When investigating hwadu, what must one do about the tasteless?

When one continues purely to form the feeling of doubt about the hwadu, one comes to the state where one cannot sense any taste. This condition is called “lack of taste” (moljami) or “the tasteless” (mujami). Even grasping it firmly it does not exist; if one relies on it it does not exist; it is totally without interest. Seon Master Dahui said that such times are good times.

The hwadu cut off the taste of language and concepts, and one cannot analyze or pursue it with thought. Hwadu originally does not have any taste. And so Seon Master Yuanwu said of the hwadu, “It is a tasteless cake made of iron.” If one comes to take up the hwadu, one falls fully into where the path of reason is cut off as are all the various thoughts that trouble and ponder, as well as the discriminative consciousness that divides you and I. Traces and signs are cut off.

If one develops to some extent and chews on the tasteless in taking up the hwadu, the path of language is cut off and the paths of thought are blocked. It is the cutting off of the taste of language and thought. Being so uninteresting it is called tasteless. But this is proof that the hwadu is mature and that oneself and the hwadu have become one. If one reaches such a state, even you yourself will have disappeared.

Seon Master Naong of the late Goryeo examined the condition of practitioner’s study with the “ten paragraphs on study.” While he explained this condition of tastelessness as the state just before one took up the mind and body in one thusness that achieves the hwadu-samādhi, because one in that state continues to support the hwadu, although the interest disappears, the power abates. He stressed that in the condition of no interest whatsoever of the tasteless, to push the investigation of the hwadu is not easy.

    Even though one takes up the hwadu and is plain and full of study, there is entirely no interest, there is no place to peck with a beak, and no place to exercise strength, there is not the slightest place of clarity, and even though it being so nothing can be done, one absolutely must not retreat from here. At exactly this time, this is the place where the student applies strength of study, and it is the place where the strength is subtracted, and is the place where the strength of practice is gained, and is the place where the body and life are discarded. (Naong Hwasang eorok, Showing to the Practitioner Ilju).

In the process of the tasteless study one must not be negligent but investigate the hwadu even more strongly. One cannot discontinue it here. One must not search for other expedient means and one must push on to excite only more doubt. One must push on only by managing the hwadu with the mind of great faith and the mind of great vigorous practice.

Investigation of hwadu and alert tranquility

The most important thing in the investigation of hwadu is to be awake to the hwadu continuously. Falling into the neutrality of no thought (mugi) at all and all the phenomena, ideas or malfunctions that arise in the process of taking up hwadu are functions of the production of the mind when one cannot be powerfully aware of the hwadu. The most desirable state for investigating the hwadu is the alert tranquility (seongseong jeokjeok) with respect of the hwadu.

When one investigates hwadu, the development of the state in which one has lost both sides, and the various frustrations and delusions do not rise or cease, is called “tranquility” (jeokjeok). This is a state in which the mind is calm and pure, just like a clean mirror or a clear lake in which there are no waves. Even in this state, the continuance of a feeling of doubt about the hwadu with a lively spirit that does not carelessly fall into neutrality is called “alert” (seongseong). It means to be clearly aware of the hwadu. It is just like the powerful shining of a bright light in a mirror.

Alertness is given priority out of alertness and tranquility in the investigation of hwadu. If one is not alertly aware of the hwadu, one will fall into dullness or neutrality or the realm of the demons. If one is completely aware of the hwadu, one will be immersed in the hwadu-samadhi and naturally open up the tranquil state.

Seon Master Bojo Jinul borrowed the words of Seon Master Yongjia Xuanjue (665-713) and said as follows:

    And so Seon Master Yongjia said, “Although alert tranquility is correct, alert false thoughts are mistaken, and although tranquil alertness is correct, tranquil neutrality is wrong.” I do not agree to being blank in the midst of calm, so how can one produce the false mind by not giving rise to confused thought midst clarity? (Jinsim jikseol)

One must be “tranquilly alert” and must not be “tranquilly neutral.” This is to warn against the state of being merely tranquil without any thought. Therefore, in this process of taking up the hwadu, if one cannot clearly take up the hwadu, merely by being calm and tranquil, as soon as one falls into neutrality in the least it will be difficult to develop study.

