Dae Kwang, The Renowned Zen Master
In the fast-paced world we navigate daily, finding solace and simplicity can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
However, through the teachings of Zen Master Dae Kwan, we discover a profound guide to embracing life’s complexities with grace and tranquility.
The Journey Of Zen Master Dae Kwan
Zen Master Dae Kwan’s transformative journey began at the Kwok Kwong Buddhist College in Hong Kong during the 1970s.
Delving into the teachings of Buddhism, she found herself ordained as a nun at Ajahn Chaa’s International Forest Monastery in Thailand in 1981.
The subsequent decade saw her dedicated practice in Chiangmai, including a remarkable two-year intensive solo retreat in Tu Boo Cave.
Establishing Su Bong Zen Monastery
Post-retreat, fueled by her deepened understanding of Zen principles, Zen Master Dae Kwan sought her teacher’s approval to spearhead the establishment of Su Bong Zen Monastery in Hong Kong.
The monastery quickly became a sanctuary for those seeking spiritual growth and a respite from the chaos of contemporary life.
Inka And Dharma Transmission
Zen Master Dae Kwan’s commitment to her spiritual journey bore fruit in 1995 when she received inka, the formal permission to teach, from Zen Master Seung Sahn.
This acknowledgment signified her mastery of the Zen tradition.
In April 2001, she reached another milestone by receiving Dharma transmission, further solidifying her role as a beacon of wisdom and guidance.
The Paradox Of “Big Suffering”
In a poignant story, Zen Master Seung Sahn responds to a monk expressing the hardship of monastic life with, “If your direction is clear, then even living in hell is not a problem.”
This seemingly paradoxical statement points to the transformative power of a clear life direction.
The suffering encountered becomes “Big Suffering” — a suffering that contributes to the greater good of the world.
The Humble Beginnings
Established in 1989, the QZC gained official recognition in 1994 when Zen Master Seung Sahn, accompanied by Zen Master Su Bong, inaugurated the center.
Dae Kwang Sa, meaning Great Light Temple, became a part of the Kwan Um School of Zen—a global organization dedicated to making Zen accessible to Westerners.
The QZC’s affiliation with the Kwan Um School of Zen paved the way for transformative retreats led by esteemed teachers like Jeff Kitz and Zen Master Dae Gak.
These events marked pivotal moments, solidifying the QZC as a serious hub for Zen practice in Brisbane.
Dae Kwang, Journey Filled With Zen Teachings
In a world overshadowed by the inevitabilities of old age, sickness, and death, ZM Dae Kwang draws attention to the fundamental questions of existence.
The pursuit of eternal youth and the ephemeral nature of desire lead to a profound introspection — what do we truly want, and what are the consequences of our pursuits?
The Simplicity Of Zen Techniques
Drawing parallels with breathing techniques, Dae Kwang highlights the simplicity of Zen practice.
Just as breath sustains life, the awareness cultivated through Zen techniques provides clarity amid life’s chaos.
It’s not about attaining an otherworldly state but realizing the potential for transformation in the ordinary.
Reflections On A Cloudy Day
Zen Master Dae Kwang’s observations on the external weather and the bright faces within serve as a metaphor for the contrast between the uncertainties of the world and the inner clarity cultivated through Zen practice.
The dichotomy prompts contemplation on how we can maintain our inner brightness amidst external clouds.
Zen Techniques: From Breathing To Awareness
Breathing, a universal and accessible technique, becomes the focal point of Zen practice.
Dae Kwang emphasizes the Buddha’s use of this simple yet powerful method, mirroring the inevitability of breath with the inevitability of life’s challenges.
Embracing The Wisdom of Zen Master Dae Kwang
In the serene realms of Zen philosophy, Zen Master Dae Kwang stands as a guiding light, the abbot of the Kwan Um School of Zen.
His teachings resonate across continents, reaching the hearts of those seeking profound insights into the nature of existence.
The Unspoken Language Of Flowers: Becoming One
Twenty-five centuries ago, the Buddha held up a flower, conveying a profound message that only a discerning few could grasp.
Fast forward to sixty years ago, and Zen Master Man Gong echoed the same sentiment with the calligraphy, “The whole world is a single flower.” The underlying theme remains unchanged: the call to become one with the universe.
