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Buddhadharma : Fall 2012
FALL 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 17 When we are mindful, we are conscious; we can see clearly. But often habits are so strong they catch us off guard and can mani- fest as a punch—punching our world, our reality. This is not always obvious, as habits can be hidden behind a smile or an appear- ance of politeness. A punch can even look quite sweet! So in our meditation practice we begin to see the details of our mind. We ask, what is happening right now? Am I at peace? Do I hate what is happening or not? Do I care for it or not? Do I wish to be somewhere else? Do I force myself to be here? These details are not always acknowledged, and yet this is the material of our practice. The Buddha said, “I teach for those who know and those who see.” They are very simple words, aren’t they? But for me it means a lot. If we don’t see our mind as it really is, there is nothing much we can do. FROM FOREST SANGHA NEWSLETTER, NO. 91, 2012 TO POLAND WITH LOVE Zen Master Bon Shim recalls her deep gratitude to the late Zen Master Seung Sahn, who brought hope to those living under the harsh conditions of communism. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been look- ing for some guidance, something that could help me understand my life and this scary world. Growing up in a Catholic family, my only choice had been to go to church almost every day to pray for some help. Finally, a friend of mine who knew I was looking des- perately for answers to my existential ques- tions told me that a great Korean Zen master was coming to Krakow and that I should go to the airport to greet him. I was very excited and could hardly wait, imagining what a great Zen master would be like. When the day finally came, I went to the airport to wait for him an hour before his flight arrived, holding a bunch of flowers. The Zen master appeared with eight American students, and at first I was disappointed because he looked ordinary, like any other Korean person. Only later, when we went to my friend’s house and he started talking, did I know I had just met my teacher. From then on, Zen Master Seung Sahn came every year to our country, which was still communist at the time. Life was very hard in Poland during the last years of com- munism, with martial law and no food in the shops, so Zen Master Seung Sahn’s visits were extremely important for Polish people. He gave us hope and helped us see things from a different perspective. The path to liberation had a deep meaning for us, living in an oppressed country, so our sangha grew quickly. We had so many peo- ple for retreats that we could hardly manage. Every time Zen Master Seung Sahn arrived, there was a public dharma talk. Once, six hundred people attended his talk. He also used to travel a lot, and any time students invited him, he didn’t hesitate—he just went there, gave a talk, and a new group appeared. Personally, I also benefited greatly from him on many levels. He would stay at my place whenever he came to Poland. It was inspiring to see him getting up at three o’clock every morning. My baby used to wake up around this time and would sometimes cry a lot. When Zen Master Seung Sahn noticed it, he did a beautiful ceremony for the baby. Every time he came, he looked at my little boy with his keen eyes. And when my older son was a teenager he had many teenage prob- lems, so once Zen Master Seung Sahn had a serious talk with him. I’ve never known what this talk was about, but since then my son has been getting up at 5 a.m. for morning practice. Our great teacher saved many lives. FROM PRIMARY POINT, SPRING 2012