Chapter 6: Investigation of Hwadu and the Stage of Samadhi

Investigation of hwadu and alert tranquility

The most important thing in the investigation of hwadu is to be awake to the hwadu continuously. Falling into the neutrality of no thought (mugi) at all and all the phenomena, ideas or malfunctions that arise in the process of taking up hwadu are functions of the production of the mind when one cannot be powerfully aware of the hwadu. The most desirable state for investigating the hwadu is the alert tranquility (seongseong jeokjeok) with respect of the hwadu.

When one investigates hwadu, the development of the state in which one has lost both sides, and the various frustrations and delusions do not rise or cease, is called “tranquility” (jeokjeok). This is a state in which the mind is calm and pure, just like a clean mirror or a clear lake in which there are no waves. Even in this state, the continuance of a feeling of doubt about the hwadu with a lively spirit that does not carelessly fall into neutrality is called “alert” (seongseong). It means to be clearly aware of the hwadu. It is just like the powerful shining of a bright light in a mirror.

Alertness is given priority out of alertness and tranquility in the investigation of hwadu. If one is not alertly aware of the hwadu, one will fall into dullness or neutrality or the realm of the demons. If one is completely aware of the hwadu, one will be immersed in the hwadu-samadhi and naturally open up the tranquil state.

Seon Master Bojo Jinul borrowed the words of Seon Master Yongjia Xuanjue (665-713) and said as follows:

    And so Seon Master Yongjia said, “Although alert tranquility is correct, alert false thoughts are mistaken, and although tranquil alertness is correct, tranquil neutrality is wrong.” I do not agree to being blank in the midst of calm, so how can one produce the false mind by not giving rise to confused thought midst clarity? (Jinsim jikseol)

One must be “tranquilly alert” and must not be “tranquilly neutral.” This is to warn against the state of being merely tranquil without any thought. Therefore, in this process of taking up the hwadu, if one cannot clearly take up the hwadu, merely by being calm and tranquil, as soon as one falls into neutrality in the least it will be difficult to develop study.

Can one take up a hwadu while working as a layperson?

The method of hwadu study for laypersons

The path of meditation practice that seeks one’s own original face does not discriminate between monastic and lay. This is because all sentient beings are originally Buddha. As Seon Master Huineng said, in the Buddha-dharma there is no difference in North and South and in the Buddha-nature there isn’t any discrimination. We are all thus Buddha. In that Buddha site already there is no differentiation between race, gender, religion or lay. Moreover, it is a feature of Ganhwa Seon that hwadu study is done in the midst of everyday life, and if one only makes the mind resolute even in lay life, one can study as much as one wants.

A beginner entering into hwadu study must first produce a genuine mental resolution and establish a firm values outlook with regard to the Buddha’s Dharma. If one has attained this mental resolution, one must correctly learn the method of hwadu investigation for the hwadu that was received from the teacher one sought out. And the beginners in taking up a hwadu must foster great strength. For the period of taking up a hwadu, if one allows any interruptions at all, various delusions force themselves into those gaps. If one lets one’s concentration go even a little, the mind deviates (from the hwadu) by 108,000 miles and all sorts of imaginations from the past spread their wings into the future.

When one starts, if one can extend the strength to take up the hwadu for thirty minutes, it is best to increase that by thirty minutes to have one hour of it morning and evening, and so meditate for two hours daily. It takes about one hour to burn a stick of incense. And so if one can try to enter meditation samadhi for an hour at a time as one burns an incense stick, one will personally experience how good that study is oneself. If one meditates even for a little just before one goes to bed, even though morning meditation is good, it is the most peaceful and genial end to the day.

Take up the hwadu and do not just be trapped into delusion while waiting for people or in rush hours, or just look blankly at the empty sky. Even when the delusion rises up, even in places where that delusion is kindled, take up the hwadu. We, seduced in mind by the delusion, just waste our valuable time and torment our mind. We sometimes demolish our work accomplished with much effort with foolish thoughts, and dislike the other party without reason. This is in the form of self-tormenting by the thought made by oneself. No matter how one looks at it, one receives and makes torment and abuses oneself through such delusions all day long. Therefore, when one tortures oneself with the tortures, one must take up the hwadu. If so, one should take up the hwadu even more in order to convert the power that is wasted on these delusions so that those delusions disappear into the power to take up the hwadu.

