From 1st Journal of White Lotus Buddhist Studies(JWBS), 1991
This text is composed of essentials specially excerpted directly by Venerable Master Seongcheol from his previously published Seonmun Jeongno (Correct Path of Seon) plus supplementary explanations related to the practice (gongbu) of hwadu.
“There is not a single sentient being that does not possess the wisdom of the Tathagata, but because of their attachments to delusions they cannot realize (this wisdom). So if they can lose the delusions, all will have natural wisdom and unhindered wisdom revealed to them.” (80 fascicle Huayan jing [Avatamsaka Sutra], 50 )
Comment: The wisdom of the Tathagata means the Buddha-nature, and so if one discards the delusions that conceal the Buddha-nature, the Buddha-nature automatically appears.
“All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature, but because it is covered over by defilements, they do not know and do not see it.” (Daniepan jing [Mahaparinirvana Sutra], fascicle 7)
“The thus-so Buddha-nature can only be known by a Buddha.” (Daniepan jing [Mahaparinirvana Sutra], fascicle 7)
“The anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (supreme, correct enlightenment/awareness) is achieved due to seeing the nature.” (Daniepan jing [Mahaparinirvana Sutra], fascicle 7)
Comment: Since the Buddha-nature can only be seen by a Buddha who has eliminated all delusions, this is the supreme, correct awareness.
“The arhats do not see the Buddha-nature.” (Daniepan jing [Mahaparinirvana Sutra], fascicle 27)
“Even though a bodhisattva has reached the tenth (of the ten stages), that bodhisattva still does not clearly see or know the Buddha-nature.” (Daniepan jing [Mahaparinirvana Sutra], fascicle 8)
Comment: A bodhisattva, even at the tenth of the stages, still cannot clearly see the Buddha-nature because subtle delusions remain. Needless to say this also applies to arhats.
“Even though one profoundly believes that sentient beings all share the same true nature, because that is covered by adventitious contaminants, it cannot be completely visible. If one can discard the delusions and return to the true (nature), because one is calm and has nothing to do that is called entry into principle.” (Bodhidharma, Sixinglu)
Comment: This is seen in the Dunhuang texts etcetera, and so is recognized as being the personal teaching of Bodhidharma.
“Although the myriad Dharmas are all present in the self-nature, being covered by the floating clouds of false thoughts, the self-nature cannot be elucidated. If one has blown away the illusory falsities, inside and outside are completely clarified and the myriad Dharmas will all be visible in the self-nature.” (Dunhuang Platform Sutra)
Comment: “Inside and outside are completely clarified” is just like when the Buddha lit a light inside a glass bottle, the inside and outside were bright, which was called marvelous awareness.
“When in the space of a moment false thoughts are all extinguished, and inside and outside are completely clarified, one recognizes that one’s own original mind is itself liberation, which is no-thought.” (Platform Sutra)
Comment: The popularly circulating Platform Sutra writes, “People who see the nature are also the same as this.” Since ‘inside and outside are completely clarified’ and ‘immediate cultivation, no-thought’ are contents shared by the Dunhuang and popular Platform Sutra texts, these are the fundamental thought of the Sixth Patriarch expressed unchanged in the Platform Sutra. That is, if inside and outside are completely clarified, and if one sees the nature and delusions have all been removed, that is called no-thought. Since a fundamental principle of Buddhism is that the ending of delusions is seeing the nature, the words of the Buddha and patriarchs do not contradict this.
“When one has completed the bodhisattva stages and has distanced oneself from the subtle false thoughts, since one can see the nature of the mind it is called ultimate awareness.” (Qixinlun [The Mahayana Awakening of Faith])
“When the false mind is extinguished, the Dharmakaya (Body of the Law) will be clearly visible.” (Qixinlun [Awakening of Faith])
Comment: Since the Dharmakaya is the body of the Dharma-nature, this means that is the same as the Buddha-nature.
“If one removes and extinguishes ignorance one will see the original Dharmakaya.” (Qixinlun [Awakening of Faith])
“The Buddhas and Tathagata are simply the Dharmakaya.” (Qixinlun [Awakening of Faith])
Comment: The Awakening of Faith is a recognized summation of Mahayana Buddhism. Ultimate awareness in which all delusions have been removed is called seeing the nature. This agrees with the words of the Buddha and patriarchs.
“In the stage of no pollution of the diamond-like samadhi (vajra-upama-samādhi) that is the final mind (state) of the tenth stage, the mental thoughts of the subtle force of habit are all eliminated. Therefore it is said (that at this stage) one can see the nature of the mind.” (Xianshou Fazang, Qixinlun yiji [Notes on the Meaning of the Awakening of Faith], T44.268c)
Comment: The authoritative doctrinal scholar Xianshou also says that at the tenth stage that the subtle delusions must be eliminated before one sees the nature.
“The saints of the tenth stage preach that the Dharma is like clouds rising or rain falling, and that seeing the nature is like (seeing) with ones eyes covered over by fine gauze.” (Yunmen, Jingde chuandenglu 19)
“Just like a clear-eyed person who (sees) all the masses of material objects (with his eyes) covered by light gauze, the bodhisattva of the ultimate stage likewise sees all percepts. Just like a clear-eyed person who has no obstructions (sees) all the masses of material forms, the Tathagata sees all percepts likewise.” (Yujialun 50)
Comment: As even the bodhisattva of the ultimate and tenth stage has remaining subtle delusions, they do not see the nature.
“The enlightened person immediately cultivates. The self-nature is immediately cultivated.” (Platform Sutra)
Comment: These lines of the Dunhuang Platform Sutra are expressed in the popular Platform Sutra version as, “The deluded person gradually tallies, the enlightened person immediately cultivates. Immediate enlightenment and immediate cultivation likewise have no stages,” and so (these two versions) are unanimous in advocating immediate cultivation. This shared advocacy of immediate cultivation in the Dunhuang and popular versions of the Platform Sutra is a fundamental teaching of the Sixth Patriarch. The Sixth Patriarch did not propose gradual cultivation after enlightenment.
“As immediate enlightenment and immediate cultivation does not produce a single thought, it has terminated both before and after.” (Zongmi, Chanyuan zhuquanji duxu).
“If false thoughts are all completely extinguished, wipe away the place of elimination also.” (Record of Consulting Seon, in Taegorok)
Comment: Although one has eliminated all false thoughts, if one remains at the place of elimination that is the great death that cannot come to life. And so only when one has abandoned even the state of having eliminated all false thoughts is one properly enlightened.
“Anybody who does not produce a single thought and who has terminated before and after, will immediately be enlightened and immediately cultivate, immediately terminate and immediately realize, and will have no stages.” (Seosanjip 4)
Comment: The import of the immediate enlightenment of ‘immediate enlightenment with gradual cultivation’ and ‘immediate enlightenment with immediate cultivation’ is fundamentally different. The immediate enlightenment of gradual cultivation is the defilements and delusions left as they are, and the gradual cultivation is the removal of delusions. The immediate enlightenment of immediate cultivation is the great no-mind in which not even a single thought is produced, and so there is no need to remove delusions, which is called immediate cultivation.
Bojo’s immediate enlightenment is leaving delusions as they are, which he called the starting (mind) of the ten faiths [the first of the ten stages of the bodhisattva career]. The Sixth Patriarch’s immediate enlightenment is the inside and outside completely clarified of marvelous awareness, which he called the no-thought of the Buddha-stage. These two contradict each other. The correct-eyed lineage masters of the Seon School all passed beyond the non-production of a single thought, and since none (of them) lacked no-thought, therefore Bojo’s starting (mind) of the ten faiths that advocated leaving delusions as they are does not even have relative value. However, we must note that even though one has reached (the state of) not producing a single thought, if one remains with the non-production of a single thought that is a great death that cannot come to life and is not called seeing the nature.
“Fada was greatly enlightened at a word and said himself, ‘Hereafter every moment I shall practice the Buddhist practice.’ The Master said, ‘The Buddhist practice is the Buddha.’” (Dunhuang Platform Sutra)
Comment: As immediate enlightenment is the stage of the Buddha, this means that gradual cultivation after enlightenment is not necessary. The practice of the Buddha is the practice of immediate cultivation and perfect realization.
“Each one of our six generations of masters said, ‘Decisively and directly enter, and directly see the nature.’ They did not speak of stages or gradual. Those who would learn the Way should immediately be enlightened and gradually cultivate.” (Shenhui yiji 3)
Comment: As there was much immediate cultivation thought in the Shenhui yiji, Hu Shi declared that Shenhui had spoken of immediate cultivation. But Shenhui, while saying that the Chan/Seon School was immediate cultivation, on the other hand advocated gradual cultivation. Therefore the founding patriarch of gradual cultivation could be none other than Shenhui.
“First one should immediately be enlightened, and only then should one cultivate gradually. This refers to enlightenment through understanding. Therefore the Huayan (jing) preaches that ‘when the mind is initially determined (for enlightenment), that is achieving the correct awareness.’ And after that the three sagely and ten saintly (stages of the bodhisattva career) are successively cultivated and realized.” (Zongmi, Chanyuan zhuquanji duxu, Ji-nul, Jeolyo)
“One first enters the stages of the ten faiths after enlightenment.” (Zongmi, Chengxitu, Jeolyo)
Comment: ‘Successively cultivate the three sagely and ten saintly (stages)’ are evidently the words of doctrinal scholars, and so to call this (teaching an) advocacy of the Seon School of the separate transmission outside of the doctrine is ridiculous.
“Even though one is immediately enlightened that one’s self-nature is originally empty and quiescent, the adventitious contaminants and defilements are no different to what they were before.” (Ji-nul, Susimgyeol)
Comment: While the Buddha and the patriarchs said that the ultimate awareness of the great ground of no-mind is seeing the nature, Bojo said that the starting (mind) of the ten faiths that is no different to the preceding defilements and delusions is seeing the nature. Therefore this (claim) is fundamentally a violation of the words of the Buddhas and patriarchs.
“Turn back the light in a single thought and see one’s own basic nature. That nature-ground is the nature of the wisdom that lacks outflows [insight unstained by defilements], which is something one was originally fully provided with, and which is not in the slightest degree different to that of all the Buddhas. There it is called ‘immediate enlightenment.’”
