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

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Kill or Not Kill - That's a Big Question  

Dear Bobby,

I am writing with many questions, and also bringing greetings however! First, my questions...

I've been confronted with the problem of what course of action to take in the event of a military draft or a war: to fight or not to, which comes down to killing or not killing.

Killing is O.K. with me, and so is not killing. If a man wanted to kill all beings, and the only way I could stop him was to kill him, I would kill for all beings. So, if for example the Soviets invaded another country and harassed and murdered as they've done, I would not hesitate to stop the Soviets, killing some soldiers to save the whole Afghan people, or Polish people, or whatever, if this was the only way. Similarly, if our country started victimizing another country like we did in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to use any means to stop that abuse.

Bobby, is this delusion? What comments and suggestions have you? I guess I am confused as to how I may best serve all people.

Many months ago you asked me, "How old are you?" My answer: "LOOK AT YOUR WRISTWATCH!"

Trying to hit Saturn with a toothpick?

I eagerly await your reply! I hope to come to Yong Maeng Jong Jin this Spring, and do hard training!

Hapchang,

John


December 20, 1980

Dear John,

It was nice to hear from you again. How are you? Thanks for your letter.

You asked me about how to make important decisions in your life. Kill or not kill -- that's a big question! There's something I've been learning about questions: whether they are big or small, philosophical or concrete, important or unimportant, they are all very easy to answer if your life's direction is clear.

So, John, I ask you, why are you alive? What is the purpose of your life? You said that if you had to, you would kill for all beings. Killing for all beings is O.K., but there is something else you must do first. you must kill yourself to save all beings from any kind of suffering. How can you kill yourself? How can you completely understand your true self and end the life of delusive "I" that prevents you from being able to answer all of life's questions?

You must find out how to understand your true self. This week at the Zen Center we had a seven-day Yong Maeng Jong Jin. It was a very wonderful and strong retreat. Everyone was supporting each other and there were Dharma Talks that answered all questions as completely as possible in the realm of speech. I hope you will soon have more time to formalize your practice. I think that will help you very much.

In the meantime, join the Army if you believe in the causes you will be fighting for. If you don't believe in the causes, stay home and fight for a cause you believe in. In other words, do not be lazy. Pay attention to life, and try to help other people as well as you can.

I asked you how old you were, and you told me to look at my wristwatch. I didn't ask .you for the time! Zen is only keeping a clear mind. Ask your clear mind, and maybe next time you can give me a better answer.

I hope to see you soon. Have a nice Christmas vacation.

Sincerely,

Bobby


                        Prev Next    
     Gilding The Lily
     Inka Speech
     It's OK to Let Go - A hospice experience
     Kill or Not Kill - That's a Big Question
     Kill Your Eyes - Zen Master Seung Sahn
     A Kong-An is Nothing Other than the Present Moment
     Kong-Ans
     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

 
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