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고봉 경욱 / 高峯[古峯, 古峰] 景昱 Gobong Gyeonguk (1890–1962)
Birth name: 박경욱 / 朴景昱 Bak Gyeonguk
(Magyar átírás:) Kobong Kjonguk
Kobong (1890—1962), aka Zen master Ko Bong, was Zen Master Seung Sahn ‘s teacher. He became a monk at an early age at Namjasa, and later attained enlightenment while sitting Kyolche at Tongdosa. Kobong sunim was famous for his wild behavior and heavy drinking. He also refused to teach Korean monks, calling them arrogant, preferring only to teach nuns and laypeople. Until he met Sungsan Sunim, Zen Master Kobong had never given Dharma transmission to any monk. After getting enlightenment, Sungsan sunim went to check his attainment with Zen Master Kobong, who was renowned for being one of the fiercest keen–eyed masters of his generation. Kobong sunim tested his student with many difficult Kong–Ans, all of which the young Sungsan sunim passed with ease. Zen Master Kobong finally stumped him with the Kongan “The cat eats mouse food, but the cat bowl is broken.” The two sat facing each other, eyes locked, for close to an hour, when suddenly Sungsan sunim had a breakthrough and gave him the correct answer. Zen Master Kobong then said “You are the flower and I am the bee” and soon after gave Dharma transmission to the young Sungsan sunim.
Kobong sunim spent his final days at Hwagyesa in Seoul, being cared for by his only Dharma heir, and eventually he passed away in 1962.
Kobong soensanim (Korean: 고봉선사, Hanja: 高峯禪師, 1890–1962), the 77th Korean Buddhist Patriarch in his teaching lineage, was a Korean Zen master.
At an early age, Kobong became a monk at Namjangsa. Known for spontaneous and eccentric teaching, he sometimes said that he preferred to teach laypeople because monks were too lazy to practice hard.
Kobong never held a position at any temple or established a temple of his own. When he was elderly, his student Seungsahn brought him to Hwagyesa in Seoul, South Korea where Kobong died at the temple in 1962. A large granite monument was built in his honor on the hillside overlooking Hwagyesa.
Kobong Sunim was Dharma heir to Man-gong Sunim, who was in turn Dharma heir to Kyongho Sunim. Kobong Sunim's best known student was Seungsahn Sunim (1927–2004), founder of the Kwan Um School of Zen. Seungsahn Sunim received Dharma transmission from Kobong Sunim at 22 years of age. Kobong had never given inka to any monk before he met Seungsahn Sunim and Seungsahn remained his only dharma heir.
Sunim is a Korean word that means ordained Buddhist and can refer to both men and women who have taken ordination vows.
Zen Master Ko Bong (1890 - 1962) was the greatest of Zen Master Man Gong's dharma heirs. He was also the most unorthodox and there are many stories of his "bad" behavior.
For example, one time Ko Bong stayed at small temple. Every day he worked very hard making a new rice field in the mountains. The temple was very poor, so the food was very bad.
One day when temple's master had gone to town, Ko Bong suggested to the other monks that they sell the monastery's cow and go buy wine and meat. Everyone agreed, so they sold the cow and used the money to buy wine and meat. After the evening sitting, they laughed and danced and drank all night in the meditation hall.
When the Zen master returned for the morning sitting, he found all fifty students asleep amidst the debris of the party.
The master wondered where they had gotten the money for this party. He ran to the barn and discovered - no cow! Very angry, he called everyone together in the main hall.
Shouting, the Zen master demanded that his cow be returned. On hearing this, Ko Bong took all his clothes off and crawled around the room on all fours saying, "Moo!"
Delighted, the master hit Ko Bong thirty times on the ass and said, "This is not my cow. This one is too small!'' Everyone was relieved. The subject was not brought up again.
After he became a teacher, Ko Bong agreed to give the Five Precepts to the layperson Chung Dong Go Sanim. The ceremony went smoothly until Ko Bong asked the traditional question: "Can these precepts be kept by you or not?"
The layman stood up and said, "If I cannot drink, I die!" Now there was a problem.
But Ko Bong immediately responded, "Then you take only four precepts" Chung Dong Go Sanim became the "Four Precepts Layman," and got "four precepts enlightenment."