“Although one is enlightened that the basic nature is no different to the Buddha, the beginning-less force of habit (means) it is ultimately difficult to remove immediately. Therefore, through cultivation that is dependent on enlightenment, one should long nurture the fetus of the saint (Buddha), and after a long time one becomes the saint. Therefore I say (one should) cultivate gradually.” (Susimgyeol)
Comment: Although Bojo said that the starting (mind) of the ten faiths that is no different to the preceding defilements and delusions is seeing the nature, that is not the seeing the nature (spoken of by) the Buddha and patriarchs.
“After enlightenment one should examine and reflect for a long time, and even if false thoughts suddenly arise, one should not follow them at all, but discard them and again discard them till one comes to (where) there is nothing more to be done in discarding (wuwei), which is to be at the point of the ultimate. The excellent teachers of the world herd the oxen [mind/thought] after enlightenment.” (Susimgyeol)
Comment: In the Mahayana sutras, the Avatamaska and the Mahaparinirvana, the Buddha says that the stage of the Buddha where delusions are all ended is seeing the nature, and that there is no need for further cultivation thereafter. In the Platform Sutra the Sixth Patriarch speaks in detail of inside and outside completely clarified as seeing the nature. He did not speak of further cultivation. Even in the oldest text, the Dunhuang version, one cannot find ideas about gradual cultivation.
Bojo said that the ten faiths that overlay the delusions are the seeing of the nature, and that the removal of the delusions is gradual cultivation. One can see that this contradicts the words of the Sixth Patriarch. To the extent that one says that the ten faiths that lie layer upon layer over the delusions are the seeing of the nature, to that extent one is wrong. (To the extent that one says that) one must not leave the delusions as they are, that inevitably means that naturally one pursues gradual cultivation. And thus one must know that this idea of gradual cultivation is clearly that of the doctrinal scholars and not that of the Seon School.
“In the idea of doctrine, immutability and adaptability to conditions, immediate enlightenment and gradual cultivation have a fore and after [temporal succession]. In the Seon Dharma, during one thought/moment, immutability and adaptability to conditions, nature and attribute, substance and function, are fundamentally simultaneous.”
Comment: These are words in Seosan’s Seonga gugam, which says that immediate enlightenment and gradual cultivation are the ideas of doctrinal scholars and not those of the Seon School.
“Of those who now mistakenly receive the meaning of Seon, some regard the gate (method) of immediate (enlightenment) and gradual (cultivation) to be the correct genealogy, and (some) regard the teaching of perfect immediacy to be the vehicle of the school, so how can I dare to speak of their errors in slandering the Dharma?” (Seon gyo gyeol)
Comment: Since the ideas of immediate enlightenment with gradual cultivation and perfect immediacy and the understanding through faith are those of the doctrinal scholars and not those of the Seon School, the mistaken assertion that this is an idea of the Seon School was cautioned against by Seosan as a major error of slandering the Dharma. Moreover, these identical lines (of caution) appear in the Seonmun bojangrok.
“Heze (Shenhui) is a lineage master of intellectual understanding.”
Comment: Heze was the founding patriarch of immediate enlightenment with gradual cultivation, and Guifeng (Zongmi) continued to propagate this. Bojo also was a person who did the utmost to advocate the ideas of Heze and Guifeng, and Bojo at the start of his Jeolyo criticized Heze as a “lineage master of intellectual understanding.” That criticism was a major change in (Bojo’s) thought.
“But although this principle is perfectly marvelous, because it is totally interpreted through the affective mind and is determined through thinking, in the short-cut entrance [gate or method] that is the entrance of Seon, each single one is selected out as a disease of intellectual understanding.” (Ganhwa gyeoluiron)
Comment: Perfect immediacy and understanding through faith mean an intellectual understanding of the Buddha Dharma.
“Perfect immediacy and the understanding through faith are verbal teachings of reality that are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, but they are called dead words. Therefore they make people produce obstacles to understanding.”
Comment: Bojo himself fiercely criticized perfect immediacy and the understanding through faith that is immediate enlightenment with gradual cultivation as dead words, but even now, eight hundred years later that double of perfect immediacy with immediate and gradual are still advocated as belonging to the Seon School. That is something that cannot be comprehended.
“Persons who make manifest the realization of wisdom are presently rarely seen and rarely heard of. Therefore, just now one should value the elucidation of the correct knowledgeable views that are reliant on the gate [method] of investigating the meaning of the hwadu.” (Ganhwa gyeoluiron)
“At present the majority of those who destroy doubts investigate the meaning. Therefore they cannot investigate the words, and so are one with the gate of perfect immediacy and the elucidation of correct understanding.” (Ganhwa gyeoluiron)
“Investigation of the meaning is the dead words of perfect immediacy. This is because they have ideas about the paths of principle, of language, and of understanding through hearing.” (Seonga gugam)
Comment: Investigation of words means the part of live words that have ended language and thought. In the Ganhwa gyeoluiron, Bojo abandoned the dead words of perfect immediacy that he had advocated up till then, and tried to advocate live words, but in the final section of the Gyeoluiron, he ended it with a weak conclusion.
That is, while Bojo himself held that investigation of the meaning was the same as the gate of perfect immediacy, because he again returned to the dead words of perfect immediacy and encouraged it, Bojo’s fundamental thought is thus known to be perfect immediacy and understanding through faith, just as it was previously.
Because this directly contradicts the inside and outside completely elucidated and the immediate entrance and immediate cultivation spoken of in the Platform Sutra, in a Seon School that is the Dharma-heir of the Sixth Patriarch, this absolutely cannot be approved. Because this tells us that Bojo could not have had a coherent and fixed view, it was a theoretical contradiction that was nothing but suicidal. In the Seon School, the Platform Sutra is still a standard, and one must return to the live words section of inside and outside completely clarified, and enlightened entry and immediate cultivation.
“If one values the doctrinal teaching and makes light of Seon, even though one passes through endless time, one is still completely of the demonic host of heaven and is a non-Buddhist.” (Seon Gyo seok).
Comment: As this is the conclusion of the Seon Gyo seok written by Seosan, these are awesome words. If one advocates the teaching (doctrine) beneath the signboard of the Seon School, one is professing that one is a demon of heaven, a heretic who is not of the Buddha Dharma, which means Seosan is a truly excellent guide.
“If one directly uses the live words of the short-cut method to teach them, and has gained enlightenment oneself, then that is the style of a lineage master who teaches people. If he sees that a student cannot understand and drags him into the mire by preaching doctrine, he will blind the eyes of many people. If a lineage master violates this Dharmic rule, even though he preaches the Dharma, and even though the flowers fall down from heaven in profusion (in approval), all of this is a stupid madness of running to the outside.”
Comment: Because Seosan in his Gugam indicated that (the teaching of) being first enlightened and afterwards cultivating under the principles of understanding through faith and the practice of realization is that of doctrinal scholars, the gradual cultivation ideas of Bojo are evidently those of a doctrinal scholar and those of the Seon School. There is a world of difference between advocating that the starting (mind) of the ten faiths in which there is no difference with the pre-existing adventitious contaminants and defilements will be the immediate enlightenment to the self nature and that these delusions will then be removed by gradual cultivation, and advocating that in marvelous awareness all delusions will have disappeared, and that inner and outer are completely clarified and one enters by enlightenment and cultivates immediately [i.e. simultaneously].
In the Seon School one must sever off and discard the dead words of perfect immediacy. If one cannot end and discard the attachment to the dead words of perfect immediacy, one will be “in a stupid madness that runs to the outside” as Seosan so sternly taught, and one will be a follower of the school of intellectual understanding that is most taboo in the Seon School.
While Bojo allowed that one could only see the nature in the ultimate awareness in which all the defilements and delusions that conceal the Buddha-nature have all disappeared, Bojo also said that the starting (mind) of the ten faiths stage that was no different to the preceding adventitious contaminants and defilements is seeing the nature. Thus from the very start this opposed the principles of the Buddha and the patriarchs. Even while advocating gradual cultivation, Bojo criticized the founding father of gradual cultivation, Heze, as a master of the school of intellectual understanding, and he also said that one had to decisively discard ideas of gradual cultivation. Although there appears to have been an ideological about-face in his Gyeoluiron, in the final section of this work, because there is an advocacy of the investigation of the meaning of dead words as before, this was only a temporary change in his thought, and was not a fundamental about-face. This counters his efforts in arguing that one must not investigate dead words. It is a fact that Bojo did not abandon the dead words of perfect immediacy and understanding through faith. One must eliminate this mistaken idea and must observe the legacy of Seosan’s strict instruction about this being a “stupid madness that runs to the outside.”
“Even though one gradually reaches a (state in which) sleep and waking are one, one still needs the hwadu to not be divorced from one’s mind.” (Taegorok)
Comment: Even though one becomes (as if in a state in which) sleep and waking are the same during the investigation of the hwadu, one still has to make an effort in investigating the hwadu. This is the lifeline of the meditation monk.
“If one is a strong man, examine a gong’an [Jap. koan]. A monk asked Zhaozhou, ‘Does a dog also have the Buddha-nature?” Zhaozhou replied, ‘It does not.’ In the twenty-six hours (of the day) simply examine the character ‘does not have.’ Investigate it day and night, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying down. Pay attention to it mind after mind [thought by thought] continuously, fiercely concentrate the mind. If you do this for a long time, (the hwadu and the doubt) will become one lump, and suddenly the flower of the mind will blossom and one will have been enlightened to the secret (occasion) of the Buddha and patriarchs.” (Yunqi, Changuan ceqin)
“The evaluation says, ‘This was taken up in later ages as a gong’an and was the beginning of the examination of hwadu. One does not necessarily firmly grasp the character ‘does not have’ (mu), but should stick to one case (gong’an), such as the character ‘does not have’ or ‘Mt Sumeru’ or ‘having died, one is cremated,’ etcetera, with enlightenment made the object. Even though the doubted (hwadu) are not the same, the enlightenment cannot be different.” (Yunqi, Changuan ceqin)
Comment: The transmission by writing of the investigation of the gong’an began with Huangbo (Huaihai). Not just the character ‘does not have’, but any gong’an that one receives direction for, if investigated diligently is sure to definitely enlighten one, and so this is the most developed method of meditation in the Seon School.
