Zen Master Mann Gong

Zen Master Mann Gong is a patriarch of korean Zen Buddhism.

The Discovery Of One From The Buddha, King of Original Sound Before


One time Venerable Master Hye-Wol asked all of the temples about the Kong-An which originated from a famous Diamond Sutra interpreter named, Ju (Chou: 781-867). Carrying the Shastras (commentaries) on the Diamond Sutra, Venerable Ju met an old lady selling rice cakes. He said, “I would like to buy a cake.”
The old lady replied, “What are you carrying in your sack?”
He told her, “These are my Shastras on the Diamond Sutra.”
She said, “Let me ask you about the Diamond Sutra. If you answer, I’ll give you a free cake. If you do not, you will get nothing”

Even though surprised, he agreed saying, “Ask me!”
She replied, “In the Diamond Sutra it says,
‘Present mind cannot be held,
Past mind cannot be held,
Future mind cannot be held, ‘
None of the minds in the three different times can be held. Now, to eat the cake, to what mind would you point?”

Zen Master Mann Gong’s Answer

Later, the former attendant of Venerable Master Hye-Wol, Woon-Am Chong, could not solve this Kong-An and finally wrote and asked Venerable Master Mann-Gong, who was staying at Sudoksa Temple, “None of the minds in the three different times can be held; now what mind would you point? I have studied this Kong-An for such a long time but still do not know the final word.” In a letter, the Venerable Master answered like this : “I have already pointed out One from Before the Buddha, King of Voice.“
At that time, Po-Wol saw this letter and abruptly said, “I am sorry, Venerable One.” Then he burned the letter and said, “Are you trying to blind someone with such an answer?”
Immediately upon hearing this, Venerable Master Mann-Gong went down to the Golden Saint Shrine (Kumson Dae), and held a special retreat for seven days.
Meanwhile, Po-Wol S’nim sent a letter to Woon-Am,

Left Western Lake, (name of the district where Mann-Gong stayed) for Southem Valley (Where Woon-Am currently was staying).
Because you could eliminate your own doubt,
Now, still, you cannot yet elimínate the doubt,
As soon as you see this, bum it up, and don’t be confused anymore.

After the Zen Master Mann Gong completed the seven days retreat, he came up and called Po-Wol.
“Po-Wol, you owe me ten years worth of food for our temple.”
The Venerable Master Mann-Gong commented on Po-Wol’s letter, “That is a mistakel”
Then Po-Wol Snim asked, “What would you say, Sir?”
Master Mann-Gong said, “Why don’t you ask me?”
Po-Wol S’nim said, “What mind would you point?”
Master Mann-Gong said, “I would point where it points.”

Venerable Master Hye-Am’s Remarks

If Venerable Master Hye-Wol asked me that question, I would answer, “It has already pointed in the Southern Mountain.”

Compiled by Zen Master Myo-Vong

Zen Master Mann Gong

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