Interpenetration and Essence-Function in Wonhyo, Chinul and Kihwa

Interpenetration and Essence-Function in Wonhyo, Chinul and Kihwa
The Key Operative Concepts in Korean Buddhist Syncretic Philosophy:
Interpenetration (通達) and Essence-Function (體用) in Wonhyo, Chinul and Kihwa

Bulletin of Toyo Gakuen University No. 3, March 1995, pp 33-48.

by A. Charles Muller

A. Introduction

Korean Buddhism is distinctive within the broader field of East Asian Buddhism for the pronounced degree of its syncretic discourse. Korean Buddhist monks throughout history have demonstrated a marked tendency in their essays and commentaries to focus on the solution of disagreements between various sects within Buddhism, or on conflicts between Buddhism and other religions. While a strong ecumenical tendency is noticeable in the writings of dozens of Korean monks, among the most prominent in regard to their exposition of syncretic philosophy are Wŏnhyo (元曉 617-686), Pojo Chinul (普照知訥 1158-1210) and Hamheo Kihwa (涵虚己和 1376-1433).

The chief operative conceptual framework with which these scholar-monks carried out their syncretic writings can be shown to be derived from the metaphysics connected with the Hwaŏm (華嚴 Ch. Hua-yen) school, as well as the soteriological discourse of the closely related Awakening of Faith (大乘起信論) tradition, both of which have dual roots in Indian Buddhist and native East Asian philosophy. In this paper we will examine the most important metaphysical concepts related to this syncretic discourse: interpenetration and essence-function, showing how each of these three men utilized these concepts in their respective works.

1. Interpenetration

The concept of interpenetration is indicated by the Chinese binome t’ung-ta (通達; Kor. t’ongdal), but is also commonly signified by t’ung (通 Kor. t’ong) alone. Also used in Hua-yen and Awakening of Faith philosophy are such terms as yuan-yung (Kor. wollyung 圓融 “perfect amalgamation”), kuan (Kor. kwan 貫 “penetration by a single thread”), hsun (Kor. hun 薫 “perfumation”), and wu-ai (Kor. mu-ae 無礙 “non-obstruction”).

The basic meaning of t’ung, which has changed little over three millennia of East Asian literary history, is to “go through,” or “pass through.” It especially possesses the connotations of passing, or going through a path, or moving along a course which is already opened and which merely needs to be traversed. The ideograph ta (達; Kor. tal), is close in meaning, and is often combined with t’ung in Buddhist texts, but differs somewhat etymologically, as it originally signifies piercing through a barrier, or breaking open a passageway where there was none before.

T’ung and ta are ancient concepts to which strong philosophical overtones were added in early Confucian thought, notably in such texts as the Analects (論語), Book of Changes (易經) and the Record of Rites (禮記). Especially relevant among these implications is the function of the mind of the sage, which is able to penetrate without limit in time and space. The sage’s mind is capable of “penetrating to” (i.e., “understanding”) the principles of things, as in the Analects, where Confucius says: “I have no resentment against Heaven, no quarrel with men. I study from the bottom and penetrate to the top.”1 Other shades of meaning include “to unify” or “be the same” in the sense of the dissolution of barrier. Both t’ung and ta can mean to “apprehend,” “understand,” “grasp,” “permeate,” “fill,” or “influence.” They are used adjectivally and adverbially to the same effects. The nuance of “penetration” (although not specifically indicated by the word t’ung) is ubiquitous in all the texts which reflect the early East Asian intuitively transparent worldview. It is a basic underpinning of both the Great Learning (大學) and the Doctrine of the Mean (中庸), in both of which the inner and outer aspects of the person are understood to penetrate each other such that quality of the person’s inner mind is always discernible in his outer appearance.

2. Interpenetration in Chinese Buddhism

The classical pre-Buddhist intuitions of t’ung were rationalized and technicalized as they were used to facilitate Chinese expressions of Buddhism. The conceptual bases of t’ung in East Asian Buddhism can be explained through the notions of emptiness (空) and dependent origination (縁起), since it is due to the lack of self-nature of things that they can mutually contain, reflect and comprise–or “interpenetrate” each other. Doctrinal classifiers such as Chih-i (538-597) used the term t’ung to refer to the type of Buddhist teaching that is “shared” or “understood in the same way” by students of varying predilections.2 The Sanskrit term for the supernatural powers of the Buddha or great Bodhisattva (abhijñah, literally “super knowledges”) was also translated into Chinese as t’ung, indicating that the mind of the Buddha penetrates to all places.3

The most important development of the meaning of t’ung came with the appearance of Hua-yen philosophy, where the metaphysics of interpenetration/non-obstruction became the hallmark of the school. The key usage of t’ung is in the discourse of the third and fourth dharmadhatus (“reality-realms” 法界) developed by the early Hua-yen patriarchs. These are the realms of li-shih wu-ai (理事無礙 “non-obstruction between principle and phenomena”) and shih-shih wu-ai (事事無礙 “non-obstruction between phenomena and phenomena,” or “perfect interpenetration of phenomena”). In the third realm, the conceptually differentiated spheres of principle and phenomena (emptiness and form 空, 色) are shown to be mutually containing. Since they are mutually containing, it follows that individual phenomena also contain each other without obstruction. The concept of an interpenetrated universe can be seen as a natural extension of the closely bound concepts of dependent origination and emptiness (pratitya-samutpada, Ch. 縁起 and sunyata, Ch. 空) which were developed in Indian analytical Buddhist philosophy. Since all things arise only in dependence upon each other, they are understood to be lacking in self-nature. Being devoid of self-nature, they are also lacking in limitation; i.e., they cannot demonstrably possess any border or edge. Since things are thoroughly dependently originated, the creation of a single thing necessarily involves all the factors around it. These in turn involve all the factors around them.

Compared to the analytical development of “interpenetration-metaphysics” that can be seen through the doctrines of Indian schools such as Yogacāra and Mādhyamika, the basis of a similar transparent worldview evident in non-Buddhist native East Asian philosophy is more intuitive in nature. In texts such as the Book of Changes, Book of Odes (詩經), Record of Rites and Analects the organic unity and transparency of Heaven and Earth is something that is assumed a priori, and is demonstrated by examples from the human world, rather than through metaphysical analysis. But t’ung in Chinese-originated schools of Buddhism such as Hua-yen can be seen as derived from a combination of both analytical Indian Buddhist and intuitive East Asian perspectives in its signification of the interpenetrated nature of existence.

3. T’i-yung

p class=”indented”> The Chinese concept of t’i-yung (體用 Kor. ch’e-yong) which is usually translated into English as “essence-function” is a prominent component of all East Asian philosophical systems.4 T’i (體) refers to the deeper, hidden, relatively permanent and more fundamental aspects of something, while yung (用) indicates its more manifest, visible or superficial aspects. That “something” can be anything from an inanimate object to a concept, a plant or animal, an organization or institution, a world or universe. The most important application of t’i-yung thought, however, is to the human being, where the human mind is seen as “essence,” and one’s words, thoughts and actions are seen as “function.” In Confucianism t’i is associated with the goodness (jen 仁) that is the basis of the human mind and yung is associated with the expression of that jen in proper (culturally acceptable) action, or li (禮). Other Confucian “functions” of jen include filial piety (孝), trust (信), sincerity (誠) and wisdom (智).

Similarly, in Buddhism, t’i is regarded as the fundamentally enlightened Buddha-mind that is present in all beings, whereas yung is the manifestation of that mind in actual practice–whether it be a full manifestation (enlightened Buddha) or limited manifestation (ignorant sentient being). In a more abstract vein, t’i and yung in all three traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism can refer to a mysterious principle and its apparent manifestations: in the Analects, again jen and li, etc. In the Great Learning, “roots” (本) as t’i and “branches” (末) as yung. In the Tao Et Ching, the tao (道) as t’i and its power (te 徳) as yung. The Tao Et Ching is rife with other metaphors for essence and function such as the black (黒) and the white (白) [Ch. 28], uncarved block (樸) and vessels (器) [Ch. 28]; the substantial (厚) and superficial (薄) [Ch. 38]; the nameless tao and named tao [Ch. 1], etc. In Buddhism the principle of emptiness (空) is t’i, and existence (有) or form (色) is yung. Also important in Buddhism is the usage of t’i and yung to distinguish enlightenment itself from its manifestations in the realm of practice. In schools of meditational Buddhism (Ch’an, Son, Zen) students are admonished not to mistake the manifest “functions” or characteristics of a master’s enlightenment (such as intelligence, naturalness, kindness/strictness, silence/eloquence, or artistic skill) as the enlightenment experience (t’i) itself.

An important point to be made concerning t’i and yung is that these terms are best grasped when approached through the concept of mutual containment . . . or t’ung. This way, one may avoid the error of taking the translated term “essence” to be a reified substrate–a Platonic metaphysical transcendent reality. One of the most important connotations of t’i-yung metaphysics is that each of the two aspects represent nothing more than two ways of looking at a single thing. The essence and function of something cannot be separated from each other, as they fully contain each other–“the same but different.” One of the best-known examples of the interpenetration of essence and function can be found in the sixth chapter of the traditional commentary to the Great Learning, where the writer is explaining the meaning of sincerity (誠). He says:

“When the inferior man is at leisure, there is no limit to the extent of his evil. But when he sees a Superior Man he will be ashamed; he will cover his evil and show off his goodness. When people observe you, they see right to your core. So what’s the use of being deceitful? Therefore we say: “internal sincerity [t’i] expresses itself outwardly [yung] without obscuration.” Therefore the Superior Man must be watchful over himself when he is alone.”

B. T’ong (t’ung) and ch’e-yong (t’i-yung) in the thought of Wŏnhyo
1. T’ong

While the Chinese Hua-yen school was effectively wiped out during the purge of 841-845, its Korean counterpart, the Hwaŏm school, became the leading doctrinal institution on the Korean peninsula, a status which it maintained for a millennium. The prominence of the role of Hwaŏm philosophy in Korea can be traced to the fact that Korea’s most influential early Buddhist thinkers were deeply involved in Hwaŏm studies, and they firmly established the school in the land “east of the sea (海東).” And although the Hwaŏm sect was later disbanded by government directives as a organized entity, its doctrines had a profound and lasting effect on the Korean Chogye meditational tradition into which it was eventually assimilated.

While the man formally accredited with the founding of the Hwaŏm school in Korea is Uisang (義湘 625-702), the person who is generally considered more fully responsible for the especially deep influence of Hwaŏm thought on Haedong Buddhism was Uisang’s close friend Wŏnhyo (元曉 617-686). Wŏnhyo was a serious student of Hwaŏm doctrine, such that it dominated his whole way of thought. He spent a decade or so immersed in the scholarly-monastic tradition, but after a consciousness-only enlightenment experience, gave up the priesthood as an expression of his freedom and traveled about the countryside, living with and teaching the common people. He made this decision not out of a special disdain for the holy life, but out of a recognition of the arbitrariness of the division between secular and sacred. In the opening paragraph of his Simmun hwajaeng non (十門和諍論 Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes in Ten Aspects) Wŏnhyo said:

“. . . The attitude of staying in a deep valley while avoiding great mountains, or loving emptiness while hating existence is just like the attitude of going into a forest while avoiding trees. But one should be aware of the fact that green and blue are identical in essence, and ice and water are identical in origin; a single mirror reflects myriad forms, and parted waters will perfectly intermingle once they are reunited.”5

2. Ch’e-yong

A distinctive aspect of Wŏnhyo’s elucidation of his philosophy of interpenetration (exemplified in the above citation) is his extensive usage of the principle of ch’e-yong (t’i-yung). Although the ch’e-yong formula can be seen operating throughout Wŏnhyo’s works, the place where he develops its usage most fully is in his influential commentary to the Ta-ch’eng ch’i-hsin lun (大乘起信論 Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith) (AMF). The ch’e-yong framework was utilized by the writer of the AMF to analyze the interior and hidden aspects of the enlightened mind as contrasted with their external function.6 It is in large measure the doctrine of the AMF itself which stimulates Wŏnhyo to use essence-function hermeneutics, since the treatise opens up with an explanation of the meaning of Mahāyāna in terms of “essence (體),” “aspects (相)” and “function (用),” saying:

“The characteristics of Mahāyāna are three in number. What are the three? First is the greatness of its essence, which means that because the Suchness of all Dharmas is equal, it neither increases nor decreases. Second is the greatness of its attributes, which means that the Tathāgatagarbha is completely filled with the immeasurable virtues of [Buddha] Nature. Third is the greatness of its operation, which means that Mahāyāna can generate all good causes and effects in the mundane and supramundane worlds.”7

Drawing on the AMF’s usage of essence and function, Wŏnhyo uses the same principle as an interpretive tool throughout the remainder of his exegesis of the treatise. He identifies the essence as the (hidden, unmanifest) One Mind, which is, as essence, in a state of being “sealed” (合 hap). When the One Mind unfolds (開 kae) into its function, it can be recognized as the myriad phenomenal things. Early in his commentary to the AMF Wŏnhyo says:

“Since such is the intent of this treatise, when opened, immeasurable and limitless meanings are found in its doctrine; when sealed, the principle of two aspects in One Mind is found to be its essence. Within the two aspects are included myriad meanings without confusion. These limitless meanings are identical with One Mind and are completely amalgamated with it. Therefore it opens and seals freely; it establishes and refutes without restrictions.”8

While seeing the world as a singular reality, Wŏnhyo did not perceive this reality to be a haphazard mass of mind and matter, but understood the world (in a manner not unlike that seen in classical Confucianism and Taoism) to be governed by a mysterious principle. This principle was something to be known, “penetrated,” realized. The AMF unequivocally stated that the principle (“dharma,” which we can understand as ch’e) is itself the enlightened human mind.9 In Wŏnhyo’s Buddhist understanding, this dharma is equivalent to emptiness, but in a positive sense, equivalent to enlightenment. Enlightenment (覺) for Wŏnhyo is synonymous with Mahāyāna (大乘), which in turn is not different from the “mind of sentient beings (衆生心).” Thus, in an understanding that works through the ch’e-yong paradigm, the mind of the sentient being, which has the basic nature of enlightenment, is equivalent to Mahāyāna, which penetrates and functions universally throughout the universe. Wŏnhyo says: “The words ‘there is a dharma,’ which begin the first section of this part of the treatise, refer to the principle of One Mind. If people are able to understand this principle, they are bound to arouse the broad and great root of faith.”10

The AMF was a text that was perfect for utilization by someone of Wŏnhyo’s inclinations, since it was written to clarify issues about the nature of human consciousness and the proper course toward enlightenment which had hitherto been interpreted divergently by different schools of East Asian Buddhism. The author of the AMF was deeply concerned with the question of the respective origins of ignorance and enlightenment. If enlightenment is originally existent, how do we become submerged in ignorance? If ignorance is originally existent, how is it possible to overcome it? And finally, at the most basic level of mind, the alaya consciousness (藏識), is there originally purity or taint? The AMF dealt with these questions in a systematic and thorough fashion, working through the Yogacāra concept of the alaya consciousness. The technical term used in the AMF which functions as a metaphorical synonym for interpenetration is “permeation” or “perfumation (薫),” referring to the fact that defilement (煩惱) “perfumates” suchness (眞如), and suchness perfumates defilement, depending on the current condition of the mind.

3. T’ong pulgyo (Interpenetrated Buddhism)

Wŏnhyo extended his apprehension of the meaning of t’ong beyond that of many other East Asian scholar-monks in his manifest application of the principle of non-obstruction in his personal activities. For Wŏnhyo, interpenetration was more than an abstract theoretical principle–it was something that he actualized in his everyday affairs. During the latter part of his life he associated himself with those of high and low station,11 according differentially to their religious needs. The Buddhist doctrine he taught to the masses was a flexible one, which included the most recondite Hwaŏm metaphysics, as well as the relatively simple practice of recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha.12 Amazingly, he was in the same lifetime able to produce some two hundred and forty scholarly works, including commentaries on every major Mahāyāna text. Except for the works of the extraordinarily prolific translators such as Kumārajiiva (344-413) and Hsüan-tsang (596-664), this is probably the largest literary output by a single scholar in East Asian Buddhist history.

The overarching philosophical theme in his scholarly works was also t’ong–but under the rubric of “harmonization of disputes”–hwajaeng (和諍). He applied the metaphysics of interpenetration to demonstrate the fundamental lack of obstruction between the arbitrarily imposed conceptual structures which had contributed to heated debates between the various doctrinal sects of East Asian Buddhism. Since the view of Buddhism elucidated by Wŏnhyo was one in which all theories participated in, and manifested a single Buddhist reality, he referred to his understanding of Buddhism as t’ong pulgyo (通佛教) or “Interpenetrated Buddhism.” The above-mentioned Simmun hwajaeng non was written expressly for the purpose of carrying out the harmonization of disagreements concerning the Buddhist doctrine.13 The same aim of harmonization can be seen in his Yolban chong’yo (涅槃宗要 Doctrinal Essentials of the Nirvana Sutra), in his Commentary and Expository Notes to the Ta-ch’eng ch’i-hsin lun (大乘起信論疏 and 起信論別記)14 as well as a number of other extant works.

Although both Wŏnhyo and the Chinese masters of doctrinal classification such as Chih-i and Fa-tsang (643-712) shared in the usage of the Buddhist concept of expedient means (Skt. upāya-kausalya; Ch. 方便) as a hermeneutical device, it seems that the work of hwajaeng carried out by Wŏnhyo was significantly different from the p’an-chiao (判教)15 done by his Chinese counterparts. Despite their professed aim of demonstrating a unity within the buddhadharma, their doctrinal classification systems had a strong tendency towards compartmental reification of the different aspects of the Buddhist teaching. And although it is noted in Hui-yuan’s (fl. 7c.) K’an-ting chi 16 that Wŏnhyo had also devised a p’an-chiao system, none of his extant works create such a classification of the doctrine. His tendency is rather to take doctrines that have already been classified and attempt to show their mutual containment through the hermeneutical tool of ch’e-yong. His inclination, then, was rather opposite from such famous doctrinal classifiers as Chih-i, whom he openly criticized. The final line of his Yolban chong’yo says: “You should know that the Buddha’s meaning is deep and profound without limit. So if you want [like Chih-i] to divide the scriptural meaning into four teachings, or limit the Buddha’s intent with five periods, then this is like using a snail shell to scoop out the ocean, or trying to see the heavens through a narrow tube.”17 It is no doubt due in some measure to Wŏnhyo’s influence that p’an-chiao never becomes the widespread practice in Korea that it did in Chinese Buddhism. It was more often the case that Korean Buddhists tried to turn back from p’an-chiao to the premise that all of the Buddha’s teachings formed a unity through the ch’e-yong framework, rather than by fitting the teachings together by categorization according to their differences.

C. Chinul

Pojo Chinul is another eminent figure in Korean Buddhism, who is also famous as a syncretizer through the usage of Hwaŏm principles. In the case of Chinul, the harmonization that needed to be carried out according to his historical circumstance was somewhat different from that of Wŏnhyo, who had centered his efforts on the reconciliation of the divisions that had occurred between the doctrinal schools of Buddhism. The hurdle that Chinul set for himself was the overcoming of the antagonistic condition that had arisen between the Korean doctrinal (Kyo 教) schools and the meditation-practice (Son 禪) schools.

1. Background of the Son-Kyo Tension

The five main doctrinal schools which became the established orthodoxy of traditional scholastic Buddhism from the Silla period onward were the Kyeyul chong (戒律宗 Vinaya school), Yolban chong (涅槃宗 Nirvana school), Peopseong chong (法性宗 Dharma-nature school), Weonyung chong (圓融宗 Ch. Yüan-tsung; Hua-yen school) and the Peopsang chong (法相宗 Ch. Fa-hsiang; Dharmalak`sanā school). Having already been in position several centuries prior to the advent of the Son schools, these schools formed the Buddhist establishment. They owned the large urban monastic centers and possessed long-nurtured ties with the government. Thus, their viability as vehicles of the proper transmission of the buddhadharma had never been seriously called into question.

The Ch’an communities in China had been founded in the seventh and eighth centuries as the result of the efforts of certain clerics to place greater emphasis on meditation practice. They had reacted to what they perceived as overly scholastic tendencies in the doctrinal schools, tendencies which they deemed as obstructive to the attainment of enlightenment. As these schools of Ch’an began to create an identity for themselves, they emphasized their lack of dependence upon scriptural study. Developing through the eighth and ninth centuries, the anti-intellectual/anti-scholastic Ch’an rhetoric became vehement in some circles, where book-reading and intellectual knowledge were considered nothing less than absolute barriers to the attainment of the enlightenment experience.

The anti-textual rhetoric, which had taken a few centuries to develop in China, was transferred disproportionately to the Son schools in Korea, and within a relatively condensed time frame. Because of this, Korean Son schools tended to characterize themselves by the most radical of the Ch’an labels, such as “the separate transmission outside of the sutras (經外別傳)” and “the school which points directly to the mind (直指心之宗).” From the outset, relations in Korea between the older scholastic schools and the new Son schools were not good, and conditions deteriorated when the doctrinal schools were disparaged in the writings of such leading Son monks as Toeui (道義 d. 825) and Muyeom (無染 799-888)18 for their lack of possession of the true transmission of enlightenment. The adherents of the doctrinal schools, on the other hand, regarded the Son group as radical and misguided upstarts.

2. Chinul’s Syncretic Attitude

By the time of the appearance of Chinul, the debate regarding the merits of Son and Kyo had been progressing in Korea for some two centuries. But although Chinul was a disciplined, pure-minded meditating monk, who, due to disgust with the depravity of members of the Buddhist establishment, isolated himself in mountain monasteries,19 his position in regards to the Son/Kyo controversy was not one of Son bias. Rather, he proposed in a tone reminiscent of Wŏnhyo, that there was at the level of essence (ch’e) no difference to be seen between the Buddhism of Son and Kyo, even if their overt manifestations (yung) differed.

Chinul’s position was not derived only from theoretical speculation, but from his own life experience. In his quest for illumination Chinul was never able to procure the enlightened master (deemed necessary in most Son circles) in order to attain enlightenment. Yet through the study of sutras, Chinul was able to undergo major awakening experiences on three separate occasions. This in itself was enough to prove to Chinul that textual study could be used as a vehicle for enlightenment. After his second awakening, which occurred while reading a passage from the Hua-yen ching,20 he said:

“What the Buddha said through his mouth is Kyo, whereas what the patriarchs transmitted to the mind is Son. The mind and mouth of the Buddha and patriarchs should not be at odds. How can it be right that people do not penetrate to the very root but squander their time in futile arguments and disputes, each feeling comfortable in what he is accustomed to?”21

Chinul could base his private reconciliation of Son and Kyo on his personal experience of enlightenment gained in the reading of a Buddhist text. But as a man dedicated to the teaching of enlightenment to others, he sought a theoretical basis for the merging of Son and Kyo–in the same Hwaŏm doctrine that had been used by his predecessor Wŏnhyo. Aided by the analysis of the Hua-yen ching provided by the T’ang scholar Li T’ung-hsüan (李通玄 635-730),22 Chinul was able to exercise Hwaŏm philosophy to support Son soteriological and epistemological views. In his famous preface to his Hwaŏmnon choryo 23 Chinul utilized the essence-function construction to explain the relationship of the Hua-yen theory of interpenetration to the Son awakening experience by saying:

“The diligent practitioner who is cultivating his mind should first, by means of the path of the patriarchs, become cognizant of the fact that the fundamental subtlety of his own mind cannot be captured in words and letters. Then, using the texts, he should discern that the essence and function of his mind are none other than the nature and characteristics of the realm of reality (dharmadhatu). Then the virtuous power of [the actualization of] the interpenetration of phenomena with phenomena, and the efficacious function of the wisdom and compassion [that are gained from an awareness of] the sameness in essence [of all things] will no longer be external concerns (i.e., merely conceptual theories).”24

Thus it is primarily through the use of the essence-function paradigm, and through the metaphysics of interpenetration that Chinul attempts his harmonization of scriptural study with Son practice.

D. Kihwa

A third important Korean personage whose life activities and writings reflect strongly the influence of the doctrines of interpenetration and essence-function is Hamheo Kihwa. Kihwa, who lived approximately two centuries after Chinul, reflected the attitudes of his two famous predecessors in a number of ways. In his scholarly work, he used the hermeneutical principles of t’ong and ch’e-yong, especially in the context of Hwaŏm and Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith metaphysics.

Kihwa was a monk of the stark, confrontational Imje Son (臨齊禪) lineage as transmitted from China initially through Ta-hui (大慧 1089-1163 ) and later through the Chih-k’ung/Naong lineage. This branch of Son based its soteriological practices primarily on the observation of the hwadu (“key phrase” 話頭) of the kong’an (公安). Kihwa was like Chinul in the degree to which, in his writings, he offered a truly balanced approach to the holistic combination of doctrinal study and meditation practice. He did this by not merely incorporating scriptural study into Son meditational practice, but by injecting Son meditational attitudes into the area of scriptural study. The text in which he most extensively elucidates his position regarding the relationship of Son and Kyo is in his Redaction of the Commentaries of Five Masters on the Diamond Sutra (金剛般若波羅蜜經五家解説誼), where throughout he writes with a balanced perspective concerning the relationship between Son and Kyo. The Ch’an of the patriarchs and the sermons of the Buddha manifest the same reality, and thus he shifts back and forth in declaring their merits. He points out the necessity of the worded teaching, but clearly warns against attachment to it:

“The dharma that the Buddha has taught is absolute and is relative [i.e., has essence and function]. Since it is relative, liberation is none other than written language. Since what was taught in the east and taught in the west for forty-nine years25 is absolute, written language is none other than liberation;26 yet in over three hundred sermons, ‘Sākyamuni never explained a single word. If you are attached to the words, then you see branches of the stream but miss their source. If you do away with words, you observe the source but are ignorant of its branch streams. When you are confused about neither the source nor its streams, then you enter the ocean of the dharma-nature. Having entered the ocean of the dharma-nature, the no-thought wisdom is directly manifested. The no-thought wisdom being directly manifested, whatever is faced is no impediment, and you penetrate (t’ong) wherever you touch.”26

We can see the essence-function construction operating here in both the ‘absolute/relative’ contrast and the source-streams simile. To forget words and become absorbed in the wordless is to forget the phenomenal world (yong) and be attached to the essence (ch’e). According to Kihwa, this is not an acceptable Buddhist position. But Kihwa also counsels regarding the serious pitfall which has been warned against throughout the Buddhist tradition, and which became a main concern of the Ch’an tradition–that an imbalanced attachment to words can lead to an obstruction of the very essence of Buddhist practice. What remains is the “middle path,” which means the continuous maintenance of a condition of “non-abiding” (muju; 無住) in one-sided positions. This is “entering the ocean of the dharma-nature,” which results in the manifestation of no-thought wisdom. No-thought wisdom penetrates everything with which it comes in contact. The same essence-function and interpenetration hermeneutics also dominates Kihwa’s Commentary on the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment (圓覺經説誼), where he uses these principles throughout to explain the meaning of that scripture’s passages. Indeed, the entire introductory section to his commentary on the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment is nothing other than an exercise in ch’e-yong/t’ong metaphysics.29

Kihwa also composed a work which is reminiscent of Wŏnhyo in terms of its attempt at reconciliation of doctrinal controversy. Although by the time of Kihwa’s life, the controversies engendered by the variances in doctrinal Buddhism which Wŏnhyo had striven to reconcile were no longer a major topic, a new, and more volatile religious conflict had come to the fore. This was the struggle between Buddhism and the revivified Confucianism which had come into strong sway with the ascension of power of Yi Seonggye (李成桂) and the Yi (Choseon) dynasty (in 1392). During the decades prior to and subsequent to this dynastic change, Neo-Confucian writers such as Chong Tojeon (鄭道傳; 1342-1398)30 had vociferously attacked the Buddhist establishment for both its political/economic excesses, and its doctrine, which they considered to be dangerous for its nihilistic tendencies. Kihwa, who had been educated in the Confucian Academy as a youth, and who was also the leading figure in the Buddhist sangha at the time, was motivated to compose an essay in defense of Buddhism, which he entitled the Hyon chong non (顯正論 “Manifesto of the Correct”).

In this essay, true to the spirit of Wŏnhyo and Chinul, Kihwa did not react angrily to the attacks (which were often quite vicious) of the Neo-Confucians. Instead he compared the “three teachings” of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism in an ecumenical fashion, showing how, in terms of their basic principles, they were in agreement with each other. His main conceptual tools, were of course, interpenetration and essence-function. The three teachings share with each other, writes Kihwa, in the fact that they each regard the human mind as good in essence. They also share in the belief in the possibility for the full actualization, or perfect function of this mind through practice, or training. A distinctive characteristic of this essay is Kihwa’s argumentation for the equivalence of the Confucian concept of “humanity” (仁) with Buddhist interpenetration (通). Kihwa writes:

“Human beings and the myriad things already possess the same material force (氣). While sharing in the same principle (理) of Heaven and Earth, they also share the same space in Heaven and Earth. Since they are already endowed with same material force and principle, where can there exist another principle which condones killing life in order to nourish life?! It is like these sayings:

“The universe and I share the same root; the myriad things and myself are one body.”

These are the words of `Sākyamuni.

“The man of jen takes Heaven, Earth and the myriad things as his own body.”31

These are the words of a Confucian. Only when one’s words are fully in accord with his actions has he completed the Way of jen!

In the medical texts, conditions of numbness or paralysis of the limbs are technically termed “non-jen” (不仁). Now the limbs are the extremities of the body, and although the extremities show the symptoms of sickness, the problem is actually that the material force is not penetrating (不通). This means that in this case the term jen refers to Heaven and Earth and the myriad things in fusion as one body–that is, there is no separation between them. If you deeply embody this principle, then no matter how trivial a being is, there is no way you will inflict harm upon it. This can indeed be called “the attainment of the Tao of jen!” . . . If it is not this way then the material force of people and animals is blocked and does not flow; principle is obstructed and does not penetrate, just like the numbness of the hands and feet. . . .”32

It is precisely in regard to this point–the interpenetration of the myriad things and their relation to each other in terms of essence and function that Kihwa understands the three teachings to be unified33–a point upon which Wŏnhyo and Chinul would no doubt have wholeheartedly agreed.

Notes
1. Analects 14:37.
2. Chih-i defines this term in his Ssu-chiao i. See T 1929.46.721 ff.

3. See Nakamura Hajime, Bukkyoogo daijiten, p. 971a.

4. It is generally understood by scholars that the essence-function construction was explicated as such for the first time by Confucian scholar Wang-pi (226-249) in his commentary to the thirty-eighth chapter of the Tao Et Ching. Pi in

5. HPC 1.838a.8-11. English translation from Sung Bae Park “Wŏnhyo’s Commentaries on the Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith”, p. 26.

6. The role of the t’i-yung construction in East Asian Buddhism, and in the works of Wŏnhyo in particular, is an area to which Sung Bae Park devotes a considerable degree of attention in his Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment. See Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment, p. 36.

7. T 1666.32.575c25-29. English translation by Park, “Wŏnhyo’s Commentaries,” p. 118.

8. T 1844.44.202b18-23. Trans, Park, “Wŏnhyo’s Commentaries,” p. 44.

9. T 1666.32.575b.18.

10. T 1844.44.204c.9-10.

11. Stories of Wŏnhyo’s escapades with beggars, queens and courtesans become legendary in the Korean folkloric tradition. This aspect of Wŏnhyo’s life is similar to the legends which surround the famous Japanese Zen figure Ikkyuu , who has become in the modern day even a subject of comic books. In the same way, the imagination of later Korean writers seized upon the image of a playful Wŏnhyo to construct a plethora of romantic tales.

12. It is related in Wŏnhyo’s biographies that during the latter part of his life he spent much time traveling around the countryside instructing the common people in the recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha. This another indication of Wŏnhyo’s non-sectarian tendency, which can also been seen in Chinul, Kihwa and other prominent Korean Buddhists.

13. HPC 1.524-546; T 1769.38.239a-255c. Unfortunately, only about thirty percent of this important text is extant. These fragments have been translated into English by O Peoban (in his Ph.D. dissertation at NYU) under the title Wŏnhyo’s Theory of Harmonization.

14. HPC 1.677-788; T 1844.44.202a-226a; 1845.44.226a-240c

15. For a comprehensive discussion of the p’an-chiao phenomenon, see Part Two of Peter Gregory’s Tsung-mi.

16. The full title of this text is Hsu hua-yen ching lüeh-shu k’an-ting chi. See Z 221, vol. 3.

17. HPC 1.547a.18-21; T 1769.38.255c.5-6.

18. For excerpts of the treatises of these two, see Buswell, Chinul, pp. 12-13.

19. In this sense, the career of Chinul can be seen has having strong parallels with that of his younger Japanese contemporary Doogen, who also felt compelled to move deep into the mountains to protect himself from the degradation of the Buddhist church of the age.

20. The passage from the Hua-yen sutra was as follows:

“The body is the reflection of wisdom. This world is the same. When wisdom is pure and its reflection clear, large and small merge with each other as in the realm of Indra’s net.” (Buswell, Chinul, p. 25.)

21. Keel, Chinul p. 31. From Chinul’s preface to the Hwaŏmnon choryo. See HPC 4.768a.6-9.

22. The Hsin Hua-yen ching lun; T 1739.36.721-1007.

23. The Hwaŏmnon choryo is Chinul’s exposition of Li T’ung-hsüan’s above-mentioned treatise on the Hua-yen ching.

24. HPC 4.768a.
25. The length of `Sākyamuni’s teaching career.

26. In the above two sentences Kihwa is alluding to the famous dictum from the Heart Sutra, “form is emptiness, emptiness

27. HPC 7.42c.21-43a.5.

28. I have translated this portion of Kihwa’s commentary both in my Ph.D. dissertation (SUNY Stony Brook, 1993) and in a manuscript currently under review for publication at SUNY Press, entitled “Hamheo Kihwa’s Commentary to the Suutra of Perfect Enlightenment.”

29. For a comprehensive treatment of Chong Tojeon in the Korean language, see Han Young-woo, Chong Tojeon sasang ui yeon’gu. In English, see Chai-sik Chung, “Cheong Tojeon: ‘Architect’ of Yi Dynasty Government and Ideology,” in de Bary and Haboush, ed., The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea.

30. This statement by Ch’eng-hao is from the I-shu, 4:4b. Also see Wing-tsit Chan, Source Book, p. 535.
31. HPC 7.219b-c.

32. Although Kihwa does not mention Taoism specifically in this passage, he makes it clear in other places in the treatise

Bibliography
A. Classical East Asian Buddhist Texts

Han’guk pulgyo cheonseo 韓國佛教全書 (The Collected Writings of Korean Buddhism), Seoul: Dongguk University Press, 1986.

Hsin Hua-yen ching lun 新華嚴經論 (Treatise on the New Translation of the Flower Ornament Scripture); 40 churn; by Li T’ung-hsüan 李通玄. T 1739.36.721-1007.

Hsu hua-yen ching lüeh-shu k’an-ting chi. 續華嚴經略疏刊定記 by Hui-yüan 慧苑. HTC vol. 5; Z 221, vol. 3.

Hwaŏmnon choryo 華嚴論節要. by Chinul. HPC 4.767-869.

Hyon chong non 顯正論. (Manifesto of the Correct) by Kihwa. HPC 7.217-225.

K’an-ting chi. 刊定記 See Hsu hua-yen ching lüeh-shu k’an-ting chi.
Kisillon so. 起信論疏 by Wŏnhyo; HPC 1.698-722; T 1844.44.202a-226a

Kumgang panyaparamilgyeong o ka hae seoreui 金剛般若波羅蜜經五家解説誼 (Annotated Redaction of Five Commentaries on the Diamond Sutra ). HPC 7.10-107.

Simmun hwajaeng non 十問和諍論 (Reconciliation of Disputes in Ten Aspects) by Wŏnhyo. HPC 1.838-841.

Ssu-chiao i 四教義 (The Doctrine of the Four Teachings); By Chegwan. T 1929.46.721a-769a.

Ta-ch’eng ch’i-hsin lun 大乘起信論 (Treatise on Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith) T 1665.32.575b-583b.

Taebangkwang weon’gak sutara ryo ui kyeong seoreui 大方廣圓覺修多羅了義經説誼 (Kihwa’s Commentary on the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment). HPC 7.122-169.

Taesung kisillon pyeolgi. 大乘起信論別記 HPC 1.677-697; T 1845.44.226a-240c. (Wŏnhyo’s Expository Notes on the AMF)

Ta-fang-kuang fo hua-yen ching 大方廣佛華嚴經 (Avatamsaka-sutra) T 278.9.395a-788b.

Yolban chong’yo 涅槃宗要 (Essentials of the Nirvana Sutra). by Wŏnhyo 元曉; T 1769.38.239a-255c.

Yuan chüeh ching 圓覺經 (Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment) T 842.17.913a-922a.

B. Modern Works.

Buswell, Robert E. The Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.

Chung, Chai-sik. “Chong Tojeon: ‘Architect’ of Yi Dynasty Government and Ideology.” in de Bary, The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea. pp. 59-88.

de Bary, William Theodore and Kim, Jahyun Haboush, ed., The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Gregory, Peter N. Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Han Young-woo (Yongu), Chong Tojeon sasang ui yeon’gu. Han’guk munhwa yeon’gu ch’ongso, no.15; Seoul: Han’guk munhwa yeon’guso, 1973.

Kamata, Shigeo. Choosen bukkyooshi. Tokyo: Tokyo UP, 1987.

Keel, Hee-Sung. Chinul: The Founder of the Korean Son Tradition. Berkeley: Buddhist Studies Series, 1984.

Kwon, Kijong. “Choseon cheongi ui seonkyo kwan” (“The Son-Kyo Standpoint of the Early Choseon”). In Han’guk son sasang yeongu (245-282).

Legge, James. Analects, Great Learning and Doctrine of the Mean. Dover Publications: New York, 1971

Nakamura Hajime. Bukkyogo daijiten. Tokyo, 1975.