“’Having fully attained the ten faiths, one still needs to observe the precepts. If one lacks the practice of the precepts that is like erecting a tower up in empty space. Do you still observe the precepts?’ He said, ‘I observe the five precepts.’ ‘From now on only examine the character “does not have” and do not consider whether it is this or that. One must not make interpretations as to whether it has (exists) or has not (does not exist). Moreover, do not examine the sutras, doctrine and recorded sayings etcetera. Just simply take up this character ‘does not have’ and throughout the day, whether sitting, standing, walking or lying down, one must be alert like a cat hunting mice or a hen brooding on an egg; there cannot be any interruption. Before one has attained lucid enlightenment, one cannot change (the hwadu). At times one can again whip up a doubt that says, “All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature, but why did Zhaozhou say they do not?”’” (Weishan)
“In making an effort, one must not just only be mindful of the gong’an. If you are examining the character ‘does not have’ then one should give rise to a feeling of doubt about that character ‘does not have’. If you are examining the ‘cypress tree’ then you should give rise to a feeling of doubt about the ‘cypress tree.’ If one is examining ‘where does one revert to?’ one should give rise to a feeling of doubt about it. Only if one can initiate and give rise to a feeling of doubt will all the worlds of every direction be just one ball of doubt.” (Boshan Jingyu)
“Should you have doubt about the gong’an to be originally investigated, with that great ball of doubt you are sure to have great enlightenment. The thousands and tens of thousands of doubts will mass together into one doubt so that one will be able to make a determination about that originally investigated gong’an.” (Mengshan Deyi)
“Movement and calm as one, alert whether asleep or awake, the hwadu appears, just like the moonlight in translucent water, even in lively and disturbed rapids. When the light strikes them it is not scattered, and when the (waters) are dissipated it is not lost, for inwardly it is quiescent and undisturbed, and outwardly it does not move even though shaken. If the ball of doubt is here destroyed, the correct eye will be opened.” (Mengshan Deyi)
“Our patriarch came from the West and simply offered up the direct pointing and regarded great enlightenment to be the entrance through the gate (of Seon). He did not discuss meditation and miraculous powers.” (Mengshan)
“Correct enlightenment is like being in the dark for a long time and then encountering the light, or like suddenly awakening from a great dream; if one realizes one, one realizes all, and there is no longer the slightest trace of the habits of hate, love, grasping and abandoning in one’s breast.” (Zhongfeng)
“It is like coming from a blackened room into the bright sunlight.” (Xueyan)
“The hallucination of life and death forever extinguished, the correct substance of the Diamond are also revealed, and once (enlightenment is) attained it is attained forever and there is no interruption to that.” (Yuanwu, Xinyao).
“Seeing the nature and becoming Buddha, once attained is attained forever. Possessing one’s own treasure store, one manages one’s own treasures, so how can there be an end to their use?” (Xinyao)
“The singular method of the examination of the word (ganhwa) is the best short-cut. Śamatha-vipaśyanā and samadhi-insight are naturally within it.” (Jin’gak)
“Just throughout the whole of the day, whether sitting, standing, walking or lying down, one must examine the hwadu only.” (Jin’gak)
Comment: Although Jin’gak was the leading pupil of the leader of gradual cultivation thought, Bojo, he did not advocate Bojo’s joint cultivation of samadhi and insight, but rather advocated ganhwa, and he compiled the Yeomsong, a fundamental scripture of ganhwa Seon.
“There is a type of person (who holds that) there is a bright and intelligent nature that reasons and knows, that sees and hears, and is a lord over the corporeal field of the five skandhas. If one is like this and is an excellent teacher, one cheats people greatly. Do you know this? Now I ask you, ‘If you acknowledge this bright intelligence as your true reality, why when you are profoundly asleep are you still not bright and intelligent? If when you are deeply asleep you are not so (bright and intelligent), you are (mistakenly) recognizing a bandit as one’s own offspring, which is the root of birth and death and the conditional production of delusion.’” (Xuanshalu, Jingde chuandenglu 18)
“This Dharma is not something that can be understood by deliberation and discrimination.” (Lotus Sutra)
“The Buddha said, ‘Those who learn my Dharma will know only by realization.” (Zongjinglu 22)
“Even though this mind is Buddha, only those who realize will know it.” (Chengguan, Jingde chuandenglu 30)
“The dharma-nature is only known by the realizing wisdom, there is no other realm (that can know it).” (Uisang, Beopseinggye)
Comment: In the Beopseongdo that Uisang composed there is verse called Uisang’s Beopseonggye. In it he wrote that the realizing wisdom is something that only a Buddha knows. Even though (the idea that) one does not know if it is not the realizing wisdom is an iron rule that is consistent with the Buddhas and patriarchs of Seon and Doctrine, as Bojo says that enlightenment through understanding in which the delusions are the same as before is seeing the nature, he must be truly rebelling against the Buddhas and patriarchs. Therefore his gong’an, in other words, the hwadu, as a deliberation and discrimination that is not realizing wisdom, absolutely does not know.
“One lamplight can remove the darkness of a thousand years; one wisdom can extinguish the stupidity of ten thousand years.” (Platform Sutra)
Comment: Yuanwu sharply warned his disciple, Dahui, that even though one has (achieved a state in which) sleep and waking are as one, once one dies one cannot come back to life, (and so) ‘Not having doubt in the hwadu is a major illness.’ The gong’an of past patriarchs cannot be known before sleep and waking are as one and inside and outside are completely clarified. And therefore before sleep and waking are as one and inside and outside are completely clarified, one must still devote one’s whole body and strength to the investigation of the hwadu. Sleep and waking as one and inside and outside completely clarified are absolutely impossible before (one achieves the state of) a single thought not produced. And a single thought not produced is immediate cultivation, and if there is no immediate cultivation then that immediate enlightenment is not seeing the nature. Bojo’s biggest error was in deciding that enlightenment through understanding, in which the adventitious contaminants and defilements are the same as they were before, is seeing the nature. Enlightenment through understanding in which the delusions remain as they are is not seeing the nature, and with this one absolutely cannot know the gong’an of the past patriarchs. If one gives rise to the disease that one knows in the midst of delusions while meditating, one’s efforts will never achieve (enlightenment). Therefore the disease of intellectual understanding is certainly the greatest of the diseases. And so, because Bojo recognized this to be seeing the nature, the harm he did to later people was tremendous. The theory that one sees the nature through enlightenment via understanding fundamentally destroyed the Seon School for this is the greatest cause that furthered the disease of intellectual understanding.
Therefore meditators absolutely must not give rise to the thought that they know before they achieve the real state of inside and outside completely clarified, and the no-mind no-thought that is spoken of in the Platform Sutra. If one catches this disease of the view of knowing, while posing as a teacher, by doing so one guides later students erroneously and also destroys ones self. This is a truly frightful thing. However, as long as one does not think that perfect realization and immediate realization are too difficult, and does not catch the disease of intellectual understanding, if one genuinely makes a strenuous effort, within three or four years one will attain inside and outside completely clarified and can be greatly enlightened. However, it is absolutely forbidden to think of making a business through the disease of enlightenment via understanding. People who make a vigorous effort do not sleep before midnight, do not talk in the meditation cloister, and do not look even at the writings of the scriptures and recorded sayings, and even though the summer (meditation) retreat has finished do not go wandering, and assuming that they are the Ananda of this age, only try to exert themselves in vigorous practice. They are sure to achieve numinous experiences. One must be convinced that one cannot know the gong’an of the ancients before one achieves inside and outside completely clarified. People who say that their effort (in hwadu) is not working but do not vigorously practice should remove the signboard of the disease of knowledgeable views and genuinely make a vigorous practice. They will be sure to gain a good result.
Not only do I repeatedly say it, but people of the past also said “not doing is not (the same as) being unable to do.” Provided one genuinely practices vigorously and still cannot succeed, since it is cautioned that one should even cut off one’s own head (in the effort), assume that one is not born into this world, put aside all affairs, produce a fiercely heroic mind, do not be deceived by vain dreams, and only request that one can genuinely practice vigorously. This is not a struggle between the (other) persons and myself (ego), but is daring to comment so that the Buddha-Dharma will endure.
As we can see, in England, France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland the numbers of Buddhists coming from Asia is far superior to that of the native converts. We must also notice that the statistics corresponding to French Buddhism are nothing but a gross approximation. That is because good information remains difficult to find and because it is hard to define who really is a Buddhist. But this identification problem seems to go well beyond France.
We should also be careful to keep in mind that the figures displayed in the above table do not correspond to the Sŏn school but only to Buddhism as a whole. However, the following chart gives an idea on how Buddhism from five European countries may be categorized according to tradition.
It has to be noticed that, with the exception of France, Tibetan Buddhism has a majority in all countries. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that a certain number of Sŏn centers in France have had to close their doors because of the fierce competition coming from Tibetan Buddhism. In other words, Europeans are strongly attracted by Buddhism from Tibet.
According to Martin Baumann, Buddhism is destined to remain a minority religion in Europe during the 21th century. That is enough to make some people in the Far East hastily conclude that Westerners cannot achieve enlightenment. Such statements recall us the Roshis(老師) claiming that being Japanese was a condition sine qua non to achieve enlightenment. Such a declaration is not only founded on ultranationalism, it also denies the core teaching of Mahāyāna Buddhism, according to which all sentient beings are endowed with the Buddha nature(佛性). In order to refute it, let us quote the dialogue that took place between the young and illiterate Hyenūng(慧能, 638-713) and the Fifth Patriarch Hongin(第五祖弘忍, 594-674).
“The priest Hung-jen asked me : ‘Where are you from that you come to this mountain to make obeisance to me ? Just what is it that you are looking for from me?’ I replied : ‘I am from Ling-nan, a commoner from Hsin-chou. I have come this long distance only to make obeisance to you. I am seeking no particular thing but only the Buddhadharma.’ The Master then reproved me, saying : ‘If you’re from Ling-nan then you’re a barbarian. How can you become a Buddha?’ I replied : ‘Although people from the south and people from the north differ, there is no north and south in Buddha nature. Although my barbarian’s body and your body are not the same, what difference is there in our Buddha nature?’ The Master wished to continue his discussion with me ; however, seeing that there were other people nearby, he said no more. Then he sent me to work with the assembly. Later a lay disciple had me go to the threshing room where I sent over eight months treading the pestle.”
Needless to say that it is very contradictory to pretend that the Dharma has to be transmitted to the West while harboring such prejudices.
Roshi Albert Low from the Montreal Zen Center insists to say that it is quite counter-productive to claim that the Dharma has not come to the West yet. Instead, he suggests to work at discovering or rediscovering the elements of Western thought and culture that may favor the acceptance and integration of the Dharma to the Occident. In a sense, what Albert Low says may be understood as Buddhism already existing in the West even before the coming of the Dharma. Nevertheless, however seductive such an idea may be, it ought to be handled carefully. Because if the Dharma already exists in the West, then its introduction from Asia shouldn’t make any difference.
