He was eccentric and spent considerable time living alone in remote hermitages and also among lay people. In fact, for the last seven years of his life, he disappeared into the world of dust. He was the great-grandteacher of my root teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn.
He taught people in many ways and set out the following guidelines for Zen practitioners. May you find some benefit in these astringent words:
- Don't wish for perfect health. In perfect health there is greed and wanting. So an
ancient said, "Make good medicine from the suffering of sickness."
- Don't hope for a life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy
mind. So an ancient once said, "Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this
- Don't expect your practice to be always clear of obstacles. Without hindrances the mind
that seeks enlightenment may be burnt out. So an ancient once said, "Attain
deliverance in disturbances."
- Don't expect to practice hard and not experience the weird. Hard practice that evades
the unknown makes for a weak commitment. So an ancient once said, "Help hard practice
by befriending every demon."
- Don't expect to finish doing something easily. If you happen to acquire something easily
the will is made weaker. So an ancient once said, "Try again and again to complete
what you are doing."
- Make friends but don't expect any benefit for yourself. Friendship only for oneself
harms trust. So an ancient once said, "Have an enduring friendship with purity in
- Don't expect others to follow your direction. When it happens that others go along with
you, it results in pride. So an ancient once said, "Use your will to bring peace
- Expect no reward for an act of charity. Expecting something in return leads to a
scheming mind. So an ancient once said, "Throw false spirituality away like a pair of
- Don't seek profit over and above what your work is worth. Acquiring false profit makes a
fool (of oneself). So an ancient once said, "Be rich in honesty."
- Don't try to make clarity of mind with severe practice. Every mind comes to hate
severity, and where is clarity in mortification? So an ancient once said, "Clear a
passageway through severe practice."
- Be equal to every hindrance. Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment without hindrance. Seekers after truth are schooled in adversity. When they are confronted by a hindrance, they can't be overcome. Then, cutting free, their treasure is great.