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"Wanting Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake" presents never-before published teaching stories by one of the most important Zen masters of our time. Born in Korea, Seung Sahn came to the United States in 1972 and soon established the Kwan Um School of Zen, with centres in Providence, Cambridge, New Haven, New York, Los Angeles and Berkeley. Today there are more than fifty centres of the Kwan Um School throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In his teaching, Zen Master Seung Sahn emphasized sitting meditation, koan study and compassionate action. He was known for his powerful teaching style, which was direct, surprising and often humorous. For example, Seung Sahn proclaimed to his students, "Enlightenment is a big mistake," meaning that in order to wake up they had to let go of all their preconceptions and ideas - including and especially those about enlightenment. He taught that Zen is not about achieving a goal, but about dwelling in the realm "before thought" and helping others. Zen Master Seung Sahn passed away in 2004, but one of his closest American students has assembled a new collection of teachings stories, dialogues and excerpts from the master's talks.
"Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake" will be cherished by students of the Kwan Um School and by the many Zen students of other schools who enjoyed his popular earlier collection of teaching stories, "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha" (Grove, 1976), and his book on Zen philosophy and practice, "Compass of Zen" (Shambhala, 1997).
Seung Sahn (1927-2004) was the first teacher of Korean Zen Buddhism to America. He founded dozens of Zen centres and the Kwan Um School of Zen