Ungo's Instruction

Master Ungo had many disciples. One, who came from Korea, said to him, "I have realised something within me that I cannot describe at all." "Why is that so," asked Ungo. "It cannot be difficult." "Then you must do it for me," the monk replied. Ungo said, "Korea! Korea!" and closed the dialogue. Later, a teacher of the Oryu school criticised the incident saying, "Ungo could not understand the monk at all. There was a great sea between them even though they lived in the same monastery."

Ungo, a great Master, was the founder of the Chinese Soto school and was credited with more than 1,500 students. The student in this dialogue wants the Master to put his experience of enlightenment into words. It is as though a man in love were to say, "I love you; I feel something, but I cannot describe it." The woman would reply, "Why not? It cannot be difficult?" "Then you describe it for me," he would plead. She would answer, "Oh you, you!" and throw her arms around him. Enlightenment is the actuality of life's reality and, like love, can best be known by experience. As for Oryu teacher's criticism of Ungo, it is out of order.


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