O Poban. Wŏnhyo’s Theory of Harmonization. Seoul: Hung Pobwon, 1989.

Park, Sung Bae. Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment. Albany: SUNY Press, 1983.

—. “Wŏnhyo’s Commentaries on the Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith.” Unpublished manuscript.

Song Ch’onun. “Kihwa ui sasang” (“Kihwa’s Thought”). in Han’guk pulgyo sasang sa (Pak Kiljin Festschrift)

Song, Hwan-gi. “Hamheo Teukt’ong hwasang yeon’gu (A Study of The Reverend Hamheo Teukt’ong).” Master’s Thesis, Dongguk University, 1974.

Publications, Presentations, etc.

Charles Muller

Theravāda-Mahāyāna Dialogue: A Mahāyāna Perspective

2003 Conference of the International Network for Engaged Buddhism
Thematic Workshop in Session B: Inter-Buddhist Dialogue
July 20-25, 2003/ Seoul, Korea
        Theravāda-Mahāyāna Dialogue: A Mahāyāna Perspective
                            by Yong-pyo KimProfessor, Dongguk Universiy, Korea
I. Necessity for Dialogue within Buddhist Community
The purpose of this essay is to seek a way of unity and methods of collaboration among Buddhists by raising a basic issue for dialogue between Theravāda and Mahāyāna traditions. In every religion, intra-religious conflict often creates more serious problem than conflict with other religions.  It goes without saying, therefore, that intra-religious dialogue should precede inter-religious dialogue.
 As the history of Buddhism shows, there have been conflict and antagonism among Buddhist sects. There were already twenty schools in the era of Abhidharama Buddhism. MahāyānaBuddhism also divided more than thirteen sects.  Today’s Buddhism worldwide is divided into three main traditions, that is, Theravāda and Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna.  Since there are so many traditions and types of faith and practice in Buddhism, even devotees themselves often get confused. Some Buddhists argue for the superiority of their own schools without deep understanding about other traditions. As a result, it has been difficult to find neither Buddhist identity nor unity in the religious community.
Movement towards dialogue and communication among Buddhists should proceed from dialogue between Theravāda and Mahāyāna – both representative of present-day world Buddhism – towards movement for deeper-level dialogue between other sects. In order to do that, history of Buddhist thoughts and culture should first be comprehended. And common unity rather than differences should be discovered through dialogue between different traditions.
This essay first briefly examines the differences between Theravāda and Mahāyāna Buddhism in terms of the views of Buddha- body, scriptures, doctrines, ethics, practice, and faith. And it will show a few hurdles that need to be overcome to acquire mutual understanding and to quest for commonly shared essence. This process will help us to find a way of creative dialogue among Buddhist communities and common practical goals.
II. Theravāda vs Mahāyāna: Seeking Foundation for Dialogue
  Mahāyāna Buddhism was a new Buddhist movement that started around the 1st Century BC in opposition to Hinayanistic tendency of Abhidharma traditions. It was a big wave that marked a historic watershed in Buddhist history. Mahāyāna Buddhist movement was not that of a single religious sect led by a particular individual, but was various faiths and Scriptures that became gradually unified and developed into the ideology called Mahāyāna.  By the 3rd Century, unified Mahāyāna doctrine and order had been established.
1.      Who is a Buddha? 
The question of “Who is a Buddha?” was the most significant question for all the sects in Buddhism. When Gautama Buddha was alive, there was no being that could be called a Buddha other than the historical Buddha. The Buddha was also called Tathāgata, and he showed both human and superhuman aspects, and was seen as the highest teacher of all humans and divines.   In Mahāyāna Buddhism, dharma-kāya -oriented ideology was advanced which is a eternally imperishable body of a Buddha.
They believes the historical Buddha is a mere incarnation of Dharama-body.  The Prajñā-pāramita-sūtra says that Prajñā-pāramita (perfection of wisdom) is the Tathāgata’s Dharma-kāya.“  The Sadharma-pundarika-Sūtra uses the term of eternal Buddha rather than the that of dharma-kāya.  The eternal Buddha is a Buddha who was enlightened a long time ago, and the life of Tathāgata is infinite . He exists forever.  The eternal  Buddha comes into being that surpasses the Buddhas of past or the future. In the Buddha-Avatamsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra, Viricana Buddha, the dharma-k, Viricana Buddha, the dharma-kāya Buddha, is manifest as a Buddha that has omnipresent nature and infinity, therefore the Buddha in Mahāyāna Buddhism is elevated into vast and transcendental light.  This idea of the Buddha-body was later developed into that of vīpāka-kāya meaning the body that resulted from the achievement of bodhisattva vows.
2. The Issues of Authenticity of the Scriptures
The authenticity of Mahāyāna sutras is a subtle issue that has been under controversy with the vicissitudes of Mahāyāna Buddhism.  The samgīti (compilation of scripture) was held four times before Mahāyāna Movement.  But with establishment of Mahāyāna Buddhism, new sutras were compiled. Beginning part of Mahāyāna sutras also mentions the specific names of the place and attendants with the phrase “Thus have I heard (Evam mayā śrutam)” that is typically used to describe sutras in order to claim some authority. However, if the sutras were established 600 years after death of the Buddha, then the orthodoxy and authority of the sutras seem problematic.
The theory that Mahāyāna sutras are not the word of the Buddha was first raised by Buddhists who criticized Mahāyāna movement, and they condemned Mahāyāna sūtras, calling them teachings of Mara.  However, the Mahāyāna-sūtra-lamkāra (Ta-ch’eng-chuang-yen-ching-lun) argues that “If a person achieves enlightenment, and teaches Dhrama, it is recognized as the word of Buddha.”  This attitude is completely different from Theravāda interpretations of the sutras.  Mahāyāna believes that something is the truth not because it was spoken by Buddha, but because everything that spoke the truth can be considered as the Buddha’s teachings.  Thus, in Mahāyana tradition the notion of Buddhist scripture has eventually expanded.
3.  Ideological Differences
 The special doctrines and characteristics in Mahāyāna scriptures are Boddhisattva ideals, doctrine of multi-Buddha, positive interpretation of Nirvana, Sanskritization of sutras, emphasis on worship and rituals, important role of lay Buddhist, doctrine of vows, positive interpretation of precepts, Practice of mantra and darani, other-power Faith, etc. In particular, new terms appear such as ‘six pāramitās’, ‘generating Bodhi-citta’, ‘the ten bhumis’, ‘attainment of Buddhahood’, three-body of the Buddha’, ‘emptiness’, ‘Tathāgata-garbha.’ Among these, two concepts that Mahāyāna Buddhism contributed to the cultural history of humankind are Bodhsattva ideal and doctrine of sunyata (emptiness). The latter became the ideological foundation of Mahāyāna, whereas the former became the driving force that made Mahāyāna Buddhism successful as a religion.
4. Precepts and Religious Ethics
 Mahāyāna Buddhism criticized conservative precepts and emphasized opened autonomous ethics. Although it inherits morality of early Buddhism, Mahāyāna Buddhism differentiate the meaning of Sila, depending on whether the precepts are kept in a self-centered way or in a Mahāyāna way.  Precepts of Bodhisattava are positive and active ones that are always related to mind Karma based on motivational ethics and hope for redeeming mankind.  The spirit of Sila in Mahāyāna Buddhism carries meaning only when they are for enlightenment and for the whole mankind. They are not passive commandments that avoid committing the evil, but active ones that expand the good.
 The idea of karma in early Buddhism emphasized self-responsibility. However, Mahāyāna brought about the idea of transformation of merit (parināmanā) in which good deed produced by oneself is channeled not only to the wellbeing of oneself, but also to that of others. That is, there are two types of parināmanā.  One is to channel one’s good deed to one’s own enlightenment, another is to channel it to merit for the wellbeing and enlightenment of others. The latter is different from doctrine causality which emphasizes that one’s karma is bound to come back to oneself.
5. Religious Faith and Practice
 Theravāda emphasizes faith in self-power, whereas Mahāyāna adopted elements of faith in other-power. The Pure-Land school believes in Buddha’s original vows that will establish idealistic Buddha-land and redeem mankind who aspire to be reborn there.  Faith in Amitabha Buddha teaches that one’s sins can be easily lifted and enlightenment achieved all by Buddha’s Grace and original vows.  Teaching of the Pure-land came from Buddha’s warm compassion towards agonizing humankind. Faith in Rebirth to the Pure-Land earned empathy from the general public and opened the door for popularization of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Apart from it, there is Ch’an (Sun, Zen) Buddhism that denies any scriptural teaching but teaches ways of seeing one’s nature and attain Buddhahood. Esoteric Buddhism focuses on practice of mantra.
III. Search for Mutual Understanding and Common-ground
1. Are Hinayānaand Theravada, Theravāda and Early Buddhism, Synonymous with Each Other?
 Devotees of Mahāyāna Buddhism used the term Mahāyāna to emphasize the greatness of its own teachings. However, it can be problematic whether or not it is appropriate to call anything other than the tradition of Mahāyāna as Hinayana.  In this regard, it would help to refer to Walpola Rahula’s views: “Theravāda Buddhism went to Sri Lanka during the 3rd Century B.C. when   there was no Mahāyāna at all. Hinayāna sects developed in India and had an    existence independent from the form of Buddhism existing in Sri Lanka.     Today there is no Hinayāna school in existence anywhere in the world.”
 In effect, the sects that was criticized as Hinayāna at the time when Mahāyāna Buddhism was arising might be the  Sarvāstivāda or the Sautrāntika.  For that reason, World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) decided not to use the term ‘Hinayana’ to refer to Buddhisms in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Khmer, and Laos.  It is equally inappropriate to identify today’s Theravāda Buddhism with early Buddhism. The Theravāda only believes in Pāli scriptures that are believed to be closer to Buddha’s live voice than any others. If early Buddhism is identified as Hinayāna, the Buddha’s fundamental teachings might be reduced to interior teaching which is quite a troubling dilemma. By the same token, it is wrong to call the five Nikāyas, i.e., early Buddhist scriptures, as Hinayāna scriptures. Mahāyāna should be understood not as a particular sect, but as a concept that came into being through dialectical negation of distorted form of Buddhism.
2. What are the similarities between Theravāda and Mahāyāna?
From the perspective of history of religion, the idea of Mahāyāna mainly came from doctrine of the Mahāsamghika.  In fact, however, its root was already preached in original Buddhism. The major principles of Mahāyāna were mostly found in the Five Nikāyas.  Walpola Rahula sees no big differences between Theravāda and Mahāyāna in terms of fundamental lessons due to the following reasons: (a) Both accept Sakyamuni Buddha as the Teacher.   (b) The Four Noble Truths are exactly the same in both schools. (c) The Eightfold Path is exactly the same in both schools. (d) The Paticca-samuppada or the Dependent Origination is the same in both schools. (e)  Both reject the idea of a supreme being who created and governed this world. (f) Both accept Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and Sila, Samadhi, Panna without any differences.
The Mādhyamika doctrine of śūnyatā which is a central teaching in Mahāyāna is just a reinterpretation of Anatta and dependent origination in early Buddhism. The origins of Yogacara thought is also easily found in early scriptures.
3. Is Theravāda orthodox? And is Mahāyāna heterodox?
  Theravāda argues that it succeed to the orthodox Buddhism, based on the fact that it believed in the Sutra which was regarded as the one that historic Buddha himself preached. Therefore, it implies that the orthodoxy of Mahāyāna should be denied, and furthermore Theravāda should be absolutized. However, Theravāda is not the new religion departed from Sakyamuni Buddha, but the one originated and developed from early Buddhism. Even though, Theravāda criticizes that Mahāyāna was not originated from Buddhism and regard faith in many Buddhas as a heretic. Besides, the Theravāda advocates show their concerns that ignoring historic Buddha may result in an evil course. Also they argue that excessive tolerance and generosity will dilute the innocence of Buddhism and as a result, they regard Mahāyāna and Esoteric Buddhism as Hindu-Buddhism deviated from the essence of Buddhism.
However, it is necessary to point out that the Sutra is not about the truth itself, but to teach us how to reach the truth. Buddhism is merely mārga(way).  The doctrines in the Five Nikāyas are also contextual truth according to its audience and the necessity at that time. Therefore, if the principle that all Sutras is an instrument is not well understood, it may cause huge misinterpretation of the Mahāyāna’s profound truth. Therefore, the Diamond sūra (Vajrachedikha-prajñā-pāramitā-sūtra) warns that we should not stick to even the sermon that Buddha himself preached as the Absolute truth. In Buddhism, it is said that the obsession with Dharma is one of the agonies that should be discarded along with the obsession with oneself. If it is believed that the truth has its substance, this idea can cause the obsession with its own creed, resulting in conflicts of hatred and contradiction.
4. How can we understand fath in other-power?
 It cannot be denied that the Mahāyāna beliefs such as Avalokitesvara Boddhisattva, Amitabha-Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, and Ksitigarbha Boddhisattva are formulated by the influences from other religious culture. However, its value cannot be underestimated from the viewpoint of orthodoxy based on historicism. The advantage of Buddhism is that when it is spread out to other culture, it is harmonized with the previous local belief. It also should be noted that at the same time, it has never lost its inclusive religious system based on self-power and the ideal of ultimate awakening.
 Buddhism has a inclusive character. Inclusivism may be defined as a religious system which accepts other religious teaching, but only recognizes its preliminary values while putting its superiority to Buddhism. The other-power also aims the ultimate awakening. This principle of inclusivism can be applied to not only the dialogue within a religion, for example, the one among various sects, or religious bodies, but also the Buddhism’s understandings of other religions.
 V. Proposal for Creative Dialogue and Practice
1. The attitudes of orthodoxy and superiority should be abandoned.
One of the barriers between Theravāda and Mahāyāna is so-called orthodox belief system. The argument that Theravāda is inherited its historical orthodoxy from Buddha, and the arrogant attitude of ignoring Mahāyāna based on the belief that the only the five Nikāyas is the genuine and innocent preaches directly from Buddha should be corrected.
In Mahāyāna, its superiority should be abandoned which is generated from the three-yānas, i.e., śrāvaka-yāna, pratyeka-buddha-yāna, and bodhisattva-yāna. Also sectarian attitudes, saying that Mahāyāna is a complete teaching (Nitārtha), and Hinayāna is a incomplete teaching (Neyārtha) should be abolished. Finally, the error of over-simplification that views early Buddhism including the abhidharma Buddhism and Hinayāna as same should be corrected.
2. Hinayānistic elements in modern Buddhism should be abandoned.
In fact, Hinayānistic elements exist in every Buddhist tradition not as a specific sect, but as non-Buddhistic phenomenon, For example, Bhiksu-centered samgha system, distorted preaches, selfish Buddhists, false Sutras, lack of will to practice, sectarianism, exclusivism, and Buddhists who neglect their duty of practicing mercy, or obsess with formality of Buddhist precepts: these are Hinayāna Buddhists. In this context, Hinayāna means the non-Buddhistic ways that should be overcome, and Mahāyāna means the will to rise above and reform Hinayāna. In this regard, the term of Mahāyāna and Hinayāna will be used not as the terminology indicating a certain sect, but as the concepts of extensive value determination.
3. The formulation of the new Buddhist scripture is necessary.
The new formulation of Samghiti for universal Buddhist scripture is now requested. Through official meetings of three traditions, the new Buddhist doctrines should be reviewed and recognized officially. Its process of canonization for all Buddhist should be agreed by Buddhism scholars and leaders from all three traditions. Especially, the official agreement on the authenticity of Mahāyāna sūtras from all Buddhism traditions is crucial.
4. The common creed and standardized ceremony should be established.
For the establishment of the common creed and standardized ceremony, it is necessary to consider following things;  the standardization of Three Refuges, reinterpretation of panca-sila (Five Preceps) or 10 Sila, the establishment of new buddha-body theory, and the determination of central doctrine in Buddhism including early Buddhism, Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna tradition, etc.
5. Universalism should be pursued in traditional diversity.
By understanding the history of Buddhist doctrine, the development and extension process of doctrine and its continuity should be recognized from the cultural and religious perspective. Also the diversity of Buddha’s preaches and the uniqueness of Buddhist culture in many countries should be accepted.
6. Each community should learn from each other through dialogue and mutual interchange.
For mutual learning and growth through dialogue among Buddhist communities, Buddhists around the world should participate actively in INEB, WFB, or IPM (International Pancasila-samadana Movement).  The Korean headquatre of WFB has established IPM since 1993. The IPM is designed to set common ethical rules among Buddhists traditions of Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna.  The Five Precepts  can be extended globally as common ethical movement, because it may be accepted by any communities that have a prejudice against religion, country, people, race or religious sect.
7. The collaboration principles among sects and its action plan should be discussed.
Facing the new century of globalization, it is time for Buddhist communities to open the age of dialogue. The dialogue among Buddhists begins with the understandings of each tradition’s history, and should be developed to notional, ethical and practical dimension. To start a new chapter of mutual understanding among three traditions, the education of creed, ceremony, history and culture in each tradition is necessary.
The tradition interpenetration Buddhism in Korea, can be a good model for further studies as one of the principles of collaboration among Buddhism traditions. The characteristics of Korean Buddhism are based on harmonization Buddhism, and they cover from sectarian Buddhism to reconciliated Buddhism.  Korean Monk Wonhyo (617-686) in Shilla dynasty stated in the Thematic Essential of Nirvana-sutra that it united all sutras from diverse traditions, returned countless branches of the truth to the one proved the utmost fairness of Buddha thought, and finally reconciliated many disputes. In fact, the Buddhism escapes from all beliefs and boundaries, and denies any dogmatic fixation of the truth. The open mind beyond all barriers and boundaries should be the base for the dialogue among Buddhism communities.
8. The Buddhism always needs new interpretation.
Buddhism does not die with Buddha. As Mahāyāna accomplished a drastic development in Buddhism by reinterpreting the wisdom and mercy which are the central concept of Buddha’s awakening, Buddhists today should play an important role in improving our society through creative interpretation of Buddhist doctrines. The new way of Mahāyāna now is to seek right solution actively to salvation of the poor mind, social inequality and poverty, teenage problems, environmental pollution, human rights, materialism, and scientism. Therefore, the true meaning of Mahāyāna lies on the way back to the original teaching of the Buddha by correcting distorted form of Buddhism through its 2,600 years history.

The Role and Significance of Korean Seon in the Study of East Asian Buddhism

The Role and Significance of Korean Seon in the Study of East Asian Buddhism
From 1st Panca-parisad(International Open Seon Conference) of Baekyangsa Monastery, 1998


written by Lewis Lancaster
University of California


Introduction
The role of Korean Seon Buddhism in the study of East Asian Buddhism has yet to be fully defined or identified. This is, in part, because we are still struggling with the problem of what strategies to use in the study of this religion that spread across vast reaches of the Eurasian land mass. In the process of expansion, Buddhism moved from the land of its origins and transcended linguistic, political, cultural, religious, and physical boundaries. The ability to spread far and wide made Buddhism into a world religion and created a complex history of development which scholars are still attempting to untangle. There are many questions about the nature of our study, the evaluation of the sources to be used for it, and the issues of cultural perceptions which belong to those who do this work.
From the earliest times, the Buddhist traditions have produced their own narratives about the founding, history, and basic teachings of the religion. These accounts have been standardized and put into written form and preserved in all the languages of the Buddhist communities of Asia. Academic study of Buddhism emerged from the institutions of higher education in Asia and Europe. In many ways the field of Buddhist studies has been the results of the interaction between scholars in Europe, Japan, China, South and Southeast Asia, and North America. Unfortunately, the inclusion of Korean Buddhist studies, within this developing scholastic movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries, was delayed. As a result, the study of Korean Buddhism has had an entirely different history than that of Chinese or Japanese Buddhism. The lack of comparable study of Korean Seon with that of Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen has obscured the importance of the history of Buddhism in Korea in relationship to the rest of East Asia. Therefore, as we look at the role of Korean Seon in the study of East Asian Buddhism, we must first take note of the academic developments. After seeing the development of the field, we can turn our attention to some of the issues which have been overlooked because of the past neglect of the study of Buddhism in Korea.
The study of Chan and Zen Buddhism in China and Japan has come about from a complex geopolitical development over the past centuries. European involvement in Buddhist studies was initiated by three groups (1) the colonial administrations in Asia, (2) the mercantile community that went back and forth to Asia, and (3) the Christian missionaries. From these diverse groups of people, European scholars received manuscripts and descriptions of the religious practices of the people in the eastern part of the Eurasian land mass. When we look at the bibliography of published materials in European languages, listed by date of publication, we have one view of the way in which Buddhism was studied. However, bibliographical research often tells us more about the people doing the research than about the reality of the tradition being studied. The earliest academic reports and research on Buddhism came from Russia and Catholic missionaries. Russia was a natural place for research on Buddhism because the eastern borders were inhabited by Buddhists. The pioneering Catholic missionaries first sent back reports from China, then under the control of the Mongols. It an interesting twist of history that both of these groups first came into contact with the Mongolian forms of Buddhism, at the court of the Khans in Beijing and among the eastern tribes of Russia. Only when the missionaries moved beyond the Mongol court and started to reach out to the Han peoples was there any information about the form of Buddhism that was being practiced by most of the population. The Mongols may have ruled the nation but they were a small minority in terms of numbers. We now know that the practice of the Han Buddhist monastics at the time when accounts were being made to European audiences, was Chan. The history of the practice was preserved in lore that described the early introduction of the meditation technique by the Patriarch Bodhidharma.
 
II. Early Reports on Chan
The first reports to reach Europe concerning Chan were made by Catholic missionaries who were competing with Buddhism. Opponents never make the best histories of one another, and these two great world religions were natural opponents. They had many practices in common, monastic life with celibate monks and nuns, rules of conduct for those who entered the monastery, vows of poverty for ascetics, shaven heads, special dress, reverence for relics of esteemed dead, pilgrimage to sacred sites associated with the esteemed, and use of images. It would seem that the two had enough common ground to stimulate an interest in the practice of the other. Unfortunately, the competition kept the Catholic missionaries from making note of similarities. A study of Christian monasticism by Chinese Buddhists was out of the question since they had no missionaries in Europe at that time and only saw individual monks and priests living in China, an alien environment for the Christians.
The initial description of Chan was through the person of the Catholic missionary Ricci, who was housed at one time in a Buddhist monastery. Ricci made great contributions to the study of China and involved himself in the cultural and religious debates of that time. However, he was a missionary and his goal was the conversion of the Han to Christianity. It was impossible for him to see Buddhism as anything other than a barrier to his mission. When he explored some of the teachings of Chan, he focused on the doctrine of sunyata, which he took to be nihilistic. The later community of French Jesuits also complained that the Chan monks of China held to the doctrine ” a vacuum or Nothing is the Principle of all Things, that from this our first Parents had their Origin.”It is not difficult to spot the source for this particular attack against Buddhism. As early as the 11th century, Chang Tsai of the Sung dynasty had put forward the proposition that Buddhism was a nihilistic teaching. His treatise was well known and the attacks against the doctrine of sunyata continued through out the 11th and 12th centuries, with Chu Hsi joining in the fray. This negative view of the teachings of the Chan tradition was Confucian in origin and it was this Chinese position that was transmitted to the Catholics and from them on to Europe. The prejudice against Chan was not limited to the early missionaries. Contemporary scholars such as Kenneth Chen have echoed these ancient attacks. In his important and influential study of Chinese Buddhism, Chen states that Buddhism declined in China because of the popularity of the Chan and Pure Land Schools during the Sung. This type of statement, still finding its way into print a few decades ago, is a demonstration of the persistence of certain ideas, however inaccurate or misleading they may be. That we still find reflections of the ancient battles between competing Chinese groups in the literature of the current century, alerts us to the fact that a clear and objective history of Chan is difficult to achieve. We are still trying to write this history and it is precisely for this reason that Korean Seon, as a integral part of this story, must be studied and included in the mainstream of scholarly research on Chan.


III. Search for the Origins of Chan
When the Europeans started to discuss the intellectual history of China, they soon heard that there was a distinct difference between the Confucian philosophies and the Chan teachings. Since Buddhism has originated in India, it was natural to assume that the differences between these two systems of thought reflected the fact that the teachings had been transmitted from South Asia to China. Since this was the case, then it was important for scholars to focus attention on India in order to fully understand the doctrines of Chan. One of the early scholars, Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire took this approach and saw Chan as a form of Vedanta. However, when he was introduced to the idea of the Koan, he could see that it had no counterpart in Indian philosophy and practice. The missionary scholar Edkins also tried to find the Indian source for the Chan Buddhism that he encountered in China and he concluded that it was from Jainism. The Chinese Confucian community was not adverse to such study of Buddhism, since they considered Indian culture to be inferior to that of China. Chu Hsi saw Chan as the teachings of the Indian Bodhidharma, who he described as a charismatic figure. The notion that Chan had its roots from India was an old one among the Confucians, it was not a discovery of the missionary scholars. From the opposite side of the equation, Prof. Kalupahana looks at Chan from the ancient patterns of South Asia and finds many elements that have precedence in the Indic textual tradition. Dumolin presents the opposite view. He states that Chan was a Chinese movement in “their thoughts and feelings. They were Chinese Buddhists, stepped in the spirit of Hua-yen philosophy–very different from the Buddhist disciples of the Pali canon” The eclectic nature of Chinese Chan makes it difficult to sort out the origin of its various elements.
The source of the Indian elements in Chan was understood to be the first Patriarch, Bodhidharma who brought the meditation tradition into China. In the study of the founders, whether it is Sakyamuni or Bodhidharma, a problem arises from the interpretations that are given to these individuals by some of the Western scholars. Western approaches to the study of Buddhism has been recently challenged by anthropologists in Sri Lanka. Obeyesekera has coined the word “protestant Buddhism” to describe one of the ways in which the tradition is viewed. Tambiah has joined Obeyesekera in speaking out against “protestant Buddhism.” Prothero in his study of the matter gives us a good definition. “Protestant Buddhism” is the idea that the essence of Buddhism is to be found in the texts and by implication not in the practice. This leads to misunderstandings, since the extraction of textual selections as a way to define a normative Buddhism, can never be fully supported when we look at the religion in a given place at a certain time. Buddhism in local practice may appear in a quite different guise from that described in Sanskrit and Pali texts of past centuries.
A second part of “protestant Buddhism” is the belief that Buddhism is primarily an ethical system and must be defined as such. By seeking for textual evidence, this ethic can be defined. It is usually judged to be a proper ethic when it agrees with the Western system, especially that of the Protestant cultures of Europe. Tambiah and Obeyesekera both feel that this has been a betrayal of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, a cutting away of practices that have been long the heart of the tradition for people. The magical, the rituals of fortune and for the dead, do not get included in “protestant Buddhism.”
“Protestant Buddhism” creates a number of problems for the study of Chan. The emphasis on ethics in society calls into question the value of meditation as a lifelong career. Monasticism was severely criticized by the Protestants in Europe and the missionaries and scholars were equally strong in directing attacks against this practice in Asia. Not only was popular practice, such as those aspects directed toward health and prosperity, overlooked by the reliance on text study, but so was Chan meditation. Another tendency in “protestant Buddhism” was the delight in making all major historical figures into reformers. Buddha was seen as a young Luther, a reformer who spoke out against the establishment of his time; Bodhidharma as one who rejected institutional Buddhism in China, and even Shen-hui gets accolades for being a later reformer of Chan itself. Seeing the important figures of Buddhism whether in India or in China, as reformers is often misleading. Bodhidharma and Sakyamuni can be better described as individuals of their own time, expressing values and ideas that were part of the collective perceptions of the era. While they may have helped bring about change, it was not the highest goal of their life. The focus on reformers is a definite sign of “protestant Buddhism.”
  
IV. Zen Orientalism
Bernard Faure describes the next stage of study as Zen Orientalism, when Zen came to be an object of discourse in the West. The interest was a result of the work of D.T. Suzuki. He had enormous influence in the introduction of Zen and Chan ideas to an English reading public. In Japan he was never part of the major academic community of Buddhist specialists in national or sectarian universities. For this Japanese scholarly community the Zen study that attracted the most attention was that of the philosopher at Kyoto University, Nishida Kitaro. The question which emerged from the work of these two scholars and those who used their works, was whether the teachings of Zen are outside of any historical or cultural context as constrasted with being a part of a historical lineage of masters. Nishida tied Zen philosophy to pure experience. This pure experience is free of cultural context. However, the role of the lineage of teachers in Chan and Zen has never been replaced by the philosophical approach.
In China, an important figure among the intellectuals of the first part of the 20th century was Hu Shih. He had studied in the U.S. and returned to China with his academic training combined with the classical work that he had done within the traditional system of study in his country. Hu Shih had a strong sense of the history of China and he saw Indian Buddhism as a “virus” which had infected the nation. Chan was the Chinese correction ofthe Indian excesses of mysticism. Chan was practical. His work in the U.S. may have shown most clearly when he declared that Shen-hui was a revolutionary figure–another reformer. When Hu Shih started to look at the Chan documents of the Dunhuang collection, he negated the traditional histories and looked to construct a true history of Chan. His attempt to contruct a true history pointed toward the importance of the Chinese cultural influences within Chan and the turn away from the older Indian forms of the religion.


V. Joseon Period Seon Buddhism
When we turn out attention to the Joseon period in Korea, we can see how the local situation helped to determine the way in which Buddhism was studied. Each culture of East Asia gave Buddhism a different position at given times and places. The Mongols gave it a very high place in their court life and provided support for the practices which they had inherited from Tibet. Among the Han people, the attitude toward the religion was mixed. There was a bias against the teachings and practices, especially among many of the officials and literati. At the same time, there was a willingness to have a variety of religious expressions existing side by side within the general practices of Chinese religion. Buddhism had a secure place among the people and for certain issues, it was a primary focus. While some of the elite of the learned community considered the teachings to be inferior to the Chinese philosophies, monasteries, where Chan was practiced, abounded and received great support from a wide spectrum of society.
Japanese Buddhism had been adopted by the court during the Nara period and thereafter retained a place in the center of Japanese intellectual and religious life. Unlike China, there was no elite community that considered it to be inferior. This meant that Japan was to be the nation with the best scholastic basis for the study of Buddhism. The tradition has been a part of the curriculum of universities for centuries, including the national system of higher education.
How different was the case of Korea. The Chu-hsi School of Confucian thought came to dominate the official life of the Joseon Korean court and the leaders in the provinces of the nation. Buddhism, the religion of the previous Goryeo dynasty, was rejected and in many ways the recording of Korean Buddhist history was suspended. The tradition was seen as a decadent remainder of the power it had held in the preceding dynasty. Monks and Nuns were forbidden to enter the capital and other major cities, the educational system no longer included the Buddhists, and support from officials ceased. Korean historians who were part of the dominant Confucian supporters, gave scant attention to Buddhism in the national annals. For those who based their understanding of the history of Korean on these records, it appeared that Buddhism was a rejected and minor aspect of the life of the people. This characterization of Korean Buddhism continued into the 20th century and so Europeans and North Americans found little to interest them. Until more recent times, Korean Seon was not a part of the research of scholastic endeavor either in universities or colleges of Korea or those abroad.
  
VI. Contemporary Studies
There has been an improvement in this scholarship during the last quarter of the 20th century, and we have seen the publication of a series of monographs that have advanced our knowledge about Chan, Zen and Seon far beyond the previous understanding. Paul Demieville was an important person in making the study of all available documents for an understanding of the Chan history in China. He followed the French approach to look at the ethnographic as well as the textual sources for a study of the tradition. This was a reconstruction of the history not totally dependent upon the received tradition of the Chan movement. Of great importance was the discovery of Chan texts in Cave 17 at Dunhuang. These Dunhuang documents have helped scholars to revise the history of Chan and to see it as a much more complex and multifaceted movement than was previously thought. Other scholars have pursued similar strategies of looking at the full range of available documentation for the study of particular aspects of the Chan, whether it be the teachings of a particular master, the rules of conduct, or the cultural application of the practice. Some of these, and this is not a complete list, include Carl Bielefeldt, Martin Collcutt, Bernard Faure, Luis Gomez, Griffith Faulk, John McRae, Philip Yampolsky and others who are present at this conference. We have moved far beyond the previous understanding of Chan.
In most instances contemporary study of Chan has developed in Japan and these scholars were strongly influenced by contacts with the important Japanese scholars who looked to the Chinese material. There was no comparable study to this Chinese work for Korea among the Japanese scholars. A few good works were done such as those of Prof. Kamata, but no critical mass of scholarship has ever developed in Japan for the Korean tradition. The Japanese approach to Chan has also had some limitations. Because Zen in Japan is sectarian with separate ordination from other Buddhist groups, Chan in China is viewed as the forerunner of what happened in Japan. It is the history of Chan which was of interest and not the practice or the fact that Chan had a widespread and continuing pattern of development. After the introduction of Chan into Japan, and the establishment of the institutions of the Zen monasteries, less attention was paid to the subsequent developments in China. Japanese scholars have produced few studies of contemporary Chan or even Chan of the period after the Sung. Once the transmission was complete, attention was turned to Japan itself and not to the continuing developments of other forms of the tradition in China and Korea. This is one of the reasons why the study of Chan has seldom been extended to the contemporary practices and development.
The work of breaking through to a new era of study for Korean Buddhism and the Seon tradition has come from a small group of scholars. In the 1960s and 70s, dissertations were written that provided the first substantial information on the history and practices of Seon. The first was done by So Kyong-bo who made a study of the Chodangjip in 1960 and nearly two decades later Shim Jae Ryong followed this up with a first introduction to Jinul and in the same year Sung-bae Park dealt with the role of Wonhyo in the development of Korean Buddhist schools and Hee Sung Keel investigated the role of Jinul. Work on Jinul continued with the publications of Robert Buswell. This group of scholars received their training in Korea and North America. They were not part of that group of North American and European scholars who did part of their graduate research in Japan. This small band of scholars had to develop their own approach and they have pioneered in the creation of the literature that has allowed students to begin the discovery of the importance of Korean Seon. We owe them a debt of gratitude for providing the scholastic entry into the study of this aspect of Korean Buddhism. The publications of these scholars gave a dimension to the study of Korean Seon which had never been known in Europe or North America. This focus on those who published in English is not intended as a judgement of the work that was beginning to appear in Korean. Without the editions, translations, and histories that were published in Korean language volumes, the international community would not have been able to make the advances that they accomplished. Scholars such as An Chi-ho, Rhi Ki- young, Kim T’an-ho, Han Ki-du, Yi Chong-ik, and others have given us invaluable aid in the hard task of mastering the textual material related to Seon.
From these works done in the last half of the 20th century, we have a description of the history of the Seon movement. Robert Buswell has pointed out that the early introduction of Chan to Korea came before the Sixth Patriarch or the battles which followed between the Northern and Southern Schools. If this history is correct, then Pomnang received his study under the Fourth Patriarch Tao-hsin. His student studied in the linear of the Second Patriarch of the Northern School. While the Korean Seon group of the Chogye Order now traces its origins to the Southern School of Chan, the teachings were being transmitted in Korea at an earlier date than the time when this school came to dominate. The of study of the ancient documents and the reconstruction of history based on all available sources has brought about a new understanding of how Korean Seon developed.


VII. Korean Seon
This brings us to the main point of our inquiry: the significance of the Korean Seon for the study of the Chan tradition in China. I would like to make a few observations and suggestions for future work. The thrust of these comments will be to examine the history of the introduction of the Chan approach to Korea. As we consider the materials coming from those early practitioners, it should at the very least provide us with supporting documentation for the studies that center on China. In order to follow through with this type of research, we can note that there were eight famous Korean masters who went to China during the Tang dynasty and returned to Korea to start their own lineages in mountain monasteries. These masters are of interest to us, not only because of their activities in Korea, but also because they were trained in China. Receiving the instruction of Chan monks, the Korean Seon masters represent one way of looking at the ideas and methods that were contemporaneous in the Tang dynasty. As we look at the biographies of the eight Silla dynasty Seon masters, we have the following information about them:
The first one to go to China was Doui. He stayed in China for 34 years returning to Korea in 818. His teacher was Hsi-t’ang Chih-tsang from the lineage of Ma-tsu. He studied with this master for 20 years. When Doui returned to Korea, he lived for seven years and during that time started his training of local disciples, who established a center at Porim Sa more than three decades after the master’s demise. At the same time that Doui was working with Hsi-t’ang Chih- tsang, two other Korean disciples went to be trained. Hongch’ok arrived in 810 and Hyech’ol in 814. Hongch’ok stayed in China for 16 years and Hyech’ol for 25. Only after the death of Hsi- t’ang Chih-tsang in 814 did any of them leave China. When Hongch’ok had returned to Korea in 826 at the age of 54 he soon established his center at Silsang Sa.
After the three Koreans had gone to study with Hsi-t’ang Chih-tsang, a fourth followed them to China in 821; Muyom went to work with Ma-ku Pao-ch’e. Muyom stayed in China for 24 years, going home in 845 and setting up his center of mediation at Songju Sa in 847. Three years later Hyonuk set out for China and was to stay for 13 years doing study with Chang-ching Huai-hui. After his homecoming in 837, he lived and taught for 32 years and his disciples established a center for the continuation of the school in 897 at Pongnim Sa. The year following the departure of Hyonuk for China, Toyun arrived in the Tang kingdom and choose Nan-ch’uan P’u-yuan to be his master. He also had a long stay– 22 years– before going back to Korea in 847 and establishing a center in 850 at Hungnyong Sa.
From these examples of Seon masters who studied in China, we see that there was a steady stream of Korean monks going and returning from China with contacts among a variety of Chan masters from 784-911. They lived in China and studied until after the death of their Chinese masters. They had a protracted stay in China, all for more than a dozen years and some for three decades. When these monks returned to Korea, they were themselves mature people. For example Hyech’ol was 54 on his return, Hyonuk 50, Toyun 50, Iom 42. We see that the Seon monks of Korea usually went to Masters who were well known and already aged. The first three Korean students of Hsi-t’ang came to him in his later life. Doui joined Hsi-t’ang when he was 50, Hong Ch’ok when he was 75 and Hyech”ol during his last year of life at 79. Pomil joined his master when Yen Kuan was 81, and Toyun met Nan Ch’uan when the master was 77. This means that Korean Seon monks were being taught by mature and revered masters of the Tang Chan tradition. They sought after the established leaders.
The impact of the group was great for Korea. Within a 50 year period, seven of the Nine Mountain Seon monasteries were established as places where their heritage was continued by generations of disciples. Thus the Chinese Chan was transplanted in the 9th century into the main fabric of Korean Buddhist institutions. While the older scholastic schools of the Unified Silla had been the center of Korean life during the 7th and 8th centuries, Seon carried the day in the 9th and Korean Buddhism was never the same.