Doing so, if one makes taking up the hwadu an everyday thing, using one’s spare time and taking places regularly for meditating for an hour or two usually, it is good to try and participate in an all-night vigorous practice held in monasteries or citizens’ Seon rooms. For people who have meditated for an hour midst the usual everyday rush, while overcoming the aches in the legs or the falling asleep or sleepiness that spill forth and the delusions and frustrations that endlessly arise during the all-night vigorous practice, staying up all night and meditating is not easy. However, if one enters into the everyday after finishing the strength-sapping all-night vigorous practice, it becomes much easier to discover oneself in meditation for an hour. Moreover, one meets good masters and various companions of the Way through all-night vigorous practice, can receive help to polish one’s experience of practice, and can naturally exchange dialogue concerning the realm of study.

In the case of lay Buddhists, if one earnestly meditates for an hour or two daily in the morning and evening, the practice can mature fully. Dahui also said in his Shuzhuang, “The study of the hwadu morning and night is very good, is excellent.”

Thus it is advised that you do not skip a day and meditate everyday. Just as one does not skip a meal, try to practice meditation daily. Gaining strength in study, and the delusions disappearing, the frustrations will gradually decrease. Even though one cannot conquer the hwadu, if one can accumulate the strength of meditation, the mind is calmed and one can grasp the core of life and increase one’s power of concentration. Moreover, in removing the delusions, all things lack taint, one can progress vigorously and can live a life full of original inspiration.

Can one take up hwadu while working?

Can laypersons take up hwadu while working? Among laypersons there are many who are anxious about this question. Since normally if one takes up hwadu one has to concentrate one’s whole body and spirit on it, it is easy to think it impossible to take up the hwadu while one is working or driving.

However, Seon Master Dahui said one must not put aside the hwadu in the midst of the everyday life of walking, resting, sitting or lying down. Not only Seon Master Dahui but also many Seon masters said that daily affairs are none other than the Way. It is exactly because we eat, go to work and try to do our duty and exchange dialogue that this must not be separate from the Way. That is, this means that even in everyday life one can take up the hwadu uninterruptedly. Students who extend their strength by taking up the hwadu in quiet places, can also take up the hwadu constantly when moving, coming and going, or when washing dishes or drinking tea and eating,.

But it is not an easy thing to take up the hwadu while working. If one tries to immerse oneself in work, there are many times when one concentrates one’s mind on that work and cannot be obsessed with the hwadu. But if one tries to take up the hwadu persistently by using empty time such as that of rush hours or in the morning or at night, and even in moments when the feeling of doubt about the hwadu arise and one cannot be conscious of it, one starts to take up the hwadu mindlessly in the secluded places of the mind.

Seon Master Dahui said the hwadu is to be an object that is extended into everyday life and that one must not be manipulated by the realms. While looking at the documents and writing’s on the desk, he said as soon as one has the spare time, and when things clash with you while working, one must handle them well. And, while residing in a quiet place, he said one must get rid of worldly thoughts in an ultimate investigation that comprehends things, and not fall into delusion.

What is the relation between hwadu investigation and the place?

Although a quiet and cozy place provides some psychological and biological assistance to hwadu practitioners, one cannot view such places as functioning as absolute causes. If one is mentally resolute and resides with the mind on the Way, no place should be a problem. If one has made the mind resolute, even though one polishes meditation in the city center, that place can be a deeply quiet site. In the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra, Layman Vimalakirti said, “The direct mind is the pactice site (monastery), the bodhi-mind that seeks truth is the practice site.” And so, even though one meditates downtown, if the mind is still and not disturbed, there is no difference between that place and a hermitage deep in the mountains or a quiet meditation room.

In taking up the hwadu, if it is hot, take advantage of that; if it is cold, take advantage of the cold; if it is noisy, take advantage of the noise; if it is quiet, take advantage of the quiet. It is right that one should enter into this study.