Ko Bong would frequently test his students with an obscure kong-an:
The mouse eats cat food, but the cat bowl is broken.
What does this mean?
It was through this kong-an that Zen Master Seung Sahn attained his great enlightenment and became Ko Bong's only dharma heir.
Meditation is Not Special
by Master Go Bong
There are three poisons: greed, anger and ignorance. If you put these down then your Buddha nature is like a clear mirror, clear ice, an autumn sky or a very clear lake. The whole universe is in your Danjeon (center). Then your body and mind will calm down and you will be at peace. Your heart will be fresh like an autumn wind - not competitive.
If you attain this level, you're one half a Zen monk. But, if you are merely satisfied with this you are still ignorant of the way of Buddhas and patriarchs. This is a big mistake because demons will soon drag you to their lair.
Meditation is originally nothing special. Just keep a strong practice mind. If you want to get rid of distractions and get enlightenment, this too is a mistake. Throw away this kind of thinking; only keep a strong mind and practice. Then you will gradually enter "just do it."
Ko Bong Holds a Ceremony
by Zen Master Seung Sahn
© 2008 Kwan Um School of Zen
In a Dharma Talk, Zen Master Seung Sahn once told this story about his
teacher, Zen Master Ko Bong.
When he was a young monk, my teacher, Ko Bong Sunim, was travelling in the
mountains. He visited a small chanting temple in a beautiful spot and decided
to stay there for a week. There was only one other monk there, the abbot of the
temple. After a few days the abbot asked Ko Bong Sunim to stay alone in the
temple while he went to visit the house of a student. Ko Bong Sunim. said,
"O.K., no problem," and the abbot left.
At noon a woman came to the temple carrying a large amount of rice and fruit
and asked for the abbot. "He is visiting a student," said Ko Bong Sunim.
"Oh, I wanted to have a ceremony," said the woman.
"Fine, we can have a ceremony," said Ko Bong Sunim. So she cooked the rice,
got everything ready, and put the rice and fruit on the altar.
Ko Bong Sunim. did not understand the first thing about ceremonies. He had
been a monk for a few years, but he had stayed in a Zen temple, where the
monks only sit Zen. In Korea, ceremony monks take care of ceremonies; sutra
monks study the sutras; Zen monks just sit. So Ko Bong Sunim didn't know
when to bow or how to hit the moktak.
"Time to begin," said the woman.
Ko Bong Su Nim read the sutras a little, but he didn't have them memorized.
However, he did remember some Taoist texts he had studied before he
became a monk. So he began hitting the moktak and chanting a Taoist sutra.
Sometimes he would bow. He just made it up as he went along, and he kept it
up for about an hour, just chanting. At the end, the woman said, "Thank you
very much. That was a wonderful ceremony!" Then she left.
On her way down the mountain she met the abbot of the temple coming home.
"Oh," he said, "did you visit the temple?"
"Yes, and we had a wonderful ceremony."
"Ceremony? That monk knows nothing about ceremonies!"
"We had a Taoist ceremony."
The woman had been a nun, so she knew all about Buddhist ceremonies.
During Ko Bong Sunim's ceremony she had sat in the back of the hall,
laughing and laughing. But she said to the abbot, "It was wonderful.
Throughout the whole ceremony he kept one mind. Sweat was pouring down
his face. It was all wrong, but it was wonderful!"
When the abbot returned, he said to Ko Bong Sunim, "I hear you had a good
"It was terrible! All I could remember were some Taoist texts."
"The woman said it was wonderful." said the abbot. "She used to be a
ceremony nun. She said you went straight ahead, with completely no
hindrance, so she said it was a wonderful ceremony."
"Really?" Ko Bong Sunim and the abbot had a good laugh.
"She was very happy. She said you hit the moktak as if your life depended on
it. Only one mind.''
So this is a correct ceremony: only one mind. Whether it is a Buddhist text or a
Taoist text doesn't matter. Understanding or not understanding the correct
form is not important. What is important is this child's mind; we call this
Buddha's mind, just going straight, without thinking, keeping try mind. So you
must attain this Buddha's mind, O.K.? O.K.
Long ago in China, there was a famous Zen Master, Ko Bong. Before he became a Zen Master, he always kept the kong-an, “Where are you coming from; where are you going?” He only kept don't-know mind, always, everywhere. One day, he was sweeping the yard in front of the Dharma Room. At that time, the great Zen Master Ang Sahn appeared and asked him, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I am working on my kong-an.”
