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February 24, 2009


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I remember the first time I sat at Chogye Zen Center, the teacher kept repeating "No Big Deal," "Just Do It," and "How May I Help You?" I thought...bingo, bingo, and BINGO!

It was like a slot machine going off in my mind. Ding ding ding ding ding!

"How may I help you?" That's basically all I need to know on my path, really.

Molly Brown

Very nice, Barry. Thanks for this very sweet and direct post.


Barry, thank you very much! Truly wise words!

Thank you, Dharma friend


I just started reading your blog. Thank you for these wonderful posts. I am very much enjoying what you have to say, and finding direct relevance to practice.

On this post: do you take Zen Master Seung Sahn to be repeating himself in the first and second statements? When he says this is not a school of Samadhi, does he just mean this is not a school of feeling good? Or are these different statements? I only have a minimal understanding of the meaning of Samadhi, so I was slightly confused by what he said.

Of course, I couldn't be more happy by the third statement! Thank you again for the post.


I bow.

"With Great Question, the precepts no longer appear as rules for living but as tools of opening. I'm grateful for that."


Just Sitting

Seems to me that this simple statement makes a great vow! "How may I Help you?" Thanks for sharing this Barry!

Barry Briggs

Thank you, Alice. Seung Sahn Sunim used to say that if a person's direction ("how can I help") is clear, then their whole life is clear.

Thank you, Molly!

Thank you, Uku!

Thank you for reading Ox Herding, Kusa. The Zen master means that Korean Zen is not about cultivating any particular mental state - the clearness of samadhi or any other kind of state or feeling. Korean Zen is about keeping "how can I help?" mind in every moment. And that mind will change from moment to moment in an alive response to the constant change in our lives. I hope this helps!

Thank you, Pete! May we attain enlightenment together!

Thank *you,* Just Sitting!


Thank you for the response. It helps, indeed! Warm practice to you and all your readers!


Thanks for helping

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  • Zen teachers sometimes use the Ten Ox Herding Pictures to describe the path of awakening. Within this metaphorical framework, the ox symbolizes the secretive, unruly human mind.

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