However, for beginners it is not so easy to gain the strength to control the mind well. For those starting study, the place of study can have some role. The Buddha also spoke about the location of monasteries. “A monastery must be appropriately separated from villages. It has to be in a place that is not noisy and not far from where one goes begging.” Seon Master Changle Zongze also said that a basic condition for meditation is a tranquil and quiet place. This point was the same for Seon masters of the past. This is because the Seon rooms and caverns in which the generations of Seon masters meditated were mostly sited on myeongdang [geomantically powerful sites] and were valued as places to meditate.

Anyhow, in the case of beginners, it is necessary to find a quiet, clean and intense place. Even if it is only for a fixed period, if one can have a quiet environment, any place is fine. Of course, if it is a permanently established Seon cloister, one must preserve such conditions always. Therefore, if you enter into a Seon cloister, one gets used to a quiet and calm atmosphere at anytime. But one is not to be too attached to a superficially good place.

It is especially desirable for those beginning the meditation to select and go to a place with many assembly members and a Dharmic practice. If one participates in the serious practice with various assembly members, one will unconsciously gain much strength and one can become accustomed corporeally with a study that lacks obstacles and difficulties.

Even though one gains some strength, to the extent that one can, it is advisable to dwell together with various assembly (members). It is truly better to be empowered by being in a Seon room of congregations than in a cave or practicing alone in a Seon cloister. One has to bear in mind above all the fact that the superior causation is to pass time together with the teacher. If one can receive the teacher’s guidance and advance vigorously, that place is more excellent than any practice place/site.

The most important thing is one’s own attitude that wants to make the mind resolute and achieve enlightenment. If one does not make the mind resolute and advance vigorously, no matter how good the causation, it cannot help. Even though there are people who try wandering round in search of a good place to consult Seon, these places are all over. One cannot call a person who seeks a place to study with the concerns only about the natural scenery or the physical geography a genuine Seon practitioner.

How does one overcome the contrary realms and the favorable realms during the course of daily study

Contrary and favorable realms are environs continuously experienced in the course of study, and it is an important topic in the investigation of the hwadu as to how one can overcome these contrary and favorable realms.

What are contrary and favorable realms? A contrary realm means the circumstances that oppose one’s own intention have developed. In a word, this is a circumstance that is difficult to bear that unfolds right before one’s eyes. Therefore it is difficult and painful. The favorable realm means adhering firmly to a condition that has opened up and which accords with one’s intentions. Although it is momentarily joyful when it accords with one’s own intention, if one becomes attached to that, one cannot be awakened to the reality when the mind wanders.

The moment they encounter contrary realms, usually many practitioners forget to study having been seduced mentally by the realm in front of their eyes. Even more, when they encounter contrary realms, the mind schemes strongly, and although one may break through that realm, when one meets with a favorable realm generally one ends up burying the mind in it. If one achieves that hoped-for thing, one becomes intoxicated with that happiness and one forgets oneself, because one is swept away by the circumstances.

Seon Master Dahui said concerning this:

    When a thing appears in front of one’s eyes, whether or not it is a contrary or favorable realm, since one must not be attached to it, if one is attached the mind will be disordered.

    Although the contrary realm is difficult to conquer, the favorable realm is difficult to conquer. If one can be prudent for a moment about that which opposes my intention by simply being patient, it will have passed on by. But there is no place to escape from favorable realms. It is just like when a magnet and iron encounter each other, in spite of themselves they come together. Even though insentient things do so, what about sentient beings who are living where ignorance even more operates in the entire body? When they encounter such realms, if there is no wisdom, unwittingly that is where one is drawn into that realm, but on the contrary if one tries to find a path to leave from in there, why won’t it be difficult? And so, past saints said, “Entering into the world, depart the world with nothing left.” That is the principle of this. (Shuzhuang, Reply to Lou Shumi).