“What is your kong-an?”
”My kong-an is, ‘Where are you coming from; where are you going?”'
“Oh? Then, I ask you, who is coming; who is going?”
He could not answer. Then, the Zen Master became very angry, grabbed his shirt at the neck, and shouted, “Why are you pulling around a corpse!?” Then, he pushed him very hard; Ko Bong fell back on the ground, and the Zen Master went away.
Ko Bong's whole world was dark. There was only a big question, and he was very angry. “Why don't I know myself? What am I?” Don't know. He couldn't see anything; he couldn't hear anything; he couldn't taste anything; he couldn't feel anything; he couldn't smell anything. For seven days this went on. After seven days, he saw the Fifth Patriarch's picture. Beneath the picture, it said,
One hundred years,
Before, I am you.
Now, you are me.
He saw this, and his don't-know mind exploded. Inside and outside became one. Subject and object, all opposites worlds disappeared. Complete absolute. He could see the sky – only blue. He could hear a sound – only a bird's song. All, just like this, is the truth. After that, he got Transmission from Zen Master Ang Sahn and became a great Zen Master.
The Avatamsaka Sutra says, “Drinking and sex are no-hindrance Prajna.” In other words, when you can control your karma — your desire, anger, and ignorance — then any action is no problem; whatever action you do will teach other people. My teacher, Zen Master Ko Bong, taught this way. At Jung Hae Sa Temple in Korea, the schedule consists of three months of sitting followed by three months of vacation. During vacation, everyone collects money or food and brings them back for the sitting period. When Zen Master Man Gong, my grand-teacher, was just beginning the temple, there was no money at all. The students would go around to the homes of lay people, recite the Heart Sutra, get rice or money, and return to the monastery. But when my teacher Ko Bong got rice, he'd sell it at the end of the day and go out drinking. Everyone else came back at the end of a vacation with sacks of rice. All Ko Bong brought back was wine. When he was full of wine he was also full of complaints: “This temple is no good! Man Gong doesn't understand anything! He's low-class!”
Once Zen Master Man Gong showed up during one of Ko Bong's tirades and screamed at him, “What do you understand?” Everybody was waiting to see what would happen. “KO BONG!!!”
“Why are you always insulting me behind my back?”
Ko Bong looked completely surprised and offended. “Zen Master! I never said anything about you! I was talking about this good-for-nothing Man Gong!”
“Man Gong? What do you mean, Man Gong? I'M Man Gong! What's the difference between Man Gong and me?”
“KAAAATZ!” Ko Bong yelled, loud enough to split everyone's eardrums. That ended it.
“Go sleep it off,” Man Gong said, and he left the room.
My teacher was always drunk, used abusive speech, and showed disrespectful behavior. But he always kept a clear mind. “Man Gong? What's the difference between Man Gong and me?” “KAAAATZ!” That katz is very important — better than money or bags of rice. Ko Bong completely believed in himself.
If you believe completely in yourself, your actions will teach other people. Also you will be able to do any action to help other people. This is the Great Bodhisattva Way.
Zen Master Ko Bong Sells A Cow
Long ago, Zen Master Ko Bong, teacher of Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim, was a student staying at Yang San Temple in Korea. Every day he worked very hard making a new rice field in the mountains. The temple was very poor, so the food was very bad.
One day when Zen Master Hae Wol had gone to town, Ko Bong suggested that they sell the monastery's cow and go buy wine and meat with the money. Everyone agreed, so they sold the cow, and with the money bought wine and meat and good food. After the evening sitting, they laughed and danced and drank all night in the Dharma Room.
When the Zen Master returned for the morning sitting, he found all fifty students asleep amidst the debris of the party. Where had they gotten the money for their revelling? The Master ran to the barn. No cow! Very angry, he called everyone together in the main hall, and they were all afraid. When the Zen Master demanded that his cow be returned, Ko Bong took all his clothes off and crawled around the room on all fours saying, "Moo!"
Delighted, the Master hit Ko Bong thirty times on the ass and said, "This is not my cow. This one is too small!''
Everyone was relieved. The subject was not brought up again.
