The other day, the Providence Zen Center blog posted the wonderful teaching below. It reminded me that if our life direction is clear, then conditions and situations (snarkiness, illness, death) present no hindrance.
This struck me as good teaching for the holiday season.
In those last days of his life, Zen Master Seung Sahn was in the hospital and in a great deal of pain. Dae Kwan Sunim [a dharma heir and teacher at the Zen center in Hong Kong] was with him and asked if the teacher would give his pain to her.
"No, no, no, no! It's enough only I experience this. Never give to you . . . only I keep!"
Dae Kwan Sunim insisted, but Zen Master Seung Sahn said, "My pain is very expensive!"
"How much, sir?" she ased him. "We will buy it from you."
"My pain is so expensive, you cannot buy it!" Zen Master Seung Sahn replied.
Dae Kwan Sunim leaned into his ear and said, "Then maybe I will sell the Su Bong Zen Monastery, gets lots of money and give it to you. Then you give us your pain!"
There was a moment of silence.
Dae Kwan Sunim continued, "If we give you all this money, then what will you do with it?"
Zen Master Seung Sahn replied, "I take your money, then rent another Zen center, save all beings from suffering!"
At these words, everyone burst out laughing. Then he said, "That's not a bad business deal, yah?"