(A) Transmission of the Dharma
It is important that we understand the importance of these monks in looking at the history of the Tang Buddhist developments. The teachings of the eight Korean Seon monks constitute a major source for our study of Chan, but one which has been little used by Chinese scholars. During the 9th century, we can track the developments in China which must have been part of the experience of the Seon monks. There were five distinct groups of the Southern School of Chan. Shen Hui the founder of this school had been victorious over the so called “Northern Schools”. The disciples of Shen Hui held to the principle that the transmission of the Dharma was one of the most important and sacred moments in Buddhism. Without a clear understanding of the way in which this transmission occurred there could be no assurance about the authenticity of it. There is some indication in the older Indian tradition of the transmission of the teaching from one teacher to another. We have the example of the Sakyamuni giving the dharma over to his disciple Mahakasyapa. But even in the Indian materials, the idea of single transmission is eroded when we look at the Astasahasrikaprajnaparamita Sutra, where the transmission for that text is given from Sakyamuni to Ananda, not to Mahakasyapa For the newly emerging Southern School, there was the idea that transmission could only be given to one individual in a generation. They used the analogy of kingship, saying that a nation could not have more than one king, and Chan could not have more than one master in one generation.
The Venerable Taiwanese Master Yin Shun has challenged this view of a single transmission. Yin Shun recognizes that a major issue was over the idea of whether there was one transmission of the Dharma in every generation. This would mean that it was crucial to know exactly which disciple received the transmission from Hui Neng in order to decide on the authentic passage of the teaching. But as Yin Shun shows in his research, the idea of one transmission in each generation was not a central practice before the school of Shen Hui made it so. He reminds us that there are many expressions found in inscriptions and texts that indicate the multiplicity of the transmissions. Hung Jen, the Fifth Patriarch, is quoted as saying: “I have taught many people in my life–the ones who transmit my dharma becomes masters in their own places.” Fa Hai, another famous master, is said to have had ten disciples who received the transmission. The study of Korean Buddhism shows us that as the tradition of Chan was being passed into the peninsula, it came from a number of sources and transmissions. Once we see the Korean along side the events of China and Japan, we can begin to spot just how multiple the transmissions were. The fact that the Korean Hung-chou School of Seon had as it’s founder Nan Yueh Hai Jong (677-740), a little know disciple of Hui Neng immediately alerts us to fact that there was no one single transmission in the generation following Hui Neng, just as Yin Shun points out that there was no single transmission before Hui Neng’s time. Two of Hui-neng’s disciples Nanye Huairang and Qingyuan Xingsi, who died in the 8th century had formed the major transmissions. Two were linked to Nanyue Hairang (Yumen and Caodong) and three to Xingsi (Weiyang, Linji, and Fayan). While the idea of single transmission was put forward by the followers of Shen Hui, the idea did not take hold. It is an example of a concept that appears in the writings but not in practice.
Korean Seon history is a good way to investigate the reality of how transmission was accomplished in the 9th century. It shows us that Buddhist history records multiple leaders, and a group of masters, all living and practicing at one time. Without multiple transmissions, it is hard to see how Chan could have been spread to Korea or Japan. .There was no feeling that the transmission from Hui Neng had to come through Shen hui. Huai-jong and other disciples received and passed along the Dharma. As Yin Shun points out, Hui Neng was just one of the many who received the transmission from Hung Jen the fifth Patriarch.
Huairang was of great importance to the development of Chinese Chan. From his lineage came the Weiyang, Linji and Fa Yan schools, all dominant in the Southern Sung. The Fayan school kept close ties to the court and thus when the dynasty shifted, they were pushed aside as belonging to the past. Ven.Yifa in her dissertation from Yale indicates that the Linji came to the fore because they had no ties to the government and thus were free to spread. Once again, the fact that Huairang is so important in the development of the Chan in China and that his tradition spread to Korea, means that the Korean Seon is a valuable tool to looking backward to China to see the heritage that came to Korea in the Hung-chou school
 
(B) Anti-Textual Positions
If we accept the idea that the words of the Korean Seon masters who trained for many years in China in the 9th century must accurately reflect the teaching that was being given at that time, then the words of Doui and Muyon are of importance.
Doui confronted Chiwon, a scholastic, with the statement:
Hence, separate from the five scholastic teachings, there has been a special transmission of the dharma of the patriarchal mind-seal. ….even though one recites in succession the Buddhist sutras for many years, if one intends thereby to realize the dharma of the mind- seal, for an infinitude of kalpas it will be difficult to attain.
Muyon echoed this distinct difference between the scholastic schools and Seon:
As the [Seon teachings] are not overgrown by the weeds of the three types of worlds, they also have no traces of an exit or an entrance. Hence they are not the same [as the scholastic teaching].
From these Seon masters, we have an indication that the Chan of the 9th century was making a distinction between the two approaches. While this is usually explained as part of the spiritual understanding of the Chan practitioner, I think it is important to take a look at the history of Buddhism at that time. In particular, the role of textual work in monastic life needs to be examined for that period. One significant element stands out when we review the events.
During the 9th century, there were no translations being made of Sanskrit texts into Chinese. The recorded dates for the translated texts contained in the Goryeo Canon tell us that translations came to a halt in 798. This endeavor was not reestablished until 983, when the Northern Sung court, aware of a number of Sanskrit texts that were not in Chinese, set up a bureau to continue the work. Our histories of Chinese Buddhism pay little attention to this 185 year period when new translations were no longer appearing. No effort was made to continue the activity which had been a major part of court and monastic strategy since the middle of the second century. For more than six centuries, missionary monks from Central Asia and Chinese pilgrims had been devoted to the task of finding all available Sanskrit Buddhist texts and making them available in Chinese. As long as the translation work continued, the focus of attention was directed toward the new discoveries and the fuller picture of the words of the Buddha. The thousands of texts that came into China and the ones being written in China claiming to be from Sanskrit originals, dominated the scholastic side of the religion. From the great volume of texts which were appearing in translation, monasteries had to give attention to the written word. Schools were developed to handle the flow of manuscripts and ideas that were being constantly supplemented with new discoveries. It was an exciting time, a time for Buddhists to collect every single work that contained the words from the “Golden Mouth of the Buddha.” The so called “Textual” schools were a direct result of the centuries of focus on translations.
When the Silla monks went to China to be trained in the rising Chan school of meditation, textual translation was no longer an issue. As the translations came to an end, it left room in the Buddhist monastic life for a focus on practice rather than the texts. The window of opportunity for Chan development came in part because of this shift in emphasis within the Buddhist community. The many schools that were based on textual study had arisen in China primarily in the 6th century, with the Fa Hsiang in the 7th and the Tantra in the 8th centuries. These were the years when the translations were being made in large numbers and catalogues compiled to handle the housing of so many volumes. The cessation of the translations in 798 was a very major change in Buddhist life and efforts. It reflected some of the political changes that were occurring. First, in 755 the An Lu Shan rebellion had weaken the Tang dynasty and was a symptom of shifts in society that would plague the successive rulers of that era. The government suppression of certain aspects of foreign religions in 845, indicated an unwillingness to have closer contacts with Central Asia. The Parthians were a menace and there was no desire to see them have an impact on the religious life of China. When we look at our group of Silla monks, it is interesting to note that three of the eight returned to Korea at the time of the suppression. Minyon went home in 845, Pomil in 846 and Toyun in 847. Since their masters were dead and the religious climate in China had changed, it was not surprising to find them deciding to return to their native land. Of the founders of Silla Seon, only Iom went to China after the 845 events. His trip in 895 was long enough after the hard times to indicate that once again monks could find a place to study in the Chinese environment.
From this point of view, I am suggesting that the rejection of a textual basis for Buddhist thought, could occur in a time when there was a break in the translation work. This is not to say that the Chan masters were dependent on the cultural environment for their insights. However, when the insights were being put forth at a time when interest in the continuation of the translations had fallen to a low ebb, it is understandable that the selection of Chan meditation over scholastic textual reading would be more acceptable.
 
(C) Harmonization of Texts and Meditation
At the time when the great masters of the Korean Seon tradition were studying in China, that is the 9th century, we can note that there was already a concern about the role of mediation in relationship to texts. One of the individuals who attempted to address this problem was Tsung- mi. Tsung-mi died in 841, at a time when eight of the Silla monks had already arrived in China. He had entered the Buddhist monastic life in 807 as a disciple of the Chan master Tao-yuan. Later he also studied with a Hua-yen master and in his training indicates that Chinese monks were able to train in more than one group. He is associated with a movement to find common ground between the Chan and Hua-yen schools. When we look at the Korean Seon tradition, Tsung-mi’s approach does not seem to be reflected in the Silla developments. It is not until the time of Jinul, some two centuries later that we have the work becoming important. If the assumption is correct that the Silla masters brought back the dominant paradigms of Tang Chan, then the harmonization movement was a marginal one. Doui’s comments about the supremacy of Chan transmission over textual study, are strong statements. He does not give a focus to the idea that this transmission must be matched with the recorded words in the sutras.
There were many changes which swept through East Asia in the 10th century. The Tang rule came to an end in 907 and for more than 50 years there was a chaotic political situation. It is understandable that erudite occupations such as translations came to a standstill. The Khitan Empire followed the downfall of the Tang and they also were to have influence on the Korean world. When the Northern Sung finally was able to establish central authority for the Han peoples, the court gave unprecedented support to the Buddhists. First, they had a xylography collection carved for the entire canon. It is thought that this took place from 971-983. After completing the project in Sichuan, the court had created a standard set of texts that could be distributed as rubbings to the copy centers around the nation. The new technology of reverse image printing gave new interest to Buddhist textual study. The government then turned it attention to the problem of Sanskrit manuscripts which were available but had no counterpart in the printed edition. Therefore, in 983 the year when the printing blocks were delivered to Kaifeng, the work of translation was resumed after nearly two centuries of neglect.
When we look at the time of the first group of Chan Silla monks in China, we can note that they came at a time when the textual tradition was at its lowest ebb. When they returned to Korea, it was to carry the message that texts were not as important as the practice of meditation. The rejection of the textual approach mirrored the times. We can understand better the larger view of Chinese Buddhist life during the 9th century, if we study the teaching which these monks has received.
When we consider the experience of Iom who went to China in 895 and stayed until 911, then we have a monk who witnessed the final years of the Tang dynasty and the upheavals of the Wu-tai period (907-960). As things began to change after the establishment of the Northern Sung dynasty, Chan again reflected in its development the issues of the time. Printing brought an exciting new dimension to Buddhist textual tradition. New translations open up the possibility of seeing the final innovations of the religion in India. It was in this environment that the talk of harmonization of Chan and texts came to be an issue. Yen-shou (904-975) was one of the early proponents of the attempt to make use of the texts alongside meditation.
In Korea, we can follow this attempt at harmonization. In the first decade of the 11th century, a set of rubbings from the Northern Sung block print edition of the Chinese canon was brought to Korea. The importance of this printing technology was not lost on the Koreans and they were to excel in the later development of movable type. They made a set of printing blocks for themselves, apparently by making a tracing of the Sung prints. In 1063, the Liao court send another set of rubbings made from their own printing blocks and based on manuscripts that were different than those of the Northern Sung. Other prints arrived over the years from the Northern Sung representing the additional new translations that were being made. In other words, the 11th century was a revival of interest in Buddhist texts. It was at this time that Koreans began to think about the integration of texts with meditation practice. Uicheon (1055-1101) was one of the first in that century to speak of this reunion of the two aspects of Buddhism. One century after Uicheon birth, one of Korea’s most outstanding monks was born, Jinul. While Uicheon was seeking for harmony as one who stood firmly in the scholastic camp, Jinul worked for the same goal from his position within the Seon tradition. We know that the printing of the canon remained important to Korea, because when the Mongols invaded in 1231 and burned the printing blocks, the exiled court made the replacement of them a national priority.
This review of history tells us that the Goryeo Seon masters moved away from the fierce rejection of the scholastic schools that had been a characteristic of the Silla masters. The work with texts that emerged after the introduction of printing, gives us an indication that while religious ideas may not be generated by events outside of the training, these ideas may well be intensified by trends and innovations. Thus we can see a parallel between translation projects, printing technology and the rise and fall of the importance and prestige of texts in the Chan and Seon traditions.


D. Korean Seon and Religious Suppression
Up to this point we have mainly discussed the ways in which Chinese patterns can be studied by looking at the Korean Seon masters. There is another aspect of Korean Seon which is unique and deserves attention. The story of Korean Buddhism during the Joseon period is quite different from that of China or Japan. It is unique in the shift from significant government support to the opposite situation of extreme government repression. The result of the Neo-Confucian rejection of Buddhism was devastating to the established order of the religion. Monasteries were closed, lands confiscated by officials, serfs removed from the work force, ordination restricted, donations from wealthy followers limited, and public rituals no longer allowed to be performed. As the 14th century came to a close, the Buddhist were not just fending off attacks, the struggle for the very survival of the tradition had begun.
If we look at the situation in spatial terms, the Confucian group has appropriated social and family structure, leaving no room for any other approach. One definition of orthodoxy is the total control of a certain space in religion or society. Being orthodox means that no other system can share the same space in religion or society. Once such orthodoxy is in place, the rejection of any alternative is necessary. In the Joseon, once the Neo-Confucians had established an orthodoxy for society, there was no possibility for the Buddhists to claim that they could share the social space.
The question for the Buddhists was what to do in these circumstances. With fewer resources, it was quite natural that the conflicting claims of supremacy of the scholastic and meditation schools would be put forward. Even as this matter of how to deal with the two aspects was still being debated in the monasteries, the collapse of urban Buddhism swept away much of the support for the scholastics. In 1471, the court stopped printing Buddhist books and all publication of doctrinal materials moved to monasteries.
The only monasteries that were open and managing to stay so, were located in rual areas. The remaining centers were not even in the villages and towns of the provinces, they were in the mountains. Away from communities that might give donations, at first glance it would seem that the surviving monasteries were too remote to attract followers. Life was difficult and the monks and nuns were required to farm and gather food in the forests. In these mountain monasteries, a form of Buddhism persisted that was quite different from that of the Goryeo or the earlier times of the Joseon. The scholastic schools were for all practical purposes gone and only the Seon was left. The Seon schools preserved in the mountain monasteries had an agenda and a strategy of practice that differed from the past centuries. The masters of that practice hoped to achieve in one moment of thought, the freeing of the mind from all attachments. When this occurs, then they believed there would be the revelation of the principle of the One Original Mind. In order to enter into this true meditative state, it was necessary to forsake the study of doctrine. We find the ideal being expessed in the Simbop yocho, where the Original Reality was described:
Heaven and earth cannot cover its body, mountains and rivers cannot hide it light. Nothing of it accumulates on the outside or the inside. Even the 80,000 texts cannot contain or make a record of it. No scholar can describe it, the intellectuals cannot know it, the literati and writers cannot recognize it. Even to talk about it is a mistake, to think about it is an error.
Buddhism has been put into a marginal position in the Korean society, where it had once been a major force. Treated with disrespect, criticized as destructive elements in society, the ordained members of the Buddhist order has little or no access to the social institutions of the time. While this was a dark moment in Korean Buddhist history, it was not without solutions. The answer for the monks and nuns was meditation. It was mediation that could be practiced by all, even those with little or no education. Meditation allowed practitioners in the mountains to achieve states of mind which could sustain them and their tradition. The practice did not need any of the government institutions; it did not require learning. Even the words of the Buddha, written in Chinese characters and difficult to read and understand, could be bypassed. One could proceed by meditation to achieve the same state as that of the Buddha and therefore have the highest experience. Had the Korean Buddhist attempted to maintain a scholastic Buddhism in the face of government proscriptions, it would have been impossible to compete with the learning of the secular world. Only in the practice of meditation could these despised practitioners find something that was beyond the control of officials. It was meditation that sustained the spirit of Buddhism during those dark centuries of the Joseon period. There were many problems with the remnant of the monastic tradition during the last century of the Joseon period, but it has survived one of the longest religious persecutions of all times. Rather than assuming that the Seon tradition of the late Joseon was a weak and beaten institutions, we perhaps should look for the strength which had allowed it to remain a part of the culture and to revive as conditions improved.
By making a more careful study of the Joseon Son tradition, I believe that we will have ways of seeing Chan in China with new perspectives. There are many issues which need to be considered in both China and Korea. Since it is the Son school which survives in Korea and it is the Chan that dominates Chinese monastic life, we must consider the role of this meditation school in recent centuries. The Buddhism of East Asia traces its roots back to the Chan groups, whether in China or Korea. If we are to understand and deal with the contemporary situation, we must give thought to Son. The rejection of the textual tradition among many of the late Joseon masters, has been influenced by political and social events. The role of meditation for a rural religion, whether in China or Korea, is worth careful consideration. The Son tradition of the Joseon dynasty when studied in this way can be of great importance for our understanding of Korean life and society and it can give us a clearer picture of East Asian developments over the centuries.

Ganhwaseon Practice in Europe Present Situation and Future

Ganhwaseon Practice(看話禪修行) in Europe: Present Situation and Future
From International Symposium of Bojo Thoughts Institute, 16, November, 2005


Written by  Bernard Senecal sj
Faculty of Religious Studies,
Sogang University,
Seoul, South Korea


Introduction



The practice of Ganhwaseon1) in Europe is in line with the broader context of the introduction of Buddhism into the Western world. Accordingly, in order to study that practice we must first examine the context it belongs to. The English historian Arnold Toynbee(1889-1975) did not hesitate to say that the introduction of Buddhism in the West constituted the most important historical event of the 20th century. It may perhaps be compared with the introduction of Indian Buddhism into China some two thousand years ago. As a result, the encounter of Buddhism with the West most certainly represents and event of extremely broad and deep meaning.

Many scholars have strove to define the boundaries of the encounter of Buddhism with the West. In 1952, Cardinal Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) published La Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident, a work that would become a classic.2) In 1999, Frederic Lenoir published another book,3) on the same topic and with exactly the same title, in which he updated de Lubac’s work. And in 2000, the famous Singer-Polignac foundation, located in Paris, organized a colloquium on the understanding of the encounter of Buddhism and the West since Henri de Lubac(L’Intelligence de la rencontre du bouddhisme, La rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident depuis Henri de Lubac).4) This colloquium may be understood as an attempt to understand the main events having marked the history of Western Buddhism during the second half of the 20th century. In 2002, also came out a book entitled Westward Dharma, Buddhism Beyond Asia.5) According to its authors the study of Western Buddhism has begun only recently6) and it is still to early to describe its outcome.7)

In fact, it is quite difficult to define in a fully satisfactory way such broad entities as Buddhism and the Western World. Consequently, in 2003, willing to favor a complete, precise and balanced understanding of Buddhism by Westerners, Paul Magnin published Bouddhisme, unite et diversite-Experiences de liberation.8) Of course, the seven hundred and fifty pages of this synthetic introduction to Buddhism represent the culmination of the author’s thirty years of scholarly research and reflection. But as I began writing this paper, I would have appreciated to find a work capable to match Paul Magnin’s book, and that would have been entitled L’Occident, unite et diversite-Experiences de liberation. If such a book existed, it ought to state clearly the ground on which the unity of the Western world and its experiences of liberation may be defined. Nevertheless, in order to talk about the encounter of Buddhism and the West coherently, one has to provide at least a minimal definition of those two concepts. But such definitions should be dynamic, that is, capable of taking into account the fact that reality is constantly changing. And that is even more so when we begin to realize that Buddhism and the West are already engaged in a process of mutual transformation. Such is the context in which we have to examine the practice of Ganhwaseon in Europe.

Since our research is limited to Europe, it may look easier at first sight. But such is not the case. That is because the Ganhwaseon practiced in Europe comes from at least four different countries : China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Moreover, things may be complicated by the fact that  traditions that existed independently in their homeland may now interact freely as they have to coexist within the European countries they have been imported to.9) In addition to that, one has to take into account the fact that the activity of Masters like Seungsahn and Thich Nhat Hanh goes well beyond Europe. That may make it all the more arbitrary to try to describe the practive of Ganhwaseon in Europe. We should also keep in mind that Europe is a huge continent of 3.900.000 square kilometers, with a population of 456.000.000 people, living in 25 different countries and speaking 20 official languages, not to talk about dialects. Even as it is strugling to achieve its unity, Europe keeps expanding by accepting new countries.10) As the result of those geographical characteristics, the context in which Buddhism is expanding in Europe is very different from that of America.11) Similarly, Buddhist-Christian dialogue has started later in Europe than in America.12)

There are two ways to approach the practice of Ganhwaseon in Europe. The first one consists in reducing the dimensions of the topic. In order to do that we can limit our study to the three main European schools offering Ganhwaseon practice to their followers.

The first one has been founded by the Japanese Taisen Deshimaru(1914-1982), a disciple of K?d? Sawaki(1880-1965) from the S?t? school(曹洞宗). Arrived in Paris in 1967, Taisen Deshimaru trained a lot of disciples and founded the Association Zen d’Europe, which later became the  Association Zen Internationale(AZI).13) In 1979, he acquired the estate of la Gendronniere(Loir-et-Cher) and founded the first European Buddhist monastery. His several thousand disciples have founded over a hundred temples all over Europe. At present, the AZI runs over  two hundred temples worldwide.

The second one is the Sanbo Kyodan(三寶敎團),14) a minority group among the Japanese Zen schools, also called the Kamakura school. It has been founded by Hakuun Yasutani(1885-1973)15), a disciple of Harada Dauin Sogaku(1871-1961)16), who had inherited the Dharma of both the Rinzai(臨濟宗) and the S?t? schools. This school distinguishes itself by two characteristics.  First, it never required from its Western followers that they convert to Buddhism. On the contrary, it still claims that anybody, including non Buddhists, can benefit from the practice of Ganhwaseon. For this reason, the Sanbo Kyodan has transmitted the Dharma to a number of Westerners that were working in Japan, including Christian pastors, sisters and priests, as well as rabbis. As those people went back to their native countries, they created branches of the Sanbo Kyodan.

The third group has been founded by Thich Nhat Hanh and is based on the practice of the Vietnamese version of Seon called Thien. Thich Nhat Hanh came to the West in 1970 and created several meditation groups in a number of countries. In 1982, he decided to settle down in France at the Village des Pruniers(Dordogne), and created an association called l’Ordre de l’Inter-Etre,17) which very strongly emphasizes both the practice of meditation and the importance of social work.18)

Each of the above three groups reckons approximately thirty thousand people. Nevertheless, with around half of its members practicing hwadu(話頭) meditation, the Sanbo Kyodan from Japan is by far the most important European school of Ganhwaseon. There are, of course, other schools of Ganhwaseon in Europe, like for instance from the Japanese Rinzai or the Korean Kwan?m(觀音)19) lineages. However, since they numerically much less important, just like Taisen Deshimaru’s AZI or Thich Nhat Hanh’s Ordre de l’Inter-Etre, in the fourth part of this paper we shall focus our attention on a more detailed description of the Sanbo Kyodan.20)

A second way to study the practice of Ganhwaseon in Europe, which we shall also use in this paper, consists in observing how the Western mind interacts with the spirit of the Seon school. More precisely, we will try to show how this mind encounters the religious tradition that has most contributed to the shaping of the Western mentalities. Even though Western Christianity is facing a deep crisis it undoubtedly remains the main religious tradition of the West. Therefore, the first part of this paper will be a synthetic introduction to the encounter of the practice of Ganhwaseon with the Occident. The second one will point to some aspects of Christianity that may facilitate the adaptation of Ganhwaseon practice to the Western world. A third one will describe what kind of help and transformation Christianity may expect from such a practice. A fourth and final part will describe some of the concrete attempts that have been made to integrate hwadu meditation to traditional Christian methods of meditation.



1. Understanding the Encounter of Ganhwaseon with the West

  

Above all, one should keep in mind that Ganhwaseon has a very long history. A rapid glance at a book like Jeong Seongbon S?nim’s Seon’?i Sasanggwa Yeoksa21) is enough to realize it. In order to understand Ganhwaseon practice as it has been completed and established under the Song dynasty by Wono K?kk?n(?悟克勤,22) 1063-1125), from the Yanggi  branch of the Imje school(臨濟宗 楊岐派23)), and his Dharma heir Taehye Chonggo(大慧宗?,24) 1089-1163), one has to trace the remote beginnings of its history back to the third millenium B.C. in Indian Antiquity. As a result, the development of Ganhwaseon has taken place over several centuries and left us a considerable amount of litterature. It is a well known fact that Ganhwaseon  practice may be considered the ultimate fruit of the encounter of Indian Buddhism with Chinese thought. Moreover Seon also is the most Confucian form of Buddhist.25) As a result, Ganhwaseon practice not only represents the result of a long encounter of Chinese thought with Indian Buddhism but also the complete emancipation of the latter from the speculative tendencies of the former.26)

This all means that Ganhwaseon is inseparable from very concrete situations. Consequently, one cannot but wonder how harmoniously the result of such a long historical process in the Far East can integrate itself as such to the West. Accordingly, it certainly isn’t an exaggeration to say that a full integration of Ganhwaseon to the Occident may require several centuries. Moreover, in order to be successful, the result of such a process should involve both faithfulness to the original spirit of Ganhwaseon  and its perfect adaptation to Western culture. Maybe it will be possible, then, to talk about the quintessence of the encounter of Far East Buddhism with Western culture.

However, we may wonder if our scholarly knowledge of Buddhism and the sophisticated means of communication and transportation that are available in today’s world will not greatly accelerate and facilitate the settling of Ganhwaseon in the West. This could then mean that the Occident does not need, in order to understand the Buddha’s teachings correctly, a phase of adaptation similar to the one China went through as it interpreted Buddhists concepts through Taoist categories during two centuries.27) As a result, quoting the worldwide achievements of Masters like Hakuun Yasutani, Seungsahn or Sheng-yen,28) some do not hesitate to claim that Ganhwaseon has already taken root in the West.

Nevertheless, Victor So?gen Hori29) from McGill University does not hesitate to say that the Dharma still has to come to the West. Such a statement does dot deny the existence of a great number of Seon centers throughout the Western world, but challenges the validity of the meditation practiced and the authenticity of the Dharma  transmitted in those places.30) I also believe that it is to early to claim that the Dharma has already arrived to the Occident. Indeed Ganhwaseon practice only represents a fraction of Western Buddhism’s practice and, even though the Buddha’s tradition seems destined to enjoy a bright future, its followers still do not represent more than a tiny minority.

The following table displays the number of Buddhists and Buddhist groups found in ten European countries in the late 1990s.31)




















































































Country

Buddhists

Buddhists from Asia


Groups and


Centers 

Approximate Total Population


(Millions)

Percentage of Total Population That Were


Buddhists 

 France

 ~350,000

 ~300,000

   ~280

     58

     0.6

 Britain

   180,000

   130,000

     400

     58

     0.3

 Germany

   170,000

   120,000

     530

     82

     0.2

 Italy

   70,000

 ~25,000

   ~50

     57

     0.1

 Netherlands

   33,000

   20,000

     60

     15

     0.2

 Switzerland

   25,000

   20,000

     100

     7

     0.3

 Austria

   16,000

   5,000

     50

     8

     0.2

 Denmark

 ~10,000

 ~5,000

   ~32

     5

     0.1

 Hungary

   7,000

   1,000

   ~12

     10

     0.1

 Poland

 ~5,000

   500

     30

     39

     0.02
                            note: ~denotes very rough estimate



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.32) But this identification problem seems to go well beyond France.33)

We should also be careful to keep in mind that the figures displayed in the above table do not correspond to the Seon school but only to Buddhism as a whole. However the following chart gives an idea of how Buddhism from five European countries may be categorized according to tradition.34)










































Tradition

Great Britain


(%)

France


(%)

Germany


(%)

Switzerland


(%)

Netherlands


(%)

Theravada

18.5

6.5

15.2

21

14

Mahayana


(Seon)

18.1

53

35.6

29

44

Tibetan

36.9

36.8

42.2

48

37

Non-aligned

26.5

3.7

7

2

5





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 Seon 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.35) 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 Mah?y?na 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 Hyen?ng(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.” T.2007, vol.48, p.337a27-b7. Translation from The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the text of the Tun-Huang manuscript, translated, with notes, by Philip B. Yampolsky, New York, Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 127-128.36)

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.37) 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 Ganhwaseon to the West.



2. Christian Hermitic life and Ganhwaseon



In order to understand how Ganhwaseon may be adapted to the West, it is very important to grasp thoroughly what constitutes the core of hermitic life in the Christian tradition.38)



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 desert39) 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 remind John the Baptist(1st c. BCE-1 c. CE)40), who lived in the desert during several decades, and Jesus the Christ, who did the same during forty days, fasting and overcoming all temptations.41)

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.”42) Among the praying methods that they have thaught us, one deserves a special attention. It is called ?prayer of the heart? 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 iryeo 寤寐一如) observing(kan 看) of the critical phrase(hwadu 話頭) of a kongan(公安).43) 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 continuous peace of the heart. The literature left to us by the desert fathers has considerably influenced all currents of Christian spirituality.44)

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 .45) 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. Ignatitus 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 order which he placed directly under the authority of the pope. As a result, the members of that congregation could go anywhere in the world in order to answer rapidly and efficiently to any demand of the supreme authority of the Church. But the most amazing 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 in the Carthusian Order, whose most famous monastery, la Grande Chartreuse,46) is 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. This means that the contemplation of a hermitic life can be fully combined to a radical social commitment. It is written in the constitutions of the Society of Jesus that any Jesuit willing to become a Carthusian monk is perfectely 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,47) it is also possible to be active in the depth of the most profound contemplation.48) Here we can discover one of the main characteristics of the way of life embodied by Christ himself.49)



 4) Today’s Hermitic life


Hermitic tradition remains very lively in today’s world. The mere fact that it exists offers to 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 is capable of satisfying all of 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 the main trends of hermitic life in today’s world.

The French 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),50) 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.51) 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.”52) One of Merton’s biggest contribution is his beginning of dialogue between Christianity and the Buddhists monks and nuns of Asia. This dialogue has kept developing ever since.53)  

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), assasinated lately, whose Taize 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 influence 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 life 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 Ganhwaseon practice.





3. The Help that Western Christianity can get from Ganhwaseon



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.54) 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, also 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 faithfuls should be enought 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 Chrisitianity still has a future or not.55) That is why so many Europeans are looking for a new source of hope. It is against that backdrop  that Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon practice, I will recall briefly what is the original spirit of the Christian tradition and what are the consequences of its lost .



1) The Original Spirit of Christianity



In the New Testament Christ says of himself that he has nowhere to rest.56) In many ways such a statement may resemble one that is found in the Platform S?tra of the Sixth Patriarch(六祖壇經) and according to which non-abiding is set as the main doctrine(無住爲本).57) In order to understand the meaning of Jesus? 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.58) Even though the land Abraham was waking toward had been promised to him,59) instead of being thought of as a country like today’s Israel, that land should rather be understood as the true self60) that one has to find within him. In other words, in some ways, it resembles a lot the Pure Land.61) In that sense, Abraham was walking toward himself, that is toward his true nature. As he was following his course, Abraham was always opened to God and the others, so that he kept experiencing new realities. That is why it may be said that God kept surprising him. As God was not where Abraham expected him to be, He also was where Abraham did not expect Him to be.62) 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 Abraham’s 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 road.63) . Some of Jesus’ 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 borne of the Spirit.”64)

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.65) But unfortunately, the descendants of Abraham tend to forget his 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 an 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 Jesus’ time. It may be said that Christianity is 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.”66)

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,67) 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 1517.68) 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 mankind, 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.69) Such an opening in an effort to renew Christianity reminds us of the one made by some adepts of Seon desiring to renew their tradition through contacts with the West.70)



3) The Contribution of Ganhwaseon



I think that Ganhwaseon can bring something to a Christianity eager to renew itself. Indeed, Ganhwaseon practice can remind Christians of the traditional values 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 Ganhwaseon with Christianity.

Ganhwaseon has the advantage that it can be practiced, either individually or in group, even in the middle of cities. It suffices to regularly create a space of silence and solitude in the place where we dwell. Ganhwaseon may allow our troubled minds to get rid of their endless and sterile calculations to recover their original simplicity. As a result, it helps us to acquire a right view71) 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 prayers 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)72) 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.”73) 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.74)  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 Seon .75) But the mutual complementarity of the two ways being much more clearly emplasized within Buddhism, the practice of Ganhwaseon can certainly help Christian to discover, or rediscove, 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 Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon to some of the needs of Western Christianity. But D. T. Suzuki did exactly the same when he introduced Seon 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. Because by introducing Seon as such in his most famous works,76) D. T. Suzuki repackaged Buddhism according to the expectations and hopes of his Western readers.77) Such an attitude may deserve many criticisms.78) Nevertheless, it is precisely because of that repackaging that D. T. Suzuki could successfully introduce Seon Buddhism to the Occident. And even though what he did may be considered some flawed, since he intended to remain faithful to the spirit of Seon, 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,79) 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 Mah?y?na or of Tantric Buddhism may be considered other examples of the same phenomena.80)

I shall now talk about the concrete attempts that have been made to integrate the practice of Ganhwaseon to Christian methods of prayer.



4. Attempts to Integrate Ganhwaseon Practice and Christian Methods of Cultivation



Since there exist both common points and differences between Buddhism and Christianity, the attempts to integrate Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon practice to the Christian tradition.



1) Western Reactions to Seon Buddhism

   

A first reaction consists in believing that the practice of Seon is the sole way to achieve truth. As a result the advocates of such a position consider that Seon Buddhism is superior to all other religious traditions and they look down at them. The Dalai Lama is very critical of such people.81) They believe that the followers of traditions others than theirs cannot discover what they find in Seon Buddhism. Such a feeling of superiority may make them look endlessly for an ever purer form of Seon tradition. As a result, they may end up looking and sounding very fundamentalist. They may end up confusing unessential matters like, for instance, clothes, furniture, or the tea ceremony, with essential ones. Such people make the Dalai Lama laugh .82) At the opposite extreme some people consider that Seon Buddhism is nothing but a hoax destined to fooling people. This is exactly the position of H. Van Straelen in his Le Zen Demystifie.83)

The two fundamentalists attitudes that we have just described are clearly opposed to a dialogue between Seon Buddhism and the West. Between these two extremes, we can find positions that are opened to a dialogue between the cultural and religious context to which Seon 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 Seon. According to Jacques Brosse, any attempt to disconnect the practice of Seon from Buddhism amounts to its neutralization.84) Similarly, Eric Romeluere claims that the teachings of the Seon school and of Christianity are so different that Christian Seon amounts to pure schizophrenia.85) On the other hand, the Benedict monk and priest Willigis Jager86) has got so deeply into the practice of Ganhwaseon 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,87) near Wurzburg, in Germany. Moreover, at an international level, Father Jager is one of the three highest persons in charge of the Sanbo Kyodan.  But recently, the Vatican has decided to prevent Father Jager from teaching, declaring that the overall content of his predications was 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.88) 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 Ganhwaseon in Europe. Its followers have the choice between two different paths.89)

The first one, called ‘shikantaza(只管打坐)’90) merely consists in sitting down, observing one’ 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 Ganhwaseon 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.91) 

The other collections are the Mumungwan(無門關), the Pyeogamnok(碧巖錄), the Jongyongnok(從容錄) and the Jeond?ngnok(傳燈錄). Yamada Koun Roshi(1907-1989) has made commentaries(chech’ang 提唱) for the 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 getter 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 Ganhwaseon 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 jeongjin 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. Afterward, the adept displays the state of mind that he has achieved(ch’ed?khan kyeonggye 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 that 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, ‘wrong’ 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 Ganhwaseon. 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 Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon was born. Its understanding requires the learning of an entirely new language with its symbols and metaphors. This is the reason why Ganhwaseon will never be popularized. Of course, a considerable number of works explaining the context in which Ganhwaseon was born, as well as translations and interpretations of the records of the sayings of the patriarchs, or of the s?tras and treaties, keep being published in Western languages.92) 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 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 Seon school. In addition to that, the Sanbo Kyodan also enjoys a good international organization and all its masters agree to abide by a strict and clear code of ethics.93) In that regard, the Sanbo Kyodan is unlike so many Seon 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-Etre of Thich Nhat Hanh, the two other main Seon groups of Europe, even though it doesn’t seem to be the result of a systematic policy like in the case of the Sanbo Kyodan, also attract a number of Christians. 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,94) one of the high responsible of this group, he told me : “So much the better if the practice of Seon may be of some help to the Christians.” Of course, the great interest taken by some Christians in Seon does not necessarily mean that they intend to give up their religious identity.

Master Seungsahn of the Kwan?m Seonjong has said : “I myself am the way, I am truth, and I am life.”95) 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 Tae?i Roshi(大義 老師), from the Japanese Rinzai school and the master of Chongdal Nosa 宗達 老師(1905-1990),96) the Korean who has created the Han’guk Seondohoe(韓國 禪道會) in 1965.97) 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 Ganhwaseon .

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 Seon Buddhism : a History, does not talk about Korean Seon.98)

 Enomiya Lassalle(1898-1990) is another German but who became a Japanese citizen. Moreover, rather than studying Seon, 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 Ganhwaseon.99) His numerous books have made him known worldwide and very much contributed to the propagation of Seon in the West.100)

The Irish William Johnston, also an academic teaching at Sophia University, has both practiced and studied Seon. He has compared Christian and Buddhist meditation methods, and especially the thought expanded by mystics like Master Eckhart with the negative way of the Seon school.101) 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 Seon. In his book Seon and the Bible he systematically compares kongans with the content of the Old and New Testaments.102) But, most interestingly, he got the inspiration to write that book in the 1950s, from a professor called I. Ratzinger,103) 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 Seon Buddhism with Christianity.



