- "Not attaching to the form is the beginning and the end of Buddhism" -|
I have never looked after myself. I came here 50 years ago and have
worked for the temple days and nights during those 50 years.
I am 88 years old now. Some people wondered why I have always worked so
hard. Some call me " the Working Tae Ko sunim."
I have worked for half of a century without starting nor ending nor
planing the work. The thought in my mind was a blue print and working
progress sheet. I have constructed with my mind. Whenever I gained money
I purchased the building materials, so I could continue the construction
without stopping for any reason.
Why have I constructed the temples without stopping?
Because I wanted to prepare a suitable school for the next generation.
I trusted that great enlightened persons should come through this school and
would. That`s why I have been building this school for such a long time.
I`ve never regretted my role as a construction worker. And I planted big cone
pine trees, as many as almost 5000 around the temple.
I became a monk when I was 13 years old. I wanted to see a great
man since I was young. That`s why I became a monk.
First I wanted to go to the Pack-Du-san mountains, but when I
arrived at the Kum Kang-san mountains, I was determined to stay at the
Maha yeon for the beautiful sight. Above all, there was the great master Su
Wol sunim. But unfortunately, I didn`t have a chance to see Su Wol sunim,
and I became a disciple of Muk un sunim. Muck un sunim and Su Wol
sunim worked hard when they were alive.
This is a story about Su Wol.
Once when Kum-Oh sunim went to see Su Wol, there were many visitors
crowded in the room, but Su Wol sunim was working outside.
My teacher reserved himself from speaking. He taught me by showing
his action directly. I sometimes wandered through some temples when I was
in the Kum Kang Mountains. Sometimes I stayed for several months in the
You Jum-sa temple or the Pub Wang-sa temple in the Myo Hang-san
After the Independence of our nation I came to Seoul.
After a few months I went back to the Maha yeon, but I decided not to live
there because of the communists. So I went to the South. First I visited
the Tae go-sa. I was surprised by the scene of the Tae go-sa, because it
looked just like the Kum Kang-san. And when the Korean war happened, the
Northern soldiers burnt the temple of Tae go.
I became the abbot of this temple at the same time. So I started to build
the temples to pay back the gratitude for Buddha.
If we are determine in our mind with good reason, and keep on going,
then we can reach good results.
Praying while keeping a strong mind is necessary.
The wise cook with rice. But the stupid cook with sand. The most
important thing is working with wisdom.
The good cause brings good results and the bad cause brings bad
results. The bad cause came from greed, anger and ignorance. When we
work hard we can remove the defilement and evil thoughts. The thinking
which says I exist is ignorance. From attaching this thinking makes three evil
thoughts and defilement.
Do not think that putting us down is meanness. As Buddhist
followers we should respect Buddha and let ourselves down.
Don`t neglect others. Keep in mind that we should let ourselves down. If we
attach to ourselves we can not help others, nor be generous. Awake from the
illusion and look at ourselves directly.
Study through all our lives and help the poor. It is very difficult to be
born as a human. Carry on everything that you say and reserve yourself
from speaking. My teacher`s name was Muk un (Silence). He sat silently
and watched the wall in the Maha yeon. I assisted him for 15 years.
Working hard is practicing zen, so I worked hard. Whenever I gained
some money I planted a cone pine tree or prepared the materials. Building
temples takes sincerity. But these days do not take as long as before to
build the temples. Big temples are built in only short times. Looking good
outside is not so important.
When I go out I never ride taxies, or spend money for lunch out. I`ve
never been to hospitals. I`ve never avoided the hard jobs. I`ve never chased
convenience and easiness. Difficulty itself is practicing.
translated by Y.J. Choi 3 November
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