Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Advait Childers, modified 6 Years ago.

Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 16 Join Date: 2/10/15 Recent Posts
Hi All,

I was recently reading through some material about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim (ZMSSS). He's rather famous for his signture phrase "Only don't know." which apparently he used a lot in his teishos and talks with students. Well, one time ZMSSS was walking with one of his senior students discussing some points of practice and dharma. During the discussion the student asked a question and ZMSSS responded casually with "Only don't know." The student suddenly grabbed ZMSSS by the robe, pushed him against the wall and growled into his face, "If you say that one more time I'm going to scream." ZMSSS maintained his cool and responded with something like, "Very good! Very clear statement. Nice and strong!"

I got a real kick out of this story. I still smile when I think about it.

Gassho and Namaste,

Advait
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Advait,

I like this teacher very much and the consequent schools/residences. I also like how when the sexual misconduct issue came to light, the teacher apologized, held formal ceremonies of admission. From wikipedia: "Barbara (Bobby) Rhodes - now head Zen Master of the Kwan Um School of Zen - said they were 'just people learning to live as a community' and their teacher was 'just trying to learn the same thing.'" Simple and direct. I enjoy the books of his letters tremendously. 
Advait Childers, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 16 Join Date: 2/10/15 Recent Posts
Hello Katy,

Wow. This information surprises me. I had no idea that Seung Sahn had sex with some of his students. I've followed the world of American Zen for decades and I never heard of this. Or maybe I did hear of it a long time ago and just forgot. I looked at the Wikipedia article and it seems their community and Seung Sahn handled it in a good way with clarity, openness and humility. I wonder how I would have reacted if I was a devoted student of Seung Sahn at the time.

On her Wikipedia page it says Barbara Rhodes had a long term sexual relation with Seung Sahn. Wow. Also very surprising. Stuff like that can destroy a community but obviously the Kwan Um school came out stronger. Good on them for handling the scandals with skill.

I'm currently a devoted disciple of the guru Amma (aka "The Hugging Saint"). I wonder how I would respond if some big scandal erupted that involved her. I've heard people say that Amma once told one of her senior disciples that a big scandal will happen one day that will cause many of her devotees to leave. Makes me kind of nervous! :-) In my mind I try to have no expectations and cultivate the feeling that all things are just empty transient phenomena. Easy to say but harder to practice. :-)

Thanks for the info. Namsaste and Gassho,

Advait
Adam . ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
hey advait, I agree that guy is totally hilarious and kind of a badass too. you should watch some of his youtube videos if you haven't already, another thing he likes to say is "sky is blue, tree is green, dog goes woof woof." I think it is about simplifying one's identity and mind... anyway yea he is hilarious.
Advait Childers, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 16 Join Date: 2/10/15 Recent Posts
Hi Adam,

Thanks for your reply.

I translate "badass" to mean Seung Sahn was playful and funny, with lots of charisma and self confidence. All that comes thru clearly in his writings that I've read. He fully inhabited the role of being an alpha male Zen Master. "Alpha-male" here is not negative, it means he was not afraid to present himself as a genuinely enlightened master living far beyond normal human contracted ego consciousness. All of that to me is a good kind of "badass" that is helpful for aspiring students.

Its clear he was not fully beyond ego because he had sexual relations with his students and basically lied about being celibate. He sincerely and publicly expressed remorse for his actions and changed his behaviour. That to me is another kind of wonderful and very inpisring "badass". Any man in high power who can sincerly confess their mistakes and change is truly "badass" in my book. I still would not want him as my spiritual teacher because I can only surrender to someone who has 100% integrity to the core. But I'll always respect Seung Sahn's great work in spreading the Zen Dharma to the West.

Its interesting to learn about Seung Sahn's failings at this time cause there a number of other high profile Zen teachers whose sexual relations with students have all become public. From what I can see, the American Zen community is working hard to create a system to help prevent this from happening (good on them). I subscribe to some Dharma and Zen rss news feeds that have stories about this.

Gassho and Namaste,

Advait
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Advait Childers



To Katy:

"(...) On her Wikipedia page it says Barbara Rhodes had a long term sexual relation with Seung Sahn. Wow. Also very surprising. Stuff like that can destroy a community but obviously the Kwan Um school came out stronger (...)"



To Adam:


"(...) But I'll always respect Seung Sahn's great work in spreading the Zen Dharma to the West.(...)

(...) Its interesting to learn about Seung Sahn's failings at this time cause there a number of other high profile Zen teachers whose sexual relations with students have all become public. (...)"
Failings? Uh.. dunno.

But at last, B'dhists:
a woman on top
compassionate, wise, 
elective in congress.

________
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Advait Childers, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 16 Join Date: 2/10/15 Recent Posts
[[My replies.]]

Failings? Uh.. dunno.


[["Failings" is indeed subjective. But for me a Zen Master falsely presenting himself as celibate and having secret sexual relations with students is defintely a failing in my book. But I'm open to other viewpoints. Sex itself is no problem, of course. Only becomes a problem when there's deceit, lack of openness and abuse of power hierarchies. And it seems that Seung Sahn himself admitted he had failed; hence his remorse ceremonies.]]

But at last, B'dhists:
a woman on top
compassionate, wise, 
elective in congress.

[[Not sure what this means. A poem? Could you elaborate?]]

[[Cheers, -Advait]]
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Yes, just celebrating
Bobbie Rhodes
nurse
zen master
bed fellow
four elements
"just people learning to live as a community' and their teacher was 'just trying to learn the same thing
Advait Childers, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 16 Join Date: 2/10/15 Recent Posts
Early summer,
  and the afternoon clouds gather
To take a nap
  On Lien-an Mountain.

--T'ong Minh
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Funny Story about Zen Mater Seung Sahn Sunim

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Advait Childers:
Early summer,
  and the afternoon clouds gather
To take a nap
  On Lien-an Mountain.

--T'ong Minh


: )



[removed; doesn't meet haibun aesthetic]


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