Conclusion



Instead of being centered on the Sanbo Kyodan, this research could have chosen a more global approach to the study of Ganhwaseon practice in Europe. Or, on the contrary, it could have focused on the Korean share of the European market. Nevertheless, I have chosen to set back the practice of Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon. 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 Ganhwaseon.

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 So?gen Hori that the practice of capping(ch’akeo 著語) should form an indispensable part of Ganhwaseon training.

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 Ganhwaseon : a deep, broad and accurate knowledge of Buddhism, a thorough experience of the practice of Ganhwaseon, as well as a good understanding of the Bible, of Christian mystics, and of philosophy.

In Europe, Korean Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon.

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, Jinul(知訥)’s tono jeomsu(頓悟漸修) doctrine is very innovative.104)

Thirdly, though the sudden-sudden(tono tonsu 頓悟頓修) conception of enlightenment advocated by Master Seongcheol(性徹) has provoked a huge controversy it has also enriched Korean Buddhism and made it even more attractive.105)

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 Ganhwaseon that could be exported.

Fifthly, the existence in Korea of associations of lay people(在家修行者) like the Han’guk Seondohoe (韓國禪道會) can serve as a model for the creation of similar groups abroad.

The encounter of Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon, 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 Ganhwaseon’s specific identity and its full integration to the Occident. While the Western Christians will work at the integration of Ganhwaseon 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 Ganhwaseon, let them be Buddhist or Christians or of any other religion, that they maintain strong ties with the Far East tradition they can 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 Ganhwaseon. 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.

 

Notes 


  1. Throughout this paper, for the sake of clarity and unity, but for a few exceptions, I will keep using the terms Seon, Ganhwaseon, kongan(公安) and hwadu(話頭), even when dealing with non Korean contexts.

  2. Henri de Lubac, Paris, Cerf, 2000.

  3. Paris, Fayard.

  4. Paul Magnin (ed.), Etudes lubaciennes II, Paris, Cerf, 2001.

  5. Edited by Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press.

  6. “Studying the Spread and Histories of Buddhism in the West,” id. p. 66-81.

  7. “The full nature and extent of this impact on Western ideas, values, and ways of life can hardly be anticipated this early in the story of Buddhism’s unprecedented globalization”. Westward Dharma, p. 48.

  8. Paris, Cerf.

  9. For instance, some Westerners will not hesitate to attempt an integration of the teachings of the Japanese Rinzai school(臨濟宗) with those of the Vietnamese Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

  10. At present, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey are in the process of becoming members, and, recently, Macedonia has applied to become one.

  11. “In contrast to the geographic expanses of Canada, the United States, South Africa, in Europe as a religion Buddhism faces an unusually wide variety of social, cultural, and legal contexts. The differences at times have a lasting impact on the (1) spread, (2) institutionalization, (3) form of organization, (4) doctrinal standardization, and (5) representational issues of Buddhism in a country.” Westward Dharma, p. 96.

  12. John B. Cobb, Boudhhisme-Christianisme, Au-dela du dialogue ? Geneve, Labor et Fides, 1982, p. 7.

  13. AZI, 175 rue de Tolbiac, Paris, 75013, France(http://www.zen-azi.org/index_f.html).

  14. http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVLPages/ZenPages/DiamondSangha.html

  15. http://www.geocities.com/jiji_muge/

  16. http://www.terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/harada.html

  17. http://www.tnh2005.com/html/LesQuatorzeEntrainementsalaPleineConscience.html

  18. http://www.buddhaline.net/dossiermotcle.php3?id_article=92

  19. The Kwanum Seon school(觀音禪宗) founded by Master Seungsahn(1927-2004) runs over thirty meditation centers in some fifteen European countries(http://www.pariszencenter.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=13). One of Seungsahn’s disciples, Master Ubong (우봉 禪師), alias Paul Jacob, runs the Paris downtown center(http://www.pariszencenter.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=14). He has also created some ten centers in Western and Eastern Europe(Han’kyeorae Sinmun[한겨레 신문] 2004.10.21). A complete list of all the European centers can be found at http://kwanumzen.org/centers/.

  20. Some of those smaller groups are mentioned briefly by Philippe Cornu in the Dictionnaire encyclopedique du bouddhisme, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 409.

  21. 정성본, 『禪의 思想과 歷史』, Seoul, Pulgyo Sidaesa(서울, 불교시대사), 2000.

  22. Yuanwu Keqin.

  23. Yangqipai.

  24. Dahui Zonggao.

  25. “Chan is the most Confucian form of Buddhism, and it has been in constant rivalry with neo-Confucianism.” Robert E. Buswell, Jr, Encyclopedia of Buddhism, New York, Thomson Gale, 2004, p. 136.

  26. Robert E. Buswell, Jr., “The ‘Short-cut’ Approach of K’an-hua meditation: The Evolution of a Practical Subitism in Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, ” in Sudden and Gradual, Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1987, pp. 321-377.

  27. Kyeog?i pulgyo(格義佛敎). See Sim Chaeryong 심재룡, Chungguk Pulgyo Cheorhaksa(中國佛敎哲學史), Seoul 서울, Cheorhakkwa Hyeonsilsa 철학과 현실사, 1998, pp.40-41.

  28. Master Sheng-yen, Subtle Wisdom, London, Doubleday(Dharma Drum Publications), 1999. http://www.chancenter.org/shifu.html

  29. Zen Sand(禪林句集), The Book of Capping Phrases for Ko?an Practice, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2003.

  30. According to Professor Hori, the importance attached to capping(ch’ageo 著語) in Western Seon schools if far from being sufficient.

  31. Westward Dharma, p. 96.

  32. According to a French joke, depending on the statistics consulted, there would be between 18.000 and 18.000.000 Buddhists in France.

  33. Thomas A. Tweed, “Who is a Buddhist,” Westward Dharma, pp. 17-33.

  34. Westward Dharma, p. 94.

  35. “Notwithstanding the increased interest in things Buddhist, Buddhism will certainly remain a minority religion in Europe during the twenty-first century.” Westward Dharma, pp. 101-102.

  36. T.2007, vol.48, p.337a27-b7. Translation from The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the text of the Tun-Huang manuscript, translated, with notes, by Philip B. Yampolsky, New York, Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 127-128.

  37. Albert Low, Tokyo, the Charles E. Tuttle Company, An Invitation to Practice Zen, 1989; The World : A Gateway-Commentaries on the Mumonkan, 1995.

  38. See Bernard Senecal (Seo Myeongwon 서명원), K?ris?dokyo Cheont’ong ?nsu Senghwal「그리스도교 傳統의 隱修生活」, Han’guk ?nsu Munhwawa Kogun Kugok『韓國의 隱士文化와 谷雲九曲』, Hwach’eon Munhwawon 華川文化院, Chei ch’a Han’guk Haksul Taehoe 第2次 國際學術大會, 2005年度, pp. 57-71.

  39. With the exception of the Nile valley, 99% of Egypt is a desert.

  40. Luke 1, 80.

  41. Matthew 4, 1-11 ; Mark 1, 12-13 ; Luke 4, 1-13.

  42. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion, A/E, Washington, edited by P. Kevin Meagher, T. C. O’Brien and C. M. Aherne, D.C., Corpus Publications, 1979, A/E, p. 1034.

  43. See Robert E. Buswell Jr., The Zen Monastic Experience, Princeton, Princeton University Press, p. 150.

  44. The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota p. 353.

  45. Id.

  46. Un Chartreux, La Grande Chartreuse, 17eme edition, Sadag, Bellegarde(France), 1998.

  47. Dongjungjeong(動中靜).

  48. Jeongjungdong(靜中動).

  49. Bojo Sasang(普照思想) che 24 chip(제24집), pp.400-401 and Pulgyo P’yeongnon(불교평론), che 7 gwon(제7권) che 3 ho(제3호) pp.162-167.

  50. J. Monchanin, H. Le Saux, Ermites du Saccidananda, Casterman, 1951.

  51. “Our time is in desperate need of this kind of simplicity.”The Wisdom of the Desert, Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth, translated by T. Merton, New York, New Directions, 1960, p. 11.

  52. 호세아 2, 16.

  53. Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Commissions, Ed. P. de Bethune, Monastere Saint-Andre Belgium-1340 Ottignies.

  54. We can think, for instance, of Goryeo’s Buddhism or Joseon’s Confucianism.

  55. Jean-Marie Ploux, Le Christianisme a-t-il fait son temps ?, Paris, Les Editions de l’Atelier, 1999.

  56. Luke 9, 58.

  57. 我自法門 從上已來 皆立無念爲宗 無相爲體 無住爲本. 退翁性徹, 懸吐編譯, 『敦煌本 六祖壇經』, p.54 (大藏經2007, vol.48, p.338c2-4).

  58. It is in the same sense that Christians say whenever they recite the Our Father “give us today our daily bread.”

  59. Genesis 12, 1-3.

  60. China 眞我.

  61. Jeongt’o 淨土.

  62. H. Laux, Le Dieu excentre, Paris, Beauschesne, 2001.

  63. Kil eobn?n kil 길 없는 길.

  64. John 3, 8.

  65. The difference is that while Buddhists follow the path discovered and thaught by the Buddha ??kyamuni, the Christians rely upon the words of Jesus-Christ.

  66. Luke, 11, 52.

  67. In 70 CE, the Roman general Flavius Vespasianus Titus destroyed that temple as he conquered Jerusalem. In today’s Israel, the far right is planning its reconstruction.

  68. As the Catholic and Orthodox churches became split, Catholicism lost most of its mysticism, and as it became split with the Protestant churches, it prevented its followers from reading the Bible.

  69. “… the differences are a less important element, when confronted with the unity which is radical, fundamental and decisive.” Sebastian Painadath, Pope John Paul II, On Inter-Religious Dialogue, Kottayam, Jeevadhara, 2005, p. 356.

  70. “The adaptation of Seon to the West, therefore, is not simply a Western invention. In the post-Meiji and postwar periods, many Japanese adherents of Seon advocated the modernization and revitalization of the tradition. Some saw the West, especially America, as an arena where such revitalization could flower.” Westward Dharma, pp. 219-220.

  71. Jeonggyeon 正見.

  72. Respectively pujeong?i kil and k?njeong?i kil 不定의 길과 肯定의 길.

  73. John 16, 7.

  74. Jiwol 指月.

  75. Pyojeon ch’ajeon 表詮遮詮.

  76. D.T. Suzuki, Essais sur le Bouddhisme Zen, Paris, Albin Michel, 1972.

  77. Westward Dharma, p. 220.

  78. Id. p. 222; H. Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism : A History-India and China, London, Macmillan, 1994, p. XIX-XX.

  79. A History of Buddhist Philosophy, Continuities and Discontinuities, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1992.

  80. “The new phase brought about by the blend of Mahayana Buddhism with the beliefs and practices of a primitive agricultural society is commonly called Tantric or Esoteric Buddhism. By the seventh century, it had become fully systematized in northeastern and northwestern India.” K. S. Ch’en, Buddhism, The Light of Asia, Canada and U. K, Barron’s Educational Series, 1967.

  81. Jean Boisselier, La Sagesse du Bouddha, Paris, Decouvertes Gallimard, 1993, p. 180-181.

  82. I have heard him say so during a symposium organized by the Buddhis-Christian Conference and that took place at University de Paul of Chicago during the summer of 1996. Toni Packer gives a totally contrary example. She is one of the disciples of the American Seon Master Philip Kapleau and “represents the most striking example of a Western Seon that has virtually ceased to be Seon … Toni Packer and her center are not typical of Seon in the West. While nearly all Western Seon centers and teachers have adapted their forms in significant ways to meet the character of their Western practitioners, few have gone as far as Packer in abandoning elements of traditional Seon. … In this sense, Packer is `post-Seon’..” Westward Dharma, p. 227-228. See “Can clear seeing be attained without koan practice?'” (http://www.kwanumzen.com/primarypoint/v05n2-1988-spring-tonipacker-clearseeing.html).

  83. Paris, Beauschesme, 1985.

  84. “Mais desarmorcer le Zen en le detachant de la tradition millenaire, qui, encore aujourd’hui, l’actualise et surtout en le retranchant de sa racine, l’enseignement silencieux de Bouddha Shakyamuni, serait non seulement le trahir, mais rendre vaine son introduction dans la societe technocratique et destructrice dont il pourrait constituer l’antidote.” L’Univers du Zen, Paris, Albin Michel, 2003, p. 263.

  85. I have heard those remarks during a symposium held at Centre Sevres in Paris in April 2004.

  86. http://www.willigis-jaeger.de/

  87. http://www.benediktushof-holzkirchen.de/

  88. “This is just like the case of Gandhi who, the more he studied Christianity, the more he discovered the treasures of Hinduism, and the case of Thomas Merton who, the more he studied Buddhism, the more he got to know Christianity(이것이 바로 기독교를 배울수록 더욱 힌두교의 훌륭한 점을 발견했던 간디의 경우와, 佛敎를 배울수록 더욱 가톨릭교의 순수성을 알게 된 토마스 머튼의 경우입니다).” Hwang P’ilho황필호, Haengbog?i mesijir?l jeonhagi wihae「행복의 메시지를 전파하기 위해」, Chonggyo gan?i taehwa wa?i inyeomgwa panghyang 『종교간의 대화의 이념과 방향』, Han’guk chonggyo kan?i taehwa hakhoe 韓國宗敎間對話學會, 2005. 10. 23, Jeonnam taehakkyo 전남대학교, p.13.

  89. Most of the information provided here has been gathered through encounters with members of the Sanbo Kyodan.

  90. Let us notice that, in Europe, the Sanbo Kyodan systematically uses the Japanese romanization of all technical terms.

  91. Ecole zen du Sambo-Kyodan, Ecole des koanes, Volume 1, Koanes pour debutants, traduit de l’allemand et de l’anglais par B. Billot (La Maison de Tobie, 8 av. Leon Gourdault, Choisy le Roi, 94600 France).

  92. Here are some example of books that came out recently : Thomas Y?h? Kirchner, Entangling Vines, Kyoto, Tenryui-Ji Institute For Philosophy And Religion, 2004 ; Andy Ferguson, Zen’s Chinese Heritage, Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2000 ; Steven Heine, The K?an, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000.

  93. http://www.zencenterofdenver.org/Lineage/ethics.html (Diamond Sangha Teachers Ethics Agreement).

  94. http://www.zen-azi.org/godos/index_f.html

  95. John 14, 7.

  96. 1941년 일본 臨濟宗 妙心寺派 韓國 개교사, 1942년 일본대학 철학과 졸업, 1965년 大韓佛敎 禪道會 지도법사. 韓國 佛敎禪道會가 保任禪院과 修禪會와 함께 韓國에 三大在家修行 모임을 이룬다.

  97. “In connection with the “poverty” I remember that once a British gentleman came to study Seon under Master Daigi(大義), who used to be my fellow student in our training days. For a koan Master Daigi gave him the famous Christian saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” I do not know what the orthodox traditional interpretation of this passage may be in Christianity. It would be interesting to see how Master Daigi took it up from the Seon standpoint and used it as a Seon koan.” Zenkei Shibayama, Zen Comments on the Mumonkan, New York, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974, p. 84.

  98. Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism: A History-Japan, London, Macmillan, 1990; Zen Buddhism: A History-India and China, London, Macmillan, 1994.

  99. Enomiya Lassalle, Zazen y los Ejercicios de San Ignacio, Madrid, Ediciones Paulinas, 1985. A Korean book also deals with the same topic, Kim Kyeongsu 김경수 저, Yeongsin Suryeongwa Seon『靈神修練과 禪』, Seoul 서울, Kat’ollik ch’ulp’ansa 가톨릭출판사, 1998.

  100. Enomiya Lassalle, Meditation zen et priere chretienne, Paris, Albin Michel, 1992.

  101. Willian Johnston, Christian Zen, Fount Paperbacks, 1990.

  102. J. K. Kadowaki, Le Zen et la Bible, Paris, Epi, 1983.

  103. Id, p. 7.

  104. “By demonstrating that Hwa?m thought can be used for the philosophical under pinnings of the Seon approach, this work(W?ndon Seongbullon 圓頓成佛論) can, without exaggeration, be considered Jinul’s most important contribution to East Asian Buddhist philosophy.” The Collected Works of Jinul, translated by Robert E. Buswell Jr., Hawaii, University of Hawaii Press, p. 198.

  105. On this point, my position slightly diverges from that expresses by Kim Pangnyong(金邦龍) in “Ganhwaseon gwa Hwa?m(話禪과 華嚴),” Pulgyo Py?ngnon(불교평론), 2005 ny?n ka?l (년 가을), che 7kw?n che 3ho(제 7권 제 3호).

The Argument on Seon in Late Joseon Period

Doing practice by Ganhwaseon in America
From International Symposium of Bojo Thoughts Institute, 16, November, 2005


Ven. Jong-Ho(Prof. Mun Gi, Bark)

Dept. of Seon, Dongguk Univ. & Graduate School

Ⅰ. Introduction

 It has been taken for 50 years or more since Seon(Zen in Jap./ Ch’an in China/Sitting Meditation in the US) had been introduced as a technique of practice in American society. Many Zen masters came to the States from South-eastern areas; Korea, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Sri-Lanka, Vietnam, and then they made up a new linage of American Zen, since Suzuki Shunryu(1904~1971) had built San Francisco Zen Center(SFZC) in 1958, in which a hall for practicing and a farm for self-sufficiency are completed.

   Today, it is due to them that there are the various methods of Zen with many Zen-Centers and web-sites on internet for meditation practice in the States. If we surf on internet for a moment, immediately, we’d find out hundreds of web-sites related with Zen. I heard, that there are about 30 to 50 thousand of Zen Centers in the States, by a Zen-practitioner whom I met, while I was staying in the States in 2004.

   Among them, first SFZC is organizing 9 Zen Centers around San Francisco, 10 in California area and 14 in the other areas. And Tibetan Shambhalla Center is organizing about 1,500 branches all around the States, IMS(Insight Meditation Society) is organizing about 5 hundred or more, and there are lots of Zen-Centers and practitioners. We can say, the number is not so considerable in the big country, but it is  raised up so rapidly for a short period.

   I classified the groups in the States into 4 methods of practice; Vajrayana Practice by Tibetan gurus, Vippassana Practice by South-eastern practitioners, Mook-jo Seon(Silent Illumination without kong-an/kung-an in China) by Japanese practitioners and Gan-hua Seon(Meditation with kong-an or hua-t’ou) by Korean, Japanese and Chinese practitioners. By the methods, Vajrayana is surpassed others, Vipassana is the next, and then Mook-jo, and the last is Gan-hua.

   Hereby, specifically I’ll look into the Gan-hua Seon method in American society. In the lineage of Gan-hua Seon, there are separated to many families from their own Zen Masters, but I’ll study a few big families among them and also study the field related with 3 countries; Korea, China, Japan. I don’t want to review the great Zen Masters’ biographies, either. So I’d like to mention their activities inside of the States.





Ⅱ. Gan-hwa Seon of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi



   1. Life of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi

  Joshu Sasaki Roshi(1907~   ) arrived in L.A. on July, 1962, because his teacher asked him to go to America to teach Zen Buddhism and at that time, Dr. Robert Harmon and Dr. Gladys Weisbart had been independently trying to bring a Rinzai Zen monk to L.A. They sponsored Master Joshu Roshi to come to the US.

  After arriving there, the Master Rhoshi began to teach Zen(Seon) for a few Zen students in a small house lent by Dr. Harmon. Before long, his teaching were attracting so many Zen students and the more lay-people gathered to learn his Zen teaching. At last, the Cimarron Zen Center, since renamed Rinzai-ji Zen Center as the first Zen Center, was opened in L.A.1)

 Three year later, Rinjai-ji’s main training center, Mt. Baldy Zen center, was opened. This Center has gained a reputation in international Zen circles for its rigorous practice for 19 hours a day. Most of Rinjai-ji’s monks and nuns have received some or all of intensive training there. 

 And Michelle Martin who were practicing at Mt. Baldy Zen center, asked to practice in New Mexico area, and then Master, Joshu S, Roshi opened Jamez Bodhi Mandala, now Bodhi Mandala Zen Center in 1974. It became Master J. S, Roshi’s second training Center, offering daily Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation) and communal work practice. In this Center, all practitioners were growing fresh greens and fruits together. It means Zen practice is not different from farming everyday life.

   For 5 years, Master J. S, Roshi had never tired, offering Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation), investigating kong-an, having private Dharma meeting in a very small house. He had always served tea, cooked for himself, whenever he met with anyone who came to practice. Specially, to commemorate his fifth birthday in 1967, he began to practice Seven-Day Intensive Retreat(Dai-Sesshin) at first, which has developed to another tradition for practice under the Master J. S, Roshi’s teaching. During the Intensive Retreat, practitioners usually do Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation). Now there are 21 branches in the US under his teaching.

   It is notable that the Master J. S, Roshi has held the Buddhist Sutra Seminar every summer at Mt. Baldy Zen Center since 1977. Over 16 years, many Buddhist scholars have taken part in the seminar from other countries. Naturally, Rinjai Zen under Master J. S, Roshi’s teachings was more prevalent.

   He has taught his Zen students with old patriarchs’ Dharma Talks and interviewed them in the face of him with private until now, though he is walking 98th year. It is interesting that he was familiar with Korean Zen Master, Seung Sahn friendly. And he was very sad, when the Master, Seung Sahn passed away in 2004.

   2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi

   Even though Master J. S, Roshi has taught Gan-hwa Seon with kong-ans under Rinzai-ji, I wonder how he has checked the kong-ans for his Zen students. As for me, it was difficult to get the related data more. However, it’s obvious that he teaches Zen(Sitting Meditation) with hard, using the traditional method of ‘investigating kong-an’ and his own modern style. I confirmed to the Zen Center of Master J. S, Roshi a few times, that Master J. S, Roshi gives Hua-t’ou to the Zen students who is needed to test and checks the answers in the face of him. But usually beginners have learned the ‘counting breathing’ first and then, ‘investigating Hua-t’ou’ one after another.

   Until now they have kept on practicing ‘7-Day Intensive Retreat’ one or two times a month, and Master J. S, Roshi has had private interview directly 4 times everyday during the period. At that time, usually he gives big questions(Hua-t’ou) as follow; “Who am I?”, “What am I?”, “What was my original face before I was born?”, “What is it?”.

   However, we couldn’t confirm any more because they don’t want show their private teachings. They wants to come and ask for their methods of practice the Zen Center, if somebody would have any question. Though Master J. S, Roshi is a Japanese, he has chosen only Gan-hua(Investigating Hua-t’ou), not Mook-jo(Silent Illumination) as the methods of practice.

   And we know he also uses the Buddhist daily-service or communal working and so forth, by the methods of practice, on his web-sites. During the ‘Intensive Retreat’, practitioners do Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation), must keep silence, and finally can be free out of all delusion. By doing this, we could attain the self-nature and get wisdom to help all sentient-beings everyday life.2) 

   Consequently, Master J. S, Roshi emphasizes that you attain your true nature through the practice with kong-ans, and apply the wisdom into your real life. For the purport, he teaches Zazen(Ch’am Seon with Hua-t’ou), Intensive Retreat(Dai Sesshin), checks the kong-ans(private interview) directly, and ‘counting breathing’ for the beginners. And on farming greens and fruits, he leads the practitioners to apply daily life with Zen.





Ⅲ. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Sheng-yen

  

   1. Life of Zen Master, Sheng-yen

   Zen Master, Sheng-yen(聖嚴, 1931~ ) was born in a small village near Shanghai in 1931. Later on his Japanese teacher, Bantetsugu Roshi who met in his studying in Japan, asked him to teach Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Buddhism in the US. But he couldn’t speak English, so hesitated to leave. However, his teacher encouraged to him, ‘Zen doesn’t rely on words. Why worry about words?’

   When he had traveled to the State in 1977, where he had served as the abbot of a temple in New York for a while. And he opened a Ch’an(Seon/Meditation) Center in Queens, New York, to propagate Chinese Ch’an(Zen) in there. In 1978 he became a professor at Chinese Culture Univ. in Taipei. In 1980 he found a Ch’an(Seon/Zen) Center and Chung-Hwa Buddhist Cultural Institute in New York. In 1989 founded the International Cultural and Educational Foundation of Dharma Drum Mountain and reopened the Center in Queens to New York Branch of ICEFDDM. Nowadays there are 24 branches of ICEFDDM in New York. In the Center, there are organizing many programmes as follow; ‘One-Day Ch’an Retreat’, ‘One-Day Recitation Retreat’, ‘Three-Day Recitation Retreat’, ‘Seven-Day Intensive Hua-t’ou Retreat’, ‘Ten-Day Intensive Silent Illumination Retreat’, ‘Family Zen Camp’ and so forth. Specially they have Dharma meeting for questions and answers every programme.

   Finally, Master Sheng-yen had affected to open the Buddhist subject in almost 40 universities in the US. Currently 3,000 or more Zen students follow him in the States and about 300,000 are learning under his teaching in Taiwan. The Master has published more than 90 books, available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French and other languages.

   It is notable that the Master received by two major lineages of Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Buddhism; Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School and Cao-Dong(Soto) School, and he became the Dharma heir in these two traditions. At age 28, sojourning at various monasteries, he had the deepest spiritual experience of his life. The experiences were recognized by the masters later. In 1975 he formally received transmission from Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Master Dong-Chu(東初, 1908-1977) of Cao-Dong(Soto) School and in 1978, from Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Master Ling Yuan(靈源, 1902-1988) of the Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School.3)

   

  2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Sheng-yen

 The Master emphasizes not only Gan-hua Seon(Ch’an/Zen), but also teaches sutras, mantra practice, and all the methods for practice. In his Dharma talking, there are basically included the Buddha’s teachings, theory of cause and effect, rebirth(samsara), emptiness and so forth. He also applies ‘Gan-hua Seon(investigating kung-an)’ of Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School, ‘Mook-jo Seon(silent illumination without kung-an)’ of Cao-Dong(Soto) School and ‘Ji-kwan(止觀/ Great Shamatha)’ of T’ien-t’ai School for practice. Regardless of the methods, he uses all the types for practice like; ‘counting breaths’, ‘reading sutras’, ‘invoking mantra’, ‘reciting buddha’s names’, ‘walking meditation’, ‘investigating Hua-t’ou’, ‘silent illumination’ and others.

   ‘Ch’an encompasses four key concepts: faith, understanding, practice, and realization. Faith belongs to the realm of religion; understanding is philosophical; practice is belief put into action; and realization is enlightenment. Without faith, we cannot understand; without understanding, we cannot practice; and without practice, we cannot realize enlightenment. Together, these four concepts create the doorway we enter to attain wisdom.”4) It means that the Master thought all the methods of practice are related with each other.

   In practicing meditation, Master Sheng-yen explained very simply. For beginners sitting postures on the cushion and the way of counting breaths is taught first. It is important that body and mind be relaxed. If one is physically or mentally tense, trying to meditate can be counter-productive. Sometimes certain feelings or phenomena arise while meditating. If you are relaxed, whatever symptoms arise are usually good. It can be pain, soreness, itchiness, warmth or coolness, these can all be beneficial. But in the context of tenseness, these same symptoms may indicate obstacles.

For example, despite being relaxed when meditating, you may sense pain in some parts of the body. Frequently, this may mean that tensions you were not aware of are benefiting from the circulation of blood and energy induced by meditation. A problem originally existing may be alleviated. On the other hand, if you are very tense while meditating and feel pain, the reason may be that the tension is causing the pain. So the same symptom of pain can indicate two different causes: an original problem getting better, or a new problem being created.5)

   The methods of Ch’an(Zen) that the Master, Sheng-yen has taught in the States are divided into three stages. The first stage is to balance the development of body and mind in order to attain mental and physical health. The second is free from the sense of the small “I”. The third is free from the large “I” to no “I”.

   The method of the first stage is very simple. Mainly it requires you to relax all the muscles and nerves of your entire body, and concentrate your attention on the method you have just learned. With regard to the body, we stress the demonstration and correction of the postures of walking, standing, sitting and reclining. Because the tension of your muscles and nerves affects the activity of the brain, the key is therefore to reduce the burden on your brain.

   In the second stage you begin to enter the stage of meditation. When you practice the method of cultivation taught by your teacher, you will enlarge the sphere of the outlook of the small “I” until it coincides with time and space. The small “I” merges into the entire universe, forming a unity. When you look inward, the depth is limitless; when you look outward, the breadth is limitless. Since you have joined and become one with universe, the world of your own body and mind no longer exists. What exists is the universe, which is infinite in depth and breadth. You yourself are not only a part of the universe, but also the totality of it.

  In the third stage you realizes that the concept of the “I” does not exist. But you have only abandoned the small “I” and have not negated the concept of basic substance or the existence of God; you may call it Truth, the one and only God, the Almighty, the Unchanging Principle, or even the Buddha of Buddhism. If you think that it is real, then you are still in the realm of the big “I” and have not left the sphere of philosophy and religion.

   I must emphasize that the content of Ch’an(Zen) does not appear until the third stage. Chan is unimaginable. It is neither a concept nor a feeling. It is impossible to describe it in any terms abstract or concrete.6)

   What is the Master’s methods for Ch’an(Zen) practice? He showed two styles for getting enlightenment; Gan-hwa Seon(Ch’an/Zen) with hua-t’ou of Lin-Ji(Linjai) School and Mook-jo Seon(Silent Illumination without hua-t’ou) of Cao Dong(Soto) School. Both of them enables us to be relaxed physically or mentally, and concentrate on mindfulness. The purpose of practicing Ch’an is to “Illuminate the mind and see into one’s true nature.” This investigation is also called ” Clearly realizing one’s self-mind and completely perceiving one’s original nature.”

   There are many hua-t’ou as such; “Who is dragging this corpse around?” “All dharmas return to one, where does this one return to?” “Before you were born what was your original face?’ and “Who is reciting Buddha’s name?” is common.

In fact, all hua-t’ou are the same. There is nothing uncommon, strange, or special about them. If you wanted to, you could say: “Who is reciting the sutras?” “Who is reciting the mantras? “Who is prostrating to the Buddha? ” Who is eating?” “Who is wearing these clothes?” “Who’s walking?” “Who’s sleeping?” They’re all the same.

  The Master Sheng-yen said, the answer to the question “who” is derived from one’s Mind. Mind is the origin of all words. Thoughts come out of Mind ; Mind is the origin of all thoughts. Innumerable dharmas generate from the Mind ; Mind is the origin of all dharmas. In fact, hua-t’ou is a thought. Before a thought arises, there is the origin of words. Hence, looking into a hua-t’ou is contemplating Mind. There was Mind before your parents gave birth to you, so looking into your original face before you were born is contemplating Mind. 7)

   Hence, hua-t’ou’s involving the word “who” are wonderful methods for practicing Ch’an. You have to investigate the great doubt, whenever you walking, standing, sitting and reclining. A necessary element of Hua-t’ou practice is the presence of a sense of doubt. It doesn’t mean thinking or considering of an idea repeatedly. By the Great doubt, it means a burning, uninterrupted persistence to get the root of a question which is unanswerable. That is the core of Gan-hua Seon practice.

 

Ⅳ. Gan-hua Seon of Zen master, Seung Sahn, Haeng-won



   1. His motivation and development for propagating

   Zen Master, Seung Sahn, Haeng-won(1927-2004) arrived at the States in April 1972, when he was 42. In there he saw the sight, that Japanese people were practicing Ch’am Seon(zazen/sitting meditation) at a Zen Center in L.A. He was shocked and thought, ‘Why don’t we, Korean monks, teach the Seon(Zen) like that?’ At the next moment, he determined firmly to propagate Korean Gan-hua Seon(Kanna Zen) in the States.8)

   However, the Master couldn’t speak English. So, he called Jeong-sun, Kim who was a professor for the Uni. of Rhode Island State, and began to propagate his Zen talks for his Zen students in his house with him.

   Before long time, the more people came to listen to his Zen talks at his small house. So, the Master lent a small apartment in Providence and began to transmit his Dharma Talk in there, and then around 50 to 90 Zen students gathered to listen per week. Finally, October 10th of the year, Providence Zen Center was opened with great.

   As the Dharma meeting at Providence had developed, so many lay-people came to become one of his Zen disciples from all the areas. Consequently, he opened Cambridge Zen Center in Massachusetts in 1974, New Haven Zen Center in Connecticut in 1975, and Dharma Zen Center in L.A. in 1976, one after another.

   From 1976, Seung-Sahn Zen Master has affected on lay-people very tremendously. For his teaching style, he has taught Zen students directly in the face of him, and corresponded with them frequently. Specifically, Stephen Mitchell who was called Ven. Moo-Gak as his buddhist name, published “Dropping Ashes on the Buddha in 1976”, which is the collections of the Master’s Dharma Talks, questions & answers with his students, stories for the old Zen masters or patriarchs, and the letters corresponded  with his American Zen students and so forth. In a twinkle, the book was recorded as a best-seller on the list, and then many people who read it wanted to become his disciples eagerly.

   Until now, in the US, there are opened 29 Zen Centers, and so many people are practicing Korean Seon(Zen/Meditation) under his teaching in there.

  

   2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen Master, Haeng-won, Seung Sahn

   The core of his teaching is ‘see your true nature!’ and practice to attain the ‘true nature’, as it is just substantial world for us.

   The Master said, “The most important thing that characterized their practice is that they simply looked inside, very deeply inside, to find their true nature. This is how the Buddha’s first students attained his teaching, preserved it, and passed it down to us.”9)There are layed emphasis on the ‘attain true-nature’ through his all teachings. The Master pointed that the true nature is already realized as it is.

   “Zen teaching is very clear and simple. It points directly at our self-nature so that we can wake up and help this world. When you see, when you hear, when you smell, when you taste, when you touch, when you think-everything, just like this, is the truth. Everything is Buddha-nature. Everything is your true nature.”10) “Zen Buddhism means going from the world of ignorance and delusion and attaining the perception that everything is truth, just as it is. This world is already complete, and never moving. If you want to attain that point, first you must let go of your opinions, your condition, and your situation. You can see clearly, hear clearly, smell clearly, taste clearly, touch clearly and think clearly. The name for that is truth.”11)

   Everything is already truth, and true Dharma. Zen Master, Seung-Shan admits all the styles of Buddhist practice to attain the true nature. He didn’t insist on any special word, any meaning or any form to get enlightenment.

   “In Buddhist practice we can say that there are four main techniques for learning  Buddha’s teaching: reading sutras, invoking the name of the Buddha, mantra practice, and meditation. Even though meditation is known to be the most direct way of realizing the Buddha’s teaching, each of these can help you very much. But if you become attached to sutras, or to invoking the Buddha’s name, or to mantras, or even to certain aspects of formal sitting meditation, then any one of these techniques will hinder you and drag you off the path. So the important thing to remember is not to become attached to anything, but rather to use each practice or technique correctly to find your true nature.”12)

   Though our goal is to attain true nature ultimately, every technique will be helpful for us as the above; reading sutra, invoking the name of the Buddha, mantra practice, and meditation. “No matter what the tradition, the point of any meditation practice is to help you realize your own original nature so that you can help all sentient beings get out of suffering. Meditation(Zen) is not about making something special. It is not about having some peaceful experience of stillness and bliss.”13) The most important thing is finding your true nature, not the technique, the Master means that.

   But the Master insists on the practicing whatever you’ve got enlightened in your everyday life. Of course, even though attaining true nature means that we have nothing to attain because everything is already complete, through the practicing to attain, we could keep a not-moving mind in any situation or condition and control the mind clear from moment to moment and control all the functions correctly to help all sentient beings. Meditation doesn’t mean only sitting in a straight posture, but keep your mind clearly all the time. “So moment-to-moment do-it mind is very important. Just-now mind. It has no subject and no object.”14)

   Hereby, Zen Master, Seung-Shan  specially teaches Gan-hua Seon as a technique for practicing. In his teaching there are two types of kong-ans(hua-t’ou/ big question); one is for looking inside, and the other is for testing the hua-t’ou(big questions) as follow; ‘Who am I?’, ‘What am I?’, ‘Only don’t know!’ and so forth. “There are many, many teaching words in this book. There are Hynayana word, Mahayana words, and Zen word. There are Buddhist and Christian words………..too many words! But all of these words are not necessary. Words and speech are only thinking, and thinking makes suffering. You must throw them all in the garbage! The reason for this is that our true nature is not dependent on understanding. This is why I only teach “don’t know.”…….”Don’t know” is not Buddhist or Christian or Zen or anything…………….I only teach ‘don’t know'”15) Master said, ‘never forget these big questions, ‘Only don’t know!’, ‘What am I?’ and so forth.

   “In the Kwan Um School of Zen…………., the point of kong-an practice is to show you how to connect your don’t know mind with everyday life. How does your meditation on the cushion find its correct function, from moment to moment, to help other people? Nowadays this world is moving very quickly, and there are always new situations………………..If you only hold on to ‘Mu(無, nothing)’, attach to old poetic commentaries, and make some special experience out of Zen practice, you will lose your way. When you step out onto the street keeping ‘Muuuuuuuu’, maybe you will be hit by a car because you are only holding One Mind. However, our style of kong-ans means using kong-ans as practice to instantly perceive your correct situation, your correct relationship to that situation, and your correct function in that situation.”16)

   Not holding One Mind, but perceiving your correct situation in your everyday life using the kong-ans. His teaching means that practice to attain your true nature using kong-an, and get wisdom in everyday life. On these days, it is important to apply the kong-ans in our everyday living.

   These kong-ans were conventional methods for the Zen masters to review if their students got the right view through practicing in the past.

