I don’t like kong-ans

by on Mar 1, 1992Zen Master Wu Bong

The following exchange took place in an interview during a retreat in Norway in February:

Student: I don’t like kong-ans. That is why I come so rarely to interviews. Can you say something about that?

Wu Bong Zen Master: Sure. You don’t like kong-ans, then you must drop dead.

Student: Hmmm? I don’t understand.

WBZM: A kong-an is not special. Any of your everyday life situations is already a kong-an. If you don’t like kong-ans, you don’t like life. So, you must die. Do you want that?

Student: (laughing) No. I would like to live a little while still.

WBZM: Good. Then put down your like and dislike. When a kong-an appears, only respond. If the correct response does not appear, return to “don’t know.” In your everyday life it is the same. If any situation is not clear for you, return to “don’t know.”

Student: I understand. Thank you very much.