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

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The Samadhi of Coolness  

Excerpt from a letter to a student in our school.

February 11, 1982

Dear Bruce,

You wrote to me about the samadhi of coolness -- coolness of detachment and emptiness. You must be very careful. If you have detachment, you have attachment. If you have emptiness, you have fullness. If you sit on your cushion and have even a second's thought about struggling towards the emptiness beneath the fiery universe of greed and desire, you are already lost. You are lost in the dead realm of opposites. How can you keep your mind present and alive?

Once, when Soen Sa Nim was explaining to someone how to sit, he said something that I found extremely helpful. He said imagine that you have lost your only set of car keys and you have to get somewhere very desperately. Just at that time your mind is totally focused on trying to find those car keys. You don't stop and think about the nature of car keys, or about where they originally came from; nor do you stop and read books about what other people have done when they have lost something that they need very badly. You also don't try to feel detached or empty about the keys. You only look for them! Where are my keys? Where are my keys?

So again I must tell you that I can't accept your answers. You are very lucky that you have such a dilemma. Where is your mistake? What can you do? Drop the particular situations in both kong-ans and try to keep a mind that just doesn't know.

Thank you for your struggle.

Sincerely,

Bobby


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     king a Complete Effort
     The Mustard Seed
     The One Necessary Ingredient
     The Samadhi of Coolness
     Sincere & Consistent Effort
     A Thousand Eyes, a Thousand Hands
     Transmission Speech
     Unfolding Seasons
     What is Checking?
     ''What is this Seed?"
     Why Can't I? How Can I?
     Zen at the Bank
  Zen Master Dae Kwang
     Become One
     Big Suffering
     Bomb Enlightenment
     Buddha's Birthday Poem
     The Cannon and the Shout
     Common Ground - A discussion with Zen Master Dae Kwang and Father Kevin Hunt
     Dharma LOTTO

 
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