What is Zen?

test2Zen is very simple… What are you?

In this whole world everyone searches for happiness outside, but nobody understands their true self inside.

Everybody says, “I”“I want this, I am like that…” But nobody understands this “I.” Before you were born, where did your I come from? When you die, where will your I go? If you sincerely ask, “what am I?” sooner or later you will run into a wall where all thinking is cut off. We call this “don’t know.”

Zen is keeping this “Don’t Know” mind always and everywhere.

When walking, standing, sitting,
lying down, speaking, being
silent, moving, being still.
 At all times, in all places, without 
interruption — what is this? 
One mind is infinite kalpas.

Meditation in Zen means keeping don’t-know mind when bowing, chanting and sitting Zen. This is formal Zen practice. And when doing something, just do it. When driving, just drive; when eating, just eat; when working, just work.

Finally, your don’t-know mind will become clear. Then you can see the sky, only blue. You can see the tree, only green. Your mind is like a clear mirror. Red comes, the mirror is red; white comes the mirror is white. A hungry person comes, you can give him food; a thirsty person comes, you can give her something to drink. There is no desire for myself, only for all beings. That mind is already enlightenment, what we call Great Love, Great Compassion, the Great Bodhisattva Way. It’s very simple, not difficult!

So Buddha said that all beings have Buddha-nature (enlightenment nature). But Zen Master Joju said that a dog has no Buddha-nature. Which one is right? Which one is wrong? If you find that, you find the true way.

(Zen Master Seung Sahn)

Our School: The Kwan Um School of Zen

Zen Master Dae Bong  – Guiding Teacher

Our Guiding Teacher is Zen Master Dae BongThe Kwan Um School of Zen is an international organization of many dozens of meditation centers and groups founded by Zen Master Seung Sahn, the first Korean Zen Master to live and teach in the West. The School’s purpose is to make this practice of Zen Buddhism available to an ever-growing number of students throughout the world.
 The heart of the Kwan Um School of Zen is the daily practice which goes on in its Zen centers and groups. Students and visitors eat together, work together, and meditate together — gradually attaining a clear, compassionate mind, which is able to help all beings moment to moment.

The Kwan Um School of Zen offers training in Zen meditation through meditation instruction, daily morning and evening practice, public talks, teaching interviews, retreats and workshops. Programs are open to anyone regardless of previous experience. Introduction to the teaching form is offered at no cost.

Founding Teacher – Zen Master Seung Sahn

Zen Master Seung SahnZen Master Seung Sahn (Dae Soen Sa Nim) is the founding teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen, and is the seventy-eighth Patriarch in the line of Transmission in the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism. He received transmission at the age of twenty-two years from the famous Korean Zen Master Ko Bong, so becoming the youngest Zen Master in Korea. After three years of silent meditation, he devoted himself to the renovation of the Chogye Order and founded an important lay organization, the United Buddhism Association. 

After founding temples in Tokyo and Hong Kong, Zen Master Seung Sahn came to the United States, becoming the first Korean Zen Master to live and teach in the West. With the aid of a small number of students, he founded the Providence Zen Center, which eventually became the headquarters of several dozens of centers throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia. 

Zen Master Seung Sahn is the author of “Compass of Zen”, “The Whole World is a Single Flower – 365 Kong-Ans For Everyday Life”, “Dropping Ashes on the Buddha”, “Only Don’t Know”, “Ten Gates” and “Bone of Space”.  

Dae Soen Sa Nim died on 30th November 2004.

Our Teachers

Zen Master Seung Sahn: Dae Soen Sa Nim: the Founding Zen Master of the School

Zen Master Soeng Hyang: The School Zen Master and Guiding Teacher of the International Kwan Um School of Zen

Zen Master Dae Bong: Guiding Teacher for Africa and Asia

KUSZ Teachers Worldwide: All the teachers of the Kwan Um School of Zen, listed on the international website