Zen Master Ko Bong (1890-1962) was one of the greatest teachers of his time. He was renowned for refusing to teach monks, considering them too lazy and arrogant to be Zen students. He was also very well known for his unconventional behavior.
Ko Bong Sunim didn't like chanting. He only did sitting meditation, no matter what. That was his practice. One time, as a young monk, he was staying in a small mountain temple. The abbot was away for a few days, so Ko Bong Sunim was the only one around. One morning an old woman climbed the steep road to the temple carrying fruit and a bag of rice on her back. When she reached the main Buddha Hall, she found Ko Bong Sunim seated alone in meditation.
“Oh, Sunim, I am sorry to bother you,” she said. “I have just climbed this mountain to offer these things to the Buddha. My family is having a lot of problems, and I want someone to chant to the Buddha for them. Can you please help me?”
Ko Bong Sunim looked up. Her face was very sad and very sincere. “Of course,” he said. “I'd be happy to chant for you. No problem.” Then he took the bag of rice off her back and they went to the kitchen to prepare the food offering. As they started to wash the fruit he said to her, “I don't know how to cook rice. You cook the rice, and I'll go start chanting.”
“Yes, Sunim. Thank you very much.”
Ko Bong Sunim returned to his room to put on his formal robes. But, because he never chanted, he didn't know any Buddhist chants. So, he dug out an old Taoist sutra from among his things and brought it back to the Buddha Hall. Then he picked up the moktak and started hitting it while reading out of the Taoist book. Usually it's appropriate to do certain chants for different occasions, like the Thousand Eyes and Hands Sutra , but Ko Bong Sunim didn't know about this. He only banged the moktak and chanted the Taoist sutra out loud, right from the book. After an hour or so of this, he finished.
The old woman was very, very happy. “Oh, thank you, Sunim. You are very kind. I feel much better now!” She left the temple. As she was walking down the mountain road, she passed the abbot, who was returning to the temple. “Hello, Mrs. Lee, are you coming from the temple?”
“Yes,” she said. “There are many problems in my family right now, so I went up to pray to the Buddha. Ko Bong Sunim helped me.”
“Oh, that's too bad,” the abbot said.
“Because Ko Bong Sunim doesn't know how to do any chanting. Maybe someone else could…”
“No, no,” she said. “He did very well. He helped me very much!”
The abbot looked at her. “How do you know how well he did? These are very special chants! Ko Bong Sunim doesn't know how to do them – he doesn't know chanting.”
“Yes, I understand.” This woman used to be a nun, so she was quite familiar with all the various chants. She knew that Ko Bong Sunim was only chanting a Taoist sutra. “What is correct chanting? He did it very well. He only chanted one hundred percent. Words are not important. The only important thing is how you keep your mind. He had only try mind – only do it.”
“Oh, yes, of course,” the abbot said. “I suppose mind is very important.” They said good-bye and went their separate ways. When the abbot reached the temple, he found Ko Bong Sunim, seated in meditation. “Did you just chant for Mrs. Lee?”
“But you don't know anything about chanting.”
“That's right,” Ko Bong Sunim said. “I don't know anything about chanting. So I just chanted.”
“Then what kind of chants did you do?” the abbot asked.
“I used an old Taoist book.”
The abbot walked away, scratching his head.
This is a very interesting try-mind story. It means, from moment to moment only “do it.” Only keep a try mind, only one mind: do it mind. When chanting, sitting or bowing, only do it. Practicing will not help if you are attached to your thinking, if your mind is moving. Taoist chanting, Confucian chanting, Christian chanting, Buddhist chanting: it doesn't matter. Even chanting, “Coca Cola, Coca Cola, Coca Cola…” can be just as good if you keep a clear mind. But, if you don't keep a clear mind, even Buddha cannot help you. The most important thing is, only do it. When you only do something one hundred percent, then there is no subject, no object. There's no inside or outside. Inside and outside are already one. That means you and the whole universe are one and never separate.
The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” When you are still, then you don't make anything, and you are always connected to God. Being still means keeping a still mind, even if your body is moving or you are doing some activity. Then there's no subject, no object, a mind of complete stillness. That's the Buddha's complete stillness mind. When sitting, be still. When chanting, be still. When bowing, eating, talking, walking, reading or driving, only be still. This is keeping a not moving mind, which is only do it mind. We call that try mind.