by on Oct 1, 1974Zen Master Seung Sahn

Dharma speech given by Zen Master Seung Sahn at the opening of the Cambridge Zen Center Sim Gum Do Institute.


(Hitting the table with the Zen stick three times)

Everybody has been very busy, but you have all come to the opening ceremony of the Cambridge Zen Center Institute of Sim Gum Do. Thank you very much.

What is Sim Gum Do? It is the Mind Sword Path. Then what is Mind? If we had no mind, there would be no action. Matter is important. But without mind, we cannot understand matter. So mind is more important than matter. But mind and matter are not two. Where does mind come from? Where does matter come from? Who made mind and matter? Mind, matter, mountain, river, good, bad, Buddha, God – all these are made by our thinking. If we cut off all thinking, then we become empty mind. Here there are no opposites; there is only the absolute. This is before thinking. Everything in the universe becomes one. This is true mind.

What is Sword? An eminent teacher said, “Sometimes the sword kills, sometimes the sword gives life.” It cuts through wrong and helps the right. So if you have a mind of great compassion, you have the true sword. If you have the true sword, you have true freedom and peace over the whole world. Inside, you cut away all attachments and desires and attain the life of no hindrance. Outside, the bad disappears, the good appears. This is the great Dharma sword. Sometimes it is a steel sword, sometimes a hand sword, sometimes a mind sword. And so you will save all people.

What is Path? The path does not change color. It does not waver. It has no hindrance at all. This is the true path. You cut off all desires and leave behind the Small I. You attain emptiness and become the Nothing I. And when you leave even emptiness behind and find the Big I, you will attain the true path. We hope to save all people. So when all people are happy, we are happy; when all people are sad, we are sad. The same action, the same mind – this is the great Bodhisattva path.

So the Mind Sword Path is understanding your true self and attaining the true Dharma, for the sake of all people. But the Mind Sword Path is not the Mind Sword Path. The true mind sword is before thinking, so there are no words for it. When the Mind Sword Path and the whole universe become one, this is the true Mind Sword Path.

Here is a poem for you:

You sharpen it for ten thousand years, then are able to thrust it through the bone of space.
All Buddhas and eminent teachers stick up their hands in surrender.
A cool breeze comes from the East and all clouds are blown away.
The moon with its circle of light shines over the whole universe.

Then what is the true Mind Sword Path?

(Hitting the table with the Zen stick) KATZ!!!

Watch your step.