In the next chapter, we shall examine closely some aspects of Christianity that may facilitate the adaptation of kanhwasŏn to the West.
Ⅲ. Christian Hermitic life and Kanhwasŏn
In order to understand how kanhwasŏn may be adapted to the West, it is very important to grasp thoroughly what constitutes the core of hermitic life in the Christian tradition.
1. The Age of the Desert Fathers
Western hermitic life began in the third century with Saint Antony of Egypt(250-356). He retired alone to the desert in order to begin living as a hermit. People being attracted by his life of asceticism, he soon found himself surrounded by many followers. Moreover, Antony’s influence rapidly reached the rest of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Arabia and all parts of Europe where thousands of people made the decision to become hermits.
The appearance of Western hermitic life corresponds to the time when Constantine(? -337) converted to Christianity. Christians naturally rejoiced greatly as a long dreamed of event finally materialized. But such a triumph also had its side effect. Indeed, as the political power of the Church started to rise, the fervor of its followers began to cool down. Since it is precisely that fervor that had favored the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman empire, its loss could not but be deplored by lucid believers. Therefore, it certainly is no coincidence if the beginning of hermitic life corresponds to an overall weakening of the Christian faith. In other words, hermitic life can be understood as the strong reaction of some believers willing to recover the spirit that had animated the martyrs throughout three centuries of harsh persecutions. The Christians who animated that very powerful renewal movement are called the fathers of the desert.
In fact, in order to find the origins of Western hermitic life, one has to go back to great figures of the Old Testament like Abraham(19th c. BCE), Moses(13th c. BCE) and Elijah(9th c. BCE). And, of course, one also has to remember John the Baptist(1st c. BCE-1 c. CE), who lived in the desert during several decades, and Jesus the Christ, who did the same during forty days, fasting and, according to the tradition, overcoming all temptations.
The desert fathers left us a huge inheritance : “collections of their sayings, letters, sermons, ascetical treatises, biographies, monastic rules, and historical and theological essays of great value.” The literature left to us by the desert fathers has considerably influenced all currents of Christian spirituality.
Among the praying methods that they have taught us, one deserves special attention. It is called ʻprayer of the heartʼ and chiefly consists in repeating, day and night, to the rhythm of one’s breath, the name of Jesus. In many ways, this technique of meditation resembles the continuous(omae iryŏ 寤寐一如) observing(kan 看) of the critical phrase(hwadu 話頭) of a kongan(公安). The practice of the prayer of the heart began in the Eastern church from where it has spread all over the world. Its goal consists in achieving deep and constant peace of the heart.
Over the centuries, Christian hermitic life has taken a great variey of forms. It is neither necessary nor possible to describe them all in this paper. Therefore, I will only indicate briefly the role played by hermitic life at some key moments of the history of Christianity.
2. The Middle Ages and Saint Francisco of Assisi
Francisco of Assisi(1182-1226), the famous Italian saint who created the religious order that bears his name, may well be considered one of the chief representatives of hermitic life in the Middle Ages. In his time, the Church enjoyed considerable power and wealth. The extreme poverty that characterized Francisco’s life style has been a powerful challenge for an institution that had moved away from Christ’s spirit. There is no doubt that the long time that Saint Francisco spent in solitude, praying and fasting, allowed him to gather the spiritual energy necessary to accomplish his mission. It is also well worth noticing that he wrote a rule for hermits.
3. The Renaissance and Ignatius of Loyola
The Church of the Renaissance saw the rising of the Basque Ignatius of Loyola(1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus, also called the Jesuit Order. Ignatius came to realize that the Church of his time was to narrowly centered on Europe and that it had to open itself up to the rest of the world. That is the reason why he founded an international religious congregation, which he placed directly under the authority of the pope. As a result, in order to answer rapidly and efficiently any demand of the supreme authority of the Church, the Jesuits are ready to go anywhere in the world. But the most amazing thing is the fact that Saint Ignatius not only lived as a hermit for over a year, but also considered seriously dedicating all his existence to that life style. Indeed, he wanted to enter the Carthusian Order, whose most famous monastery is La Grande Chartreuse, located in the French Alps. That religious congregation has been founded by Saint Bruno(1030-1101) for people desiring to spend their whole life in a community of hermits. Though Saint Ignatius’ desire has not been realized as such, it has considerably influence all the spirituality of the Jesuit Order. That is why it may be said that the Jesuits are Carthusians living right in the middle of the world. This means that there is a common ground between the desire of a hermit to enjoy the freedom of a complete solitude, that allows the total entrusting of oneself to the action of the Spirit, and the apostolic freedom, to be found in the middle of action, aimed by Saint Ignatius to realize the same goal. It also signifies that the contemplation of a hermitic life can be fully combined to a radical social commitment. Indeed, it is written in the constitutions of the Society of Jesus that any Jesuit willing to become a Carthusian monk is perfectly free to do so. This means that for the fully awakened one, there can’t be any contradiction between living in complete solitude and being present to the whole world. It also signifies that as it is possible to contemplate right in the middle of highly dynamic action, it is also possible to be active in the depth of the most profound contemplation. Here we can discover one of the main characteristics of the way of life embodied by Christ himself.
4. Today’s Hermitic life
Hermitic tradition remains very lively in today’s world. The mere fact that it exists offers people the possibility to take some distance from a society that is so full of itself that it believes that its high technique and industry are capable of satisfying all human desires. Indeed, even though they lived in solitude, hermits have always played the role of spiritual director for those that came to beg their help. Moreover, when hermits live in communities, they often run retreat houses allowing those willing to do so to share their life style for some time. Here, rather than describing the multiple forms of hermitic life found in today’s world, I will briefly recall some of its key figures. This should allow us to detect some of the main trends of hermitic life in today’s world.
The Frenchman Charles de Foucauld(1858-1916) has spent his life as a hermit in the Hoggar Mounts of southern Algeria. By doing so, among other things, he aimed at entering into dialogue with Islam.
The Frenchmen Jean Monchanin(1895-1957) and Henri le Saux(1910-1973), as well as the Englishman Bede Griffiths(1906-1993) have dedicated their lives to a dialogue between Christianity and Hindouism by living with the hermits of the Saccidananda region of India.
As one of the most famous hermits of the 20th century, the American Thomas Merton(1915-1968) considered that the wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers “enables us to reopen the sources that have been polluted or blocked up altogether by the accumulated mental and spiritual refuse of our technological barbarism.” Such words remind us (8 c. BCE) what God said, through the prophet Hosea, to the Hebrews who once more had abandoned Him to worship idols : “I shall seduce you, take you to the desert and speak to your hearth.” One of Merton’s biggest contribution is his beginning of a dialogue between Christianity and the Buddhist monks and nuns of Asia. This dialogue has kept developing ever since.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty(1896-1985), from Russian descent, has written over thirty books, the best known of which is Poustinia. In that work she encourages people living in huge modern cities to create a space of silence and prayer, ie of desert, right in the middle of their homes. That is in order to become more intimate with God in every day life.
Finally, we can think of the Swissman Brother Roger(1915-2005), assassinated lately, whose Taizé community in France has considerably favored the development of Christian ecumenism worldwide.
The above examples allow us to draw the following conclusions. Although the meaning of hermitic life is very often misunderstood by people, it has always had a considerable impact on all the Christian tradition. Indeed, even though they dwelled in solitude, hermits have always strongly influenced not only the life of the Church but also the societies on the fringe of which they lived. In this sense, it is not exaggerated to say that hermitism is the blood of Christianity.
Even though hermits have never been more than a very small minority, it is important to underline that they have kept recalling all Christians the irreplaceable importance of silence and meditation whenever one wishes to deepen his understanding and knowledge of truth. Moreover, today’s hermits are inviting all Christians to achieve unity and to dialogue with the world religions.
All the above facts on hermitic life allow us to realize that Western society has at its disposal a strong tradition that can considerably facilitate its acceptation of kanhwasŏn practice.
Ⅳ. The Help that Western Christianity
can get from Kanhwasŏn
Like all religions, Christianity has been victim of its success. This is true to such an extent that we may say that as failure is the mother of success, success is the mother of failure. Western Christianity, despite having had to face challenges coming from atheism and inner divisions, has managed to maintain the same shape during several centuries. Moreover, it has had no serious contacts with another well organized religion, like Buddhism for instance, dealing thoroughly with the problems of suffering and death.
There is no need to describe, in this paper, the actual situation of European Christianity. As we have said above, this Christianity is facing a crisis. The decreasing number of its believers should be enough to prove it. As an explanation of this situation, we may say that European Christianity has lost a huge part of its vitality. Consequently it has also lost a lot of its capacity to attract people. In front of such a situation, some naturally ask whether Christianity still has a future or not. That is why so many Europeans are looking for a new source of hope. It is against this backdrop that kanhwasŏn is being introduced into the Western world. My argument is that as a transfusion of blood may save the life of a dying person, so may kanhwasŏn practice, without loosing its identity, become a source of renewal for Western Christianity. Of course, Christianity may end up developing a new shape through such an encounter.
From here on, before explaining what kind of help Christianity may get from kanhwasŏn practice, I will recall briefly what is the original spirit of the Christian tradition and what are the consequences of its loss.
1. The Original Spirit of Christianity
In the New Testament, Christ says of himself that he has nowhere to rest. In many ways such a statement may resemble one that is found in the Platform Sūtra of the Sixth Patriarch(六祖壇經) and according to which non-abiding is set as the main doctrine(無住爲本). In order to understand the meaning of Jesusʼ words, we have to go back to Abraham, the common ancestor of Christians, Jews and Muslims.
