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

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Family Karma  

From a talk at the Seoul International Zen Center

Question: Recently I saw a calligraphy of yours in the U.S. which said, "Freedom from family karma." What does this mean? Why is this important?

Zen Master Seung Sahn: The basis of the family is emotion. Emotional connections make the family. But, emotion and love are different. Emotion means opposites feeling: like/dislike, good/bad, mine/yours. Love means there are no opposites--only giving, giving, giving--always giving.

Understanding is in our head; emotions are in the heart. Our center--the tantien--is just below the navel. If you keep all your energy there, then you can digest your understanding and your emotions. Emotions are then changed into great love and great compassion. Also, your understanding then becomes wisdom. So, when your center becomes strong you can control your feelings, your condition, and your situation. When these become clear, then our true job appears: help all beings. That's the great bodhisattva way.


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