Whether a contrary realm or a favorable realm approaches, know that all the world’s things originally are all conditionally produced phenomena and so lack reality. If one does not give rise to a mind that is attached to that, such realms become slighter. Contrary and favorable realms are all realms already prepared within the mind, and the contrary and favorable are not outside, and are merely one’s own karmic deeds that are projected into the external realm. And so if contrary and favorable realms come in, one must strongly and minutely inquire into it by concentrating the mind only into the hwadu study. Rather, one must activate the advantages of excellent hwadu study without any more contrary or favorable realms.

Even though contrary realms and favorable realms come, do not command the feelings of that moment, but then and there one must take up the hwadu. Thus, even though each day is terribly difficult, hard and gloomy, do not be swallowed up by this. One has to proceed by grasping hard onto the one hwadu. It is certain that the climax is a passing thing. The same applies to favorable realms. Even though all things are temporarily favorable, one must not be overly unsettled by this. The moment one is attached to that, an unpleasant realm will hasten to one.

If one meets with contrary realms or favorable realms, quickly be aware that, “A realm has visited.” At just that time, one must recognize that this is a definite chance for mental study. And in the condition that the mind is made calm and one takes up the hwadu, one must proceed to cope resolutely with the realm one is faced with.

How much must one practice in silence and can one enter into study in movement?

Seon Master Mazu said, “The everyday mind is the Way.” The Way is in the mind of everyday life of eating, sleeping and working.

Even when studying by taking up hwadu, one can study properly as soon as the hwadu is clearly devoted to in the midst of everyday life. If basically one has resolved the mind well, one will have the preconditions for that. But in conditions where the mind is not resolute, it is not easy for the beginner to take up the hwadu properly while working in the midst of everyday life. The beginning practitioner must take up the hwadu earnestly and induce the mental resolution, discarding all worldly thoughts in a still and clean place.

It is easy for people to be seduced mentally by the various events they come into contact with in the course of everyday life. If so, one will be unable to sit at ease while the mind is always coming and going here and there. The Buddha said of the mind of sentient beings that it in taking the characteristic of busily moving that, “This characteristic of moving here and there is just like a monkey that cannot be still for even a moment.” Thus while people repeatedly have “I am busy, so busy” on their lips, they cannot have calm of mind, and rush about outside and only outside.

Our mind has become accustomed to such meaningless confusion. And so first of all one must be able to place the mind in the hwadu to calm the mind in that silent place. Without hesitation one must grasp hold of the illness of sentient beings that is confused and madly rampaging with the still mind. Therefore one must enter into and earnestly doubt and take up the hwadu in a quiet place. Doing this, even though one tries to put down the hwadu one cannot put it down, and even if one tries to abandon it, one cannot. At that time one can reach that state continuously with the mind in a quiet place. This is what is called “study in midst of calm.”

If one consistently studies in a quiet place, one has to foster even greater strength to study when one goes out to a noisy place. This is called “study in the midst of movement.”

There are times when one has taken up the hwadu well continuously in a quiet place and then has discontinued it in a noisy place and it becomes faint. At such times, if one pushes it very much and strains even more completely in a noisy place, and unrelated to whether it is a quiet or a noisy place, one in movement or calm continuously and consistently achieves the state of study. This is called movement and calm in one thusness. There are here no boundaries between study in the midst of movement and study midst calm. If one gains strength with the study midst calm, it is necessary to move straightaway to study midst movement. When one does not discontinue the hwadu whether it is moving or when it is still, then one can call it movement and calm in one thusness. And, if one always maintains the mental resolution, the point also that movement and calm are not divided up must be understood.

If one takes the quiet place to be right and considers the noisy place to be wrong, this is trying to find the form of reality and to get rid of the mundane life, and is the pursuit of a nirvana apart from rising and ceasing. Of course, once one studies well at quiet times, even when it is noisy, one can well study without change. And if the taking up of the hwadu has matured a bit, the noisy time becomes a good opportunity to gain even more strength than in times of quiet. One is a true practitioner only if one has gained strength at the time when one studies really midst everyday life. And further, one can be called a genuine student when one purely continues to study impartially no matter where or when it is noisy or calm.

Chapter 5: The Investigation of Hwadu Method in Everyday Life

Seon Master Mazu said, “The everyday mind is the Way.” The Way is in the mind of everyday life of eating, sleeping and working.

