Not saying alive. Not saying dead

Su Bong Zen Monastery
Not saying alive. Not saying dead
Gye Mun Sunim JDPS, Abbot, Kwan Yin Chan Lin, Singapore

One day, the Master Jianyuan Zhongxing followed Zen Master Daowu to a devotee's family home to conduct a funeral service. Placing his hand on the coffin, the Master asked, "Alive? Dead?" Daowu answered, "I will not say dead or alive." The Master asked, "Why won't you say?" Daowu answered, "I won't say! I won't say!"

After the funeral the Master and Daowu headed back to the temple together. On the way back the Master demanded, "Venerable, you have to say something to Zhongxin today. If you don't, I'll hit you!" Daowu answered, "Feel free to hit me if you want, but I will not say dead or alive." The Master then punched Daowu several times. Daowu returned to the temple by himself, asking the Master to leave him. If the others at the temple knew what had happened, they would not have let the Master off so easy.

The master took his leave of Daowu and went to see Zen Master Shishuang. After relating the whole incident to Shishuang, the Master asked, "Venerable, please say something." Shishuang answered, "Don't you see? Daowu said, ‘I will not say dead or alive'." At this, Daowu had a great awakening. He then prepared a feast to repent for his wrong doing.

Today, we commemorate the 10th year since the passing of Zen Master Seung Sahn. I am sharing this kong-an with the great adepts gathered here today — please have a go at it. Zen Master Seung Sahn entered Nirvana ten years ago. His form body is long gone, but what about his Dharma body? Is it dead? Is it alive?

Gathering at the Whole World is a Single Flower Conference, Zen students of the ten directions attain WU WEI!