As a Bedouin, Abraham lived in the solitude and silence of the deserts he wandered about. As a nomad, he had a tent for abode and did not store surplus products. He lived entrusting himself to the circumstances and believing that all he needed, beginning with water and food, would be given to him day after day. Even though Abraham was waking toward a land that had been promised to him, that land should not only be thought of as a country like, for instance, todayʼs Israel. It should rather be understood as the true nature that one has to find within himself. In other words, in many regards, the Promised Land resembles the Pure Land. In that sense, we may say that Abraham was walking toward himself, or, in other words, toward his true nature. As he was following his course, Abraham was always open to the possibility of an encounter with God and with foreigners. As a result, he kept experiencing new realities. That is why it may be said that God kept surprising him. For God was not where Abraham expected him to be, He also was where Abraham did not expect Him to be. Similarly, Abraham did not know whom he would meet during his journeys across the desert. Such unexpected encounters kept transforming him. Consequently, as we can discover through Abrahamʼs experience, truth is not an abstract reality such that we could take hold of it. On the contrary, truth is a dynamic and lively reality we are being seized by through concrete experience. Such a truth is given at every step and rediscovered at every instant. If there were some signs along the desert roads followed by Abraham, they kept indicating contradictory directions. In other words, it was a road without a road. Some of Jesusʼ words may help us to understand what this means : “The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. So is it with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
It is in order to rediscover the nomadic spirit of Abraham that hermits made and still make the decision to entrust themselves to the solitude and the silence of the desert. It is this very spirit that has allowed them to act as reformers within Christianity. As this spirit, when it is fully-fledged, is the Spirit of Christ, it has to be the spirit of all Christians. In other words, as all Buddhists have to become living buddhas, so should all Christians become living christs. But unfortunately, the descendants of Abraham tend to forget his nomadic spirit.
2. The Problem with Christianity
History teaches us that Christians, Jews and Muslims keep displaying a tendency to forget the common root of their respective faith : the spirit of Abraham. In other words, they tend to prefer a sedentary life to a nomadic one, noise to silence, and gathering together rather than solitude. That is why they abandon nomadic life, and build houses in cities well indicated by road signs and in which they can store in large quantities just about anything they want. However, such a transformation of their way of living has a considerable impact on their conception of truth. Truth loses its concrete and dynamic character to become a fossilized and absolute abstraction. At the same time, the Christians lose their ability to deal with reality inductively and their thinking becomes more and more deductive. Instead of being constantly transformed by constant and unpredictable encounters with God and others, they try to control those encounters by reducing God and others to their limited horizon. In a word, instead of living by the truth, they become administrators of the truth. As a result, the clerics harboring such a state of mind end up transforming the temple of Jerusalem into a place where a stuffed god is being worshipped. Such was Judaism in Jesusʼ time. It may be said that, just as Buddhism was a reformist reaction to Hinduism, Christianity was borne from a reformist reaction to such a temple. Jesus said to the clerics of his time : “Woe to you experts on the law! You have taken away the key to knowledge. And not only haven’t you gained access, you have stopped others who were trying to enter.”
Of course, all that we have just said represents a dramatized and condensed view of Western Christianity. Nevertheless, it may be said that a constant conflict, between a nomadic and a sedentary paradigm, constitutes one of the main impulses behind the unfolding of Christian history. Each time that the course of events has had an excessive tilt toward the latter, a reformist movement based on the former has arisen. This is exactly what a synthetic look at the history of hermitic life within Christianity has allowed us to highlight. And it may be said that the Christian conscience is always tempted to rebuild the Jerusalem temple, let it be in Rome or elsewhere. Such a tendency deepened as the Catholic church became split with the Orthodox church in 1054 and with the Protestant church in 1517. But the ecumenical council of Vatican II(1962-1965), as it has emphasized both the unity of all Christians and opened dialogue with all religions of humankind, has made a historical effort to put the situation right. And Pope John Paul II(1920-2005) has been perfectly faithful to that spirit of renewal. Such an opening, in an effort to renew Christianity, reminds us of the one made by some adepts of Zen desiring to renew their tradition through contacts with the West.
3. The Contribution of Kanhwasŏn
I think that kanhwasŏn can bring something to a Christianity eager to renew itself. Indeed, kanhwasŏn practice can remind Christians of the traditional values of hermitism and of Abraham nomadic life : silence, solitude, the mobility of non-abiding and meditation. Such a reminding cannot come from a inner challenge alone, it must necessarily also come from an external one. This means that a genuine reform is possible through an epoch-making event like the encounter of kanhwasŏn with Christianity.
Kanhwasŏn has the advantage that it can be practiced, either individually or in a group, even in the middle of cities. It suffices to regularly create a space of silence and solitude where we dwell. Kanhwasŏn may allow our troubled minds to get rid of their endless and sterile calculations so that they may recover their original simplicity. As a result, it helps one to acquire a right view as he faces the world he lives in.
It cannot be said that Christians do not have traditional methods of prayer. On the contrary, though they have many, most of the time they either do not know them or do not use them. Moreover, if they want to recover a dynamic understanding of truth, these methods of prayer may gain much from an encounter with techniques of meditation coming from another tradition. For instance, though there exist both an affirmative and a negative way (Via Affirmativa and Negativa) within Christianity, the vast majority of those who pray usually tend to rely solely on the latter. As a concrete example, let us recall one of the sayings of Jesus to his disciples : “Still, I must tell you the truth : it is much better for you that I go.” In fact, this means that in order to fully understand who He is and what He has said, Christians must let Him go. Even though Jesus has clearly told them not to do so, Christians keep being attached to Him in an excessive way, as if they were hooked to a finger pointing the direction of the moon. In many regards the dialectical relation of the affirmative and negative ways found in Christianity is very similar to the one found in Buddhism and especially in Sŏn. But the mutual complementarity of the two ways being much more clearly emphasized within Buddhism, the practice of kanhwasŏn can certainly help Christians to discover, or rediscover, and use a much more balanced approach of those two paradigms. In a word, Christians have to be born again from above. As Jesus has said : “Unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kingdom of God.” This is exactly what the practice of kanhwasŏn may allow Christians to discover. And if I say it, it is because I have experienced it.
Of course, some people could easily argue that the main ideas developed in this paper tend to reduce the understanding of the practice of kanhwasŏn to some of the needs of Western Christianity. But D. T. Suzuki did exactly the same when he introduced Zen Buddhism to the West as the “non historical essence of all religions.” It can be said that this is an extremely limited and selected view of Buddhism. That is because by introducing Zen as such in his most famous works, D. T. Suzuki repackaged Buddhism according to the expectations and hopes of his Western readers. Such an attitude may deserve many criticisms. Nevertheless, it is precisely because of that repackaging that D. T. Suzuki could successfully introduce Zen Buddhism to the Occident. And even though what he did may be considered somewhat flawed, since he intended to remain faithful to the spirit of Zen, it is hard to say that such a repackaging was completely wrong. Moreover, it is possible to say that the whole history of Buddhism is filled with similar examples. For instance, in his History of Buddhist Philosophy, David J. Kalupahana introduces Buddhism to Westerners through occidental categories, to such an extent that some critics claim that what he talks about isn’t Buddhism anymore. But in fact, since Buddhism has kept doing the same thing, for the sake of its adaptation, each time that it entered in a new area, such criticisms seem misplaced. The birth of Mahāyāna or of Tantric Buddhism may be considered other examples of the same phenomena.
I shall now talk about the concrete attempts that have been made to integrate the practice of kanhwasŏn with Christian methods of prayer.
Ⅴ. Attempts to Integrate Kanhwasŏn Practice and Christian Methods of Cultivation
Since there exist both common points and differences between Buddhism and Christianity, the attempts to integrate kanhwasŏn practice to Christian teachings have sparked off a number of reactions. I am now going to mention some of these reactions. Afterwards, I will describe the Sanbo Kyodan and give an account of the past history and of the prospects of the attempts made to achieve an integration of kanhwasŏn practice to the Christian tradition.
1. Western Reactions to Sŏn Buddhism
A first reaction consists in believing that the practice of Sŏn is the sole way to achieve truth. As a result, the advocates of such a position consider that Sŏn Buddhism is superior to all other religious traditions and they look down on them. The Dalai Lama is very critical of such people. They believe that the followers of traditions others than theirs cannot discover what they have found in Sŏn Buddhism. Such a feeling of superiority may make them look endlessly for an ever purer form of Sŏn tradition. As a result, they may end up looking and sounding very fundamentalist, confusing unessential matters like, for instance, clothes, furniture, or the tea ceremony, with essential ones. Such people make the Dalai Lama laugh. At the opposite extreme, some people consider that Sŏn Buddhism is nothing but a hoax destined to fool people. This is exactly the position of H. Van Straelen in his Le Zen Démystifié.
The two fundamentalist attitudes that we have just described are clearly opposed to an encounter between Sŏn Buddhism and the West. Between such extremes, we can find positions that are opened to a dialogue between the cultural and religious context to which Sŏn Buddhism has to adapt. But the problem is to find a good balance between mutual transformation and the maintaining of each partners identity.
Let us take a look at some attitudes regarding Christian Sŏn. According to Jacques Brosse, any attempt to disconnect the practice of Sŏn from Buddhism amounts to its neutralization. Similarly, Éric Romeluère claims that the teachings of the Sŏn school and of Christianity are so different that Christian Sŏn amounts to pure schizophrenia. On the other hand, the Benedict monk and priest Willigis Jäger has got so deeply into the practice of kanhwasŏn within the Sanbo Kyodan that he has obtained the Dharma seal and became, though still a Roman Catholic priest, Ko-un Roshi. He also runs a very successful meditation center, called the Benediktushof, near Würzburg, in Germany. Moreover, at an international level, Father Jäger is one of the three highest persons in charge of the Sanbo Kyodan. But recently, the Vatican has decided to prevent Father Jäger from teaching, declaring that the overall content of his predications does not conform to the tradition of the church. We may wonder if such a decision does not come from difficulties to understand the thought of a man who is too far ahead of his time. But even if it were so, let us remember the case of Thomas Merton who has managed to dwell in between the two extremes that we have just quoted. He declared that the more he got to know and love Buddhism, the more he could live as a good Christian. He also said that he felt closer to Buddhist monks practicing meditation than to Christians that did not. Nevertheless, Thomas Merton’s orthodoxy has never been challenged and he is unanimously recognized as a beacon of the encounter of Christianity with Buddhism.
2. The Sanbo Kyodan(三寶敎團)
With thirty thousand members, the Sanbo Kyodan is by far the largest organization teaching kanhwasŏn in Europe. Its followers have the choice between two different paths.
The first one, called ‘shikantaza(只管打坐)’ merely consists in sitting down, observing oneʼs breath and physical sentations or the sensations coming from outside the body but without developing any attachment to them. In addition to that, those who wish to do so may pronounce the sound mu(無) with their mouth and lips, but without producing any sound. About half of the members of the Sanbo Kyodan practice shikantaza.
The second method adds kanhwasŏn practice to shikantaza and is practiced by the other members of the Sanbo Kyodan.
