Mowa Dharmy

Mistrz Ilta Sunim

"Looking Back on our life we can understand that cause & Effect are clear"

Brief History

  • He was born Kong Ju in Chun Ahan, 1929
  • He became a monk by the teaching of Ko Kyung at Tong do-sa temple, 1942
  • He graduated the Master course of Tong do-sa monks` college, 1949
  • He became the abbot of Hae In-sa temple, 1983
  • He has been the teacher of Precept Transmitter in the Chogye Order from 1993
  • He is present precept master of Hae In Monastery, and a member of th senior Committee of the Chogye Order.

He wrote the book "The precept of Samini" "Pray" "How to pray in daily life"
"Offering the Dharma"

The endless blue sky
Rain falls from the clouds
In the empty mountains
The stream flow with flowers blossom

It was well known that 41 people became monks from my family. The relation between Buddhism and my family started with my great grand mother. She had three sons, who worked for the family willow business. The Japanese willow machine made good money for the domestic economy. Every months they divided all the income, she took one-fourth of it, and among the rest, the son who attended her best last month would take more. Because all the sons wanted to let their mother stay in their homes, all the neighbors envied their good family relationship.

She was very content with her sons. One day a Buddhist nun came begging and said to her, "Attaching to home business too much will make bad karma." My grandma was surprised by her saying this and , begged her to say how to avoid the bad karma following her as for as 3 miles. The nun stayed at her house one night without speaking, and at last said, "If you want to avoid the bad Karma, don`t be proud of your sons in front of your neighbors and instead, do mantra practicing, "Namu Amitabul" as many times as you can. So she did this for 30 years until she died. So when her consciousness became clear she received magic power , and saw everything. One day she said "Prepare water instead of working." There was a fire on that day but they could escape.

When my mother became old enough to get married, she said to my grandfather "Go to the north as far as 12 km then you will find a young man named Kim. He will be your daughter`s good husband".

After she died, there was a light around the house for 7 days and that`s why all of my family was determined to become monks. My mother was as sincere a buddhist as my grandmother. My father was also sincere in Buddhism. They went to Man Kong zen master and received a writing "Everything comes from one thing, where does it come from?"

They put this writing on the wall to sit with this kongan. They moved this writing on their side of the wall when they went to sleep. They might be good dharma friends before life. I was accustomed to Buddhism since I was young. My uncle graduated Maichi University in Japan, he used to say to me "Everything comes from the mind."

I carved it on the board and recited it everyday. One time I fell down and hurt my knee, I meditated it by heart, and the pain disappeared. After becoming a monk, I practiced with fasting and got some mysterious experience, and the strength to concentrate.

If you do mantra practicing, fast or vowing then you can clean your bad karma by what you have done before.
It`s nice that daily life would be a prayer itself. Every moment we should keep a praying mind and sincerely pay attentions to whoever we meet and whatever we do. Even in the case when we meet a person who we dislike, if we pray for him, then we don`t need spare time to pray.
I learned the "The great mantra and Chunsu Kyung" from my uncle. Once I recited in front of my friends at the picnic while dancing, they laughed. So my nickname was sunim (Monk).

When I was 14 years old, my father became a monk under the Man kong zen master`s teaching, and I went to Tong do-sa in Yang san and became one of Ko Kyung sunim`s disciples. Ko Kyung sunim became the Sutra master in Tong do-sa at the age of 26. But he did many odd jobs like cooking and washing clothes by himself, so visitors misunderstood him; as an attendant asked him where Ko Kyung sunim was. He took care of his mother after she became old. After sixty, he cooked for her in her eighties by himself. His mother also, did mantra practicing for a long time. She passed very comfortably.
He was just like a clean mirror.
Once I was called to the government office. They asked me if there was an article to prevent monks to marry. As for the commandments, if the precept of sensual appetite is broken, then it is just the same as breaking the rock(crag). If the precept of a false remark is broken, then it is just same as cutting the head. Breaking the precepts makes it useless, just the same as needles without eyes. Occasionally I was called to be asked about the commandments. So I was determined to go to the O Dai mountains to practice hard. I burnt my fingers to make my heart strong. One day I saw a cloud in the sky. I felt that my body was impermanent and shapeless just like the cloud.

With this thought, I burnt my right hand after vowing 3,000 times everyday for 7 days. Then I went into Do sol Ahm hermitage to the Tae Baik Mountains alone. I was determined to sit without sleeping nor eating after lunch for ten years. Kong an practicing is the way of looking inside myself and it is the way to control my mind by mind. What is Kong an? It is just like the key that opens the mind, which is full of eighty-four-thousand dharma. It is this way that can make us like the Buddha. But it is not easy.
If you keep the Kong an in your mind, then recite inside it and think it over. Think it over without stopping, then the Kong an can be seen clearly. Then one step more; with great courage needed, it can be a true Kong an. If you come to this point then enlightenment is not far. If you want to be enlightened then you should take off the slot. To take off the slot you need great courage. It is just like a sharp sword that cut the hair by the breath on it.

I used to read the sutra when I felt sleepy. That was because I was determined not to sleep even I felt sleepy. When I finished reading the sutra, somebody outside spoke and moved. "That monk has finished reading now let`s go."

According to the sutra there are references like this: " If some one reads the sutra at night, the spirits hear outside and are scattered."
Really I`d like to return back to those days of hard practicing. One day I hit my head and stomach to get rid of the slot. Old teachers pricked it with a pin to get rid of the slot. But I was only lazy. That night I could sit, keeping kong an cleary. Soon it became bright outside, I went out and found a flower smiling blossom. The sun shone and the birds sang. I thought the time to study zen had come to me. I was sure I could concentrate for 10 years. But only a few years passed when I stared to be disturbed from other businesses again. Like a stream, our lives go without stopping and are formless. Cause and effect are very clear. These days, all of us are confronted with a dilemma. So that makes us harsh easily. But this is a good time to practice zen. When we practice zen we can get an empty mind, and with an empty mind we can be happy and comfortable. Our state-of-mind can make our society bright.

I left my last words to my disciples already. After I`m dead, burn me and divide my ashes in three. One-thirds shall be flown to the air by balloons. And one of these shall be mixed with rice and be scattered in the mountain for beasts. And the last one shall be put into the sea for fish.
I don`t want any sign like a stupa or tombstone for my dead corps.

coming and going
like rising and falling of moon
when the Sun set in the west valley
the Moon will shine on the shore
translated Y.J.Choi