   “When a Zen student practices hard and claims to have attained some insight into his or her true nature, how can this be proven or shown? This is the meaning of kong-ans and kong-an practice.”17)

   “If some monk thought he got enlightenment, a master could test him by presenting him with the story or teaching of another monk’s enlightenment experience. Any monk who truly had some sort of realization would hear the kong-an and instantly understand its true meaning. “18)

   There are 10 major kong-ans available to Zen students. ①Does a dog have Buddha-nature? Joju answered, (Joju’s Dog /趙州無字) ②Joju’s “Wash your Bowls.”(趙州洗鉢) ③Seong Am Calls “Master.”(巖喚主人) ④Bodhidharma has No Beard. ⑤Hyang Eom’s “Up a Tree.”(香嚴上樹) ⑥Dropping Ashes on the Buddha. ⑦Ko Bong’s Three Gates(高峰三關). ⑧Dok Sahn Carrying His Bowls. ⑨Nam Cheon Kills a Cat(南泉斬猫). ⑩The Mouse Eats Cat food., and “Three Men Walking.” etc. “If you finish the Ten Gates(10 major kong-ans), you get this as special home-work. And if you pass this, the Zen master checks your center and you can get inka19)

   As the above, Seung Shan Zen Master’s Gan-hua Seon is composed of practice and checking with his kong-ans,”Only don’t know!” and so forth. This style is a little different from traditional practice in Gan-hua Seon of Korea. Traditionally, kong-ans(hwa-t’ou) are used to get enlightenment with practice. However, Zen Master, Seung Shan is using them to quest and answer for checking. He applies them in everyday life as conventional methods to get wisdom and to realize right view from moment to moment. 

 

Ⅴ. Conclusion

   All the 3 Zen Masters do not insist on Gan-hua Seon only. They are using all the methods for practice such as; Mook-jo Seon practice, reading sutra, invoking mantra, counting breaths and so forth. If some monk said that I solved one Hua-t’ou, the Masters never admitted him to be a realized man. Because they are all stand for gradual enlightenment, rather than sudden enlightenment.

   Moreover, the Zen Masters give the big questions and check the answers to their Zen students in the face of them. By using kong-ans, the Masters lead their students to look back on their self-nature, and apply the attainments to everyday life.

   Hereby, I’d like to summary the patterns of Gan-hua Seon practice in the US.

First, all the Masters have practiced strongly under their own Buddhist views.

Second, they are emphasizing on the ultimate attainment of practice, not their own methods for practice. Therefore, they are using all kinds of methods to teach their Zen students such as; counting breaths, invoking mantra, reciting buddha’s names, reading sutras, prayer chanting and so forth.

   Third, they are stand for gradual enlightenment, not sudden enlightenment for practice. There are 3 stages to get enlightenment. Masters gives kong-ans to the practitioners every stage and checks the answers.

   Fourth, the Masters give hua-t’ou to their Zen students for contemplating original self-nature. Not only traditional kong-ans, but also common questions like ‘Who am I?’ are given to them.

   Fifth, the Masters give questions to the Zen students and check the answers continuously. Specifically, this is the main method that the Zen Masters teach their students.

   Sixth, the Masters teach to the practitioners Zen practice, and also to apply what they have learned or attained to their own everyday lives.

   The Zen Masters have found many Zen Centers in the US for themselves to teach their students, and they have already been able to speak English. Furthermore, now they are transmitting Dharma to the native Americans in active.

   For long time, the Zen Masters have considered how to teach the American lay-people and finally they got what the Western Zen practitioners want. Even though their methods for teaching are a little different from traditional styles, those are by far the best for the American practitioners, I think.

   However, I regret that I haven’t studied how the Zen Masters could overcome the cultural or social gaps between the countries, and teach the foreign people in the face of them directly. And I wonder how their teachings affected to the U.S. society or inspired to every Zen student spiritually. I haven’t looked for any social or environmental effects derived from the Masters’ Zen teachings yet.

   If I had an opportunity, I would review all the above and the prospects of Zen Buddhism for the future in the States.

 

Seon Thought of Master Baegun Gyeonghan

Seon Thought of Master Baegun Gyeonghan
From Book “Seon Thought in Korean Buddhism”, 1998


Written by Kwon Kee-jong
Professor
Dept. of Buddhist Studies
Dongguk University


A. Preface

 

Master Baegun Gyeonghan (1298-1374) was a Seon master who lived in the late Goryeo Period, and a contemporary of masters Taego Po-u (1301-1382) and Naong Hyegeun (1320-1376). These three great masters had a deep and close relationship with one an­other and they also shared the common experience of having gone to Yuan and learned Seon under masters Shiwu Qinggong and Pingshan Chulin, and then introduced the Linji Order (Kor. Imje) to Silla. In addition, they all tried to reform the declining Seon Dharma of the time and to correct the many faults of the samgha thus setting it on the right track again.

But though they studied Linji Seon and lived at the same time and in the same society, the characteristics of their Seon traditions differ. In order to understand this, we need to examine the study of Master Baegun and the characteristics of his Seon Dharma. One of the best ways of doing this is to look at his sayings.

 

B. The Philosophical Background

The background of the later Goryeo Period, especially the reign of King Kongmin (r. 1352-1374), can be considered from two viewpoints. The first is the social aspect which shows that this was a time of strong political agitation, and the second is from the philosophical point of view, Buddhism was on the decline includ­ing the Seon Order. Of the two, the second viewpoint is of special importance to us because through it we can understand the philo­sophical background of the transmission of Linji Seon.

Goryeo society, due to the influence of ceremonial Buddhism, often held various Buddhist meetings such as the taking of Eight Precepts (Kor. p’algwan-hoe) and Giving Life (Kor. panseung). Most activities were for the good fortune of the participants and the social effect of this reached a maximum during the reign of King Kongmin. In the fourth year of his reign, Master Seongeun who belonged to the royal temple inside the palace (Kor. Naewon-tang), violated his precept of celibacy but the king released him. When Master Yeonguk of the Chaeun Order wanted to punish him, he rebuked Master Yeonguk by saying, “if you are going to punish me, you should demolish the whole of Buddhism. Is there any monk who is not like me?” The refutation enables us to guess at the level of corruption prevalent at the time.1 Accordingly the new social tendency of persecuting Buddhism and promoting Confucian­ism can be considered to be the outcome of the criticism of the degradation of Buddhism.

Korean Neo-Confucianism (Kor. Seongni-hak) was established by scholars Yi Che-hyon, Yi Saek, Chong Mong-chu, Yi Seung-in and Chong To-chon in the late Goryeo Period. They openly criti­cized Buddhism and cited the general degeneration as the basis of their criticism. A memorial presented to the king by Confucian scholar, Yi Saek, who believed in Buddhism, is a good example of the situation of the time.

 

At the time that our founder, King T’aejo, established the nation, Buddhist temples and ordinary houses were not distinguishable from one another and their relationship was unclear. After the middle period, Buddhist followers greatly increased, so that the Five Schools (of Yeolban, Namsan, Hwaom, Peopsang and Peopseong) and the Two Orders (of Seon and Kyo) maintained temples everywhere which merely became breeding places of profiteering and self-interest. Now the followers become con­temptible and everyone has become lazy; sensible people everywhere should be greatly concerned.

The Buddha was an attained spiritual leader, but he must be ashamed of his present day followers. I, your Majesty’s ser­vant, reverently bow and humbly ask you to prepare a provi­sion according to the following restrictions: Please give monk’s licenses to already ordained monks and nuns. Please send monks with no identification to the army. Please remove any newly built temples and punish monks who do not obey. Please do not grant permission to ordinary people to be ordained as monks or nuns.2

 

This memorial indicates how corrupt both Seon and Kyo orders hadbecome at that time. But is not irrelevant to consider King Kongmin’s character in the context.

Master T’aego Po-u, in a speech in the fifth month of the sixth year of the reign of King Kongmin, severely pointed out the uselessness to the nation as a whole of the king’s blind faith in Buddhism.

 

The way of a king lies in educating people by practicing the Buddha Dharma, setting an example and teaching it, but not in blind belief in Buddhism, which is not necessary. If a king is not able to govern the nation with virtue, though he believes in Buddhism intrinsically, what will be the benefit? … The king should give up the wrong and follow the right for the nation to be free from hardship.3

 

This was also the time when Yuan and Ming dynasties were replaced. The uncertainty of the policy of the foreign ministry along with the trend of distrusting Buddhism after the affair of Master Shindon, who gained favor with King Kongmin and subse­quently became in charge of national administration, led to the way. Confucianism was thus able to openly criticize Buddhism and get established as the new religious direction of the nation. The Confucianism of that time had already passed the stage of its early acceptation of Buddhism by passing the following remark displaying its attitude of negotiation, “Religion is Buddhism and the study of the principles of government is Confucianism.” In this way Confu­cianism showed itself to be the new religion with a new metaphys­ical doctrinal system.

Especially Neo-Confucianism was founded with a strong, hid­den inclination towards the persecution of Buddhism so that it was inevitable that Neo-Confucianism would attack anything it could in Buddhism in order to strengthen its own position.4

With all of this in mind, let us take a look at this attack. Buddhism responded to the confrontation by concentrating in two directions. The first was internal and aimed at correcting the ruined moral fiber of the monks and establishing a pure samgha, and the second was to promote the Seon tradition through introducing the new Seon Dharma. Examples of the first include various belief and practice communities in the middle and late Goryeo periods, and integration of the second was the introduction of Linji Seon. The two, of course, cannot be completely separated from each other. But when we keep the latter in mind, the three great masters T’aego Po-u, Naong Hyegeun and Baegun Gyeonghan are of central impor­tance.

These three masters were great Buddhist philosophers who gave direction to the middle and the late 14th century with their fine thinking. They shared the common experience of having all returned after studying the Dharma of Linji Seon in Yuan, even though their aims were different. Master Po-u went to Yuan in 1346, the second year of the reign of King Ch’ungmok, and returned after he had learned from Master Shiwu Qinggong, the 18th generation of the Linji Order.5 Master Naong went to Yuan in 1348, the fourth year of the reign of the same king and returned after he had received the Dharma of Master Pingshan Chulin who had studied with Master Shiwu Qinggong under the same teacher.6 Master Baegun went to Yuan in 1351, the third year of the reign of King Ch’ungjeong and came back after receiving the Dharma of Master Shiwu Qinggong.7

At that time the Linji Order was divided into the Huanglong (Kor. Hwangnyong) and the Yangqi (Kor. Yangji) orders, and the order which the three masters introduced was the latter.   The Yangqi Order was the most popular in China because its central thought proclaimed was the idea of “the natural true person.”

The Seon tradition of the Linji Order was not, of course, first introduced to Korea in the time of these three masters;8 it had already been proclaimed by Master Pojo Chinul (1158-1210). The Linji approach of “the shortcut gate” (Kor. kyeongjeol-mun) of in­vestigating the “principal topic” called “hwadu’ (literally head (topic) of speech”) originates from the Sayings of Dahui, and Master Dahui Zonggao belonged to the Yangqi lineage of the Linji Order.9

The core of the tradition of the Linji Order lies in the Seon of investigating the hwadu (Kor. Ganhwa Seon), and it was contin­ued in books such as The Essence and the Songs of Seon (Kor. Seonmun-yeomsong) of Master Hyeshim; Stories of the Essence and the Songs (Kor. Yeomsong-seolhwa) of Master Kagun; The Assembly of the Essence and the Songs (Kor. Yeomsong-sawon) of Master Iryon; and Second Edition of the Assembly of the Essence and the Songs (Kor. Chung-pyeon-yeomsong-sawon) of Master Hon-gu. These teachings were also found in Resolving Doubts about Observ­ing the Principal Topic (Kor. Ganhwa-kyeorui-ron) of Master Chinul, and in this way the main stream of Korean Seon was finally established.10of Master Chinul, and in this way the main stream of Korean Seon was finally established.

But the existing streams of Seon introduced to Korea and incorporated into the Nine Mountains of Seon included elements of confrontation and conflict, and the reality of these problems became exaggerated and even reached the level of a national issue.

 

Nowadays monks of the Nine Mountains of Seon rely on the support of their own Dharma families, seriously distin­guishing between the families and judging their superiority; this leads to fights. Recently the struggle is getting more violent. They hold spears and shields in their hands and hedge fences, hence they destroy the harmony and break the good Dharma Alas! Seon was originally one family but men have made it into many families. Where can the truth of the Buddha be found? Where is equality and no-self, the pure family tradition of no formality which was continued through succeeding gene­rations of masters? Where is the will to protect the Dharma and comfort the nation of the late kings?11

 

Subsequently, Master Po-u presented a memorial to the king to unite all sects and strictly purify the dignity of the samgha by setting up the Pure Rules of Baizhang. Master Po-u’s proposal was adopted, so the Department of Harmonization (Kor. Wonyung-pu) was established at Kwangjo-sa in the same year.12 All monks were forced to study for the monks’ examination (Kor. kongbuseon) at Hoeam-sa under the supervision of Master Hyegeun in 1370, the 19th year of the reign of King Kongmin,13 and this constituted an effort at accomplishing the philosophical integration of the Five Schools and Two Orders. This effort speaks of the deep effect of the conviction of the masters that the active nature of Linji Seon could be the mental background for governing the nation.14

This introduction of Linji Seon and the advice of masters Po­ll, Naong and Baegun can be regarded as a presentation of the new ideology based on reforming declining Buddhism in the late Goryeo Period. It also performed the double service of making a Buddhist contribution to the nation even though it was a failure and had little effect. This was partly due to the fact that the political char­acter of the time was conservative, and the corruption of the samgha was having such a deep influence that hardly anything could be done about it.15

The series of reformations which were actively pursued, like the union of the Nine Mountains and the transfer of the capital to Hanyang (present day Seoul) from Gaegyong by Master Po-u was stopped by various political upheavals. For example, King Kongmin who had initially tried to establish a national identity through an anti-Yuan policy, allowed his understanding of Buddhism to become warped in later life as he worked hard for good fortune alone. Due to this he was killed in 1374 by some influen­tial families, showing that the sovereign power of Goryeo was actually controlled by them and not necessarily by the king.

The new movement of Goryeo Buddhism, without maturing into a philosophy for saving the nation, was overwhelmed by the strong arguments used by Confucian scholars to reject Buddhism, and so Buddhism had to walk with a declining nation towards the sun setting on its former glory and the result was a dark period of political suppression during the 500 years of the Joseon Dynasty.16

Still the introduction of Linji Seon in the late Goryeo Period had significant philosophical repercussions in its three main aspects of introspection by the samgha itself, presentation of the basic principles for the purification movement and proclamation of the Son tradition as a means of spiritual life in peaceful times.

 

C. The Life and Writings of Master Baegun

 

Master Baegun Gyeonghan was born at Kobu of Jolla-do Province in 1298, the 24th year of the reign of King Chungyeol. He was ordained early and received the pen name of Kyeonghan. He did not have a fixed teacher but wandered around Korea It is not certain when he went to Yuan but it seems that he stayed there for a year between 1351 and 1352.17 As in the case of Mas­ter Naong, he also asked Master Zhikong about the Dharma and received it from Master Shiwu Qinggong. He was recommended by Master T’aego to King Kongmin and called to a special post by the king in 1357, the sixth year of his reign but refused courte­ously. Eight years later, in 1365, the 14th year of the reign of the same king, he was again recommended by Master Naong and ac­cepted to be chief monk of Shin-gwang-sa. In 1368, he occupied the position of chief monk of Heungseong-sa, which was built as a royal temple for the king’s dead Queen Noguk-kongju from Yuan. He took charge of the monks’ examinations in the 19th year of the reign, and then stayed in various small hermitages. He passed away at Chwiam-sa in Yeoju at the age of 77 in 1374, the 23rd year of King Kongmin.

Some count the year of his death as 1375. Because they have consulted the record of Yi Ku in the preface of the Sayings of Master Baegun (Kor. Baegun-hwasang-eorok) where it is written “I have seen his greatness when I met him at Shin-gwang-sa in the fall of the year of the snake (1365), and he left ten years later.” If so, the year of his death becomes 1375, and the year of his birth is 1299 because of the record which states that he lived for 77 years.18 But then the “after ten years” mentioned in the preface could be 1374 if one counts the ten years from 1365. Hence the date of his death could be either 1374 or 1375.

The Sayings of Master Baegun is recorded by Master Seokchan, Master Baegun’s assistant, in which the prefaces of Yi Saek and Yi Ku are recorded along with the Dharma speeches, hymns, poems and letters of Master Baegun. The book was published in two volumes. Of particular interest is the Excerpts of Direct Point­ing to the Mind Essentials: Abstracted by Master Baegun (Kor. Baegun-hwasang-chorok-jikji-simche-yojeol), two volumes which is now preserved in Paris. It is the world’s first book printed with movable metal type and is therefore of great importance in the history of printing.

The Excerpts was edited when the master was 75 years old. He chose these essential writings for “direct pointing to the human mind, so as to behold the Buddha-nature and become a Buddha” from books like Jinde Records of the Transmission of the Lamp (Ch. Jinde chuandeng lu, Kor. Kyeongdeok-jeondeung-nok) and Col­lections of the Five Lamps (Ch. Wudeng huiyuan, Kor. Odeung-hoewon). It includes Dharma speeches and hymns from the seven past Buddhas through generations of masters. Though some of the ideas of the editor, Master Baegun, are included in the book, as it is a collection of excerpts, it can not be regarded as representative of the Master Baegun’s teachings.

 

D. The Characteristics of Master Baegun’s Seon Thought

 

1) The Problem of Tradition of Order

Master Baegun together with masters Po-u and Naong instigat­ed a new Seon tradition in the late Goryeo Period. However, as Master Baegun had certain characteristics which were special to him alone, he set up a unique family tradition which differs from other Korean Seon families.

In the Sayings of Master Baegun the expression “tradition of order” (Kor. chongp’ung, literally “wind of the order”) often ap­pears. What order does the word “order” refer to? Does it mean the general Seon Order, the one that differs from Kyo in the Seon and Kyo two orders, or some other specific order? It is necessary to examine this, because this inquiry is closely related to the ques­tion of whether Master Baegun’s lineage is legitimate Linji Seon or not.

In the Sayings of Master Baegun, first volume, there is a con­versation between Master Baegun and a monk. There Master Baegun says, “I am going to fan the wind of the order of 1,000 years old, so that it blossoms in good fortune in the Three Han States (Kor. Samhan).” And the monk asks, “What tune are you singing and whose wind of order are you succeeding?” Hereby Master Baegun answers, “I sold fresh wind to the bones and bought white clouds casually.”19

The phrases “fresh wind” and “white clouds” were used in the death hymn of Master Shiwu, which was sent to Master Baegun. Yi Ku wrote in his preface to the Sayings of Master Baegun in 1377 as follows:

 

Master Shiwu at his death sent a hymn to Master Baegun.

I bought white clouds (“Baegun” literally means white clouds) and sold fresh wind,

So the whole house is empty and poor to the bone.

To a barely remaining straw-thatched cottage,

Fire was set when I left it.20

 

This enables us to know that Master Shiwu transmitted his Dharma to Master Baegun.

Hence the phrase of buying white clouds and selling fresh wind signifies the transmission of the Dharma from Master Shiwu to Master Baegun, and Master Baegun’s answer indicates that the tradition of his order was that of Master Shiwu. Considering the fact that Master Shiwu was of the 18th generation after Master Linji, it can be guessed that Master Baegun had the tradition of the Linji lineage as his tradition. Moreover, the same question which the monk asked Master Baegun is also found in the Records of Linji (Ch. Linji lu, Kor. Imje-rok)as below.

 

(A monk) asked, What tune are you singing and whose wind of order are you succeeding?” Master Linji answered, “I asked Master Huangbo three times and was struck three times.”2I

 

The characters of the question are exactly the same as the one given to Master Baegun. Here, Master Linji, by telling that he asked Master Huangbo three times and was struck three times, re­veals that he is designated as the successor of the order of Master Huangbo and sings of Master Huangbo’s family tradition. We can also definitely conclude, through the same question and answer, that Master Baegun succeeded the tradition of the order of Master Shiwu and sang Master Shiwu’s family song. In addition, this re­cord shows us that Master Baegun showed his preference for Mas­ter Linji when he compared the different family traditions of the various Seon families. After he assessed the family traditions of var­ious people like Flower Garland scholar Li Tongxuan, Master Weiyang, masters Shitou and Yaoshan, he added:

 

(They) sometimes hit with sticks or shout, and sometimes they become the guest or the host, sometimes they take and sometimes they leave and they wielded practicality like thun­der. Hence masters Linji and Deshan alone surpass all others.22

 

This attitude of Master Baegun towards Master Linji continued in the relationship with Master Shiwu. Therefore Master Baegun, in the following letter to Master T’aego, wrote that both of them are disciples of Master Shiwu.

 

This follower planted good seed in his past life so he could join with you, great master, and so both of us are disci­ples of Master Shiwu. …Now in the world of today, apart from Master Zhikong, it is rare to see such a great master as Master Shiwu. Though the master has already passed away, his “Seon precedent” (or “case,” Kor. kongan) remains.23

 

But there are several problems in regard to Master Baegun as the legitimate successor of Master Shiwu. Professor Suh Yoon-kil thinks that Master Baegun did not succeed Master Shiwu’s Dharma lineage though it is certain that Master Baegun did study under Master Shiwu.24 The reason lies in the fact that Master Baegun attained awakening while he was reading from “Song of Enlighten­ment” of Master Yongjia Xuanjue one year after his return from Yuan and not while he was studying under Master Shiwu. Therefore Professor Suh concludes that the meeting between Master Baegun and Master Shiwu was not an opportunity for awakening but one in which the Dharma succession was established. In spite of this, Master Baegun is still of the same lineage as Master Shiwu according to Professor Suh.

Even though Master Baegun is not regarded as a legitimate successor of the Linji lineage, the expressions which he reveals in his Sayings enable us to guess that the family tradition mentioned by him was that of Master Shiwu who succeeded Master Linji, and so we have to accept his claim that “both of us are disciples of Master Shiwu.

 

2) True Teaching of No-mind

 

Though both masters Baegun and Po-u were disciples of Mas­ter Shiwu who succeeded Master Linji’s Dharma tradition, the two masters were quite different from each other in spreading the tradi­tion. Master Po-u himself does not use the word “Linji tradition,” and he had already attained awakening by investigating the hwadu “No” (Kor. Mu) of Master Mazu before he went to Yuan and met Master Shiwu. When he met Master Shiwu, he presented what he had realized along with his “Song of the Ancient Hermitage” (Kor. T’aego-am-ka). Master Shiwu responded by saying, “Looking at what you have realized, your study is right and your view is clear. But leave all of them.” Master Po-u replied, “It has been a long time since I have left them.”25 Master Po-u, after his return, was consistent with the teachings of the Son of investigating the hwadu.

But in the case of Master Baegun, he did not make “investi­gating the hwadu” a subject of discussion. He only once mentioned the hwadu.

 

This mountain monk wandered around the south and north of the Yangzi River (of China) and visited all good masters last year. They taught students using hwadus like “No” of Master Mazu, “all Dharmas return to the one” and “look for your original face before the birth of your parents” … there was no other teaching.

Finally I visited Master Shiwu at Tienhuan hermitage on Mt. Xiawushan and assisted him several days. There I learned the “true teaching of no-mind” and completely realized the utmost sublime truth of the Tathagatas.26

 

Considering this, Master Baegun seems to have studied investi­gation of the hwadu under Master Shiwu and realized the “utmost sublime truth” of the “true teaching of no-mind.” Master Baegun talked about the utmost sublime truth when he gave a Dharma talk.

 

The ways and means of old sages are as many as the sands of the Ganges River. But the Sixth Patriarch said “It is neither the wind nor the flag but the mind which moves”, and this is the utmost true teaching which transcends the main thesis as well as all forms.27

 

Here, “the movement of the mind” is a concept opposite to that of “no-mind,” and Master Baegun grasped not “no-mind” but “the movement of the mind” as the focus of the problem. Accordingly, “no-mind is the “utmost true teaching” and it is the es­sence of Master Baegun’s main Seon thesis. The reason that he quoted the above phrases of Master Huineng several times was to emphasize no-mind.

Subsequently, Master Baegun expressed his view of the truth as the “utmost mental impression”, 28 the “utmost sublime truth”29 or the “true teaching of no-mind and no-thought,”30and said I have already realized the ‘no-mind’ and I wish that unenlightened people may attain the same realization as I have done.”31 He again emphasized:and said I have already realized the ‘no-mind’ and I wish that unenlightened people may attain the same realization as I have done.” He again emphasized:

 

If I had not learned the true teaching of no-mind, how could this great liberation of today be possible? The phrase, “no-mind,” is something which surpasses myriads of causes between a teacher and a disciple, and is not to be neglected. Nothing can pay for this enormous kindness, though I try to exert myself to the utmost.32

 

This saying shows how ardent the shock of “no-mind and no-thought” made him become. His enthusiasm is clearly shown in his letter to the king written in the ninth month in the year of the dog, when he was asked by the king to take charge of the exami­nations. There he mentions, “This is the utmost sublime means, Sometimes it is called no-mind or sometimes no-thought.”33 Master Baegun’s method of reflecting on his study is to avoid the following nine things.

 

What is reflecting on study?

It is not necessarily investigating the hwadu,

nor is it necessarily considering the hwadu,

nor is it necessarily speaking as a substitute for the sayings of old masters,

nor is it necessarily speaking,

nor is it necessarily reading sutras,

nor is it necessarily writing or studying commentaries,

nor is it necessarily wandering all around searching for teach­ers,

nor is it necessarily getting away from noisiness and searching for calmness,

nor is it moving the mind and looking outside, nor is it clear­ing the mind and silently looking inside.

If you follow your own direction, being influenced by such things, then please realize that what you are doing has nothing to do with reflection on study.34

 

And then he gave a definition of reflection on study using old sayings that sincere students should keep in mind. “Reflection on study should be done faithfully, and awakening should be attained faithfully. One should learn no-mind and effortless action and be always free from thoughts and awake. No-thought sees the original person.”

The conclusion of Master Baegun’s thinking is that all means of investigating the hwadu and reading the sutras and studying the commentaries are inferior to no-thought. But Master Baegun warned of the misunderstanding of no-mind, saying that no-mind and no-thought do not indicate a consciousness that is similar to the earth, to a tree, to a tile or to a stone.35 Therefore he sang in his “Song of No-mind” (Kor. Mushim-ka):

 

If mind is deserted

Conditions become calm by themselves.

And when conditions become calm

Mind does not move by itself.

That is the so-called

True teaching of no-mind.36

 

As we have examined so far, Master Baegun only realized the true teaching of no-mind and no-thought and declared them as the best way. Though masters Po-u, Naong and Baegun were contem­porary masters who studied under Master Shiwu, their family tradi­tions were not the same. Especially Master Baegun claimed, “This old monk came into the world trying to hit the Dharma drum and straighten out the already disintegrated principles. You look at it closely.” The claim well shows his will to revive the Goryeo Bud­dhist world of no-principle by introducing a new line of Seon thinking and development.

 

3) The Stage of Awakening

 

The emphasis of the true teachings of no-thought are general­ly found in the Seon thought of Master Baegun. In his Dharma talk “Minor Talk on Entering HeungSeong-sa, 37 he explains equal­ity. Assuming that Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, or total awakening is equality and that there is neither high nor low, he went on to describe this equality as not being the cutting off of the legs of a crane and then joining them to a duck, or the breaking of a mountain in order to fill up a valley. Therefore, long ones are Dharma-bodies as they are, and short ones are Dharma-bodies as they are. Dharma sticks are Dharma sticks, mountains are mountains, Water is water,  holiness is holiness, and worldiness is worldiness.

And he added that wise people can understand this but ignorant people just cling to the sayings.

Here, the stage of awakening after all indicates the stage of equality where discrimination is cut off. Accordingly, it can be considered that no-thought does not mean no thinking but it signi­fies the absolute equality of no discrimination. That is why real equality regards mountains as mountains and water as water, and never makes mountains into water or water into mountains.

Master Baegun thought that the stage of equality of no-thought is understood differently according to the different faculties. When he gave a Dharma speech, he held up a Dharma stick and showed it to his students, asking “What do we call this? Should we call it a Dharma stick, or not?” Then he answered himself:38

 

Ordinary men say it exists,

The two vehicles (Skt. dviyana, Kor. iseung) say it does not exist.

The self-enlightened Buddhas (Skt. Pratyeka-buddha, Kor. yeon-gak) say it a phantom,

Bodhisattvas say it is something whose present body is empty.

 

But such an explanation is the judgment of Kyo, and Seon never regards things in that way. The attitude of Seon is as below:

 

The Dharma stick is a Dharma stick,

And the Buddha hall is a Buddha hall.

Mountains are mountains, water is water and the mundane is the mundane. Why is it so?

The suitable place for all Dharmas is of itself the truth, calm­ness, extinction (Skt. Nirvana) and liberation.39

 

Master Baegun also thought that Seon and Kyo originally are not two. But he understood this level of awakening from the attitude of the Seon of no-thought, and he emphasized that belief is first needed above all to attain that stage. When the Buddha said “People of mind can surely attain Buddhahood,” he meant to give rise to clear thinking free from error and defilements, the utmost awak­ened mind. The reason that students think it is hard to do so is because of their lack of “belief in determination.” He emphasized that the belief in determination comes from the will for determi­nation,” and that this belief is the start of entering the truth.40

 

4) Presenting Dharma of Son of the Patriarchs and Means of No-mind

 

Master Baegun, in his writing called “Seon of the patriarchs” (Kor. Chosa Seon) explained the Seon that the patriarchs teach and use to guide their students and what it means to practice a subject of discussion. According to him, traditional Seon is the Seon of the Tathagatha (Kor. Yeorae Seon), and the Seon of the patriarchs is the Chinese style of Seon which was a new form which had not existed previously in India at the time of the Buddha.

He maintained that the main thesis of the Seon of the patri­archs is expressed by color, sound and language, and a practitioner attains awakening through these means. He explained through these examples:41

 

Representing the Dharma through speech can be done in this way: “Have you eaten your rice porridge?” “I have.” Then Wash your bowl. To attain awakening at that time is done like that.

Representing the Dharma through speech and sound is: “Do you hear the sound of the stream?” “I do.” Then immedi­ately, “Enter into it.” To attain awakening at that time is done like this.

Representing the Dharma by sound is this: It is to attain awakening by listening to “the sounds of crows, magpies, donkeys and dogs which are all turning the wheel of the Tathagata.”

Representing the Dharma by color and sound is: Various actions like lifting a stick, standing up a switch42, snapping the fingers and scolding are all the Seon of the patriarchs. Thus when the sound is heard, that is the time of awakening, and one attains awakening when one sees colors.

 

Hence Master Baegun thought that Master Lingyun attained awakening by color, Master Xiangyan by sound, and it is great that Master Yunmen was troubled with a leg and Master Xuansha with a foot.

That was the explicit explanation of the characteristics of the Seon of the patriarchs and its ways of representing the Dharma. Master Baegun, when he was in-charge of the examinations in 1370, the 19th year of the reign of King Kongmin, carefully de­fined his ways of explaining the Dharma in his writings to the king. There he wrote that the utmost sublime means of practicing the hwadu and the state of no-mind are as follows:

 

To express my opinion concerning study, students’ medita­tion can be examined using the hwadu, making an announce­ment, and using color, sound and speech.43

 

On this assumption, he then gave precise instructions and ex­amples explaining:

 

Firstly, the hwadu is like the “No” of Master Mazu, “all Dharmas return to the one” and look for your original face before the birth of your parents.”

Secondly, make an announcement like “the big pine in the garden,” three keun (Ch. jin) of yams” and “a dried shit stick.”

Thirdly, representing the Dharma by color is like lifting a stick or standing up a switch.

Fourthly, representing the Dharma by sound is like beat­ing it down with a stick or shouting.

Fifth, representing the Dharma by speech is like this: “Do you hear the sound of water?” “I do.” “Enter into it.”

Sixth, there is no-mind and no-thought.

 

This “no-mind and no-thought” were added later and they be­long to the Seon thought of Master Baegun. Explaining the sixth, he considers it the most sublime means and explains:

 

There is a most sublime means, namely, the teaching of no-mind and no-thought. That is according to the sayings of the Sixth Patriarch, “If one does not think at all of any good or evil, then he/she automatically enters into the original place of the mind. This state is always calm and sublime like the sands of the Ganges River,” of Master Huangbo; “If one, as a student of truth, cannot be mindless he/she cannot accomplish anything at all though he/she practices for several lives,” of Zhuoxianggong; “If a single thought does not arise, the whole appears” of the teachers like Li Wenhe; “Proceed on a straight path to the utmost awakening and do not be concerned with right and wrong.”44

 

Master Baegun, quoting the sayings of various people, said that no-mind or no-thought are the utmost sublime means. To him the greatest way of representing the Dharma in the Seon of the patri­archs is not the hwadu but no-mind or no-thought.

 

E. Conclusion

 

As we have seen, it is difficult to draw a conclusion as to whether Master Baegun was a legitimate successor of Master Linji or not. But what can be said for sure is that he was faithful to the family tradition of linji Seon and served Master Shiwu as his teacher. As far as investigating the hwadu, though he mentioned little about it, he did not emphasize it as much as Master Po-u did. Instead, he stressed on Seon of no-mind and no-thought, similar to the concepts of “the noble man of no work” or “the true man of no rank’ which are seen mainly in the Sayings of Linji For him, awakening is a stage of equality of no-thought, that is, a stage of considering mountains as mountains and water as water.

Subsequently, he properly classified and explained the ways of representing the Dharma of the Seon of the patriarchs and the means of guiding and teaching students. According to him, no-mind and no-thought are the most sublime ways above all other ways of the hwadu, making an announcement, through color, sound, speech, speech and sound, and color and sound. Once again, he considered the means of no-mind or no-thought more sublime than investigating the hwadu in the practice of the Seon of the patriarchs and in the training of young aspirants. These are the unique characteristics of Master Baegun’s teachings.

 

NOTES

1.      History of Goryeo (Kor. Goryeosa)38; article of the sixth month, the fourth year of the reign of King Kongmin; and Yi Neung-hwa, Compre­hensive History of Korean Buddhism (Kor. Joseon-bulgyo-tongsa) 1, p. 312.)38; article of the sixth month, the fourth year of the reign of King Kongmin; and Yi Neung-hwa, (Kor. J) 1p. 312.

2.      Ibid. 115, chapter “Successive Records” (Kor. Yeoljeon), article on Yi Saek.

3.      Ibid. 38, chapter “Distinguished Family” (Kor. Sega), article on King Kongmin.

4.      Yi Chong-ik, “Criticism of Jeong Do-jeon’s Theory of Avoiding Buddhism” (Kor. Jeong-Do-jeon-ui-pyeoksa-ron-pip’an), in Collection of Theses of Eastern Thought (Kor. Dongbang-sasang-nonchong), 1977, pp. 308-310.

5.      “Stupa of National Teacher Wonjeung of T’aego-sa” (Kor. Taego-sa-wonjeung-kuksa-tap-bi), in Whole Survey of Korean Monumental Inscriptions (Kor. Joseon-keumseok-chongnam) 1, p.526.p.526.

6.      Monument of King’s Teacher Seon-gak of Hoeam-sa (Kor. Hoeam-sa-seon-gak-wangsa-bi), in Ibid., pp.500-501.

7.      Yi Ku, “Preface of Sayings of Master Baegun” (Kor. Baegun-hwa-sang-eorok-seo), in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts (Kor. Han-guk-bulgyo-jeoonseo) 6, p.637.

8.      Suh Yoon-kil, “The Acceptance of Linji Seon in Late Goryeo Period” (Kor. Gorywo-mal-imje-swon-ui-suyong), in Study of Korean Seon Thought (Kor. Han-guk-seon-sasang-yeon-gu)the Korean Buddhist Research Insti­tute, Dongguk Univ. Press, 1984, pp.202-208.

9.      Heo Heung-shik, “Revival of Goryeo Seon Order and Development of Ganhwa Seon” (Kor. Goryeo-seonjong-ui-buheung-gwa-ganhwa-seon-ui-jeon-gae), Gyujanggak 6, pp.11-18.pp.11-18.

10. Ko Ik-chin, “Nation-protecting Development of Goryeo Buddhist Thought” (Kor. Goryeo-bulgyo-sasang-ui-hoguk-jeok-jeon-gae) 2, in Memoirs of Buddhist Studies (Kor. Bulgyo-hakpo) 14, pp.52-53.

11. Sayings of Master Baegun (Kor. Baegun-hwasang-eorok), in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p.698.

12. Ibid.

13. Monument of King’s Teacher Seon-gak, in Whole Survey of Korean Monumental Inscriptions 1, p. 501.

14. Ko Ik-chin, Ibid, p.55.

15. Min Hyeon-ku, “Shindon’s coming to Power and Political Characteristics” (Kor. Shindon-ui-chipkkwon-gwa-keu-jeongchi-jeok-seongkkyeok), in Memoirs of History (Kor. Yeoksa-hakpo) 38 and 40, 1968.

16. Chae Sang-shik, “Developmental Phase and Tendency of Buddhist Histo­ry in Late Goryeo Period” (Kor. Goryeo-hugi-bulgyo-sa-ui-jeon-gae-yangsang-gwa-keu-kyeonghyang), in Historical Education (Kor. Yeoksa-kyoyuk) 35, 1984, p. 136.

17. Sayings of Master Baegun, in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p.656.

18. Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, article on “death hymn” p.668.

19. Sayings of Master Baegun I, in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p.636.

20. Ibid., p.637

21. Seoong trans., Records of Linji (Kor. Imje-rok), Dongseo-munhwasa, 1974, p.63.

22. Sayings of Master Baegun (Kor. Baegun-hwasang-eorok) 1, in Whole Col­lection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p.641.

23. Ibid, p. 663.

24. Suh Yoon-kil, “The Acceptance of Linji Seon in Late Goryeo Period (Kor. Goryeo-mal-imje-seon-ui-suyong), in Study of Korean Seon Thought, the Korean Buddhist Research Institute, Dongguk Univ. Press, 1984, p.229.