Even when studying by taking up hwadu, one can study properly as soon as the hwadu is clearly devoted to in the midst of everyday life. If basically one has resolved the mind well, one will have the preconditions for that. But in conditions where the mind is not resolute, it is not easy for the beginner to take up the hwadu properly while working in the midst of everyday life. The beginning practitioner must take up the hwadu earnestly and induce the mental resolution, discarding all worldly thoughts in a still and clean place.

It is easy for people to be seduced mentally by the various events they come into contact with in the course of everyday life. If so, one will be unable to sit at ease while the mind is always coming and going here and there. The Buddha said of the mind of sentient beings that it in taking the characteristic of busily moving that, “This characteristic of moving here and there is just like a monkey that cannot be still for even a moment.” Thus while people repeatedly have “I am busy, so busy” on their lips, they cannot have calm of mind, and rush about outside and only outside.

Our mind has become accustomed to such meaningless confusion. And so first of all one must be able to place the mind in the hwadu to calm the mind in that silent place. Without hesitation one must grasp hold of the illness of sentient beings that is confused and madly rampaging with the still mind. Therefore one must enter into and earnestly doubt and take up the hwadu in a quiet place. Doing this, even though one tries to put down the hwadu one cannot put it down, and even if one tries to abandon it, one cannot. At that time one can reach that state continuously with the mind in a quiet place. This is what is called “study in midst of calm.”

If one consistently studies in a quiet place, one has to foster even greater strength to study when one goes out to a noisy place. This is called “study in the midst of movement.”

There are times when one has taken up the hwadu well continuously in a quiet place and then has discontinued it in a noisy place and it becomes faint. At such times, if one pushes it very much and strains even more completely in a noisy place, and unrelated to whether it is a quiet or a noisy place, one in movement or calm continuously and consistently achieves the state of study. This is called movement and calm in one thusness. There are here no boundaries between study in the midst of movement and study midst calm. If one gains strength with the study midst calm, it is necessary to move straightaway to study midst movement. When one does not discontinue the hwadu whether it is moving or when it is still, then one can call it movement and calm in one thusness. And, if one always maintains the mental resolution, the point also that movement and calm are not divided up must be understood.

If one takes the quiet place to be right and considers the noisy place to be wrong, this is trying to find the form of reality and to get rid of the mundane life, and is the pursuit of a nirvana apart from rising and ceasing. Of course, once one studies well at quiet times, even when it is noisy, one can well study without change. And if the taking up of the hwadu has matured a bit, the noisy time becomes a good opportunity to gain even more strength than in times of quiet. One is a true practitioner only if one has gained strength at the time when one studies really midst everyday life. And further, one can be called a genuine student when one purely continues to study impartially no matter where or when it is noisy or calm.

Methods of Controlling Dullness and Restlessness

What are dullness and restlessness?
Dullness (honchim) and restlessness (do-geo) hinder practice. Seon Master Dahui also took up dullness and restlessness as representative malfunctions in meditation. Afflictions by dullness and restlessness in this way are because of a lazy mind and delusions. It is because the mind is not woken up entirely.

If the mind cannot be clearly woken when it functions and falls into a stupid and dim condition, that is called dullness. If this dullness is severe, one will fall into sleep. Moreover, the condition in which the mind cannot be still and wanders in disorder is called restlessness. Because the mind wanders here in a condition of confusion due to frustrations and delusions, the disordered mind cannot find calm and is the concrete appearance of that restlessness.

Methods of overcoming dullness and restlessness
Falling into restlessness or dullness while practicing meditation happens because one has not managed the hwadu properly. If one investigates hwadu continuously, there is no time gap to find dullness and restlessness. Seon Master Bojo Jinul said one had to control dullness with an aware mind and control restlessness with the still mind. If the mind is vividly woken, there is no reason to find dullness or drowsiness, and if the mind is immersed into a single object continuously, the restlessness that wanders and is entangled in the threads of thought cannot get a foothold. One must only take up a hwadu earnestly through thought of this study alone, and it completely maintains the mind whether dullness and restlessness comes or not. If one genuinely takes up hwadu, the mind becomes still and sparkling and therefore the two types of malfunction completely disappear.

