More Dharma Talks

Sunim at the ocean in Long Island, NY
Dharma Talk at Columbia University, NYC
March 19th, 2002

After the beginning, everything became a mess.
Buddha and sentient beings wrestled in the mud.
God and sinners were all mixed up. So, I am not
asking about 'after the beginning.' Tell me something
about 'before the beginning.'

When nobody answered, Sunim replied:
Before the donkey was finished, the horse arrived.

When there is beginning,
There is no ending.
When there is no beginning,
There is ending.
When there is no beginning nor ending,
Sun sets in the West, Moon rises in the East.
Tak! Tak! Tak!
  (Sound of bamboo stick.)

(Sunim Concluded the Dharma Talk)

Buddha's Birthday Dharma Talk

The Buddha's Birthday -- why is it special?

Two thousand five hundred and forty-four years ago, when the World-Honored One was born in India, he looked around, walked seven steps in four directions, and pointing one finger to heaven and one to Earth, he roared out, "Above Heaven and below Heaven; only I am the most Honored."

When Venerable Master Wun-Mun (d. 949) heard this, he bellowed out: "If I were there, I would have beaten him to death, and fed him to the hungry dogs, to give peace to all the world."

Why did the Master say that? If you can bring a word to it, you would know what is the special meaning of Buddha's coming to this world. But if not, even though you are building thousands of temples and pagodas for the Buddha, it is only like respecting an idol of the devil, and you gain no benefit towards enlightenment. Buddha means Enlightenment. If somebody asks me, I would like to answer: "It was Easter a few days ago."

Everybody celebrates the Buddha's birthday.
But the Buddha said: "Never have I been born
nor have I died."
I asked the white clouds of the Sublime Summit,
"Which one is correct?"
They replied, "Today is the day the flowers
are blooming and the birds are singing."
Tak Tak Tak!
   (The sound of the Dharma Stick.)

The Four Snakes in the Garden

Dharma Talk by Z.M. Pohwa at World Culture Open,
George Washington University 6-1-2003

My body can not talk the Dhrama. Your body can not listen to the Dharma. Then, what is talking and listening to the Dharma? Where the old monkey whistles, there is wall after wall.

Tak! (The sound of bamboo stick)

This whole world is like the Garden of Eden where many beautiful flowers of living beings, natures, religions and ideologies are fully bloomed harmoniously. But there are snakes asking us, "Do something good for you. You should kill others to expose your truth is much better than theirs." There is not only one snake asking us to bite the apple of good and evil in everyday and every moment of our life.

There are exactly four snakes in this very Garden. Do you know what kind of snakes are they, where they are and from where they cheat us?

I tell you the snakes are nothing but our eyes, nose, tongue and ears. If we are cheated by those snakes, we abruptly become a prisoner, sinner, sentient-being or loser. We can not be free from fleshy affairs, karmas and delusions. We can not catch the truth which is very clearly located just in front of us. We are going to the cemetery directly. There are no other reasons of world war, crimes, political failures, personal mistakes and all kinds of other sufferings except that.

The concrete wall is not real prison. We should fix many part of our way of education for the new generations on that point. When I gave this Dharma talk to the prisoners, they really liked it too.

Where are you? Where are you coming from? What are you seeing, hearing, smelling and talking at this very moment? How can we answer all these questions without being cheated by the snakes?

In ancient China there was a place called Yon-Pong where, when the war was finished like Baghdad, Iraq the used swords were piled as high as mountains.

One day Master So-San (Su-Shan Kuang-Jen;837-909) came to the Venerable Master Too-Ja, who asked, “Where are you coming from?”
So-San, “I come from Yon-Pyong (Sword Mountain).”
Too-Ja, “Then did you bring your sword?”
So-San, ”Yes, I did.”
Too-Ja, immediately requested, “Show it to me, this old monk.”
So-San, with his finger, pointed at the ground in front of the master instead of answering with words.
Too-Ja, then abruptly left for his room.
That afternoon he called the attendant to bring So-San to have a cup of tea with him.
The attendant said, Master, after this morning’s event, he left immediately.”
Then Too-Ja sang a Gatha (Poem),
‘For the last thirty years enjoying the horseback riding. Today, fell from the horse back by the litter donkey.’

In this case, when the Master Too-Ja requested, ”Show it to me, this old monk," why did So-San instead point to the ground in front of the master?

Can anyone answer for it? (Silence)

If someone asks me, I would like to say it, "The cold wind passed by on the roof of Taj Ma-hal."

Tak! Tak!   (The sound of bamboo stick)

The great teaching of Buddha and the holy teaching of Jesus, are they the same, or different? If we say, "same", we lost Buddha and Jesus. If "different", we lost the one truth.

So I could say that it is neither different nor the same. But Mountain is mountain, River is river.

Tak, tak, tak!   (The sound of bamboo stick)

Sunim concluded the Dharma Talk.