Taken from interviews with foreign journalists.
Q: What is the difference between chanting and Zen?
A: Anyone can not only practice Zen but also chant sutras. Anyone can approach chanting easily as a means of practice without a teacher. However, Zen is so specialized that we need an enlightened master in order to practice it in the right way. In a word, there is no practicing Zen without an enlightened master.
A: I breathe hard. Breathing hard, I am living a positive life doing with pleasure anything that comes to me.
A: Above all, you should know Zen is different from general meditation. Speaking of one of the differences, meditation is hard to practice while doing our jobs in our daily life. We need a silent and convenient place which is easy to reach so as to practice meditation, but you can practice Zen anywhere any time regardless of noise or silence.
A: I wonder whether my answer can make you satisfied enough. People tend to divide everything into right and wrong or good and bad. In general morality it is said good is truth but evil is not and justice is truth but injustice is not. However, the concept of Buddhist morality is different from that of general morality. In Buddhism not only good but also evil is truth because in truth exist all the other things as well as good and evil.
A: You are misunderstanding. Buddhism never tells people to give up the world. Not that Buddhists give up the world, but that ascetics like monks turn their backs on the mundane world for some time to pay all attention to Buddhism so that they may get well acquainted with Buddhism. In fact people become more enthusiastic over the world when they lead right Buddhist lives than they used to be when they were not Buddhist.
A: It depends. Someone may take less than a year to become a master, but someone else can't become a master even though he practices all his life.
A: Does my smile look so bright? Maybe I look so because I am happy to see you. I feel as comfortable as if I have known you for a long time.
Written by Master Subul Sunim of Ahnkook Zen Center
Monthly Magazine SEOUL(July 2008)