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Lions Roar : May 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 76 Shoot the Buddha! After a dharma talk at the Cambridge Zen Center, a young woman said to Zen Master Seung Sahn, “Tomorrow is my son’s birthday, and he told me he wants either a toy gun or money. But I have a problem: as a Zen student, I want to teach him not to hurt or crave things. So I don’t want to give him a toy gun or money.” Seung Sahn replied, “A toy gun is necessary! [Laughter from the audience.] If you give him money, he will only go out and buy a toy gun. [Laughter.] Today a few of us went to see a movie called Cobra, starring Sylvester Stallone. Do you know this movie? A very simple story: good guy versus bad guys. Other movies are very complicated, you know? But this movie had only two things: bad and good. Bad. Good. A very simple story. “Your son wants a toy gun. You think that that is not so good. But instead, you should view the problem as: How do you use this correctly? Don’t make good or bad: how do you teach the correct function of this gun, OK? That’s very important—more important than just having a gun or not. If you use this gun correctly, you can help many people, but if it is not used correctly, then maybe you will kill yourself, kill your country, kill other people. So the gun itself is originally not good, not bad. More important is: what is the correct function of this gun? “So you must teach your son: if Buddha appears, kill! If the eminent teachers appear, kill! If a Zen master appears, you must kill! If demons appear, kill! If anything appears, you must kill anything, OK? [Laughter.] Then you will become Buddha! [Much laughter.] So you must teach your son in this way. The gun itself is not good or bad, good or bad. These are only names. Most important is, why do you do something: only for ‘me,’ or for all beings? That is the most important point to consider.” Crazy Mind After a Dharma talk at the Cambridge Zen Center, a student asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “Is there such a thing as a clean mind?” “If you have mind, then you must clean your mind. If you have no mind, cleaning is not necessary. So I ask you, do you have a mind?” “Do I?” “Do you?” “Yes, I do.” “Where is it?” The student looked puzzled for a moment. “Where is it?” “Yes, where is it? How big is your mind?” “Uhhh ...” “This much [holding arms open wide] or this much [narrowing them together]?” The student tilted his head back and stretched his arms open wide. “This much right now.” “Ooohh, only that? That’s very small! [Much laughter from the assembly.] That’s not your original mind. Originally, your mind is the whole universe; the whole universe and your mind are the same. Why do you make just ‘this much’? So that is a problem. Since you make ‘this-much’ mind, now you must dry-clean your mind. Use don’t-know soap. If you clean, clean, clean your mind, it will become bigger, bigger, and bigger—as big as the whole universe. But if there is any taint, it becomes smaller, smaller, smaller. But actually, you have no mind, I think.” “You think I have no mind?” “Yes, no mind.” The student was silent. “You don’t understand, yah? Do you have mind?” “Well, I don’t understand a lot of ... I don’t understand a lot ... umm ... I ...” [Laughter.] “The Sixth Patriarch said, ‘Originally nothing: where can dust alight?’ So maybe you have no mind.” After a long silence, the student brightened a bit. “OK, you talk about right livelihood, you talk about having monk karma and wanting to practice Zen ... umm ... and my question is ... not to live in a Zen center ... to live in the world it’s very difficult to practice, umm ... to coincide practice and livelihood, umm .... So the mind that meets the mind that’s conflicted is the mind I’m speaking with ... from ... umm ...” “Yah, your mind is a strange mind,” Seung Sahn said. “A strange mind?” “Yah, strange mind. Nowadays everybody has a strange mind, because inside it’s not correct, not meticulous, not clear. This strange mind is like an animal’s mind, not really a human being’s mind. It is maybe eighty percent animal mind, twenty percent human mind. So that is strange, that’s crazy. Nowadays there are many, many crazy people. But everybody Zen teaches that if you have mind, you have a problem. If you don’t have mind, then everything is no hindrance. Your mind makes something, and something hinders you. So don’t make anything!