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Dharma Talks : The Kwan Um School of Zen and Providence Zen Center

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Where Does the True Buddha Dwell?  

Zen Master Ku San wrote to Ven. Duk Sahn as follows:

Once Zen Master Ang Sang asked Zen Master Wi San Yungwoo, 'Where does the true Buddha dwell?'

Wi San answered, 'When origination and matter come together, they become light. This light is emptiness and this 'empty' is 'full'. When all phenomena, extinguished, return to the origin, then nature and form become clear. Origination is origination; matter is matter. only like this - this is the true Buddha."

At this remark, Ang San was suddenly enlightened.

Now, Duk Sahn, what is your view?

Ven. Duk Sahn wrote in reply as follows:

It is said that there is no place of abode of mind. Duk Sahn, the general of the guards keeping the gate of Sambosa on Robin mountain, has also no place of abode and no view.

Regarding the dialogue between Ven. Ang San and Ven. Wi San, I give them both thirty blows and give the bodies to a hungry dog.

Zen Master Ku San wrote again as a reply:

In your letter you mentioned that you are a general of the guards who keeps the gate, and so on - but In True Emptiness, there is no entry and no exit. So what do you guard?

And, you said that you hit Ang San and Wi San thirty times. Please give me an answer that is before words. You give them thirty blows. To whom do you give them?

At this Ven. Duk Sahn wrote to Zen Master Seung Sahn:

Ven. Seung Sahn, how should I answer the questions? I look forward to your kind instructions.

Zen Master Seung Sahn answered Zen Master Ku San:

The sword of the general who keeps the gate at Robin mountain kills Buddhas when it meets them, and kills patriarchs when it meets them, as well. If Ven. Ku San opens his mouth here, he too shall have no way of escape from being killed by the pitiless sword.

Regarding the second question, the thirty blows are given to Ang San and Wi Ran, why do you carry these thirty blows around on your own back?


The sky is blue and the ground is yellow.

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     YMJJ Dialogue - January '74
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