The Sanbo Kyodan uses about seven hundred kongans(公案) coming from five different collections(konganjip 公案集). They are given to the adept, one by one, and in a predetermined order. He must find the answer to a given kongan in order to get the next one, and must solve all the seven hundred kongans to get the Dharma seal. The first collection contains twenty two kongans. It has been made for Westerners by the founders of the Sanbo Kyodan. In general, these kongans have been selected from the other collections and their content does not refer too much to the Chinese background they come from.
The other collections are the Mumungwan(無門關), the Pyŏgamnok(碧巖錄), the Chongyŏngnok(從容錄) and the Chŏndŭngnok(傳燈錄). Yamada Koun Roshi(1907-1989) has made commentaries(chech’ang 提唱) for all the kongans found in those records. As he wanted his students to understand easily, he thaught in English and explained to them the Chinese cultural, spiritual and religious background of each kongan. A commentary is not an answer to a kongan but an explanation that allows the student to get a better grasp of the question asked by it. The commenteries of Yamada Koun Roshi have been translated in English, French, German and other European languages. The making of the commentaries is based on the kongans. As the content of the kongans is extremely diversified, it allows the writers of commentaries to deal with just about every aspect of the adept’s life, either internal or external. In the Sanbo Kyodan, all the people that have either taken the direction of an already existing meditation center or created a new one have written commentaries in European languages.
The people practicing kanhwasŏn can do it individually or with a group meditating on a regular basis, generally weekly, or during an intensive training period lasting several days(yongmaeng chŏngjin 勇猛精進). The encounter with the roshi can take place during the weekly practice meeting, or twice a day during a period of intense training, or during an individual visit of the adept to the roshi. The adept enters the room where the roshi is sitting, bows in front of him, reads the text of the kongan that he is meditating and keeps silent during a brief moment. That silence is kept in order to allow the roshi to say something or ask a question if he wishes to. Afterwards, the adept displays the state of mind that he has achieved(ch’edŭkhan kyŏnggye 體得한 境界). In 99% of the cases, the answer must be non verbal. In other words, the state of mind achieved has to be expressed through a gesture or an attitude. If the answer is correct, the roshi may say a few words to help the student expand his conscience even more. Afterwards, the adept may start meditating the next kongan of the collection he is going through. If the answer is wrong, the roshi tells it to the student and then sends him back. In such a case, the adept has to keep trying to find an answer by himself, a process that may take several months, if not years.
Kongans do not have logical answers. Consequently, an answer has to be found in an other dimension than that of reason. By doing so, a level of conscience different from the ordinary one may be stimulated. A correct answer cannot come out of a logical process. It must rather spring up from the deepest part of the human being. The answer must be non verbal in order to prevent the mind from playing the endless game of its rational tricks. Here, the roshi’‘s attitude is very important, because he must discern instantly whether the state of mind displayed by the adept is rational or not. If it is, he must uproot the cause of the wrong answer on the spot. Here, ʻwrongʼ does not mean that the answer is bad from a rational standpoint, but rather that it cannot arouse a deeper state of conscience. Indeed, the goal of kongans is to spark off small or big awakenings. The intense observation of the critical phrase of a hwadu(話頭) continuously trains the mind of the practitioner and leads him toward an ever greater opening to the hidden reality of the world.
Two main reasons may be given to explain why the members of the Sanbo Kyodan are attracted by the practice of kanhwasŏn. The first one is because they believe that such a practice will allow them to discover something that does not exist in the Western tradition. The second one is because they hope that kanhwasŏn will help them to get the indomitable and countless passions of their mind under control. It is interesting to notice that they all start looking at kongans with a considerable amount of curiosity, believing that they are simple enigmas that they will be able to solve through rational thinking. However, most of them overcome this first approach. But the most essential problem comes from the Chinese cultural background in which kanhwasŏn was born. Its understanding requires the learning of an entirely new language with its symbols and metaphors. This is the reason why kanhwasŏn will never be popularized. Of course, a considerable number of works explaining the context in which kanhwasŏn was born, as well as translations and interpretations of the records of the sayings of the patriarchs, or of the sūtras and treaties, keep being published in Western languages. In addition to that, many efforts have been made to create kongans for Westerners and there are numerous possibilities. Material like some short stories coming from the Bible, as well as sayings of Christ or of the desert fathers could be used. But to my knowledge nobody has really succeeded yet in taking advantage of that material. Above all, there should be specific answers to the kongans thus made, but nobody has done yet the research necessary to find and test them.
The above informations allow us to see that the Sanbo Kyodan can rightly claim that it has a clear Dharma lineage. In addition to that, it also offers a fully-fledged course of kongans, to be solved one by one, and each having a distinct answer. On the other hand, it is important to mention that some other masters attach no importance to these three elements, claiming that a course of kongans to be covered step by step, each with its own answer, is against the genuine spirit of the Sŏn school. In addition to that, the Sanbo Kyodan also enjoys a good international organization and all its masters agree to abide by a strict, simple and clear code of ethics. In that regard, the meditation centers of the Sanbo Kyodan are unlike so many Sŏn centers that do not belong to a specific organization.
Beside the reasons that we have just mentioned, there are two others that may help to understand the success of the Sanbo Kyodan. The first one is that its first Western members are people who went to Japan to learn the culture and the language. It is with such a first hand knowledge that they went back to their native countries to transmit the teachings of the school. The second is its openness toward other religions, including Christianity. But the AZI of Taisen Deshimaru and the Association Inter-Être of Thich Nhat Hanh, the two other main Sŏn groups of Europe, also attract a number of Christians, even though that doesn’t seem to be the result of a systematic policy like in the case of the Sanbo Kyodan. For instance, many French Christians listen attentively to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh whose great openness toward other religions is well known. Among the many books that he has written, one is entitled Going Home-Jesus and Buddha as Brothers. Similarly, it is not difficult to find many Christians among the members of the AZI. In 2004, during an encounter with Yuno Roland Rech, one of the high responsible of this group, he told me : “So much the better if the practice of Sŏn may be of some help to the Christians.” Of course, the great interest taken by some Christians in Sŏn does not necessarily mean that they intend to give up their religious identity.
Master Sungsan of the Kwanūm Sŏnjong has said : “I myself am the way, I am truth, and I am life.” Even though he interpreted this powerful Christian statement in a Buddhist sense, the mere fact that he used it should be enough to let us guess that he too kept Christians in mind.
The above facts show us that, whether we like it or not, Buddhism and Christianity are actually coexisting in the Western world.
3. Concrete Attempts of Integration
It is important to realize that quite often the Japanese roshis themselves have suggested the creation of kongans adapted to Christians. A good example is Taeŭi Roshi(大義 老師), from the Japanese Rinzai school and the master of Chongdal Nosa 宗達 老師(1905-1990), the Korean who has created the Han’guk Sŏndohoe(韓國禪道會) in 1965. But let us now take a look at the way such a task should be accomplished. In order to do that, I will examine the work done by some Jesuits that have worked in Japan during the last fifty years. Indeed, the specific contribution of each one of them is an indispensable link for the creation of a Christian kanhwasŏn.
The German Heinrich Dumoulin(1905-1995) is an academic who was thaught at Sophia University in Tokyo and gained an international reputation. Unfortunately, his famous work Zen Buddhism : a History, does not talk about Korean Sŏn.
Enomiya Lassalle(1898-1990) is another German but who became a Japanese citizen. Moreover, rather than studying Sŏn, he dedicated his whole life to its practice, going as far as going through all the kongans of the Sanbo Kyodan several times. In one of his works, he systematically compares the practice of the spiritual exercices created by Saint Ignatius of Loyola with that of kanhwasŏn. His numerous books have made him known worldwide and very much contributed to the propagation of Sŏn in the West.
The Irish William Johnston, also an academic teaching at Sophia University, has both practiced and studied Sŏn. He has compared Christian and Buddhist meditation methods, and especially the thought expanded by mystics like Master Eckhart with the negative way of the Sŏn school. His books keep selling very well worldwide.
The Japanese J. K. Kadowaki also is an academic teaching at Sophia University and who both studies and practices Sŏn. In his book Zen and the Bible, he systematically compares kongans with the content of the Old and New Testaments. But, most interestingly, he got the inspiration to write that book in the 1950s, from a professor called I. Ratzinger, who later became a Cardinal before becoming lately Pope Benedict II. This shows us that the man who now holds the highest responsibility in the Catholic church had already realized, some fifty years ago, the considerable importance of the encounter of Sŏn Buddhism with Christianity.
Instead of being centered on the Sanbo Kyodan, this research could have chosen a more global approach to the study of kanhwasŏn practice in Europe. Or, on the contrary, it could have focused on the Korean share of would could be called “the European market of religions.” Nevertheless, I have chosen to set back the practice of kanhwasŏn in the global context of the encounter of Buddhism with Western culture, and especially with Christianity. Each of the other approaches would have had a value of its own. But the one that I have chosen has the advantage of avoiding to deal with an extremely broad question in a vague an abstract way. Instead, without losing the broadness of the topic, it has remained very concretely focused. Refusing to recognize the value of such an approach would be tantamount to trying to understand the Buddhist conquest of China without knowing anything about Chinese religions. Of course, the present research study should be completed by a number of others based on issues like feminism, philosophy, psychology, social justice, sociology, etc.
As we have seen in this paper, hermitic life, that has tremendously influenced the Western world, constitutes an excellent ground for the encounter of kanhwasŏn. Moreover, the present crisis of Western Christianity favors its acceptance of a tradition that may contribute to its renewal. We have also examined the reasons of the success of the Sanbo Kyodan, as well as the role played, during the last fifty years, by Jesuits working in Japan for the development of a Christian kanhwasŏn.
The firs reason of the success of the Sanbo Kyodan is the fact that its teaching has spread to the West through people that often had an outstanding first hand knowledge of Japanese language and culture. Secondly, it has a well defined Dharma lineage, proposes a step by step course of seven hundred kongans, each having a specific answer, and all its masters write commentaries on the kongans. Its also is well organized at an international level, sticks to a clear code of ethics, and is opened to a dialogue with other cultures and religions. But we have also learnt from Victor Sōgen Hori that the practice of capping(ch’akŏ 著語) should form an indispensable part of kanhwasŏn training. And we should not forget that the engaged Buddhism proposed by Thich Nhat Hanh is very successful in the West.