25. Yu Chang, “Records of Master Taego” (Kor. Taego-hwasang-haengjang), in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p.697.

26. Sayings of Master Baegun, in Whole Collection of Korean Buddhist Texts 6, p. 649.

27. Ibid, p. 642.

28. Ibid, p.646.

29. Ibid.

30. Ibid, p.657.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid., p.656.

34. Ibid, p.652.

35. Ibid, p.639.

36. Ibid, p.663.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid., p.641.

40. Ibid., p.641.

41. Ibid., p.654.

42. This is a yak’s tail mounted on a wooden stick which is a sign of the office and position held by special monks.

43. Ibid, p.656.

44. Ibid., p.656.

Doing practice by Ganhwaseon in America

Doing practice by Ganhwaseon in America
From International Symposium of Bojo Thoughts Institute, 16, November, 2005


Ven. Jong-Ho(Prof. Mun Gi, Bark)

Dept. of Seon, Dongguk Univ. & Graduate School



Ⅰ. Introduction



   It has been taken for 50 years or more since Seon(Zen in Jap./ Ch’an in China/Sitting Meditation in the US) had been introduced as a technique of practice in American society. Many Zen masters came to the States from South-eastern areas; Korea, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Sri-Lanka, Vietnam, and then they made up a new linage of American Zen, since Suzuki Shunryu(1904~1971) had built San Francisco Zen Center(SFZC) in 1958, in which a hall for practicing and a farm for self-sufficiency are completed.

   Today, it is due to them that there are the various methods of Zen with many Zen-Centers and web-sites on internet for meditation practice in the States. If we surf on internet for a moment, immediately, we’d find out hundreds of web-sites related with Zen. I heard, that there are about 30 to 50 thousand of Zen Centers in the States, by a Zen-practitioner whom I met, while I was staying in the States in 2004.

   Among them, first SFZC is organizing 9 Zen Centers around San Francisco, 10 in California area and 14 in the other areas. And Tibetan Shambhalla Center is organizing about 1,500 branches all around the States, IMS(Insight Meditation Society) is organizing about 5 hundred or more, and there are lots of Zen-Centers and practitioners. We can say, the number is not so considerable in the big country, but it is  raised up so rapidly for a short period.

   I classified the groups in the States into 4 methods of practice; Vajrayana Practice by Tibetan gurus, Vippassana Practice by South-eastern practitioners, Mook-jo Seon(Silent Illumination without kong-an/kung-an in China) by Japanese practitioners and Gan-hua Seon(Meditation with kong-an or hua-t’ou) by Korean, Japanese and Chinese practitioners. By the methods, Vajrayana is surpassed others, Vipassana is the next, and then Mook-jo, and the last is Gan-hua.

   Hereby, specifically I’ll look into the Gan-hua Seon method in American society. In the lineage of Gan-hua Seon, there are separated to many families from their own Zen Masters, but I’ll study a few big families among them and also study the field related with 3 countries; Korea, China, Japan. I don’t want to review the great Zen Masters’ biographies, either. So I’d like to mention their activities inside of the States.





Ⅱ. Gan-hwa Seon of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi



   1. Life of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi

  Joshu Sasaki Roshi(1907~   ) arrived in L.A. on July, 1962, because his teacher asked him to go to America to teach Zen Buddhism and at that time, Dr. Robert Harmon and Dr. Gladys Weisbart had been independently trying to bring a Rinzai Zen monk to L.A. They sponsored Master Joshu Roshi to come to the US.

  After arriving there, the Master Rhoshi began to teach Zen(Seon) for a few Zen students in a small house lent by Dr. Harmon. Before long, his teaching were attracting so many Zen students and the more lay-people gathered to learn his Zen teaching. At last, the Cimarron Zen Center, since renamed Rinzai-ji Zen Center as the first Zen Center, was opened in L.A.1)

 Three year later, Rinjai-ji’s main training center, Mt. Baldy Zen center, was opened. This Center has gained a reputation in international Zen circles for its rigorous practice for 19 hours a day. Most of Rinjai-ji’s monks and nuns have received some or all of intensive training there. 

 And Michelle Martin who were practicing at Mt. Baldy Zen center, asked to practice in New Mexico area, and then Master, Joshu S, Roshi opened Jamez Bodhi Mandala, now Bodhi Mandala Zen Center in 1974. It became Master J. S, Roshi’s second training Center, offering daily Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation) and communal work practice. In this Center, all practitioners were growing fresh greens and fruits together. It means Zen practice is not different from farming everyday life.

   For 5 years, Master J. S, Roshi had never tired, offering Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation), investigating kong-an, having private Dharma meeting in a very small house. He had always served tea, cooked for himself, whenever he met with anyone who came to practice. Specially, to commemorate his fifth birthday in 1967, he began to practice Seven-Day Intensive Retreat(Dai-Sesshin) at first, which has developed to another tradition for practice under the Master J. S, Roshi’s teaching. During the Intensive Retreat, practitioners usually do Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation). Now there are 21 branches in the US under his teaching.

   It is notable that the Master J. S, Roshi has held the Buddhist Sutra Seminar every summer at Mt. Baldy Zen Center since 1977. Over 16 years, many Buddhist scholars have taken part in the seminar from other countries. Naturally, Rinjai Zen under Master J. S, Roshi’s teachings was more prevalent.

   He has taught his Zen students with old patriarchs’ Dharma Talks and interviewed them in the face of him with private until now, though he is walking 98th year. It is interesting that he was familiar with Korean Zen Master, Seung Sahn friendly. And he was very sad, when the Master, Seung Sahn passed away in 2004.

   2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Joshu S, Roshi

   Even though Master J. S, Roshi has taught Gan-hwa Seon with kong-ans under Rinzai-ji, I wonder how he has checked the kong-ans for his Zen students. As for me, it was difficult to get the related data more. However, it’s obvious that he teaches Zen(Sitting Meditation) with hard, using the traditional method of ‘investigating kong-an’ and his own modern style. I confirmed to the Zen Center of Master J. S, Roshi a few times, that Master J. S, Roshi gives Hua-t’ou to the Zen students who is needed to test and checks the answers in the face of him. But usually beginners have learned the ‘counting breathing’ first and then, ‘investigating Hua-t’ou’ one after another.

   Until now they have kept on practicing ‘7-Day Intensive Retreat’ one or two times a month, and Master J. S, Roshi has had private interview directly 4 times everyday during the period. At that time, usually he gives big questions(Hua-t’ou) as follow; “Who am I?”, “What am I?”, “What was my original face before I was born?”, “What is it?”.

   However, we couldn’t confirm any more because they don’t want show their private teachings. They wants to come and ask for their methods of practice the Zen Center, if somebody would have any question. Though Master J. S, Roshi is a Japanese, he has chosen only Gan-hua(Investigating Hua-t’ou), not Mook-jo(Silent Illumination) as the methods of practice.

   And we know he also uses the Buddhist daily-service or communal working and so forth, by the methods of practice, on his web-sites. During the ‘Intensive Retreat’, practitioners do Zazen(Ch’am Seon/Sitting Meditation), must keep silence, and finally can be free out of all delusion. By doing this, we could attain the self-nature and get wisdom to help all sentient-beings everyday life.2) 

   Consequently, Master J. S, Roshi emphasizes that you attain your true nature through the practice with kong-ans, and apply the wisdom into your real life. For the purport, he teaches Zazen(Ch’am Seon with Hua-t’ou), Intensive Retreat(Dai Sesshin), checks the kong-ans(private interview) directly, and ‘counting breathing’ for the beginners. And on farming greens and fruits, he leads the practitioners to apply daily life with Zen.





Ⅲ. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Sheng-yen

  

   1. Life of Zen Master, Sheng-yen

   Zen Master, Sheng-yen(聖嚴, 1931~ ) was born in a small village near Shanghai in 1931. Later on his Japanese teacher, Bantetsugu Roshi who met in his studying in Japan, asked him to teach Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Buddhism in the US. But he couldn’t speak English, so hesitated to leave. However, his teacher encouraged to him, ‘Zen doesn’t rely on words. Why worry about words?’

   When he had traveled to the State in 1977, where he had served as the abbot of a temple in New York for a while. And he opened a Ch’an(Seon/Meditation) Center in Queens, New York, to propagate Chinese Ch’an(Zen) in there. In 1978 he became a professor at Chinese Culture Univ. in Taipei. In 1980 he found a Ch’an(Seon/Zen) Center and Chung-Hwa Buddhist Cultural Institute in New York. In 1989 founded the International Cultural and Educational Foundation of Dharma Drum Mountain and reopened the Center in Queens to New York Branch of ICEFDDM. Nowadays there are 24 branches of ICEFDDM in New York. In the Center, there are organizing many programmes as follow; ‘One-Day Ch’an Retreat’, ‘One-Day Recitation Retreat’, ‘Three-Day Recitation Retreat’, ‘Seven-Day Intensive Hua-t’ou Retreat’, ‘Ten-Day Intensive Silent Illumination Retreat’, ‘Family Zen Camp’ and so forth. Specially they have Dharma meeting for questions and answers every programme.

   Finally, Master Sheng-yen had affected to open the Buddhist subject in almost 40 universities in the US. Currently 3,000 or more Zen students follow him in the States and about 300,000 are learning under his teaching in Taiwan. The Master has published more than 90 books, available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French and other languages.

   It is notable that the Master received by two major lineages of Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Buddhism; Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School and Cao-Dong(Soto) School, and he became the Dharma heir in these two traditions. At age 28, sojourning at various monasteries, he had the deepest spiritual experience of his life. The experiences were recognized by the masters later. In 1975 he formally received transmission from Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Master Dong-Chu(東初, 1908-1977) of Cao-Dong(Soto) School and in 1978, from Ch’an(Zen/Seon) Master Ling Yuan(靈源, 1902-1988) of the Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School.3)

   

  2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen-Master, Sheng-yen

 The Master emphasizes not only Gan-hua Seon(Ch’an/Zen), but also teaches sutras, mantra practice, and all the methods for practice. In his Dharma talking, there are basically included the Buddha’s teachings, theory of cause and effect, rebirth(samsara), emptiness and so forth. He also applies ‘Gan-hua Seon(investigating kung-an)’ of Lin-Ji(Rinzai) School, ‘Mook-jo Seon(silent illumination without kung-an)’ of Cao-Dong(Soto) School and ‘Ji-kwan(止觀/ Great Shamatha)’ of T’ien-t’ai School for practice. Regardless of the methods, he uses all the types for practice like; ‘counting breaths’, ‘reading sutras’, ‘invoking mantra’, ‘reciting buddha’s names’, ‘walking meditation’, ‘investigating Hua-t’ou’, ‘silent illumination’ and others.

   ‘Ch’an encompasses four key concepts: faith, understanding, practice, and realization. Faith belongs to the realm of religion; understanding is philosophical; practice is belief put into action; and realization is enlightenment. Without faith, we cannot understand; without understanding, we cannot practice; and without practice, we cannot realize enlightenment. Together, these four concepts create the doorway we enter to attain wisdom.”4) It means that the Master thought all the methods of practice are related with each other.

   In practicing meditation, Master Sheng-yen explained very simply. For beginners sitting postures on the cushion and the way of counting breaths is taught first. It is important that body and mind be relaxed. If one is physically or mentally tense, trying to meditate can be counter-productive. Sometimes certain feelings or phenomena arise while meditating. If you are relaxed, whatever symptoms arise are usually good. It can be pain, soreness, itchiness, warmth or coolness, these can all be beneficial. But in the context of tenseness, these same symptoms may indicate obstacles.

For example, despite being relaxed when meditating, you may sense pain in some parts of the body. Frequently, this may mean that tensions you were not aware of are benefiting from the circulation of blood and energy induced by meditation. A problem originally existing may be alleviated. On the other hand, if you are very tense while meditating and feel pain, the reason may be that the tension is causing the pain. So the same symptom of pain can indicate two different causes: an original problem getting better, or a new problem being created.5)

   The methods of Ch’an(Zen) that the Master, Sheng-yen has taught in the States are divided into three stages. The first stage is to balance the development of body and mind in order to attain mental and physical health. The second is free from the sense of the small “I”. The third is free from the large “I” to no “I”.

   The method of the first stage is very simple. Mainly it requires you to relax all the muscles and nerves of your entire body, and concentrate your attention on the method you have just learned. With regard to the body, we stress the demonstration and correction of the postures of walking, standing, sitting and reclining. Because the tension of your muscles and nerves affects the activity of the brain, the key is therefore to reduce the burden on your brain.

   In the second stage you begin to enter the stage of meditation. When you practice the method of cultivation taught by your teacher, you will enlarge the sphere of the outlook of the small “I” until it coincides with time and space. The small “I” merges into the entire universe, forming a unity. When you look inward, the depth is limitless; when you look outward, the breadth is limitless. Since you have joined and become one with universe, the world of your own body and mind no longer exists. What exists is the universe, which is infinite in depth and breadth. You yourself are not only a part of the universe, but also the totality of it.

  In the third stage you realizes that the concept of the “I” does not exist. But you have only abandoned the small “I” and have not negated the concept of basic substance or the existence of God; you may call it Truth, the one and only God, the Almighty, the Unchanging Principle, or even the Buddha of Buddhism. If you think that it is real, then you are still in the realm of the big “I” and have not left the sphere of philosophy and religion.

   I must emphasize that the content of Ch’an(Zen) does not appear until the third stage. Chan is unimaginable. It is neither a concept nor a feeling. It is impossible to describe it in any terms abstract or concrete.6)

   What is the Master’s methods for Ch’an(Zen) practice? He showed two styles for getting enlightenment; Gan-hwa Seon(Ch’an/Zen) with hua-t’ou of Lin-Ji(Linjai) School and Mook-jo Seon(Silent Illumination without hua-t’ou) of Cao Dong(Soto) School. Both of them enables us to be relaxed physically or mentally, and concentrate on mindfulness. The purpose of practicing Ch’an is to “Illuminate the mind and see into one’s true nature.” This investigation is also called ” Clearly realizing one’s self-mind and completely perceiving one’s original nature.”

   There are many hua-t’ou as such; “Who is dragging this corpse around?” “All dharmas return to one, where does this one return to?” “Before you were born what was your original face?’ and “Who is reciting Buddha’s name?” is common.

In fact, all hua-t’ou are the same. There is nothing uncommon, strange, or special about them. If you wanted to, you could say: “Who is reciting the sutras?” “Who is reciting the mantras? “Who is prostrating to the Buddha? ” Who is eating?” “Who is wearing these clothes?” “Who’s walking?” “Who’s sleeping?” They’re all the same.

  The Master Sheng-yen said, the answer to the question “who” is derived from one’s Mind. Mind is the origin of all words. Thoughts come out of Mind ; Mind is the origin of all thoughts. Innumerable dharmas generate from the Mind ; Mind is the origin of all dharmas. In fact, hua-t’ou is a thought. Before a thought arises, there is the origin of words. Hence, looking into a hua-t’ou is contemplating Mind. There was Mind before your parents gave birth to you, so looking into your original face before you were born is contemplating Mind. 7)

   Hence, hua-t’ou’s involving the word “who” are wonderful methods for practicing Ch’an. You have to investigate the great doubt, whenever you walking, standing, sitting and reclining. A necessary element of Hua-t’ou practice is the presence of a sense of doubt. It doesn’t mean thinking or considering of an idea repeatedly. By the Great doubt, it means a burning, uninterrupted persistence to get the root of a question which is unanswerable. That is the core of Gan-hua Seon practice.

 

Ⅳ. Gan-hua Seon of Zen master, Seung Sahn, Haeng-won



   1. His motivation and development for propagating

   Zen Master, Seung Sahn, Haeng-won(1927-2004) arrived at the States in April 1972, when he was 42. In there he saw the sight, that Japanese people were practicing Ch’am Seon(zazen/sitting meditation) at a Zen Center in L.A. He was shocked and thought, ‘Why don’t we, Korean monks, teach the Seon(Zen) like that?’ At the next moment, he determined firmly to propagate Korean Gan-hua Seon(Kanna Zen) in the States.8)

   However, the Master couldn’t speak English. So, he called Jeong-sun, Kim who was a professor for the Uni. of Rhode Island State, and began to propagate his Zen talks for his Zen students in his house with him.

   Before long time, the more people came to listen to his Zen talks at his small house. So, the Master lent a small apartment in Providence and began to transmit his Dharma Talk in there, and then around 50 to 90 Zen students gathered to listen per week. Finally, October 10th of the year, Providence Zen Center was opened with great.

   As the Dharma meeting at Providence had developed, so many lay-people came to become one of his Zen disciples from all the areas. Consequently, he opened Cambridge Zen Center in Massachusetts in 1974, New Haven Zen Center in Connecticut in 1975, and Dharma Zen Center in L.A. in 1976, one after another.

   From 1976, Seung-Sahn Zen Master has affected on lay-people very tremendously. For his teaching style, he has taught Zen students directly in the face of him, and corresponded with them frequently. Specifically, Stephen Mitchell who was called Ven. Moo-Gak as his buddhist name, published “Dropping Ashes on the Buddha in 1976”, which is the collections of the Master’s Dharma Talks, questions & answers with his students, stories for the old Zen masters or patriarchs, and the letters corresponded  with his American Zen students and so forth. In a twinkle, the book was recorded as a best-seller on the list, and then many people who read it wanted to become his disciples eagerly.

   Until now, in the US, there are opened 29 Zen Centers, and so many people are practicing Korean Seon(Zen/Meditation) under his teaching in there.

  

   2. Gan-hua Seon of Zen Master, Haeng-won, Seung Sahn

   The core of his teaching is ‘see your true nature!’ and practice to attain the ‘true nature’, as it is just substantial world for us.

   The Master said, “The most important thing that characterized their practice is that they simply looked inside, very deeply inside, to find their true nature. This is how the Buddha’s first students attained his teaching, preserved it, and passed it down to us.”9)There are layed emphasis on the ‘attain true-nature’ through his all teachings. The Master pointed that the true nature is already realized as it is.

   “Zen teaching is very clear and simple. It points directly at our self-nature so that we can wake up and help this world. When you see, when you hear, when you smell, when you taste, when you touch, when you think-everything, just like this, is the truth. Everything is Buddha-nature. Everything is your true nature.”10) “Zen Buddhism means going from the world of ignorance and delusion and attaining the perception that everything is truth, just as it is. This world is already complete, and never moving. If you want to attain that point, first you must let go of your opinions, your condition, and your situation. You can see clearly, hear clearly, smell clearly, taste clearly, touch clearly and think clearly. The name for that is truth.”11)

   Everything is already truth, and true Dharma. Zen Master, Seung-Shan admits all the styles of Buddhist practice to attain the true nature. He didn’t insist on any special word, any meaning or any form to get enlightenment.

   “In Buddhist practice we can say that there are four main techniques for learning  Buddha’s teaching: reading sutras, invoking the name of the Buddha, mantra practice, and meditation. Even though meditation is known to be the most direct way of realizing the Buddha’s teaching, each of these can help you very much. But if you become attached to sutras, or to invoking the Buddha’s name, or to mantras, or even to certain aspects of formal sitting meditation, then any one of these techniques will hinder you and drag you off the path. So the important thing to remember is not to become attached to anything, but rather to use each practice or technique correctly to find your true nature.”12)

   Though our goal is to attain true nature ultimately, every technique will be helpful for us as the above; reading sutra, invoking the name of the Buddha, mantra practice, and meditation. “No matter what the tradition, the point of any meditation practice is to help you realize your own original nature so that you can help all sentient beings get out of suffering. Meditation(Zen) is not about making something special. It is not about having some peaceful experience of stillness and bliss.”13) The most important thing is finding your true nature, not the technique, the Master means that.

   But the Master insists on the practicing whatever you’ve got enlightened in your everyday life. Of course, even though attaining true nature means that we have nothing to attain because everything is already complete, through the practicing to attain, we could keep a not-moving mind in any situation or condition and control the mind clear from moment to moment and control all the functions correctly to help all sentient beings. Meditation doesn’t mean only sitting in a straight posture, but keep your mind clearly all the time. “So moment-to-moment do-it mind is very important. Just-now mind. It has no subject and no object.”14)

   Hereby, Zen Master, Seung-Shan  specially teaches Gan-hua Seon as a technique for practicing. In his teaching there are two types of kong-ans(hua-t’ou/ big question); one is for looking inside, and the other is for testing the hua-t’ou(big questions) as follow; ‘Who am I?’, ‘What am I?’, ‘Only don’t know!’ and so forth. “There are many, many teaching words in this book. There are Hynayana word, Mahayana words, and Zen word. There are Buddhist and Christian words………..too many words! But all of these words are not necessary. Words and speech are only thinking, and thinking makes suffering. You must throw them all in the garbage! The reason for this is that our true nature is not dependent on understanding. This is why I only teach “don’t know.”…….”Don’t know” is not Buddhist or Christian or Zen or anything…………….I only teach ‘don’t know'”15) Master said, ‘never forget these big questions, ‘Only don’t know!’, ‘What am I?’ and so forth.

   “In the Kwan Um School of Zen…………., the point of kong-an practice is to show you how to connect your don’t know mind with everyday life. How does your meditation on the cushion find its correct function, from moment to moment, to help other people? Nowadays this world is moving very quickly, and there are always new situations………………..If you only hold on to ‘Mu(無, nothing)’, attach to old poetic commentaries, and make some special experience out of Zen practice, you will lose your way. When you step out onto the street keeping ‘Muuuuuuuu’, maybe you will be hit by a car because you are only holding One Mind. However, our style of kong-ans means using kong-ans as practice to instantly perceive your correct situation, your correct relationship to that situation, and your correct function in that situation.”16)

   Not holding One Mind, but perceiving your correct situation in your everyday life using the kong-ans. His teaching means that practice to attain your true nature using kong-an, and get wisdom in everyday life. On these days, it is important to apply the kong-ans in our everyday living.

   These kong-ans were conventional methods for the Zen masters to review if their students got the right view through practicing in the past.

   “When a Zen student practices hard and claims to have attained some insight into his or her true nature, how can this be proven or shown? This is the meaning of kong-ans and kong-an practice.”17)

   “If some monk thought he got enlightenment, a master could test him by presenting him with the story or teaching of another monk’s enlightenment experience. Any monk who truly had some sort of realization would hear the kong-an and instantly understand its true meaning. “18)

   There are 10 major kong-ans available to Zen students. ①Does a dog have Buddha-nature? Joju answered, (Joju’s Dog /趙州無字) ②Joju’s “Wash your Bowls.”(趙州洗鉢) ③Seong Am Calls “Master.”(巖喚主人) ④Bodhidharma has No Beard. ⑤Hyang Eom’s “Up a Tree.”(香嚴上樹) ⑥Dropping Ashes on the Buddha. ⑦Ko Bong’s Three Gates(高峰三關). ⑧Dok Sahn Carrying His Bowls. ⑨Nam Cheon Kills a Cat(南泉斬猫). ⑩The Mouse Eats Cat food., and “Three Men Walking.” etc. “If you finish the Ten Gates(10 major kong-ans), you get this as special home-work. And if you pass this, the Zen master checks your center and you can get inka19)

   As the above, Seung Shan Zen Master’s Gan-hua Seon is composed of practice and checking with his kong-ans,”Only don’t know!” and so forth. This style is a little different from traditional practice in Gan-hua Seon of Korea. Traditionally, kong-ans(hwa-t’ou) are used to get enlightenment with practice. However, Zen Master, Seung Shan is using them to quest and answer for checking. He applies them in everyday life as conventional methods to get wisdom and to realize right view from moment to moment. 

 

Ⅴ. Conclusion

   All the 3 Zen Masters do not insist on Gan-hua Seon only. They are using all the methods for practice such as; Mook-jo Seon practice, reading sutra, invoking mantra, counting breaths and so forth. If some monk said that I solved one Hua-t’ou, the Masters never admitted him to be a realized man. Because they are all stand for gradual enlightenment, rather than sudden enlightenment.

   Moreover, the Zen Masters give the big questions and check the answers to their Zen students in the face of them. By using kong-ans, the Masters lead their students to look back on their self-nature, and apply the attainments to everyday life.

   Hereby, I’d like to summary the patterns of Gan-hua Seon practice in the US.

First, all the Masters have practiced strongly under their own Buddhist views.

Second, they are emphasizing on the ultimate attainment of practice, not their own methods for practice. Therefore, they are using all kinds of methods to teach their Zen students such as; counting breaths, invoking mantra, reciting buddha’s names, reading sutras, prayer chanting and so forth.

   Third, they are stand for gradual enlightenment, not sudden enlightenment for practice. There are 3 stages to get enlightenment. Masters gives kong-ans to the practitioners every stage and checks the answers.

   Fourth, the Masters give hua-t’ou to their Zen students for contemplating original self-nature. Not only traditional kong-ans, but also common questions like ‘Who am I?’ are given to them.

   Fifth, the Masters give questions to the Zen students and check the answers continuously. Specifically, this is the main method that the Zen Masters teach their students.

   Sixth, the Masters teach to the practitioners Zen practice, and also to apply what they have learned or attained to their own everyday lives.

   The Zen Masters have found many Zen Centers in the US for themselves to teach their students, and they have already been able to speak English. Furthermore, now they are transmitting Dharma to the native Americans in active.

   For long time, the Zen Masters have considered how to teach the American lay-people and finally they got what the Western Zen practitioners want. Even though their methods for teaching are a little different from traditional styles, those are by far the best for the American practitioners, I think.

   However, I regret that I haven’t studied how the Zen Masters could overcome the cultural or social gaps between the countries, and teach the foreign people in the face of them directly. And I wonder how their teachings affected to the U.S. society or inspired to every Zen student spiritually. I haven’t looked for any social or environmental effects derived from the Masters’ Zen teachings yet.

   If I had an opportunity, I would review all the above and the prospects of Zen Buddhism for the future in the States.

 

Notes

1) http://www.azc.org/azc-about-roshi.html
   http://www.rinjaiji.org/about/history.html
2) http://www.mbzc.org/zen-practice/center.html
3) http://www.chan1.org/shifu.html
   http://www.ddm.org.tw/master/index.asp
4) http://www.chancenter.org/ddp/talks/practice-m.htmldp/talks/practice-m.html
5) http://www.chancenter.org/ddp/talks/zuochan.htmldp/talks/zuochan.html
6) http://www.chancenter.org/ddp/talks/chan-m.htmldp/talks/chan-m.html
7) http://www.chancenter.org/ddp/talks/practice-m/html
8) http://www.hwagyesa.org/sungsan//,
   http://www.kwanumzen.org/dssn//
9) “The Compass of Zen”, Zen Master Seung Sahn, compiled and edited by Hyon-Gak Sunim, (Shambhalla, Boston& London, 1997.) p249.
10) Ibid., p261. 
11) Ibid., p272.
12) Ibid., p245.
13) Ibid., p349.
14) Ibid., p.314.
15) Ibid., p.349.
16) Ibid., pp.356-7.
17) Ibid., p.262.
18) Ibid., p.265.
19) Ibid., p.389.

The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue, by Lancaster and Park

The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue Lewis R. Lancaster In collaboration with Sung-bae Park
University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Ltd.
Copyright (ⓒ 1979 by The Regents of the University of California ISBN 0-520-03159-8
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 75-40662 Printed in The Republic of South Korea

Contents

I. Preface

In the 1960s the monks at Haein Monastery in South Korea undertook the task of making twelve sets of xylographs from the blocks preserved in their buildings. One of these sets was acquired by Dr. Elizabeth Huff, then the Head Librarian of the East Asiatic Library of the University of California at Berkeley. When the more than 1400 volumes had finally all arrived at the Library, it was obvious that the collection would be difficult to use because there were few reference aids and those were mainly listings of titles in sequential order with no connection to the bound volumes. Recognizing the value of such material for scholars, a request was made to the Center for Japanese and Korean Studies at the University for funds to provide for research assistance in the task of cataloging it. Mr. Ronald Epstein, then a graduate student in the University, was the first of the assistants and undertook the examination of the volumes for information contained within them as well as checking the completeness of the set held by the Library. Later, Mr. Sung-bae Park joined the newly established Group in Buddhist Studies as a graduate student and became a research assistant on a second grant from the Center. By 1974 the catalogue had grown from its beginning as an aid to finding titles within the volumes to a more comprehensive description of each work. Mr. Park became a partner in the project and with a group of new assistants the expansion of the scope of the catalogue was undertaken. Ms. Janet Gyatso, a graduate student in the Group in Buddhist Studies, Mr. Kenneth Eastman from the Oriental Languages Department, Ms. Sheila Regan, graduate student in the Group in Asian Studies, Mr. Kurt Schwalbe from the Graduate Theological Union, Mr. Brian Galloway and K. Douglass provided the necessary help for the final stage of compilation and the detailed and often tedious tasks of rechecking the previous work. A number of typists have transferred the information from work cards into manuscript form. Most notable among these have been Mr. Robin Yates and Ms. Katrina McCleod, graduate students in the Department of Oriental Languages. Their careful attention to the details of the content was an essential part of the preparation. Others who have helped at some stage in the project have been Mr. David Schneider, Ms. Mary Brown, Ms. Carolyn Yoshimura, Ms. Beth Upton, Mr. C.S. Kim, Mr. B.K. Woo, and Mr. Carl Bielefeldt.

Without the support of the Center for Japanese and
Korean Studies, the work could hardly have been begun, much less have
assumed the final form. The Directors, Professors Robert Bellah and
Thomas Smith, have during their tenures been supportive and helpful at
every step, and Ms. Julia Cleland, the Administrative Assistant, always
a willing helper with the details of grants and student
assistants. Throughout, Mr. Raymond Tang, now the Head Librarian of the
East Asiatic Library, Mr. Charles Hamilton, Chief Cataloguer, and
Mr. Y.K. Choo, the Korean Cataloguer, have given all possible
assistance.

As the catalogue neared completion, the welcome news
came that Dongguk University was publishing a complete set of the
material in photo-reprint. Under the direction of President S.K. Lee,
that University has made available in 47 volumes the facsimiles of the
xylographs made directly from the blocks. In addition Prof. K.Y. Rhi and
staff compiled a comprehensive catalogue in Korean, which is vol. 48 of
the newly published set. It was a fitting project that a Buddhist
University in Korea marked its 70th Anniversary with a new version of
the canon.

LEWIS R. LANCASTER
Department of Oriental Languages
University of California, Berkeley


II. Introduction

Some three centuries after Buddhism was known to have reached China, there is literary evidence of its presence in the Korean peninsula. The traditional date for the arrival of Buddhism in Korea is A.D. 372;1 however, there was a communication by letter between Chih Tao-lin (A.D. 314-366), an eminent monk of the Eastern Chin dynasty, with an unidentified monk in Korea.2 Since Chih Tao-lin had died prior to the traditional date of introduction, one can assume that the Buddhist monks were already there before A.D. 366.3 On the other hand, considering how powerful Buddhism had become in China by the middle of the fourth century and how important Chinese thought and institutions were to the Koreans, it is difficult to believe that the first encounter with Chinese Buddhism came so late in the century.

Throughout its history, the dissemination of Buddhist
teachings has been closely tied to the scriptures and the translations
of the many texts which constitute it. As the centuries passed for the
Chinese Buddhists, hundreds of texts were translated from Sanskrit into
Chinese and in addition there developed a sizable corpus of literature
composed of the writings of learned and inspired monks and nuns within
China. From this extended collection of material, there occurred a
steady influx of documents into the growing community of Korean
Buddhists from the fourth century onwards. There is no complete record
of this introduction of Buddhist literature, but a few major landmarks
help us to see the quantity of writings which were being
brought into the states established in the Korean peninsula. In the
sixth century a Paekche monk came back from India with a teacher as his
companion, and they brought Sanskrit texts, especially focusing on those
belonging to the Vinaya (rules of conduct for
the monastic community) and Abhidharma
(philosophical and commentarial literature).4 Liu Ssu, an envoy from the Ch’en court,
and Shih Ming-kuan arrived in Korea in A.D. 565, bringing with them a
complete set of the canon in 1700 chüan. This is the earliest recorded date for the
availability of the whole of the Chinese Buddhist translations in
Korea.5 Since the printing blocks of the sort so famous
in later centuries were not yet in use, this material was in the form of
manuscripts. Requiring the efforts of many scribes, complete sets of the
canon were by no means common and it was not until A.D. 928 that the
histories record the arrival of another collection of the
scriptures.6

During the tenth century, the Chinese began to carve
the entire canon onto wooden printing blocks from which large numbers of
xylograph prints could be taken. This first carving in China is said to
have lasted from A.D. 971 to 983.7 Thus after a period
of carving that lasted for twelve years, the Chinese version of the
Buddhist canon became available in the printed form and was known as the
Shu-pen (蜀本) or Szechuan edition of the Sung
dynasty. When the Koreans heard of the existence of this remarkable new
set of texts, the King of Koryŏ sent an official request for a copy of
the edition and two years later the records tell us that it arrived
(A.D. 991).8

Even when a set of blocks had been carved for
printing the scriptures of the Buddhists, they could not provide
complete coverage of a canon that was constantly being enlarged through
the arrival of new texts from India. The catalogues made by the Chinese
monks provide some glimpse of the increasing number of texts that were
available. One catalogue in A.D. 730 mentions 5,048 chüan9 another in A.D. 799 records 5,39010 and in A.D. 1027 the number had
reached 6,197.11 Thus even when
the Sung edition had been carved there were always other texts still
waiting to be collected, translated and carved on blocks. In consequence
Buddhist texts continued to come from China into Korea in what must have
appeared as a never-ending flow of riches. For example, in A.D. 1021
another set of the canon arrived and in A.D. 1022 the Prajñāpāramitā texts translated by the famous
Hsüan-tsang were shipped to Korea.12 These latter texts were quite famous because the
lettering had been done with gold dust.

There were other events in the eleventh century
which were not so happy for the relations between Korea and
China. In A.D. 1010 the Liao forces invaded Korea,13 an example of the threats which were constantly harassing
the people. The shock of this invasion was great and there was an
upheaval at the royal court. When the troops of Sheng-tsung occupied the
capital city, King Hyŏnjong and his attendants sought refuge in the
southern part of the country. In the face of this strong and ruthless
enemy, we are told that the King turned to Buddhism for aid and made a
solemn vow that if the invaders were removed from his country, he would
have the entire Buddhist canon carved on printing blocks.14
After eleven days, the invaders did leave the capital and began a march
northward.15 When life had resumed something of its normal course of
activity, the King, true to his vow, commissioned the first complete set
of Korean carvings of the Buddhist texts. Thus it has been said through
the centuries that the carving of these blocks was done to protect the
nation against invaders and disasters.

Revision of history is ever a popular activity and
in the 1920s Prof. H. Ikeuchi, a Japanese historian, wrote a detailed
account of the process of carving the canonic blocks.16 He was critical of the view that
the blocks had served as a defense for the nation, maintaining instead
that the story had been used to perpetuate a superstitious view of the
project. He laid the blame for this alleged misrepresentation on Yi
Kyu-bo, a member of the court who had offered a prayer during the
ceremony for the second carving project.17 In that prayer, which
has been preserved, it is stated that the first carving project had been
done to protect the nation from invaders. Ikeuchi scoffed at this claim
and maintained it to be a fabrication of Yi Kyu-bo and in no way
factual. If the blocks had served such a purpose, then, Ikeuchi argued,
they would have to have been completed in eleven days, the period during
which the invaders stayed in the capital. Since no such herculean task
was performed, he rejected the whole idea and stated that there was a
very different reason behind the project. The King had been a patron of
efforts to prepare printing blocks long before the invasion took
place. This was not directly related to the safety of the nation but was
inspired by his obsessive interest in the state of his parents’
souls,18 especially since they had been executed for the crime of
having a child before marriage. His first attempt to secure posthumous
merit for them was the construction of Hyŏnhwa Monastery in their
memory. Then, to raise the status of this new monastery, he had
undertaken the additional task of having important sūtras carved on printing blocks.19 Since all of this happened before the
invasion, Ikeuchi concluded that the carving was started and completed not as a project to protect the nation but as a
means of giving merit and benefit to the king’s deceased parents.20

While Ikeuchi’s arguments are detailed and he has
been one of the most thorough students of the literature related to the
canonic blocks, some questions can be raised regarding his
conclusions. Writing in the time when his own country was considered by
most of the populace of Korea to be invaders, it was not surprising that
he was sensitive to the story that the carvings had once served to
defend against invasions. When one reads the prayer of Yi Kyu-bo, there
is no indication that he thought the first carving was completed before
the removal of the danger. Rather, it is implied that the vow was made
by the King to have the carving completed and then the invaders left the
capital.21 Therefore, one might say that the carving was done at a
later time as a thank offering and as a fulfillment of the promise on
the part of the King.

As Ikeuchi points out, there were carving efforts
prior to the invasion. The number of texts which had been put on blocks
was not large in relationship to the total number available because
these earlier attempts had been limited to only the most important
texts. But with the Shu-pen edition as a model,
it is not surprising to find some activity of this kind being carried
out in Korea. The initial impulse of King Hyŏnjong was very probably to
give aid to his parents in their life after death. When the invasion
jolted his kingdom, he then made the decision to have the complete canon
preserved in this fashion. After the peace was agreed upon he made good
his vow but also continued to include his prayers and wishes for the
welfare of his parents. In other words, the initial impetus for the
first carvings under the decree of the King was one of filial piety and
this was present throughout the project. However, the impact of the
national crisis must have been one of the main reasons for considering
the larger and more ambitious project.22

Another possible reason for the carving suggested by
the Korean historians is that of cultural interest.23 The carving and printing of the Buddhist canon was a feat
worthy of the best that the Chinese could produce and so this work went
forward as an outward show of the strength and culture of Koryo
contrasted with the invaders, who appear as little more than
pillagers.

Since the work of carving went on for more than
forty years, we must assume that there was something beyond the danger
of a particular invasion to prompt such an investment of time and
skills. The existence of such a revered object in the nation must have
been a source of pride and have encouraged the people to hope for better
days with the power of their talisman. It may well have
been that the news of the effectiveness of the blocks was spread to
prospective invaders so as to give them pause, since many of them were
also practicing Buddhists.

