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Zen Meditation in the Kwan Um School of Zen

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Langues :

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [Nederlands]

What is Zen Meditation?

Zen Master Seung Sahn, the first Korean Zen meditation master to spread Zen Buddhism in the West:

Deep in the mountains, the great temple bell is struck. You hear it reverberating in the morning air, and all thoughts disappear from your mind. There is nothing that is you; there is nothing that is not you. There is only the sound of the bell, filling the whole universe. This is Zen mind.

Springtime comes. You see the flowers blossoming, the butterflies flitting about; you hear the birds singing, you breathe in the warm weather. And your mind is only springtime. It is nothing at all.

You visit Niagara and take a boat to the bottom of the falls. The downpouring of the water is in front of you and around you and inside you, and suddenly you are shouting: YAAAAAA!

In all these experiences, outside and inside have become one. This is Zen mind. Your mind is clear like space.

Clear like space means clear like a mirror. When white comes, white. When red comes, red.

But one more step is necessary. How does your mind function in everyday life? When somebody is hungry, just reflecting hunger is not enough. You have to give him food! This is called correct situation, correct relationship and correct function.

This means that you can respond to every situation in a compassionate way.

Zen Meditation in the Kwan Um School of Zen

We follow the teachings of Zen master Seung Sahn, who founded the international Kwan Um School of Zen.

In 1949, Zen Master Seung Sahn received transmission from Zen Master Ko Bong, one of the most brilliant Zen Masters in Korea at that time. Later he was responsible for several temples in Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. In 1972 he created the Kwan Um School of Zen in the United States in order to provide a Zen training to lay people and monastic people in the West.

Today we are represented in multiple Zen centers and groups in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The Western form of Korean Zen is based on sitting meditation, chanting, prostrations, and kong-an training. The formal study of sutras is not pursued.

During our daily practice we follow a schedule that starts by doing some traditional Buddhist chants, followed by formal sitting meditation.

If you are new to Zen and meditation, our Dharma teachers will be glad to give you an introduction about the form, sitting posture, meditation techniques, philosophy etc.

Every month you will get the opportunity to meet Zen teachers of our school in Paris, Köln or in Belgium. There are two residential Zen teachers in Paris: Zen Master Wu Bong (head teacher for Europe) and his wife, Zen Master Bon Yo (guiding teacher for Belgium).

Our School offers every year several retreats of 3 months in Korea, Poland and the United States.


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