Dharma Exchange

See some of Master Pohwa's Dharma talks at You Tube .


A Korean temple abbot asked his Sangha chef, "Can we start lunch now?". Sunim said, "No, you can't." The abbott asked, "Then, what are we going to do now?" Sunim said, "Start lunch."


An Albuquerque Sangha member Ennio said, "the Bible says that if you knock on the door, it will be opened." Ennio then asked Sunim, "How can you knock on the door?" Sunim answered, "Hurry in."


After a Georgetown University meditation session, as we were walking to the gate, Ann, a campus chaplain, pointed to a statue and said, "That gentleman founded Georgetown University. Sunim, could you thank him for giving us the opportunity to meditate at this beautiful campus." Sunim said, "You are so welcome"


While John, a member of BZC, was driving, he asked Sunim, "How do you teach colors to the blind?"
Sunim replied, "Do not run the red light."

(John just missed driving through the red light while a police car was parked right in front of him.)


At a Zen lecture given to the Asian community in Virginia, a gentleman asked Sunim, " Why do you live?"
Sunim said, "From where did you see my living?"


During a Zen session at Innerfaith Zen Community, NYC, Arvind asked Sunim, "What can you speak about love?"
Sunim: "Thou Saidst."


Sunim asked a working Hindu monk, "Isn't it so hard?"
The monk said, "It's not, because I am not working at all but my God Vishnu works all day long for me."
Sunim immediately pinched his arm and asked, "Are you hurting or is your God hurting?"
The monk thought for a while and said, "My God hurts."
Sunim said, "Ask me."
The monk pinched Sunim and asked same question.
Sunim replied loudly, "Ouch Ouch!."


A Mahayana Buddhist monk asked Sunim at a Buddhist event, "I have 18 monk disciples. How many disciples do you have?"
Sunim replied, "Four disciples are not dull."
“Where are are they?”
“Eyes, nose, tongue and ears.”

Dharma Stick I

At a evening Zen class in Baltimore Zen Center member Hyun-Von asked Sunim, "Do not call THAT a dharma stick, nor call THAT a dharma stick. Then, what do you want to call it?"

Sunim hit her with dharma stick.

Dharma Stick II

Mu-Ah, a member of PZS in NYC, asked, "Do not call THIS a dharma stick, nor call THIS a dharma stick. Then, what do you want to call it?"

Sunim replied, "A blind turtle met a piece of wood."


At a Zen class member Chris Paul asked Sunim, "In the graveyard, where can I find my tombstone?"

Sunim replied, "It's written."

Tower of Babel

At Baltimore Zen center, member Hyun-Von asked Sunim, "Not even a thought has arisen, is there still a sin or not?"

Sunim replied, "Tower of Babel!"

Already Understand

A member from NYC, said , "You already understand, Sunim."
Sunim replied, "I am so proud of you."

He bowed to Sunim.
Sunim hit him with his dharma stick.

Coming to US

A student asked Sunim," Sunim why did you come to the US?"

Sunim said, "Do you have anything more to declare?"
Later, the student asked again, 'I have meditated with your answer many days, Sunim.
But still I don't get it.
Why did you answer on that way?"
Sunim responded at once: "Welcome to the US."
The student got awakened.

Three Times Three is Ten

A member, Charles, who is a pro-golfer, asked Sunim while the class was drinking tea, "If nobody saw the biggest one, and nobody saw the smallest one, then what size is this? (presents tea cup)

Sunim said, "Three times three is ten."

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

A member, One-Ear (George), asked Sunim, "What is the sound of one-hand-clapping?"
Sunim replied, "The wall has thousand ears."


Mr. T, visiting from another Sangha asked:
"Can you answer,? what is your teacher's background?"
Sunim answered: "Lemonade comes from lemons."
Mr. T said: "Thirsty people will suck lemons and think it's lemonade."
Sunim responded: "You have a very interesting background."

A Real Golfer

At the Phoenix Zen Sangha, a member, Sung-man, said, "I canceled all golf schedules today when I heard you were coming here, Master."
Sunim said, "You are a man who plays real golf." The Grand Master laughed.

Real or Illusion?

At an interview, Kum Ryong (Jon Powell) asked: "Sunim, one day you said it is real when you hit the floor with the staff.? On another day, you said it was an illusion when you hit the floor with the staff.? Is it real or is it an illusion?"
Sunim said: "It is not illusion nor real."
Kum Ryong asked again, "Then, what is it?"
Then Sunim hit the floor with his staff two times.

Buddhism in One Sentence

At another recent interview, Tae Woo (Alison Hudson) said to Sunim, "In Shunryu Suzuki's biography, A Crooked Cucumber, a long-time, but still confused student asked Suzuki: 'Please explain Buddhism in one sentence.'? Suzuki replied: 'Everything changes.'"
Sunim said, "I would not have answered that way."
Tae Woo asked Sunim, "Please explain Buddhism in one sentence."
Sunim replied, "Period."

Call Me By My True Name

At Dharma meeting, on King Street, Old Town Alexandria, VA, a visitor from other Sangha asked Sunim, "Call me by my true name."
Sunim said, "Call me by my true name!"


After a Dharma talk at Columbia University, a student asked Sunim, "Do you like New York City?"
Sunim replied, "Yes, I like the Big Apple very much."
The student said, "What are you expecting to do in the City?"
Sunim abruptly held out his empty hand to the student.

Zen Master

Bub Ihn (Adrian Contee) asked Sunim;"Sunim, my friend asked me how he can become a Zen Master. How should I answer him?"
Sunim said, "Tell him to make a business card."
Everybody laughed.

Heart's Respect

A member of the Phoenix Sangha asked, "Sunim, you are a great, great Master and I respect you with all of my heart."
Sunim said, "Come down from there."

In the Airplane

In the airplane, traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles, Sunim pointed with his finger to smoke on the Earth outside the window and said to the Grand Master Mo-Fung, "Baking coals in the Southern Mountain!"
The Master replied immediately, "Scattering ashes in the Northern Mountain!"
Sunim bowed to his Master.
The Master patted Sunim on the shoulder.

Where are you coming from?

At the Phoenix Zen Sangha, Sunim was coming from outside, when the Grand Master Mo-Fung asked, "Originally there is no coming nor going, where are you coming from?"
Sunim replied, "I am coming from where there is originally no coming nor going."

No Mouth

Sunim asked, "Buddha-nature has no mouth. By what means do you talk?"
Then answered himself, "Have some cookies."

Zen Books

Dae-Oh (Jason Bullock) asked Sunim, " What Zen books do you recommend for real Zen practice?"
Sunim answered, "Page by page, meaning is very clear."


A visitor asked Sunim, "I heard that Zen Masters beat their students. Do you beat people too?"
Sunim said, "I am not beating a corpse."

A Son

An elder member, Ken, said, "Sunim is my son."
Sunim replied, "That's right. Because I gave birth to you."

What is Zen?

Korean Monk Mok-Woo visited the Sangha and said, "Sunim, you speak about Zen; but when you say Zen, it is not Zen already." Sunim said, "What is it then?" Mok-Woo replied after a while, "I don't know." Sunim said, "You are Mok-Woo. Don't forget it."

Hair Grows on Front Teeth

Bruce, a Sangha member, now based in Iraq asked, "Sunim, I remember that you once said, 'When Spring comes, grass grows naturally'. But what about in the desert, where there’s no grass, rain, or fun?" Sunim replied, "Hair grows on front teeth."