Thus, for what must have been a complex of reasons,
the carving of the entire set of blocks was undertaken in the first
quarter of the eleventh century and continued for several
decades. Dr. N.C. Paik, a modern Korean scholar, holds to the date of
A.D. 1010 for the starting of the set, but feels that there is no clear
evidence for designating the date of completion.24 Considering the constant increase in the size of the
canon, it is possible that the period of carving was extended as newer
texts were brought in and added to the collection.

Using the Shu-pen as the
basis for the blocks, the Koreans depended on the oldest xylograph
collection. In the eleventh century they were the recipients of the Liao
dynasty edition, which was brought in A.D. 1063.25 In
A.D. 1083 the last complete edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon came
to Korea, also based on the old Shu-pen edition
but including a number of new translations.26

When the canonic material was finally available
through the imprint from these blocks, a different but extremely
important task was begun by one of the famous monks of that
period. Ŭich’ŏn, a younger son of King Munjong, became a monk at the age
of eleven and remained in the monastic life until his death at age
47.27 He was a
monk with great facility in scholarship and possessed the inclinations
of a collector and librarian. So strong was his determination to have
copies of the entire corpus of Buddhist literature, including
commentaries and writings by his contemporaries all over East Asia, that
he made a trip to China even though the King was in opposition to such a
journey. Staying in China for nearly a year, he managed to collect an
impressive array of texts and returned to Korea with more than 3,000
chüan.28 He dispatched buyers and collectors to Japan and
other parts of China and as a result brought together what he termed an

“extension”
of the canon, that is the acceptance of texts written by
East Asian Buddhists as a part of the canon. In A.D. 1090 he published
his famous catalogue of this collection with reference to 1,010 titles
in 4,740 chüan29 In recognition of the
importance of these texts, blocks were carved for each of them. When
this supplementary extension of the canonic blocks was completed, it
marked a major new development in the treatment of Buddhist texts, since
these East Asian writings were given the highest possible status. It may
well be that Ŭich’ŏn’s greatest contribution went beyond his role as a
collector and is found in the fact that he considered this literature as
worthy of notice and due a place alongside the
translations from India.

There is one aspect of Ŭich’ŏn’s work that has been
criticized by later scholars. For some reason he decided not to collect
any of the material belonging to the Ch’an (sŏn) school but limited his efforts to the textual
(kyo) schools. Why, ask the historians, did
he show such bias against the works of the meditation school? There is
no direct answer from Ŭich’ŏn’s own writings and we must accept the fact
that he indicates in the very title of the catalogue that he is limiting
his efforts to one aspect of the literature.30

As a result of all these efforts, by the end of the
eleventh century Korea possessed one of the most complete and
comprehensive libraries of Buddhist texts. Not only did they have copies
of these materials but they were able to make xylograph copies for
distribution.

Unfortunately, new troubles arose for the peninsula
and its people.

In A.D. 1231 the Mongols invaded and by A.D. 1232 the King and his court had to take refuge on Kanghwa Island.31 The blocks of the canon and the supplementary extension gathered by Uich’on were housed in the Puin Monastery near Taegu. During the winter after the court had removed from the capital, the invaders took charge of the monastery and in an act of wanton destruction burned the entire set of blocks.32 This may have been in part aimed at convincing the Koreans that they no longer had a sacred protector and it might even have made the invading Mongols feel safer to know that the blocks were no longer in existence.
Hearing of the loss of the blocks, the King made a vow similar to that of King Hyŏnjŏng and plans were made again to put the entire canon on printing blocks. Four years after the fires at Puin Monastery, the work was once again underway to carve a second set of printing blocks. The work went on for fifteen years from A.D. 1236-1251.33 King Kojong in his 38th year of rule gathered with his subjects at the great hall outside the western gate of the Kanghwa capital for a commemoration ceremony.34
It was here that the prayer of Yi Kyu-bo was given which made reference to the events related to the first carving.

This second project was not a recopy of the former
version but was an editorial venture as well. Using the larger and newer
Liao edition along with the older Shu-pen one,
a board of scholars under the guidance of Sugi prepared editions for the
carving.35 In the process of preparing
the list of texts to be placed on the blocks Sugi and his board turned
away from the procedure that had been followed by Ŭich’ŏn. It had been
Ŭich’ŏn who had seen the importance of the non-Indian commentaries and
writings and who had mourned the fact that they were excluded from the
canon. He had feared that many of these works would vanish
due to a lack of any systematic preservation scheme. When he had
gathered as much of this material as possible and had seen it put on
printing blocks, he rejoiced that these writings by the learned monks of
East Asia would now be preserved with vigor equal to that normally
reserved for the translations from Sanskrit. However, when Sugi
undertook the task of collecting and editing the texts for the second
set of carvings, he ignored the catalogue of Ŭich’ŏn and turned to the
traditional catalogues of China. Relying mainly on the K’ai yüan lu36 he omitted the supplementary additions of
Ŭich’ŏn. Just as Ŭich’ŏn feared, many of the texts which he had
collected are no longer extant.

Part of the work on the second set of blocks took
place on Kanghwa Island and some of it was done near Chinju. The project
was a large one, for there were 1,512 titles to be included comprising
6,791 chüan. The editing work was a
masterful job of scholarly effort and in the second set of blocks the
Koreans once again provided the major part of Buddhist texts, to be
found in Chinese, in a readily available form. When finally edited,
corrected and carved, the set of blocks numbered 81,258 plates. Each was
carved on both sides with twenty-three lines of fourteen characters
each. The calligraphy was excellent and the layout such that all the
characters appeared in large size. The blocks measured two feet three
inches in length and nearly ten inches in width and more than an inch in
thickness. A very hard and durable wood from the Betula
schidtii regal
tree (known as Paktal in
Korean), gathered on the islands off the coast, was used.

First stored at the gate of Kanghwa Palace, the
blocks were later moved to Sŏnwŏn Monastery on the island and stayed
there for over a hundred years.37 In
A.D. 1398 the security of Kanghwa Island became questionable because of
pirate raids and so the collection was moved to Chijung Monastery near
Seoul.38 It is not known whether this was
ever intended as a permanent home or was just an interim storage until
the blocks could be placed in some safer area. Finally in A.D. 1399 the
last move was started and the blocks were placed at Haein Monastery on
Mount Kaya near Taegu.39 It is here that the monks have protected these
blocks against fire and destruction up to the present day.

Xylographs from these blocks have played a major role
in the modern editions of the Buddhist canon, serving as the basis for
three versions of the canon published in Japan: Shukusatsu zōkyō, printed during the years of
1880-85,40 the Manji zōkyō,
printed 1902-05,41 the Zoku zōkyō42 and the Taisho shinshū daizōkyō, 1924-34.43 Thus our present-day Buddhist studies owe a great debt to the past efforts of Korea, a debt
which is for the most part unrecognized and consequently our study of
Korean Buddhism is neglected.

For many years little was known about these blocks
outside of Korea; and even within the country, during the Yi dynasty
when Buddhism had been suppressed, there was a lack of attention from
the court or government officials. At the beginning of this century some
reports about the blocks began to appear in Japanese publications,44 the most detailed being those of Mr. Sekina, an
architect.45 Today the
collection is recognized by the government as well as the people of
Korea as one of the priceless treasures and a heritage of the skill and
expertise of the past. It is housed in two large buildings which are
integrated into the monastic complex at Haein. The storage buildings are
built so there is free circulation of air through open grilles and the
blocks are racked in separate niches extending the whole length of the
buildings and reaching from floor to ceiling. Recently a new
ferro-concrete structure has been erected for the purpose of preserving
the blocks, and they will no longer be found in their current
location. In those instances where a block from the original set was
found to be missing or damaged, new replacements were carved some fifty
years ago. Visitors are allowed to see the blocks and Haein Monastery
has become an important tourist attraction, while still maintaining its
place as a major training center for Korean Buddhism.

It is to be hoped that this catalogue will allow
scholars to make use of this version of the Buddhist canon and restore
it to its rightful place as a primary source for the study of the
Chinese Buddhist tradition as well as that of Korea.


III. Abbreviations

A. Anguttaranikaya
C- Cone Edition (Tibetan Buddhist Canon)
ch. chüan
Cv. Cullavagga
D. Dighanikāya
D- Sde-dge Edition (Tibetan Buddhist Canon)
Divy. Divyāvadāna
Edg. F. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
H. Han’gul taejanggyong kanhaeng mo
HDJK. Han’gul-dae-jang-kyong
Itiv. Itivuttaka
J. Jātaka
KDJK. Koryŏ-dae-jang-kyŏng
L- Lhasa Edition (Tibetan Buddhist Canon)
M. Majjhimanikāya
Mano. Manorathapūranī
Mv. Mahāvagga
Mvy. Mahāvyutpatti
N- Snar-thaṅ Edition (Tibetan Buddhist Canon)
Nj. B. Nanjio, A Catalogue of the Chinese Translations of the Buddhist Tripitaka.
O. A Comparative Analytical Catalogue of the Kanjur Division of the Tibetan Tripitaka (Ōtani University).
Ono. Ono Gemmyo, ed. Bussho kaisetsu daijiten.
P- Peking Edition (Tibetan Buddhist Canon)
S. Samyuttanikāya
Śiks. Śikṣasamuccaya
Snp. Suttanipātā
T. Taishō shinshū daizōkyō
Thera G. Theragāthā
Therī G. Therīgāthā
To. H. Ui, ed. A Complete Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (Tohoku University).

IV. Guide to the Use of the Catalogue


While this catalogue has been designed to provide information regarding the Haein Monastery xylograph collection, it can also be of use to scholars wishing information regarding the Sanskrit and Tibetan texts. It is the intent of the compilers to give enough data for each title so that the catalogue will serve as an independent reference work not requiring further access to library resources for identifications of texts.

The comparative and descriptive information appears
in the following order:

***K = the sequential number assigned to the texts as they occur in the volumes described above. In those cases where the catalogue contained in the set, the Taejang mongnok (大藏目録), indicates that the title is a secondary entry, lower case letters have been added to the K number rather than adding a new number.

***
Volume = the Volume or volumes of the xylograph print of the Haein Monastery held by the East Asiatic Library of the University of California.

***
(Roman numerals) = Volume and page for photo-reprint of the Haein xylographs published by Dongguk University (1976) in 48 volumes.

***
T. = the matching number used in the Taishō shinshū daizōkyō edition.

***
H. = the matching number used for the modern Korean
translations recorded in the Han’gul taejanggyong
kanhaeng mongnok
. While this collection of the
translations is far from complete, the projected numbers for future ones
are included. In those cases where the translation publication is still
pending the reference under (3) will contain the projected volume number without page reference following the
entry HDJK.

***
(Sanskrit Title) = the best known Sanskrit title for
the text. When a published edition is available or extant manuscripts
are known, the reference will appear under (5). When the text is missing
in Sanskrit but the title appears in some source, then (5) provides an
appropriate lexigraphical note. If there is no extant Sanskrit, but
there is a Tibetan translation as indicated by (6), it can be assumed
that the Sanskrit title has been taken from the introduction to those
Tibetan translations. When neither Sanskrit (5) nor Tibetan (6)
reference is available, the titles have been constructed from the
Chinese translations. This latter category is used only when such
constructed titles have been used in reference works. In many instances
the Sanskrit title is not known and this entry is left open.

***
(Names) = in those cases where authors of texts are known from the Chinese, Tibetan or Sanskrit, they appear following the title of the text.

***
(Tibetan Title) = the Tibetan title for the text as recorded in the Sde-dge version of the canon.

***
(Chinese Title) = romanized title for the Chinese characters following the Wade-Giles system.

***
(Characters) = the Chinese character title as found on the plates of the Haein Monastery collection.

***
(Han’gul Title) = the Han’gul equivalent pronunciations for the characters. The traditional Buddhist pronunciations have at times been employed so as to be in accord with the Han’gul translations listed under H. and (3) HDJK.

*** Translation, etc. = information regarding the translation into Chinese. The translator names are given, whenever possible, in the Sanskrit form for non-Chinese. There is a cross reference provided in the
“Author-Translator Index”
between the Chinese form of the name and the one used in the catalogue entry. The dates are given for the translation, first by dynasty and reign years and then by conversion into Western calendar months and years. At the end of this section there is information regarding the monastery in which the translation took place or the region if known.


(1) = other versions of the same text to be found in the Haein Monastery collection.

[ * ] = the sequential number of a work appearing in a compilation containing a number of individual texts that may also appear as separate items.

[ ] = reference to chapters within a text.

( ) = reference to foreign lang=”zh”>chüan within a text.

(2) = information regarding the Haein Monastery blocks.

“case”
= the characters used to divide the
original set of blocks into units. Here the characters are those found in
the well known
“Thousand Character”
scheme. Using these
“case
characters”
it is possible to locate titles in any version of the Haein
set.

“carved”
= the year given for the carving of the
blocks on which the text is to be found.

(3) = reference to other versions of the Korean canon and to its translations.

KDJK = the volume and pages in the Koryo-dae-jang-kyong, the photo-reprint edition of the
Haein xylographs.

HDJK= the volume of the Hanguk-dae-jang-kyong, the modern translation into
Korean. When the translation has not yet appeared the projected volume number appears without page reference. The
sequential number for these translations appears under the entry
H. above.

(4) = a comparative listing of references in other catalogues

Nj. = the listing of the number for the text in
the Catalogue of the Chinese Translations of the
Buddhist Tripitaka
compiled by B. Nanjio.

Ono. = Volume and page reference for the Bussho kaisetsu daijiten prepared by G. Ono.

To. = the listing of the number for the text in
the Complete Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist
Canon
edited by H. Ui and others at Tohoku University.

O. = the listing of the number for the text in
the Comparative Analytical Catalogue of the Kanjur
Division of the Tibetan Tripitaka
at Ōtani University.

P. = the listing of the number for the text in
the Tibetan Tripitaka, Peking Edition, edited
by D.T. Suzuki. It should be noted that 0. and P.’numbers are identical
since they both refer to the Peking Edition and in this section P. is
not given when O. is available.

Mvy. = the listing of the number for the text in
the Sanskrit-Chinese Dictionary of Buddhist Technical
Terms based on the Mahāvyutpatti
, edited by U. Woghihara.

(5) = Sanskrit information.

(a) Editor’s name if there is a printed version,
followed by the year of the edition. Since this catalogue is not
intended as a bibliography, the full reference is not given but the
“Bibliography of Buddhist Scriptures” by Edward Conze soon to be
published is an easy source for the exact designation of these published
versions. This entry is only intended to establish the existence of the
Sanskrit in edited form or in extant manuscripts.

(b) When only the title of the Sanskrit is to be
found, lexiographical data regarding its appearance is listed.

(c) Whenever there are alternate Sanskrit titles,
they will be given under this heading.

(d) Tibetan information regarding the Sanskrit
title may also appeal-under (5). It should be noted that such words as
Ārya preceding the title or the expression
nāmamahayānā before the word sūtra are omitted.

(6) = Tibetan information.

This entry establishes the existence of a Tibetan translation and provides a comparative table for five versions of the Tibetan canon, listing the section followed by the volume letter and folio numbers.

P- = Peking Edition

N- = Snar-thaṅ Edition

D- = Sde-dge Edition

L- = Lhasa Edition

C- = Cone Edition


Notes

1. Iryon, Samguk yusa (T.2039-986a:5).[back]

2. Hui-chiao, Kao seng chuan (T.2059-348a:12).[back]

3. Kim Yŏng-t’ae and U Chŏng-sang, Han’guk pulgyo sa (Seoul, 1970), p. 24.[back]

4. Ibid. p. 30.[back]

5. Samguk yusa
(T.2039-994a:26).[back]

6. Ibid., (T.2039-994b:17).[back]

7. Tokiwa Daijō,
“Daizōkyō chōinkō”Tetsugak zassi, 313 (March,
1913). Kenneth Ch’en, Buddhism in China
(Princeton University Press, 1964), p. 375.[back]

8. Koryŏ sa (Seoul:
Tongbanghak yŏguso, 1955-1961), the record of the 8th year and 10th year
of King Sŏngjong. Sung shih (Che-chiang
shu-chü
, 1875), see “Kao li chuan”chüan
487.[back]

9. Chih-sheng, K’ai yüan
shih chiao mu lu
(T.2154-572b:13).[back]

10. Yüan-chiao, Cheng yüan hsin ting shih chiao
mu lu
(T.2157-896c:13).[back]

11. See Wei-ching’s T’ien
sheng shih chiao tsung lu
, found in the Sung
ts’ang i chen
(Peking, 1935), vol. 112.[back]

12. Koryŏ sa, the record of the 6th month, 12th year and
the 5th month, 13th year of King Hyŏnjŏng . Ch’ae Ch’ung-sun, “Hyŏnhwasa
pi ŭmgi”Chōsen kinseki sōran, vol. 1,
no. 72.[back]

13. Yi
Ki-baek, Han’guk sa sin’gang (Seoul, 1967),
p. 149.[back]

14. Yi Kyu-bo, “Taejang kakp’an kunsin kigomun”Tongguk Yi Sangguk chip (Seoul, 1959), vol. 25.[back]

15. Ikeuchi Hiroshi, “Kōraichō no daizōkyō”Mansenshi kinkyū chūseihen 2 (1937),
p. 508.[back]

16. Ibid., pp. 483-636.[back]

17. Yi Kyu-bo,
“Taejang kakp’an kunsin kigomun,” vol. 25.[back]

18. Ikeuchi Hiroshi, “Kōraichō no daizōkyō”
p. 495.[back]

19. Ibid., p. 512.[back]

20. Ibid., p. 513.[back]

21. Yi Kyu-bo, “Taejang kakp’an kunsin kigomun,”
p. 506.[back]

22. William
E. Henthorn, A History of Korea, (New York: The
Free Press, 1971), pp. 96 ff.[back]

23. Yi
Ki-baek, Han’guk sa sin’gang, p. 148. Kim
Yŏng-t’ae and U Chŏng-sang, Han’guk pulgyo sa,
p. 124.[back]

24. Nak-choon Paik, “Tripitaka Koreana,”Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, 32 (1951),
pp. 62-73.[back]

25. Kai-hyŏn Ahn, “Publication of Buddhist Scriptures in the
Koryo Period,”Buddhist Culture in
Korea
. Korean Culture Series 3 (Seoul, 1974), p. 86.[back]

26. Ikeuchi
Hiroshi, “Kōraichō no daizōkyō,” p. 497.[back]

27. Cho Myŏng-gi, Koryō Taegak kuksa
wa ch’ont’ae sasang
(Seoul, 1964), pp. 7-28.[back]

28. Ibid., p. 15.[back]

29. Uich’ŏn, Sinp
‘yŏn chejong kyojang ch’ongnok
(T. 2184-1166a) Kim Yŏng-t’ae and
U Chŏng-sang, Han’guk pulgyo sa,
p. 108.[back]

30. Oya
Tokujō, Kōrai zokuzō chūzōkō (Kyoto, 1937)
vol. 1, p. 35.[back]

31. Kim Yŏng-t’ae and U Chŏng-sang, Han’guk pulgyo sa, pp. 124-25.[back]

32. Ibid., p. 125.[back]

33. Yi Kyu-bo, “Taejang kakp’an kunsin kigomun,” vol. 25.[back]

34. Koryŏ sa 24, the record of the 9th month, 38th year of King Ko-jong.[back]

35. Sugi Koryŏguk sinjo taejang
kyojŏng pyŏllok
, (K. 1403).[back]

36. Compare the K’ai yüan shih chiao mu lu (T. 2154) compiled by
Chih-sheng with the Taejang mongnok compiled by
Sugi (K. 1406).[back]

37. Kim Sang-gi Koryŏ shidae sa (Seoul, 1961), p. 918.[back]

38. Chosŏn wangjo sillok
(Seoul: Kuksa p’yonch’an wiwonhoe, 1955) vol. 1, the record of the 5th
month, 7th year of King Taejo.[back]

39. Ibid., the 1st month, 1st year
of King Chŏngjong.[back]

40. Dainippon kōtei shukusatsu daizōkyō 418 vols. (Tokyo: Tōkyō
shoin, 1880-1885).[back]

41. Dainippon
k
ōtei zōkyō 7082 vols (Kyoto: Zōkyō
shoin, 1902-1905).[back]

42. Dainippon zokuzōkyō 7140
vols. (Kyoto: Zōkyō shoin, 1905-1912).[back]

43. Taishō shinshū daizōkyō 100
vols. (Tokyo, 1924-1934).[back]

44. Sekino Sada “Kankoku kenchiku chōsa hōkoku”Tokyo teikoku daikaku koka gakujutsu hōkoku, 6 (Tokyo,
1904).[back]

45. Sekino Sada “Kaīnji daizōkyōban ni tsuite”Shūkyōkai 3-6, (Tokyo, 1907).[back]

Is Celibacy Anachronistic?

Buswell.pdf (583KB, DN:)

Is Celibacy Anachronistic? : Korean Debates over the Secularization of Buddhism during the Japanese Occupation Period
Robert E. Buswell Jr.(University of California, Los Angeles)



 Of all the wrenching debates taking place in contemporary Buddhist circles, including in Korea, perhaps none has been more fraught with controversy than that over sexuality in the context of Buddhist practice. While Buddhism has always permitted the laity to marry and to raise families, this was not typically the case for religious specialists in most of its various Asian traditions. Celibacy is the first of the Pārājika offenses for both bhiks.us and bhikṣuṇī s, the transgression of which would lead at least to estrangement (if not permanent expulsion) from the order. Celibacy is therefore the principal standard that has distinguished the ordained monk or nun from the lay Buddhist. Soon after its institutionalization, however, Buddhism began to struggle with the issue of precisely how literal monks and nuns should be in interpreting the strictures the Buddha had placed on their way of life, including celibacy. Traditional accounts, as for example in the Mahāparinibbānasuttanta, tell us that shortly before his death the Buddha informs his attendant A – nanda that he would permit the monks to ignore the“ lesser and minor precepts,”without unfortunately specifying precisely which precepts those were.1) The catalyst for convening the first council of arhats was the permissiveness that was beginning to appear among some monastic factions immediately following the Buddha’s death, permissiveness epitomized in Subhadra’s statement of relief over the Buddha’s passing:“ Now we shall be able to do whatever we like; and what we do not like, that we shall not have to do!”2)“whatever we like,”here, explicitly implying sex. The first schism within the order, which occurred a century or so after the Buddha’s demise, also stemmed from putatively lax readings of the precepts, specifically the Vr.jiputraka monks’acceptance of gold and silver.3)



 This tension between conservative readings of the monastic precepts and more liberal interpretations has continued down into the modern era. Now, however, many of the arguments are framed in terms of “relevancy,”especially how to make a monastically-based religion like Buddhism attractive in a modern secular society. Some reformists have even gone so far as to advocate that for Buddhism to be successful in the contemporary world, its clergy must be allowed to marry. Indeed, arguments proffered in favor of clergy marriage for Buddhists are remarkably akin to those articulated in the West by some contemporary Catholics, who are also struggling to address this issue of the social relevance of a celibate clergy.


 But such contemporary concerns over Buddhism’s relevance to society and arguments favoring the abandonment of celibacy are not new to the religion. I would like to explore in this paper a period in Korean Buddhist history when rapid modernization was vehemently advocated and, in conjunction with that modernization, the advisability of clergy marriage examined within the tradition. This is the period bracketing the time of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea between 1910 and 1945. Korea was then being forced to open its doors to the outside world and the country was affected for the first time by such non-Sinitic influences as Western liberalism. These new ideas had a strong impact in Korea, creating within Buddhist circles a great deal of soul-searching (if, indeed, that word be appropriate in a Buddhist context!). Many intellectuals within the Korean Buddhist church believed that their religion would have to adapt to these new influences if it hoped to maintain any place for itself within the rapidly changing parameters of modern industrialized society. These men actively began to question many of the most fundamental aspects of Buddhism, including the institution of celibacy. But this debate over celibacy must be treated as part and parcel of the Buddhist reform movements of that age, and only by examining that debate within this wider context can its true significance be understood. Exploring these reform movements in somedetail may therefore provide some interesting insights on how one of the Asian monastic orders evaluated possible alternatives to celibacy. While the political exigencies of Japanese colonialism ultimately led contemporary Koreans to reject the viabilityof clergy marriage, the debate over the advisability of celibacy continues to be a burning question even today in Korea. The problem of celibacy also raises wider questions: What type of relationship should pertain between the clergy and laity? What value is there is differentiating the clergy’s way of life from that of the laity? What possibilities are there for the laity to aspire to the higher religious aspirations of the clergy? Such questions will also be addressed in the Korean debates over celibacy.4)


1) Maha – parinibba – na-suttanta, D¦¯ gha-nika – ya ii.154; translated in T. W. and C. A. F. Rhys Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha (1910; fourth edition, London: Pali Text Society, 1977), Part II, p. 171.
2) D¦¯ gha-nika – ya ii.162; translation from Rhys Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha, II, p. 184.
3) M. Hofinger, E ´ tude sur le Concile de Vais´a -l¦¯ , Universite´ de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste, Bibliothe´que du Muse´on, vol. 20 (Louvain: Bureau du Muse´on, 1946), pp. 31-87.


4) Some portions of this paper are expansions of material that appeared previously in my book The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). 


Buddhism’s Place is in Pre-Modern Korea


Buddhism provided the foundation for Korean national ideology throughout much of the ancient and medieval periods. Since virtually the inception of the tradition on the peninsula, Buddhism was one of the principal forces catalyzing social and technological change. Along with their new religion, its missionaries introduced a wide cross-section of Sinitic culture and thought, including the Chinese writing system, calendrics, and architecture. Buddhist spiritual technologies as well were considered to offer powers far superior to those of indigenous shaman- ism. For all these reasons, Buddhism became an integral part of the religio-political nexus of Korea during the medieval period.



 During the Unified Silla (668-935) and Koryô (937-1392) dynasties, Buddhism functioned as a virtual state religion. Buddhism received munificent material and political support from the royal court, and in exchange interceded with the buddhas and bodhisattvas on behalf of the nation’s welfare. The Buddhist presence was ubiquitous throughout the country, exerting its hold over the nation with an extensive network of both mountain monasteries and city temples. During the Koryô dynasty, for example, the head monasteries of both of the two major branches of the tradition–the doctrinal schools of Kyo and the meditative traditions of Sôn–were based in the capital of Kaesông and thousands of monks pursued their vocations in these urban enclaves. Monasteries were awarded vast tracts of paddy and forest lands, which were worked by armies of slaves and serfs awarded to the monasteries. Monasteries also pursued such commercial enterprises as noodle making, tea production, and distillation of spirits. The financial power of the monasteries was so immense that it severely strained the fabric of the Koryô economy, contributing to the demise of that kingdom and the rise of the Chosôn dynasty.


 Buddhism’s close affiliation with the vanquished Koryôrulers brought it much suffering during the years of Confucian persecution under the Chosôn dynasty (1392-1910). The Neo-Confucian orientation of the Chosôn rulers upset the old ideological status quo in which Buddhism predominated. While considerable controls over monastic vocations and conduct had already been instituted during the Koryô period, these pale next to the severe restrictions promulgated during the Chosôn dynasty. The number of monks was severely restricted–and at times a complete ban on ordination instituted–and monks were prohibited from entering the metropolitan areas. Hundreds of monasteries were disestablished (the number of monasteriesdropping to 242 during the reign of T’aejong [r. 1401- 1418]) and new construction was forbidden in the cities and villages of Korea. Monastic land holdings and temple slaves were confiscated by the governmentin 1406, undermining the economic viability of many monasteries. The vast power that Buddhists had wielded during the Silla and Koryôdynasties was now exerted by Confucians. Buddhism was kept virtually quarantined in the countryside, isolated from most involvement in the intellectual debates of the times. Its adherents were more commonly the illiterate peasants of the countryside and women, rather than the educated male elite of the cities, as had been the case in times past. While traditional monastic training continued in its mountain centers, Buddhism had become a relatively minor social force in Korea.


Pressures on Korean Buddhism during the Japanese Colonial Period


Foreign pressures on the late-Chosôn court brought the first real break in this state of affairs. Japanese suzerainty over Korea, which began in 1897 with the appointment of a Japanese adviser to the Chosôn-dynasty throne and became formalized in 1910 with the official annexation of Korea, initially worked to the advantage of Buddhism. Japan was, after all, a Buddhist country, and its advisers served as strong advocates for the religion in the moribund Korean court. One of the most noteworthy results of Japanese intervention involved thelifting of the centuries-long restriction on monks entering the capital of Seoul. Since the fifteenth century, Buddhist monks had been periodically prohibited from entering the capital, a restriction made permanent in 1623. Such measures were intended to isolate Buddhism in the countryside and keep it far removed from the centers of political power. It was not until 1895, during the final years of the Chosôn dynasty, that this restriction was finally lifted. It took the intercession of the Japanese Nichiren monk Sano Zenrei (b. 1858) to convince King Kojong to make this proclamation. Sano considered Korean Buddhism to be extremely weak and the monks unlearned, with little faith in their religious ideology or meditative techniques. Given this weakened condition, Sano felt that such a show of good will toward the Korean monks might be enough to convince them to shift their allegiance to Japanese Buddhism, and specifically the Nichiren sect, thereby unifying Korean Buddhists under the Japanese banner.5)


  Indeed, Sano’s efforts to get this restriction removed were said to have been greeted enthusiastically by many Korean monks, though they were not enough to convince Koreans to embrace the Nichiren school.6) The Chosôn court continued to vacillate, however, over whether to honor their commitment to Sano, and it was not until 1904 that all government controls on Buddhism halted, marking the official end of the Choson policy of suppression.


 As Sano’s case shows, Japanese interest in Korean Buddhism was hardly benign, and the Japanese ascendancyin Korea during the first half of the twentieth century brought new challenges to the traditional Korean worldview. Waves of Japanese Buddhist missionaries came to proselytize in Korea and made considerable inroads within indigenous Buddhist circles. Because several of the most successful missionary schools–such as Nichiren, Jo – do shinshu – , and the O-tani school of the Highashi Honganji sect of Japanese Pure Land–had no real analogues in Korea, they challenged many of the fundamental teachings and practices of the native Buddhist tradition. There have been few instances in Asian history (with the possible exception of medieval Southeast Asia) where one Buddhist country, with its own deep-seated indigenous traditions, has been colonized by another. Rarer still has it been for the conquerors to have imposed their own tradition on the vanquished. But this is precisely what happened in Korea during the Japanese occupation. Korean monks in the present age continue to react to the legacy of this forced occupation.7)


5) See Takahashi To-ru, Richo- Bukkyo (Yi-Dynasty Buddhism) (1929; reprt. ed., Tokyo: Kokusho Kanko-kai, 1973) pp. 889-897.
6) See some of the examples summarized in Takahashi, Richo- Bukkyo, pp. 897-898.
7) Useful surveys of the Japanese colonial period include Sô Kyôngju,“ Han’guk Pulgyo paengnyônsa”(A Hundred-Year History of Korean Buddhism) Sônggok nonch’ong 4 (August, 1973): 37-78; Kang Sôkchu and Pak Kyônggu – n, Pulgyo kônse paengnyôn (The Most Recent Hundred Years of Buddhism) (Seoul: Chungang Ilbo, 1980), and Yu Pyôngdôk, “Ilche sidae u – i Pulgyo”(Buddhism during the Japanese Colonial Period), in Han’guk Pulgyo sasangsa, Sungsan Pak Kilchin paksa hwagap kinyu – m, edited by Sungsan Pak Kilchin paksa hwagap kinyu – m wiwônhoe (Iri: Wôn’gwang University Press, 1975), pp. 1159-1187. In English, see the survey in Wi Jo Kang, Religion and Politics in Korea Under the Japanese Rule [sic], Studies in Asian Thought and Religion, vol. 5 (Lewiston/Queenston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1987.


  Japanese motives in introducing their own forms of Buddhism into  Korea were not always as sinister as Korean nativistic scholarship would lead us to believe. True, the Japanese colonial administration did see religion, and especially Buddhism, as a tool of government policy, much as Buddhism had been exploited by the military government in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Missionaries from such Japanese Buddhist sects as the Nichiren Sho – shu – and Jo – do shinshu – lobbied to be allowed to proselytize in Korea. While such missionary activities began in the Japanese expatriate enclaves, the Japanese colonial administration subsequently encouraged missionaries to extend their activities into Korean communities as well, as a means of exerting ideological control over the native populace. Periodic attempts were even made to force Korean Buddhism to merge with one or another Japanese sects, moves that would have obliterated the independent identity of the indigenous church. To the Koreans, the most notorious of these attempts was an agreement reached in October 1910 by Yi Hoegwang (1840-after 1925) of the new Wônjong (Consummate School) to merge Korean Buddhism into the Japanese So – to – school, the Zen school whose“ gradualist”ideology, the Koreans protested, had the least affinities with the putative“ subitism”of traditional Korean Buddhism. While this merger was soon scuttled, it nevertheless attests to the seriousness of these new political pressures the Japanese exerted on Korean Buddhism. But we also cannot deny the altruism of some Japanese missionaries, who were sincerely concernedwith rehabilitating Buddhism after its long suppression by the dominant Neo-Confucian ideologues of the Chosôn dynasty.


 The Japanese colonial administration also intervened directly in Korean Buddhist affairs, intervention that had in fact begun soon after the Japanese annexation of Korea. Governor-General Terauchi Masatake promulgated a series of measures in November, 1906, that began to place regulations on Korean Buddhism similar to those placed on Japanese Buddhism during the Meiji Restoration.8) Finally, the Korean Monastery Law (jisatsurei Kor. sach’allyông) of June 3, 1911, formalized direct Japanese supervision of Buddhist temples and in 1912 established a new, centralized system of government control, in which the abbots of thirty (later thirty-one) head monasteries (ponsan), all licensed and confirmed by the Japanese government, controlled a large number of smaller branch temples (malsa).9)
Such central control of the tradition had several deleterious effects, which linger into the contemporary period. The groupings of head and branch monasteries created by the Japanese were often arbitrary and based purely on administrative convenience. The branch temples occasionally belonged to different monastic lineages from the main monasteries, and in some cases had been bitter rivals with their larger and more powerful neighbors. This centralized structure also fostered authoritarianism and corruption within the order. In the last half of the Chosôn dynasty, individual monasteries had enjoyed all but complete autonomy in choosing their abbot and officers, deciding their practice schedule, and in making financial decisions. With such decisions now subject to veto at the national level, deep-seated resentment was created toward the centralized Buddhist administration. This system also increased considerably the power of the abbot, leading to near-tyranny in a few cases.10)
 A similar centralized administrative structure remains in place within the Chogye order today, generating similar types of tension.


8) For the Meiji persecution of Buddhism, see James Edward Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and its Persecution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).
9) For the list, see Kang Su – kchu and Pak Kyônggu – n, Pulgyo kônse paengnyôn, pp. 56-57. In 1924, these ponsan became thirty-one with the addition of Hwaomsa to the list.
10) See some of the examples cited in Kang Sôkchu and Pak Kyônggu – n, Pulgyo konse paengnyon, p. 85.



Buddhist Modernization Movements


Japanese and Western imperialist pressures forced Korea–and eventually Korean Buddhists–to become more cognizant of outside forces, leading to a burgeoning modernization movement within the religion during the decades bracketing the Japanese annexation of Korea. Korean Buddhists were abruptly aroused from their long isolationist slumber and forced to begin a wrenching process of self-examination. How had their tradition arrived at its present dire straits? How might it be restored to its former glory? Calls for secularization became increasingly strident: if Korean Buddhism were to survive in the modern world, it would have to adapt–an application, the monks claimed, of the Buddhist doctrine of skill in means (upa – ya) to the changing circumstances of the contemporary scene.
Korean Buddhist reform movements during this period can be divided into two major types. First were more conservative movements, which sought torevitalize traditional forms of Korean Buddhist thought and practice. Second were the more progressive movements, which sought to introduce innovations that would make the religion more responsive to the needs of modern life. Many of the most radical reforms, especially the call that monks be allowed to marry, were first prompted by Korean contacts with Buddhism in Japan. But once the ecclesiastical institutions established by the Japanese colonial government tried to impose similar reforms on Korean Buddhism, nationalistic pride rejected mostsuch measures and the reforms were doomed. Many Korean Buddhists instead turned stridently conservative, seeking to root out all progressive elements within the order. To show their defiance toward“ secularized”Buddhism, now identified with the Japanese oppressors, Koreans sought instead to restore their old traditions from the putative Golden Age of the Unified Silla and Koryôperiods. Several of the most liberal reformers at the time of the transition to Japanese rule would eventually become leaders of the conservative faction, which would become dominant after the March First independence movement. This rift between“ liberal”Japanese toadyism and“ conservative”Korean nationalism became intractable, creating severe tensions that persist into the modern period.


Conservative Reform Movements


 The leaders of the conservative movement included several of the most renowned monks of the age. Song Kyônghô (1849-1912) sought to recreate the late-Koryô Imje (Ch. Linji) style of Sôn cultivation by restoring the technique of kanhwa Sôn (the Chan of observing the keyword), or ko – an Zen, to supreme place in Korean Buddhist praxis. Paek Hangmyông (1867-1929) started a rural, agriculturally based religious movement, in which So – n practice was to be carried out in conjunction with field work. Paek’s ideology was based on the prototypic Sôn injunction of“ no work, no food,”perhaps reflecting in its Korean form influence as well from the rural utopias envisioned in the Sirhak (Practical Learning) school of the disenfranchised Confucian literati.
But perhaps the most important, and certainly the most traditional, of the conservative reformers was Paek Yongsông (1864-1940). Ordained at Haeinsa under Hwawôl sônsa at the age of nineteen, Yongsông was a strong advocate of Sôn Buddhism, and practiced together with Hyewôl and Man’gong, two of the more iconoclastic figures in turn-of-the-century Korean Buddhism. Yongsông was a participant in the Independence movement of 1919, along with Han Yongun, to whom we shall turn later. During his year and a half in prison, he translated many su – tras (such as the voluminous Hwaômgyông) from literary Chinese into han’gu – l, the Korean vernacular script, in order to make more texts accessible to ordinary people.


