Before Heaven and Earth separate
True nature completely bright.
Originally – nothing happening.
Spring comes, many flowers blooming.
– Zen Master Seung Sahn
I have been appreciating the smell of grass in the tent all weekend, so Soeng Hyang (Nature Smell) is a good name for me. When the Buddha gave transmission to Mahakashyapa he said, “I have the utmost profound exquisite teaching, a special transmission outside the dharma that I give to you, Mahakashyapa.” I thought that that was wonderful until I started studying with Zen Master Seung Sahn. One day he said “You know, Buddha made a big mistake when he gave that kind of transmission.” So I ask you, if you are the Buddha and you are holding up a flower, a stick, or anything, and your wonderful student who has been practicing for many many years looks at you and smiles, how would you give that student transmission?
Only don’t know. I can’t give you the answer.
I also have a short story. When we first moved to Cumberland, many people were worried because they were afraid we were some kind of bad cult. They were afraid of us. The local newspaper interviewed a neighbor down the street and asked what the people were like who moved in. The neighbor said, “I think they are OK. I only know one man, and he stopped to help me fix a flat tire.” Then the neighbor observed, “They must leave their religion at home.” So I hope that you all find your home – your true self – and leave your religion there. Thank you.