If it is a hwadu that induces a genuine feeling of doubt, one can repel dullness and restlessness together. When drowsiness or delusions enter, in the place where they come in, one must not dislike or fear the drowsiness or delusions, but only give rise to the hwadu with full sincerity. If one fears or dislikes, that fearing and disliking mind therefore instead fosters drowsiness and delusions.

Seon Master Dahui said this:

    Do not try to empty or get rid off the mind; do not be attached to thought or discriminate, but take up only the hwadu continuously wherever and whenever. When false thoughts arise, also do not forcibly try to stop them. If one stops movement and finally manages to stop them, that is only temporary and they will come to move even more. Just look only at the hwadu in the place where the movement of the mind is stopped. (Dahui yulu, fascicle 17)
One must know that dullness and restlessness are all produced in the site of our mind. Thus dullness and restlessness are not objects that have to be repelled, but must be known to be images also of the Buddha-nature, and by investigating the hwadu, must be put back into their original site. As frustrations and delusions also are originally Buddha-nature, it is extremely natural that they be returned to that place as they are through the hwadu. It is not that something that was non-existent is made existent. It is merely confirming the original site. Therefore it is said, “frustrations (kleśa) are bodhi.” If one tries to be like this, one must proceed by study with a fixed support on which the boatman tries go upstream and with the earnest mind of a person who has fallen into a well and tries to escape from the well.

The Method of Controlling Rising Gi

Rising gi means the rising of the energy and fervor to the head. In the condition where mental resolution does not work, if one impatiently takes up the hwadu, or takes it up excessively, or forcibly takes it up, and takes it up as if pushed into it, rising gi occurs and the head hurts as if it is being split apart. If this occurs, even though one tries to be devoted to the hwadu, because of the pain and distress, one can do nothing more.

The reason for the occurrence of rising gi is because of the impatient mind that wants to be rapidly enlightened or forcibly is made to take up the hwadu without producing a genuine doubt about the hwadu. If one gives rise to a desire that one wants to do something and be rapidly awakened, the mind of rapid result is produced, and if one tries to fight the endless delusions, the mind can’t help burning with a pent up frustration. In circumstances where one is unprepared, when one wants to rapidly achieve a certain matter, the mind becomes impatient and the nerves come on edge, just like the activation of a fierce fervor.

If the mind becomes impatient the mind boils over and quakes. Therefore the fervor does not go down, but goes up to the head, and the illness of rising gi occurs. That is the cold energy goes upwards and the hot energy descends. When that (circulation of) water rides up and fire descends does not work, that becomes the original source of the illness of rising gi. Because the illness of rising gi cannot be cured by modern medicine, for monk meditators it is a fatal illness. If the illness is severe, it can reach an acute condition where one is even made to vomit.

If, having investigated the hwadu and rising gi occurs and the body throbs, one must go outside and expose oneself to the breezes, rest the mind and calm oneself and gently enter into the hwadu. Even so, if rising gi occurs and the head hurts, it is a help to “water riding up and fire descending” by lowering the rising gi through breathing exercises at dawn. If one stretches the waist erectly, the flow of the breath becomes natural and one can check the rising gi. But if one controls rising gi by technical means such as the breathing method, there is a worry that one may fall into the subsidiary practices.

If one catches the illness of rising gi, one must make a vow in order to produce a genuine doubt that wells up in the chest through a re-resolution of the mind. If one does so, the hwadu will appear again before one’s eyes. If one is mentally resolved and the hwadu is devoted to naturally, the hwadu and I become one and the blazing fervor disappears.

But in case the illness of rising gi worsens and one cannot take up the hwadu, one can cure the illness by bowing practice. If one tries to bow with the mind earnest and at the utmost, the mind will calm down, and through the bow, and due to the stimulus on the foot one therefore can obtain the result of water riding up and fire descending.

However, the most important thing is not to catch the illness of rising gi. One must start the study of the hwadu naturally and earnestly by a genuine mental resolution, and in order to be able to block the illness of rising gi in advance, it is important to investigate the hwadu by receiving the detailed guidance of a teacher or long-term practitioner.