The study of the work done during the last fifty years by some Jesuits working in Japan allows us to say that the following elements are required for the creation of a Christian kanhwasŏn : a deep, broad and accurate knowledge of Buddhism, a thorough experience of the practice of kanhwasŏn, as well as a good understanding of the Bible, of Christian mystics, and of philosophy.
In Europe, Korean kanhwasŏn is far from being as well known as Japanese Zen. At present, nothing allows us to predict that things are susceptible of changing, let it be on the short or on the long run. So much the better if the conclusions of this paper may somehow contribute to change that situation.
Let us now enumerate some of the distinctive traits of Korean kanhwasŏn.
First, the fact that it remains unknown may play in its favor since people are often attracted by what is entirely new, especially in America.
Secondly, from the view point of the history of Buddhism, Chinul(知訥)’s tono ch’ŏmsu(頓悟漸修) doctrine is very innovative.
Thirdly, though the sudden-sudden(tono tonsu 頓悟頓修) conception of enlightenment advocated by Master Sŏngch’ŏl(性徹) has provoked a huge controversy it has also enriched Korean Buddhism and made it even more attractive.
Fourthly, the fact that Korean Buddhists and Christians each represent approximately 25% of the population of Korea constitutes a unique situation, providing exceptionally good conditions for the development of a Christian kanhwasŏn that could be exported.
Fifthly, the existence in Korea of associations of lay people(在家修行者) like the Han’guk Sŏndohoe(韓國禪道會) can serve as a model for the creation of similar groups abroad.
The encounter of kanhwasŏn with Western culture is a process that will most probably take several centuries rather than just a few decades. It is an extremely complex phenomena, the understanding of which will require the collaboration of many people during a great number of generations. Right now, among the Westerners that practice kanhwasŏn, some do it as Buddhists and others as Christians. But the two types are necessary and it would be desirable that they work together in harmony instead of clashing. That is because the coexistence of the two groups is indispensable to guarantee both the preservation of kanhwasŏn‘s specific identity and its full integration to the Occident. While the Western Christians will work at the integration of kanhwasŏn to their faith, the Western Buddhists will keep helping them to acquire a correct understanding of Buddhism. And conversely, the former will recall the latter that the Occident is not a religious tabula rasa. Needless to say that it would be of the outmost importance for the adepts of kanhwasŏn, let them be Buddhist or Christians or of any other religion, that they maintain strong ties with the Far East tradition they trace their roots back to.
Sometimes ago, I heard a French Buddhist scholar say to some people attracted by Buddhism : “Please do not come if you are not very seriously motivated.” These words came from the fear, shared by many, that Buddhism may be in danger of becoming an easy fashion. I want to say the same thing to the Westerners attracted by the practice of kanhwasŏn. But to all those that feel strongly committed to that practice, despite its difficulties, I want to communicate my certitude that, on the long run, the encounter of Far East Buddhism with Western Christianity will most probably bear fruits profitable to all humankind.
kanhwasŏn, Association Zen Internationale, Association Zen d’Europe, Han’guk Sŏndohoe, the sudden-sudden(tono tonsu 頓悟頓修), Sŏngch’ŏl(性徹)
The ‘Buhyu’ Line Members’ Perception of the ‘Lines’
and the Heritages of Master Bojo
Kim, Yong-tae / Seoul National University
The so-called ‘Buhyu’ Line(‘浮休系’) was populated by Buddhist priests who claimed to be inheriting the legitimate teachings(法脈) of Master Buhyu Seonsu/浮休善修(1543-1615). Along with the Cheongheo Line(‘淸虛系’) headed by Cheongheo Hyujeong/淸虛休靜(1520-1604), this Line was one of the two major Lines that existed in the Buddhist society during the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty. Both masters Hyujeong and Seonsu were all disciples of Buyong Yeonggwan/芙蓉靈觀, and during the time of Seonsu himself, there were no visible differences between them in terms of traditions(家風) and the line of succession(嗣法關係).
Later, since 1609, the Buhyu Line members have settled themselves at the Songgwang-sa/松廣寺 temple of the Jogyae-san/曹溪山 mountain, and became an independent line of its own. Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性(1575-1660), who was the disciple of Seonsu, laid out the basis for the development of the Line, and during the time of Baegam Seongchong/栢庵性聰(1631-1700), who was the member of the next generation, the Line finally established its own identity as an independent line based upon the Songgwang-sa temple and the actions of the historic master Bojo Jinul/普照知訥(1158-1210).
The Buhyu Line members conducted annotations to Master Bojo Jinul’s writings and widely published them, in order to honor and promote the teachings and heritage of Bojo(‘普照遺風’). At the Budo-jeon/浮屠殿 shrine of the Songgwang-sa temple, the Budo(tab) pagodas of the Buhyu line members are erected in the order of the legitimate line of succession(‘嫡傳’), which displays the line of succession among mainstream members of the Buhyu Line, and reveals the Line members’ perception of their own heritage and hierarchy. After Seonsu, the line of succession shows Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性, then Chwimi Sucho/翠微守初, then Baegam Seongchong/栢庵聖聰, then Muyong Suyeon/無用秀演, then Yeonghae Yaktan/影海若坦, then Pungam Saechal/楓巖世察, then Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, and finally Hwanhae Beobrin/幻海法璘, in order. Among these renowned priests, especially 4 renowned masters(‘四傑’) under the guidance of Pungam Saechal, namely Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, Eungam Nangyun/應庵朗允, Jaeun Haejing/霽雲海澄, and Byeokdam Haengin/碧潭幸仁 were trained, emerged, and became the mainstream of the Buhyu Line in the post-medieval(近世) period. The most notable one was Chwaenul(1717-1790), who actively engaged in commemorating his master Saechal and promoting his teachings. His actions truly consolidated the Line members’ own perception of the heritage of the entire Buhyu Line.
With regard to the religious identity of the entire Line, the Buhyu line considered the heritage of Master Bojo most importantly. But in terms of the concept of line of teachings(法統), the Line members also shared another belief that they were actually inheriting the teachings of the Imjae-jong school(‘臨濟宗風’) which had supposedly been introduced to the Korean people through Taego Bowu/太古普愚 during the ending days of the Goryeo dynasty. This particular notion of considering Taego’s teachings to be the ultimately legitimate one(the ‘Taego Beobtong-seol/太古法統說’) was suggested by the Cheongheo line members during the early half period of the 17th century, and was established as a theory supported by practically everyone(‘公論’) inside the Buddhist society. The Buhyu line apparently also accepted this generally received notion, and claimed that they have been inheriting the teachings of the Imjae-jong school as well.
In terms of philosophy, the main characteristic of the Buddhism in the late Joseon dynasty period could be named as the Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu/禪敎兼修 principle(the principle of practicing Seon and Gyo teachings together), based upon the notion of prioritizing the Ganhwa-seon/看話禪 practice above all else. This characteristic was well mirrored in the education process for the Buddhist priests(the Iryeok Gwajeong/履歷課程 curriculum), and the training course was established in the form of Sammun Sueob/三門修業, which meant practicing Seon, Gyo and Yeombul(禪‧敎‧念佛) at the same time altogether. Included in the Sajib/四集 of the Iryeok Gwajeong curriculum were the 『Doseo/都序』 of Jongmil/宗密 which was considered to be a very important text by Jinul, and the 『Jeolyo/節要』 text that featured annotations of Jinul. And in the Daegyo/大敎, there was the 『Yeomsong/拈頌』, which was published by Jingak Haesim/眞覺慧諶, who was also the disciple of Jinul. As we can see, the training process and the curriculum for the Buddhist priests of the late Joseon dynasty period clearly reflected the philosophical influences of Master Jinul, and the most basic element of that influence was the Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu principle. The Buhyu line succeeded the heritage of Master Bojo, maintained the principle of Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu, and considered Gyohak studies to be very important.
During the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty, among Gyohak studies, especially the Hwaeom-hak/華嚴學 studies blossomed. Since Seongchong had launched a huge project of publishing Jinggwan/澄觀’s 『Hwaeom Socho/華嚴疏鈔』 which was proofread and published by Pyeong Rim Yeob/平林葉 of the Chinese Ming(明) dynasty, and the 『Hwaehyeon-gi/會玄記』 text annotated by Boseo/普瑞 of the Yuan(元) dynasty, studies of the Buddhist Sutras(‘講經’) and publications of annotated versions of the writings of past masters continued vigorously, and led to a new social atmosphere which could be referred to as the Renaissance of the Hwaeom studies. From the Buhyu line, renowned Hwaeom-jong masters(華嚴宗師) such as Mowun Jineon/慕雲震言, Hwaeam Jeonghae/晦庵定慧 and Mugam Chwaenul emerged, and delivered superb achievements in terms of Gyohak studies, which even matched those that had been delivered by the Cheongheo Line members.
The Buhyu Line members featured a unified line of succession and a unique perception of their heritage and hierarchy. They maintained the principle of practicing Seon and Gyo teachings altogether, and considered Gyohak studies to be very important. What helped them establish such strong identity and a perception viewing their own heritage, was the heritage of Master Bojo, and their conviction and pride in inheriting such honorable heritage.
Buhyu line(浮休系), Cheongheo line(淸虛系), Jogyae-san/曹溪山 mountain’s Songgwang-sa/松廣寺 temple, Heritage of Master Bojo(普照遺風), Teachings of the Imjae-jong School(臨濟宗風), Taego Bowu/太古法統, Bojo Jinul/普照知訥, Buhyu Seonsu/浮休善修, Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性, Baegam Seongchong/栢庵性聰, Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, Ganhwa-seon/看話禪 practice, Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu/禪敎兼修(practicing Seon and Gyo teachings together) principle, Iryeok Gwajeong/履歷課程, Sammun Sueob/三門修業, Hwaeom Socho/華嚴疏鈔
The Spirit of Buddhist Monastic Precepts & Christian Monastic Rules: a Comparative Study
Bernard SENÉCAL S.J. / Professor,
Department of Religion,
This paper compares the basic spirit of Buddhist monastic precepts and Christian monastic rules. By first examining the data and then appraising them through the use of functional comparisons, it applies the methodology of religious phenomenology: a dialogical approach of truth that avoids the extremes of objectivism and subjectivism.
A first part shows that Buddhist monastic precepts and Christian monastic rules each display a very strong unity of spirit throughout time, despite the fact that they both underwent considerable transformations due to the need to adapt to ever changing historical situations. Indeed, as monastic precepts are meant to help the Buddhists that have renounced the world to achieve awakening like the Buddha, the monastic rules are meant to make Christians as awakened as Christ was.
