Two powerful quotes from Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake

March 24, 2009

I’ve been reading the book Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake, a book of teachings by Zen Master Seung Sahn (ZMSS), edited by Hyon Gak Sunim, and a few lines from the chapter on his early life really hit me just now.

In the first part, ZMSS had just gone to a Buddhist monastery. He was given a copy of the Diamond Sutra, and as he read it, he read the words:

“All things that appear in this world are illusion. If you view all appearance as nonappearance, then you will see your true nature.”

In the book it is written, “He (ZMSS) said that he immediately felt a great burden lifted, a long discontent dropping away. He soon came to believe that all Buddhist teaching could be found in this one phrase.”

The next page of the book (p. 198) also has some words that hit me very strongly. When ZMSS was talking to an older monk about reading the Diamond Sutra, the older monk had this to say:

“True study of Buddhism is not concerned with learning more things. Buddhist study is about cutting off completely the mistaken notion of self. You must let go of all thinking. Only in this way can you attain your true self. Only forget your false notion of self.”

Both of these statements are very powerful for me. I’ve been troubled lately, switching back and forth between Zen and Yoga books like some sort of crazy person, but Zen, and Zen Master Seung Sahn in particular, really resonate strongly with me, including these two powerful verses.

back to the Tequila/Monk front page