I do not say that there is no Zen,
I only say that there are no teachers of Zen.
— Huang Po
Muhan-Shim (Daniela Herzog)
Muhan Shim (Daniela Herzog) is the Vice Abbess of Furnace Mountain and serves as Guiding Teacher for the Lexington Zen Center.
She began active Zen training 1993 in the European Kwan Um Zen School and was a co-founder of “Weißenbach Zen Center” in Germany soon thereafter.
In 2004 she received Inga (permission to teach) in the lineage of Zen Master Dae Gak. In 2011 she moved to Furnace Mountain to commit her life to the dharma more fully. In 2019 she received final Dharma Transmission from Zen Master Dae Gak.
Muhan Shim has a masters degree in education. She is trained in compassionate communication (NVC), voice dialogue, focusing, systemic constellation work and Naikan and includes those modalities in her work with Zen students.
She is especially interested in how death informs life, and invites inquiry into the great matter of birth and death as a co-host of regular “Death Cafés” in the Bluegrass and Red River Gorge area of Eastern Kentucky.
Our Founding Teacher is Zen Master Dae Gak, who also resides at Furnace Mountain. He is a Dharma heir of Zen Master Seung Sahn, and is the author of two books:
- Going Beyond Buddha: The Awakening Practice of Listening, Tuttle Press, 1997. Available from Furnace Mountain.
- Upright with Poise and Grace: Coming Forward as You Are, Gnomon Press, 2012.
Here is one of Dae Gak’s poems:
Put On Your Robe
Put on your robe, your gown, your dancing shoes, your vestments.
Not to someone or something you have been taught about
But to what you know and feel and live in each moment.
Find what your heart already knows
Not what your thinking believes about it.
Find your tears, which flow without end
Where there was once only blame and disappointment.
Find your friends, your lovers,
Your breath, your parents
From ten thousand life times.
Find your True Self and never let go.
Hold the question without conclusion.
And breathe, breathe into the belly of this beast
whose heart is loss and whose intelligence is not knowing.
In a little over one hundred years everyone who is on earth today will be gone.
There is no enlightenment other than… This!