Go Straight" aligned with the quality of putting your words into action.

Zen Master Seung Sahn not only teaches us "clear mind and find our true self". To find our true self is only the beginning of our practice. When we attain our substance, then everything we see is the truth. Understanding Truth is not enough, how can we function the truth and make correct life? This is correct situation, correct relationship and correct function.

Correct life is to do our job, be responsible for what we do, be sincere to others, and to be clear with the roles in relationship with others. Respect our parents and the seniors, and kind to others. This is how we get along with others in Zen. Therefore, everyday mind Zen and Zen is everyday life.

Click to Enlarge
Zen Circle
Poem by Zen Master Seung Sahn:
Very soft is true strength. With harmony comes luck. Goodness brings you virtue. Follow situation then get happiness. Forbearance will make you a great man. Very soft is true strength. With harmony comes luck. Goodness brings you virtue. Follow situation then get happiness. Forbearance will make you a great man.