Dharma Talk to Complete 7-day Buddha’s Enlightenment Day Retreat Su Bong Zen Monastery, Hong Kong, January, 2016 (Excerpt)_ Andrzej Stec JDPSN
Studying Buddhism is studying yourself. What are you? Did you have a chance to look at yourself tonight? Or were you too tired? (Laughter from the audience)
What are you? (Silence) Don’t know. Studying ourselves is, keeping don’t know. If you keep don’t know, you will forget about yourself. Thinking becomes less. Your mind becomes clearer, clearer, and then Boom! Wisdom comes back. You are Buddha. Everything is truth. You are truth, and you are the proof.
What is missing right now? You still don’t believe in yourself? Do you still need somebody to tell you? Why is that? Why do you have to listen to somebody like me? Do you really need a teacher?
Zen means becoming completely independent. It does not depend on Buddha or Zen masters, or even meditation. If we depend on something, we make something important. We give away our power. Then Buddha controls us, teacher controls us, politicians control us, boss controls us, wife or husband controls us or money controls us. We are not free. Why? Because we still don’t believe that we are perfectly fine. If these seven days and last night (all night sitting) were not enough proof for you, then I’m afraid you have to do it more often.
Long time ago when I was living in Korea at Hwa Gye Sa, there was a group of lay women. Every Saturday they would do what we did tonight. They didn't dim the lights though, instead they were brightly left on. It means you have light in your eyes so you don’t fall asleep. They were not sitting 30 minutes and walking 15 minutes like we did tonight. They were sitting one hour sessions, starting at 9 p.m. and finishing at 6 a.m. They also had interviews with Zen Master Seung Sahn. Then they would go home and cook breakfast for their family like every Korean wife. After that, they would take care of the whole family the entire Sunday. Their kong-an practice was extremely sharp. That’s because their lives and practice were not two separate things.
What is the proof really?
We may think when we come here and sit, that our Zen practice is great. What about when we get up from the cushion and go into the world again? I often say to everybody, not to tell anyone that you are practicing - just keep it to yourself. Don’t call yourself an expert. Don’t talk about Buddha Dharma if you don’t understand it. If we say “I’m practicing”, we better prove it with our life. In the end, there is only one thing – do we deliver or not? Talk is cheap, plans are easy to make. What really counts is execution. Did you deliver? Did you put the food on the table? Did you pay off your debts? Did you get hired? Are you in a bad relationship? Are you always fighting? You cannot make a harmonious marriage? Or maybe your children don’t feel loved? And then we say we are practicing Buddha Dharma? Better not say it.
This training today was only about one thing and we should be really proud of it; that we decided something and we delivered it. Now our center is stronger. It was difficult, but we did it. The point is, don’t lose this momentum.