A second part describes how monastic precepts and rules were respectively born, pointing to the fact that, although the core of the former progressively took shape within the Buddhist monastic community during the lifetime of the Buddha, the latter took shape several centuries after the death of Christ, during Constantine rule at the beginning of the fourth century, when Christian religious life began to appear in answer to the excessive secularization of Christianity within the Roman empire. Nevertheless, despite such a striking difference pointing to the distinctive character of each tradition, monastic precepts and rules are respectively meant to help one to achieve, through complete awakening, the compassionate or loving behaviour which constitute the ultimate goal of Buddhism and Christianity.
A third part demonstrates that both Buddhism and Christianity see ultimate reality as being thoroughly ethical in nature. Their respective founders became one with that ultimate reality through awakening, thus completely embodying that ethical ideal in time and space. As a result, their behaviour was highly ethical and they had no need at all for a fully-fledged set of precepts or rules. But the same cannot be said of their followers who almost always definitely needed and still need such precepts and rules in order to become awakened to that reality and embody it through their behaviour. At the same time, an excessive clinging to precepts or rules may end up being just as detrimental as their total neglect. The spirit of the Middle Way constitutes an excellent antidote to the constant temptation of falling into such extremes that obviously pervades both traditions.
In conclusion, it may be said that just as Buddhism sees in the practice of the monastic precepts, meditation and wisdom the three complementary disciplines indispensable to realize Buddhist awakening, Christianity sees in monastic rules, prayer and life in the Spirit, the three indivisible and sine qua non disciplines required to achieve Christian awakening. Interestingly, a tension has been at work throughout history within both Buddhism and Christianity regarding whether it is necessary or not to renounce the world to reach full awakening. Nevertheless, Buddhists having renounced the world and Christians having joined a religious society may be said to be close in spirit as they search for truth and respectively strive to achieve Buddhist Compassion or Christian Love in action.
* key words
renouncing the world, joining a religious order, Buddhist monastic precepts, Christian monastic rules, awakening, one body compassion, first commandment, Buddhist-Christian inter-monastic encounter, Chogye Order, Society of Jesus
The formations come into being of Ganhwa-Seon(看話禪)
Kim, Ho-Gui / The Buddhist Research Institute, Dongguk Univ.
The zen-school of Tang(唐) dynasty was the essence of China zen buddhism. But, in Song(宋) dynasty, the zen action and zen thought went off their color. So, gradually vicious practices and side effects appeared in many aspect.
The Ganhwa-Seon(看話禪) was a practice of zen-buddhism. Especially, Ganhwa-Seon emphasis so called Hwadu(話頭). That is, Ganhwa(看話) means have a look at the Hwadu. This Ganhwa-Seon come into being in Song-dynasty of Chinese by Daehye-Jonggo(大慧宗杲 : 1089-1163). Here we can ratiocinate some reasons, namely, the formations come into being of Ganhwa-Seon.
Firstly, We can examined that Daehye-Jonggo have the critical attitude for the thought of Silent-Penetration(黙照) by Jinhul-Chungryo(眞歇淸了). At that times, a group of the thought of Silent-Penetration lapsed into a state of coma. In many ways, this was a target of the critical attitude by Daehye-Jonggo, so called, a fancy, a foolish imaginings, a stupefaction, a sleeping sickness, a delusion, and the borderland between sleeping and waking, etc.
Secondly, the attitude of a peace-at-any-price principle about all seon-practice. The ways of prudentialism was originated from the closing years of Tang-dynasty. The secondly effect on seon-buddhism were prevalent every seon-masters at the time of the early days in Song-dynasty.
In this state of affairs, Daehye-Jonggo had the critical attitude for the thought of Silent-Penetration and the ways of prudentialism. So, he standed by his many opinions in his “The Discrimination between right and wrong on Seon-practice(辨邪正說)”. At that time, Daehye-Jonggo(大慧宗杲 1089-1163) set up against that problem and that followers. As a part of that preventive measure, he preached sermons for not only Buddhist priests but also high officials that The Discrimination between right and wrong on seon-practice.
Here we can abstract his taught for them in eight ways.
First, discriminate the expedients.
Second, Alert absence of expedients.
Third, Do not ignore of enlightenments.
Fourth, Do not depend on letters and notions.
Fifth, Only adhere The Muja-Hwagu(無字話頭) instead of divisionism.
Sixth, Do not consider at own discretion.
Seventh, Seek after for seon masters.
Eighth, Bear in mind the faiths.
These eight ways were as it used at that times, and are as it useful for modern seon practice and buddhist priests. Here we can examined some reasons about the formation come into being of Ganhwa-Seon(看話禪)
The real character of practice in the Khanwha-sôn(看話禪)
Kim, Young-Wook / Kasan Institute of Buddhist Culture
The whadu(話頭) suggested by the great Sôn leaders can be a true issue only when it is acceptted correctly by the disciplinant. The typical way to make any subjects into whadu is so called the Baechokkwan(背觸觀). It is a kind of gate without any method to break through, because whatever attempts, both an affirmative approach to it and a negative evasion from it, are not permitted. Khanwha-sôn had settled this method as a framework of practice. As there is no room for any kind of recognition, the essentials of a whadu cannot be understood by the conceptual thought or the cognitive category. According to the realization of one’s concerned whadu, the road to groping for something or other is entirly exhausted. That is the most suitable condition for enlightenment
Chozchu’s mu(無) is the most frequently raised whadu in the Khanwha-sôn, but anywhere it is in the scope of the above mentioned universal way of practice. Every answers to the mu case must not fit in the point of truth, and the approach with several kinds of concept and meaning will result in the failure. All gradual steps and phases do not need in this case. Because from the first whado is given as a gate like a fortress that cannot be penetrated by such a means. Simultaneously this is the most ideal condition to complete the whadu. And when it becomes so, whadu will be a kind of weapon to removes all sorts of discriminations
Searches for the answer from the superficial phrases which the great leaders set intentionally to teach the disciple is in the many cases presented with stratagem. The point to penetrate into the teacher’s intention is to raise the given whadu in one’s mind without leaving even a small gap in the ordinarly life.
Especially to challenge whadu mu has two common mistakes. The one is to think mu as nothingness in the opposition of existence, the other is to conjecture mu as the truth which surpasses all the oppositions. This two inclinations is the general form of illusion in considering on mu. The thought that the truth depends upon surpassing over the given whadu or it depends upon the whadu in itself, they are both misconceptions. We can escape from this mistakes so far as we know throughly that whadu mu has not any conceptual tastes and there is not a kernel in it.
There is not a special method which heals all troubles including the former faults. The only tactics is to run in holding whadu mu constantly. To say in other word, the arising of sickness and the cure both depends upon the correct whadu study. And it is also the reason that the truth must be embodied in the daily life. Because the given whadu must not go away from one’s mind in any moment. If we speculate on a whadu without ommision in every place and at all moments in ordinarly life, we may be able to accomplish the essential meaning of Sôn. That is the monent of breaking through the concerned whad
A Study on Mengshan De-yi’s Activity and His Relation with the Korean Buddhism in Late 13th Century Shown in Mengshan heshang pushuo
Choe, Yeon-Shik and Kang, Ho-Sun
/ Seoul National Univ.
Kanhua(看話, Kor. Kanhwa) meditation has become the representative philosophy in Korean Buddhism after the eminent Korean Zen master Chinul adopted it his zen training method. The close contact between Korean Buddhism and Chinese Jiangnan area Buddhism during the Mongol reign was important background for the Kanhua meditation to be main stream in Korean Buddhism.
Mengshan De-yi, the Zen master who advocated the Kanhua method in Jiangnan area had a great influence upon Korean Buddhism in the late 13th century. Mongshan gave teachings to Korean monks and high officials by exchanging letters and direct meetings. And after his death the Korean believers invited his disciple Tieshan Shaoqiong and helped him to spread his master’s teaching. Mongshan’s writings were also introduced into Korea and read widely. They caused great philosophical changes in Korean Buddhism
The Mengshan heshang pushuo kept in Chinese National Library in Beijing is a document that has never been introduced and analyzed before. It is composed of 4 volumes and takes nine sermons preached from 1287 to 1296. In the sermons there are not a few special characters of Mengshan’s thought not shown in his other writings. Some of the important teachings shown in this new document are following; first, the definite practices such as three-forbidden(三莫) and three-point(三要), second, the claim of immediate enlightenment and gradual practice(頓悟漸修) and the third is the connection of the reading and recitation of Scripture with meditation.
Besides the teachings we can also find some information about Mengshan’s life and activity which is not cleared until now. In 1278 he retired and resided at the Xiuxiu-an(休休庵) in Hangzhou. During this time, he devoted himself to teaching the Zen practice to monks and laymen. He also wrote and published many writings on Zen and supervised Buddhistic rituals and delivered sermons in Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions. He was supported by the intellects and officials in the regions.
In addition, there is a sermon which was preached in 1296 to celebrate the 60th birthday of Korean king at the time. This sermon was delivered on request of a Korean monk who came from Suseon-sa(修禪社) which had followed the teachings of Chinul. This is very important source to understand the relationship between Mengshan and Korean Buddhism. In particular, it proves that the Susheon-sa played a key role in connecting between Mengshan and Korean Buddhism.
U, Je-sun / Dongguk Univ.
Ever since the Buddha thought his teaching, the attainment of mokṣa has been the main task for Buddhists to achieve. In the Yogācāra school, it has been understood to result from the transformation of consciousness. This concept has occupied a special position in Buddhist philosophy as the link between theory and practice. The purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of consciousness in the works of Dharmakīrti who are the representative logician of the Buddhist Pramāna school and Taego Boowoo who are the main Seon master of Korean Buddhism.
This paper shows that Dharmakīrti and Taego shares the same ideas as follows, even though they are different in their time and place as the 7th and 11th centuries, and India and Korea. ① They shares the same idea in terms of why a man should practice the meditation. The purpose of the practice is to save others from their sufferings as well as to be free from all sufferings of his own. ② They has the identical idea on what is the liberation from sufferings. It is the destruction of all kleśas. The means of their removal is to see the selflessness of all in the case of Dharmakīrti, and to see the Buddhahood of our mind in the case of Taego. ③ They has the same epistemological structure in liberation. The practice starts with the words. It is the process of removing conceptual construction (vikalpa) and transforming consciousness into prajñā. It leads to the attainment of mokṣa.