News About Zen Master Dae Kwang
Late-breaking news! Our good friend and former KZC member Zen Master Dae Kwang, a Buddhist monk and Zen Master now… http://t.co/RHFQFbohP4
— Kansas Zen Center (@KansasZenCenter) January 28, 2014
Zen Master Dae Kwang emphasizes that this pursuit of oneness is our life’s primary purpose, a task that transcends geographical boundaries and cultural differences.
The Interconnectedness Of All Beings
Zen Master Dae Kwang’s teachings emphasize the interconnectedness of all beings. As he aptly puts it, “So the reason for our whole world is a single flower conference is to help all people become one.”
In a world plagued by suffering, the quest for oneness becomes a powerful antidote.
The conference becomes more than a mere ceremony; it becomes a beacon of hope, encouraging individuals to find their true selves and contribute to the collective well-being of the world.
Soto Zen: Simplicity In Awareness
Soto Zen takes simplicity a step further, focusing on pure awareness without fixating on the breath.
The apparent simplicity might seem unappealing, yet, as Dae Kwang humorously acknowledges, it is this simplicity that keeps many from exploring Zen.
Navigating The Maze Of Desire And Suffering
A recurrent theme in Zen teachings is the clarity of one’s life direction. Zen Master Seung Sahn’s words echo the sentiment, “If the direction of your life is clear, then your whole life is clear.
” Zen Master Dae Kwang, drawing from the wisdom of Achaan Chah, emphasizes the pivotal role of understanding desire and anger.
He suggests that recognizing the nature of desire is the first step towards liberation. Clearing the fog of “I, my, me” is crucial to avoiding the entanglements of suffering.
A Resident Teacher
Recognizing the need for a resident teacher, Zen Masters Seung Sahn and Dae Gak recommended Kwang Myong Sunim.
Landing in Brisbane in 1996, Sunim became the guiding force, steering the QZC toward a flourishing journey of transformation.
The Zen Approach
- Zen, according to Dae Kwang, is not about altering life’s course but about understanding it.
- Meditation, the cornerstone of Zen practice, serves as a tool to uncover the realities of our desires and, in turn, exposes the inherent suffering associated with them.
- Contrary to romanticized notions, Dae Kwang insists that his journey to monkhood is not exceptional.
- It is a practical technique, a response to life’s complexities. Analogous to a diver’s breathing techniques, Zen offers a way to navigate the challenges posed by old age, sickness, and death.
Dae Kwang: Teachings, Zen Wisdom, Philosophies, Monastery Location And Legacy
Fusion Of Traditions
As a Theravada nun, Zen Master Dae Kwan’s spiritual exploration extended to Korea in 1992.
During a three-month winter Kyol Che, she had the profound opportunity to meet Zen Master Seung Sahn, a pivotal figure in modern Zen Buddhism.
This encounter laid the foundation for her pivotal role in establishing the Su Bong Zen Monastery in Hong Kong.
Unveiling The Heart Of Sesshin
Sesshin, derived from the Japanese words meaning “to touch the essence” or “touching the heart-mind,” involves meditative training to nurture one’s buddha nature.
These retreats consist of intensive meditation sessions, punctuated by short rests, meals, work, dharma teachings, and interactions with a Zen master.
Beyond Words: The Ineffable Truth
Zen often grapples with the limitations of language in expressing profound truths.
Zen Master Dae Kwang, with the striking metaphor of raising a Zen stick and hitting the table, points to the birthplace and source of all Buddhas and Patriarchs.
Yet, he acknowledges the inadequacy of words to encapsulate the absolute purity of this truth. The challenge is to reconcile the unchanging truth with the ever-changing nature of existence.
Celebrating Twenty Years: A Milestone In Zen Practice
As Zen Master Dae Kwang congratulates the European sangha on their twenty years of sincere effort, he highlights the significance of the journey.
The new dharma hall in Warsaw becomes a symbol not just of architectural accomplishment but, more importantly, of the ongoing commitment to practice.
The question lingers: What will practitioners be doing in this sacred space? The answer holds the key to true attainment.
Bomb Enlightenment: Transforming Suffering Through Understanding
- The retelling of a dramatic experience in Lodz, where bombs exploded during a public talk, brings forth a powerful teaching.
- Zen emphasizes the clear understanding of cause and effect.
- While the bombs themselves are neutral, the suffering arises from the mind’s desires and aversions.
- Cutting off likes and dislikes is the path to true enlightenment and the ability to contribute positively to the world.