 Yongsông belittled the thrust of many of the institutional reforms proposed by progressive figures, such as moving monasteries into the cities, as we shall see below. Although improvements in Buddhist administration might be useful in strengthening the institutions of Buddhism, they would have little effect on the overall health of the religion, he argued. Only by restoring the practice tradition–which for Yongsông meant kanhwa Sôn–could Buddhism have any hope of becoming a viable religious force; and unless it could reestablish itself as a religious power, there was no hope of Buddhism having any impact on Korean society.
Yongsông was a strong advocate of the traditional celibate lifestyle of the monks–to the point that in 1926 he wrote a memorial to the Japanese governor-general entitled“ Prohibit the Lifestyle of Breaking the Precepts” (Pômgye saenghwal ku – mji). Because of his interest in ensuring the continuance of the bhiks.u and bhiks.un.¦¯ traditions, he personally established many ordination platforms and transmitted the complete monastic precepts (kujokkye) several times during his career.11) His ideal lifestyle, like that of Paek Hangmyông, was one in which Sôn practice and agriculture would be combined. He lived out this ideal at his hermitage on Paegun Mountain, where he planted over 10,000 persimmon and chestnut trees, which he and his monks tended.
Yongsông led the attack on Christianity, with numerous tracts clarifying the Buddhist message and demonstrating its superiority to that alien Western religion. Yongsông noted that while he was living in Seoul, he had witnessed the extraordinary successes Christian missionaries were having in converting Koreans, while the Buddhist p’ogyodang (missionary centers) were all but empty.12) As a way of distinguishing the goals of Buddhism from those of Christianity, Yongsông advocated changing the name of Buddhism to the“ Religion of Great Enlightenment”(Taegakkyo), since religious awakening was its unique feature. Yongsông’s Kuwôn chôngjong(The Orthodox School that Returns to the Fountainhead) was a tract written comparing Buddhism to Confucianism, Daoism, and Christianity, a modern twist on the old“ three teachings”syncretism of medieval East Asian philosophy. While Confucianism presented a complete moral doctrine, Yongsông argued, it was deficient in transcendental teachings. Daoism was deficient in moral teachings but half-understood transcendental teaching. Christianity was fairly close to the Buddhist ch’ôn’gyo“( Teachings of [humans] and gods”), which taught the kinds of meritorious actions that would lead to rebirth in heavenly realms; it was, however, completely ignorant of the transcendental teaching. Only Buddhism, Yongsông concluded, presented all facets of both moral and transcendental teachings.13)
Bridging the conservative and progressive factions was Pak Hanyong (1870-1948), a leading theorist of the reformist movement. Hanyong downplayed the importance of Sôn alone in Korea, a stand advocated by many of the conservative leaders, and stressed instead the twin foci of Sôn meditation practice and Kyo doctrinal study, an approach emblematic of Korean Buddhism since the Koryô. Based on this fusion of traditional Buddhist elements, Buddhists must then begin to modernize their religion by expanding their knowledge of science and technology and by introducing Western cultural values into Buddhism.
Pak saw hope for the Buddhism of his era. Three-Kingdoms Buddhism, he said, was the era of Buddhist expansion, Koryô the era of prosperity,
11) Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1130.
12) See source cited in Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1127 n. 28.
13) Han Chongman,“ Usin sasang,”p. 1128-1129. Compare the Buddhist response to Christianity in Sri Lanka, as discussed in Kitsiri Malalgoda, Buddhism in Sinhalese Society 1750-1900: A Study of Religious Revival and Change(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 191-255.


and the Chosôn dynasty the era of degeneration. It was during the present age, however, that Buddhism would be restored.14) Five reforms in the personal character of Buddhists were necessary before this reformation of the religion could occur: 1) abandon pride and study extensively, while emptying the mind; 2) abandon laziness and practice ferociously; 3) abandon self-action and engage in actions that will benefit others; 4) abandon niggardliness and develop charity, giving both materially and spiritually; 5) abandon self-satisfaction and develop a mind that likes constantly to question and learn.15) To realize these aims, he devoted himself to the education of Buddhist youth, serving for many years as the main lecturer at the Buddhist Central Seminary (Pulgyo Chungang Hangnim).


Han Yongun and the Progressive Reformers


 But it was the progressive reformers who would have the greatest effect on the subsequent history of Korean Buddhism. Most prominent among these crucial figures were Han Yongun (1879-1944), also known by the sobriquet Manhae, and Pak Chungbin (1894-1943), sobriquet Sot’aesan. The works of these two figures reveal the forces unleashed in Korea by the political upheaval accompanying the decay of the Chosôn dynasty: first the Tonghak movement of 1896-1897 and the Japanese occupation of Korea. For our purposes here, I will focus on Han Yongun.


14) See Pak Yanyong’s essay in Haedong Pulgyo, no. 4, pp. 3-5; quoted Han Chongman, “Usin sasang,”p. 1138.
15) From Pak Yanyong’s essay in Chosôn Pulgyo wôlbo, no. 9; see the quotation in Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”pp. 1136-1137.

Han Yongun, monk, social and religious reformer, renowned poet (he authored Nim u-i chimmuk,“ Silence of the Beloved,”one of the first modern poems in vernacular Korean), influential magazine editor, and translator, is best known in Korea as one of the thirty-three leaders of the March First Movement (Samil Undong), the independence movement from Japanese rule that occurred in 1919.16) While still in his teens, Yongun had participated in the Tonghak (Eastern Learning) Rebellion during the last decade of the nineteenth century, which sought to purge Western influences from Korean society and restore native Korean values. Looking back into his country’s own traditions led Yongun to Buddhism, and in 1905, at the age of twenty-seven, he ordained as a monk at Paektamsa on Sôrak Mountain. Profoundly influenced by the important Chinese reformer Liang Qichao’s writings on the West, he went to Vladivostok in 1905-1906 in an unsuccessful attempt to travel to the United States via Siberia and Europe. In 1908, Yongun was however able to travel to Japan, where he was amazed by the conciliation he found there between traditional forms of Buddhism and modern technological culture.
Profoundly affected by his overseas experiences and distressed at what he considered the degenerate state of his own tradition of Buddhism–poor


16) Korean studies on Han Yongun are voluminous. Among the more accessible treatments are Han Chongman,“ Pulgyo usin sasang,”in Han’guk Pulgyo sasangsa, pp. 1121-1158, and esp. 1140-1154. In English, see Mok Chong-bae,“ Han Yong-un and Buddhism,” Korea Journal 10, no. 12 (Dec., 1979), pp. 19-27; An Pyong-jik,“ Han Yong-un’s Liberalism: An Analysis of the‘ Reformation of Korean Buddhism,’”Korea Journal 19, no. 12 (Dec. 1979), pp. 13-18.


learning, little meditation training, and lax observance of precepts–Yongun called on Korean Buddhism to evolve along what he termed modern, scientific lines, while still drawing from its wellspring in Asian spiritual culture.
To express his vision of such a contemporary form of Buddhism, Yongun wrote in 1910 a treatise calling for what were at the time radical changes in the Korean tradition. This tract is his seminal Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon (Treatise on the Reformation of Korean Buddhism),17)
One of the first attempts by a Korean to explores ways in which Western liberalism might be applied in a Korean context. Yongun saw the world in melioristic terms, as in a continualstate of evolution that would culminate ultimately in an ideal civilization. He considered that the tide of reform then sweeping the world in science, politics, and religion would leave Korea, and specifically Korean Buddhism, behind if it did not learn to respond to these changes. To survive, Koreans must transform their nation from a static, tradition-bound country into a dynamic society at the forefront of this tide.
Later arrested and imprisoned for his participation in the March First Movement, Yongun became an outspoken proponent of Korean independence. While elderly Buddhist monks isolated in the mountains might be ignorant of this need for reform, Yongun says, younger monks were aware of it and would have to initiate and sustain reform.18) Hence,

17) Han Yongun, Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon (Treatise on the Reformation of Korean Buddhism), Yi Wônsôp, ed. and trans. (Seoul: Manhae Sasang Yôn’guhoe, 1983). In these notes, I will cite the photolithographic reprint of Yongun’s original Sino-Korean text included as the appendix to this edition.


Buddhist youth movements independent of monastic control were strongly supported by Yongun and other reformers during this period, as the only way of ensuring that younger Buddhists did not fall into the same habits that had ossified their seniors. A series of such youth organizations were established during the occupation period: the Buddhist Youth Association in 1920, Buddhist Reformation Association in 1922, and General League of Buddhist Youth in 1931. Yongun’s analysis produced something of a generation gap within the order between conservative senior monks and liberal junior monks, a gap that has reappeared in the contemporary Chogye order.
In his “Essay on the Ideologies of Buddhism”(Non Pulgyo chi chuu – i) from his Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon,19) Yongun explains that all the various teachings of Buddhism can be broadly divided into two categories: an egalitarian “ideology of equality”(p’yôngdu – ng chuu – i), and a salvific “ideology of saving the world”(kuse chuu – i). Buddhism was founded upon the ideal of egalitarianism: from the standpoint of absolute truth, all the inequalities of the world could be seen as in fact equal. This interpretation of equality springs from the Hwaôm/Huayan notion of the unimpeded interpenetration pertaining between all phenomena in the universe (sasa muae/shishi wuai), in which each thing creates, and is in turn created by, every other thing. Such a vision of symbiotic interrelatedness could provide a Buddhistic foundation forworld peace

18) Pulgyo chi, vol. 88, p. 2,“ A Plan for the Reformation of Korean Buddhism;”noted in Mok Chong-bae,“ Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”Korea Journal 10, no. 12 (Dec., 1979), p. 20.
19) Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon, Yi Wônsôp ed., pp. 12-15.


and universal equality between individuals, races, nations, and continents.20)


 This Buddhistic notion of equality could develop as well into the modern political doctrines of freedom and universalism, because it is opposed to looking at things from the standpoint of the individual or the nation; it could also lead to self-determination, because nations would see that it was wrong to enforce their own political will on other countries. While egalitarianism may be the essence of truth, that truthfunctioned through the intent to“ save the world.”This salvific aspect, the second major division of Buddhist ideology according to Yongun, must come into play if freedom and peace were to be achieved. Soteriology is the opposite of egoistic, self-serving action; it instead is motivated by the great compassion of Buddhism, creating a sense of mutual dependence and cooperation between all beings.21) As long as Buddhist modernization was driven by these two principles, it could accommodate such Western ideals as democratization while maintaining its basis in indigenous Korean culture.


 In order for these principles to be useful in the reformation of Buddhism and Korean society, however, the religion would have to be brought out of the mountains and into thelives of ordinary Koreans in the villages and cities. Because Buddhism had been forced into mountain exile during the Chosôn dynasty, monks were ignorant of the changing conditions in the

20) Han Yongun chônjip (The Collected Works of Han Yongun), p. 45; noted in Mok Chong-bae“, Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”p. 22.
21) All above from Han Yongun Chônjip, p. 104, cf. also p. 46; quoted in Han Chongman, “Usin sasang”, p.1148.


world and incapable of reacting intelligently to those new situations. Monks were unwilling to take risks and had become unconscionably diffident. This diffidence sapped Buddhism of the competitive spirit necessary for continued evolution, causing the religion to degenerate. And finally, due to this degeneration, the ideology and practice of monks had declined, affecting all aspects of the tradition, from monastic education and proselytization, to the organizational structure of the order and financial management.22) If Buddhism was to survive, it was necessary to reestablish ties with lay society and begin working anew toward the salvation of all beings. Such a mass movement, based on Buddhist principles, would help to democratize society and thereby strengthen the institutions of government, education, and religion.
To mitigate against the deleterious effects of their long, enforced isolation, Yongun proposed a radical migration of Buddhist monasteries from the mountains to the cities.23) He proposed three different plans. First, a few of the most important mountain monasteries might be left unchanged as pilgrimage sites, Yongun proposed, but the rest should be moved to local districts and villages. Alternatively, all the large monasteries might be left as they were, but the smaller temples moved into the cities. Or finally, small hermitages and temples might be demolished and merged with nearby monasteries; those merged monasteries would then establish p’ogyodangs (missionary centers) in the nearby villages.24)
Radical reforms in the Buddhist institutions of Korea werealso necessary

22) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 112; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1152. 23) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 112; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”pp. 1151-1152. 24) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 114; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1152.


to create more direct contacts between monks and laity. While Buddhism may have become inept in responding to the needs of society during the Chosôn dynasty, this did not mean that the religion was irrelevant to lay Koreans. The goal of Buddhism was to bring awakening to each individual, and to do this Buddhism had to be in constant contact with the people through missionary activities. This drive for relevancy should occur along two fronts: first, popularizing Buddhist rituals and scriptures, so that people could more easily understand the tenets of the religion; and second, rationalizing Buddhist ecclesiastical ceremonies andeconomic assets.25) Simplification was the watchword in both these areas. The puzzling array of deities and beings then worshipped in Korean monasteries, including the arhats, pratyekabuddhas, the seven stars of the Big Dipper, and the dharma protectors, should be reduced to one–the Buddha S´ a – kyamuni.26) Formal ceremonies should be simplified so that they would be more accessible and comprehensible to the laity.27)
But the major obstacle to the relevancy of Buddhism in modern, market-driven political economies was financial: the economic dependency of monks and monasteries on the laity was a drain on the resources of the nation.28) Monks must learn to contribute to the economy by forming temple agricultural cooperatives devoted to the cultivation of fruit, mulberry trees (for silk), tea, and chestnuts. If monasteries were selfsupporting, two benefits would be forthcoming: first, better use of forest products and other natural resources; and second, increased productivity among the monks and ultimately among the entire workforce. Yongun also proposed organs that would distribute the proceeds coming from monastic enterprises to the needy in society. Such enterprises would enhance the functioning of Buddhist compassion within society, rather than encouraging the monks to remain parasitic on the laity, as he claimed had been common theretofore.29)


25) See his article in Tonga Ilbo, 1920,“ Necessity for Self-rule and New Activity by Buddhism,”noted in Mok Chong-bae“, Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”p. 25.
26) Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon, pp. 43-50:“ On articles revered by Buddhists”; noted in Mok Chong-bae“, Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”p. 26.
27) Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon, pp. 50-53,“ On Various Ceremonies by Buddhists”; noted in Mok Chong-bae“, Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”p. 26.
28) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 117; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1150.


29) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 165; quoted in Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1150.


 But even if such moves created a salutary Buddhist presence in the cities, the interests of the religion would not be served if monks were unable to communicate with the laity. Yongun saw the success Christian missionaries were having in Korea and advocated that monks too must be familiar with modern civilization if they were to duplicate Christian successes in proselytization. Clearly vast improvements in monastic education were necessary. The monastic curriculum emphasizing the study of literary Chinese was clearly out of date, and Yongun advocated new textbooks for doctrinal training and improved teaching methods.
Yongun proposed that between the ages of fifteen and forty, Buddhist monks should complete an uniform, nationally sanctioned, curriculum.


 First monks should study worldly subjects like science, technology, and civics, so that they would become fluent in the knowledge common to ordinary people. Next, they should turn to Buddhist subjects, so that they would become fluent exponents of their own religion. Finally, they should study overseas so as to understand foreign cultures and to expand their intellectual horizons.30) Only with such wide-ranging knowledge could monks hope to be truly capable missionaries, who would have any chance of expressing a vision of modernity that was authentically Buddhistic.


 But along with reforms in doctrinal instruction, the approach to Sôn meditation needed also to be standardized and its presentation systematized so that it could be learned, and taught, more easily to both monks and lay persons. Centers of Sôn training were too scattered and the training offered too inconsistent in quality. Yongun advocated that one or two large halls be opened under the guidance of the best Sôn masters. All monks, even those in support positions in the monasteries, should be expected to sit for one or two hours daily. Such a move, a major departure from traditional monastic practice where meditation monks were kept isolated from much of the rest of the monastery, would establish an egalitarian attitude within the monasteries by breaking down the division in the ecclesiastical organization between support and practice monks. Finally, Yongun advocated closing yômbultangs, or halls devoted to the recitation of the Buddha’s name, because these were places where ignorant, uninformed practice was occurring. Monks were not learning to see that the Pure Land was within their own minds, the Sôn orientation toward yômbul practice that had been common in Korea since the Koryô period. To ensure that such reforms were instituted throughout the country, Yongun finally advocated that a national headquarters in Seoul 30) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 106; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1151. be placed in charge of both lecture halls and Sôn centers, so as to standardize both branches of Buddhist education throughout the country.31)


 Yongun’s attempts to combine lay and monastic Buddhism were justified by drawing on the mid-Koryô clarion call for the harmonization of Sôn meditation practice and Kyo doctrinal study. Sôn and Kyo had become estranged during the latter part of the Chosôn dynasty, with most of the conservative reformers within Korean Buddhism becoming exponents of the Sôn faction. Yongun instead emphasized the practice of both, restoring the Koryô emphasis on the symbiotic relationship between these two branches of Buddhist practice. Sôn, Yongun explained, develops a stable, concentrated, unmoving mind, which allows the practitioner to endure the difficulties of life and ultimately reach nirva – n.a. Kyo instead develops wisdom and provides the principles necessary to put compassion into action so as to save other beings. Drawing on an ancient metaphor used in Korea by both Wônhyo and Chinul, Yongun suggests that Sôn and Kyo are like the two wings of a bird, and the fortunes of Buddhism depend on the presence of both.



31) Pulgyo chi, vol. 88, p. 10; noted Mok Chong-bae,“ Han Yong-un and Buddhism,”pp. 23-24.


Han Yongun’s Calls for a Married Clergy


 But perhaps the most radical solution Han Yongun offered to this perceived split between the monks and the laity in Korean Buddhism was his call that monks and nuns should be allowed to marry, For an insightful discussion of Yongun’s rationale for allowing monks to marry,32) a move that would controvert monastic standards of celibacy in place since virtually the inception of Buddhism in Korea. Apart from a few individual iconoclasts, Korean Buddhist monasticism had always been based on the institution of celibacy. Even during the severe repressions of the Chosôn dynasty, Buddhist monks still mostly observed celibacy. It was not until the final years of the dynasty that adherence to the precepts became increasingly lax among the ecclesia. As contact with incoming Japanese missionary monks brought the news that that most materially advanced of Asian Buddhist nations permitted monks to take wives, some of the first widespread instances of marriage among Korean monks are noted. By the turn of the twentieth century, it had become common knowledge among Koreans that many monks were secretly marrying, regardless of the restrictions still in place. The Chosôn Pulgyo wôlbo(Korean Buddhism Monthly) of November, 1912, reported, for example, that many monks of the time neither wore monk’s robes nor kept the precepts–both discreet codes for marriage.33) Han Yongun felt that this increasingly common state of affairs should be acknowledged publicly and marriage officially allowed by the order. Monks who wished to marry would then no longer need to

32) see Yi Nu-nghwa, Chosôn Pulgyo t’ongsa (A Comprehensive History of Korean Buddhism) (1918; reprint ed., Seoul: U-ryu Munhwasa, 1959), vol. 1, pp. 617-620. 33) The testimony of this journal may be somewhat suspect, since it is considered to have been the organ of pro-Japanese factions within the Korean Buddhist order. See Henrik H. Sorensen“, Korean Buddhist Journals during Early Japanese Colonial Rule,”Korea Journal 30-1 (Jan., 1990), p. 19.


maintain the pretense of being celibate but could get on with their real vocation of studying, meditating, and teaching without inviting potential scandal or suffering scruples.
In March and September of 1910, Han Yongun sent separate petitions to the Japanese cabinet (Chungch’uwôn) and the monastery supervisory board (T’onggambu) asking that they lift restrictions on monks and nuns taking a spouse and allow both the freedom (but not the obligation) to marry.34)
Yongun’s arguments in favor of clergy marriages appeal to common sense, Buddhist doctrinal teachings, and the potential benefits of married monks to society, religion, and the government. Social stratification within Buddhism between the celibate clergy and the married laity, Yongun explains, was inhibiting the religion’s ability to adapt to the changing circumstances of modern life. In an argument remarkably similar to those proposed by reformists within the Catholic Church of our own age, celibacy, Yongun suggests, was no longer relevant in the present age, which was characterized by rapid social change. Because this precept remains in place, however, many monks who would remain in the order if allowed to marry were instead seceding from the order. Monks numbered only five to six thousand during Yongun’s time, andtheir numbers would continue to remain small, he claimed, as long as this outdated restriction remained in place. And privately, many monks were ignoring the rule on celibacy and marrying anyway, causing unnecessary

34) Both memorials are appended to the section on marriage in his Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon, pp. 63-64, 64-65.


pangs of guilt. Because they are compelled to honor outmoded restrictions, the waning influence of Buddhist monks was weakening both society and religion, a process that would eventually lead to the demise of the religion. If monks were, however, allowed to marry and produce offspring who would be Buddhist by birth, Buddhism would be better able to compete with other religions and widen its own sphere of influence in society, thereby protecting its viability. The internal tensions over the marriage issue were, by extension, upsetting the virtue (todôk) of the government as well. If monks were instead permitted to marry, the number of people within the Buddhist order would vastly increase, strengthening both government and society through the burgeoning influence of a revitalized Buddhism.
In addition to these practical benefits accruing from allowing monks to marry, such basic doctrines of Korean Buddhism as“ the unimpeded interpenetration of all phenomena”left no valid grounds for claiming that such a common human affair as marriage was unwholesome and thus deserving of being prohibited. The main reason monks were practicing celibacy, Yongun argued, was because of the Vinaya prohibition on sexual intercourse. But the cardinal Hwaôm doctrine of consummate interfusion (wônyung/yuanrong) offered an elegant solution to this restriction: since truth and falsity had no real essence, and merit and demerit had no fixed natures of their own, all such extremes were actually interfused. Thus celibacy and marriage were really no different and neither should be considered optimal for monastic practice. True, marriage might make it more difficult to maintain monastic decorum. Nevertheless, Han argued, the potential benefits accruing to the religion from having monks who intimately understood secular life were so great that marriage ought to be allowed.35)


 The Buddha originally abolished marriage only as an expedient means of practice for those of lesser capacity–presumably meaning those monks still attached to sexual desire, or those too dull to understand the doctrine of consummate interfusion, though Yongun does not clarify precisely what he means here. This prohibition had not, however, been an inviolate feature of Buddhism since the inception of the religion–a valid point, since the Vinaya tells us that this precept was not instituted until some two decades into the dispensation.36) However, since this was an ancient ecclesiastical law, the monks could not decide on their own to ignore it andbegin marrying. A government proclamation to permit marriage was necessary. Neither the cabinet nor the monastery supervisory board responded to Yongun’s petition, however.
Rebuffed by the government, Han Yongun instead tried to lobby the ecclesiasticalleaders of Korean Buddhism to accept such a move. In his “Essay on the Future of Buddhism and whether Monks and Nuns Should be Allowed to Marry”in his Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon,37) Han Yongun reiterated his arguments in systematic fashion, exploring the rationale behind the prohibition against clergy marriage and why these were no longer applicable in contemporary society. Han lists the four major arguments for maintaining the prohibition against marriage, and

35) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 119; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1153. 36) For a representative description of the background to the promulgation of this first disciplinary precept, see the account in the Maha-vagga. 37) Chosôn Pulgyo yusillon, pp. 58-63.


repudiates each.
1) Clergy marriage controverts ethical norms (hae ô yulli). Yongun replies that most people consider the greatest ethical sin to be a lack of filial piety. By not carrying on the lineage of the family, the celibate monk is offending the hundreds of thousands of generations of both ancestors and potential successors. Yongun here has simply revived a perennial argument, used often against Buddhism throughout its history in East Asia, that celibates were unfilial; but it a startling twist that a progressive Buddhist is now using it against more conservative factions within the order.
2) Clergy marriage injures the nation (hae ô kukka). While this may seem to us a rather naive position for Yongun to adopt, it is one that would appeal to the cultural and social inferiority Koreans were feeling during this period. Yongun replies that in civilized countries (meaning the West), where people are free to choose their own marriage partner, the population has expanded rapidly, allowing rapideconomic and social progress as well. When the liberal politicians of the Occident hear that Buddhist monks are prohibited from marrying,“ they are surprised and feel sadness,”he says. Yongun’s position resonates in particular with those of progressive intellectuals after the 1880s, who felt that fundamentalchanges were necessary in traditional Korean society in order to support the establishment of a modern nation-state along Western lines.38)
3) Clergy marriage impedes religious dissemination (hae ô p’ogyo). Although Buddhists are trying to disseminate theirreligion throughout the world, Yongun explains, if they restrict marriage and do not allow potential converts to have a family, then who would have any interest in converting to Buddhism? But even if they were successful in converting some people to Buddhism, those converts would finally only revert to lay life.
4) Clergy marriage inhibits moral development (hae ô p’unghwa). Humans have strong desires for food and sex; indeed, persons who have physical bodies but say they have no such desires are braggarts and liars.
But if people forcibly try to repress their desires by clinging to the precepts, those desires will only become stronger, bringing immense grief to them and making any kind of happiness impossible.“ If we reflect upon Buddhist history after the end of the Koryôdynasty,”Han tells us, “we see that the attempt to maintain the purity of the monks ruined Buddhism as a whole.”Yongun suggests here that Buddhists’outmoded, conservative response to the challenge of the Neo-Confucian persecution– holding fast to the precepts–led them to their present dire straits. Moral reforms stood a better chance of succeeding if marriage were allowed than by demanding that monks force themselves to maintain an outmoded, irrelevant precept.
In advocating clergy marriage, Yongun was not demanding that all monks and nuns should be forced to take a spouse. Religious committed to celibacy should be allowed to follow their own path; but so too should monks who thought marriage would be a way of furthering their religion.

38) See Michael Edson Robinson, Cultural Nationalism in Colonial Korea, 1920-1925, Korean Studies of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988), especially chap. 1.


Monks who choose marriage are simply following the examples of other Buddhist bodhisattvas and spiritual exemplars who practiced Buddhism while living in the world.39) Yongun even goes so far as to say that as long as the monk remains devoted to hisreligion, it was of little consequence whether he kept all the myriad rules of the Vinaya.40) By allowing monks to make this crucial decision for themselves, Buddhists would learn personal freedom of choice, a necessary quality along the road toward democracy.
Han’s petitions and lobbying to allow marriage initially gained little support within the order. In March, 1913, for example, at a meeting of the abbots of the thirty head monasteries, an agreement was reached prohibiting wives from living in the temples, as well as forbidding women from lodging overnight in the monasteries.41) But these restrictions were difficult to maintain, given the calls for secularization occurring among some of the reformers within the order and the support of the Japanese governor-general for a married clergy. Within a decade, monks maintaining celibacy were in the minority. Finally, in October, 1926, intense Japanese pressure compelled the head abbots to repeal the prohibition against marriage. From that point on monks were officially allowed to marry (taech’ô) and eat meat (sigyuk). Within three years, some eighty percent of monasteries formally eliminated the restriction on

39) Han Yongun chônjip, p. 119; Han Chongman“, Usin sasang,”p. 1154.
40) Chosôn Pugyo yusillon, pp. 58-63.
41) Taemaesin, Mach 16, 1913; excerpted in Han’guk ku-nse Pulgyo paengnyônsa (The Last Century of Buddhism in Korea) (Seoul: Minjoksa, n.d.), vol. 1, kwôn 1, Su-ngdan p’ yônnyôn, p. 43.


having wives in residence, marking what was then the end of an era for traditional Korean Buddhism and the beginnings of a new schism in the order between married priests (taech’ôsông) and celibate monks (pikkusu-ng).42)
A married clergy created profound changes in Korean monastic life during the Japanese colonial period. Monks with families needed guaranteed sources of income, prompting monks to accumulate private property and often take gainful employment. Such moves not only reduced the amount of property held in common by the monasteries, thus creating economic hardship for the bhiks.us who refused to take jobs, but also limited the amount of time spent in traditional monastic vocations, such as doctrinal study, meditation practice, and proselytization.
Conveniently for the Japanese colonial administration as well, married monks were much more sedentary, tied as they were to their families and jobs, and thus much less able to travel freely about the country fomenting demonstrations, or possibly spying, as were the celibate monks.


Implications for Contemporary Monastic Buddhism in Korea


Whatever the obvious problems Japanese dominion over the peninsula may have created for Korean Buddhism, the occupation did help to galvanize the tradition after centuries of Confucian persecution during the

42) Takahashi, Richô Bukkyo, p. 953; Kang Sôkchu and Pak Kyônggu-n, Pulgyo kônse paengnyôn, pp. 70-73.


Chosôn dynasty. The Japanese were decidedly sympathetic to Buddhism and did much to support the religion, especially during the Chosôn dynasty’s final stage of decline. This support helped create a sense of pride in Buddhism, which restored the tradition’s long-lost sense of selfesteem.
Contacts with Japanese monks also opened for the Koreans new perspectives on the social role of Buddhism, initiating much creative thought within the tradition concerning how to make the religion relevant to the changing conditions of contemporary life. At very least, exposure to the flourishing Buddhist tradition of Japan revealed to Koreans that Buddhism and modernity could develop hand in hand.
Tightening Japanese control over Korean Buddhism after the formal annexation of Korea, however, undermined the fledgling reform movement initiated by such leaders as Han Yongun. Because the reform proposals offered by this progressive faction within the order were often modeled upon Japanese developments that occurred during the Meiji period, these proposals closely mirrored the eventual religious policies of the Japanese colonial administration. Hence, progressive proposals–as for a married clergy–came to be identified with manipulative Japanese policy. After the March First independence movement of 1919, indigenous progressive reformsall but vanished as Korean Buddhism came to be dominated by the conservative faction within the order. The focus of change within Buddhism was then not to reform Buddhism but instead to restore the putative traditions of old. The reforms instituted by the government-general were consequently viewed as subterfuges for Japanese attempts to undercut the viability of the tradition. What Buddhism truly needed, many monks felt, was to look within its own traditions–back to the eminent Korean masters of the past, back to the doctrinal training and meditation practice of the Koryô golden age–for the raw materials from which to cast a revitalized Korean Buddhism. The victory of conservative forces within the order was assured.
The Purification Movement (chônghwa undong) of the 1950s and 1960s would seek to cleanse from Korean Buddhism the last vestiges of Japanese influence, including what was considered the most blatant of all– the married clergy. The dominant Chogye order became a conservative institution of celibate monks, bitterly opposed to the much smaller T’ aegoorder of married priests, who were considered to represent the remnants of failed Japanese colonial policy. With their near-total victory over the T’aego priests, the Chogye leaders have entertained only grudgingly more recent initiatives from liberal, and usually younger, factions within the order, including calls for secularization. In recent years, the Chogye order has been rent by increasing discord between reform and conservative factions, and this conflict remains a major factor in contemporary ecclesiastical politics. The elderly leaders of the order remember with considerable bitterness the“ reforms”foisted on the tradition by the Japanese, and fought those reforms for decades. After finally succeeding in driving out the Japanese and regaining control of the monasteries from the married monks, these senior monks have shown little interest in entertaining progressive initiatives from those whom they consider young upstarts within the ecclesia with no sense of history. Hence from a variety of standpoints, we see the continuing effect that the legacy of the Japanese occupation has had on contemporary Buddhism in Korea.
Clergy marriage during the Japanese occupation period ultimately was not something that the Korean Buddhists themselves independently chose. Rather, it was a policy forcedupon them by Japanese colonial administrators and, therefore, was inevitably opposed by Korean Buddhist nationalists. Once the Japanese were finally removed from power, celibacy was restored to most segments of the indigenous monastic tradition. But still today in Korea, many of the reasons that Han Yongun and other progressive reformers cited in first advocating clergy marriage remain. We may therefore expectthat, as long as the relevancy of traditional Buddhist institutions in contemporarysociety remains in question, the debate over the advisability of celibacy will continue within the Korean Buddhist church.

Enlightenment through Celibacy or Celibacy through Enlightenment?

Yao-ming-Tsai.pdf (583KB, DN:)
Enlightenment through Celibacy or Celibacy through Enlightenment?
Yuki Sirimane(University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka)

I. Introduction

Twenty One out of the Two Hundred and Twenty Seven disciplinary rules for a bhikkhu concern sexual behavior. The four Parajika rules laid down for the bhikkhus have been increased to eight parajika rules in the disciplinary rules applicable to the bhikkhunis. Three out of these additional four rules applicable to the bhikkhunis pertain to sex life and can be considered as secondary rules deriving from the first parajika rule. Hence half the number of the parajika rules laid down for bhikkhunis deal with sex in one way or another.1) Similarly amongst the many additional

1) Jothiya Dheerasekara, Buddhist Monastic Discipline, Colombo, 1992, 149.

disciplinary rules introduced for Bhikkhunis in the category of Sanghadisesa and Pacittiya rules too, a substantial number deal with sexual behavior and impairment to the life of brahmacariya.
There is a tendency to interpret the essence of the brahmacari life as celibacy. However Mohan Wijeratne in Buddhist Nuns writes No where in the Buddhist doctrine or its discipline do we find any praise of perpetual virginity, or any notion such (as) physical saintliness or ecclesiastical celibacy. Moreover the Buddha does not attach any importance whatsoever to sacred ritual nor does it search for any ritual purity through abstaining from sexual relations’2)
In the light of the heavy stress on celibacy in the Disciplinary Code for monks and nuns in Theravada Buddhism and the general understanding of the philosophy as expressed by Mohan Wijeratne above, it is necessary to investigate in to the role of celibacy on the Path of Enlightenment.
Hence this paper investigates in to the role of celibacy on the Path of Enlightenment;‘ Is it celibacy through Enlightenment or Enlightenment through Celibacy?’with special focus on the recorded practice of Buddhist female disciples. In doing so we will first examine the place of celibacy in the Disciplinary Code for bhikkhunis in the Theravada Tradition. Secondly the Buddhist text refer to female disciples of the Buddha who have attained mental development or attained fruits of the Path as very young girls , entered marriage thereafter , produced children and continued to lead a perfectly normal married life. Hence we will examine the role of celibacy in the lives of the lay female disciples who
2) Mohan Wijeratne, Buddhist Nuns, Colombo, Wisdom, 2001, p. 116.
are reported to have attained significant mental development as recorded in the Theravada Texts.
In the recent field research done by the writer addressing certain controversies surrounding‘ Enlightenment’in the Theravada Tradition i.e. interviews with contemporary meditators of the Theravada tradition, both monks, nuns and layman and lay women who are believed to be with specific religiousexperiences, it has been found that whilst some have attained the fruit of Stream-entry (first stage of Enlightenment) whilst leading a‘ spotlessly clean’celibate life, some laymen observed the prescribed sila, i.e. indulging in permitted sexual activity, whilst some others claim that before their experience which lead them to the‘ entry in to the Path’, as a layman they lived a life breaking all possible norms including the third precept which is an undertaking to abstain from sexual misconduct. Therefore thirdly this paper will investigate the results of field research done with contemporary meditators in the Theravada tradition.

II. The place for celibacy in the Disciplinary Code for bhikkhunis

The process of the evolution of the Universe and man kind accordingto Buddhism is set out in Agganna Sutta (A Book of Genesis). The first referenceitself to sexual intercourse between man and woman as set out in this sutta portraits it as an act of immorality and vulgarity. Accordingly in the process of evolution, with the physical appearance of‘ sex distinction’ in the beings who up to such time had no such distinction, the newly evolved male and female, being overcome by lust, indulged in sexual intercourse with each other which lead to the on- lookers in the rest of the community throwing sand, ash and cow – dung at them saying‘ perish you foul (impure) one, how can a being treat a being so?3) Nibbana the ultimate goal of Buddhism being the complete destruction without remainder, of lust, aversion and ignorance (raga dosa moha) , the emphasis on restraining or abstaining from sensual pleasures including sexual relations in the practice towards this goal is understandable. More over the Buddha says Monks I know of no other single form by which a man’s heart is so enslaved as it is by that of a woman. Monks a woman’s form obsesses a man’s heart . I know of no other single sound by which a man’s heart is so enslaved as it is by the voice of a woman. Monks a woman’s voice obsesses a man’s heart ⋯scent ⋯savour ⋯touch ⋯
The explained that the same holds true for the heart of a woman.4) Hence the Disciplinary Code for monks and nuns who have dedicated their lives to the Practice commences with a heavy emphasis on celibacy.
The disciplinary rules of the Pali Vinaya for a monk or a nun who has received Higher Ordination fall in to eight categories i.e. 1) Parajika 2) Sanghadhisesa 3) Aniyata 4) Nissaggiya Pacittiyas 5) Pacittiya 6) Patidesaniya 7) Sekhiya 8) Adhikarana Samatha.
The Parajika offences being the most serious of all result in the expulsion from the Order of monks or nuns. The‘ parajika’means ‘defeat’and by transgressing these the monk or the nun gets‘ defeated’
3) T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys David, Dialogue of the Buddha Vol III, PTS, 2002, 85
4) Anguttara Nikaya Vol.1, PTS, 2000, 1.

meaning he or she has not being able to resist temptation and has been being defeated by defilements (kelesa).5) Once defeated, such a person is unworthy of belonging to the Community. All offences other than Parajika are remediable by subjecting himself or herself to the stipulated punishment and/or the procedures and thereafter conducting according to the Code of Discipline.
Sanghadisesas are the most serious remediable offences. A
Sanghadisesa offence by a bhikkhuni reduces her to a probationary period called‘ manatta’of 15 days . The bhikhuni’s period of manatta was equal to the‘ parivasa period’, the probationary period a bhikkhu is subject to for this category of offences. During the probationary period the offender’s status in the community is reduced by depriving him or her of certain rights and privileges he is entitled to and alsoby making it known to the rest of the community thereby making it a deterrent for wrong doing. Nissaggiya Pacittiya do not involve any punishment, the object improperly acquired is given up. The Pacittiya rules are less severe involving only a confession.
The four Parajika rules laid down for the bhikkhus have been increased to eight Parajika rules in the disciplinary rules applicable to the bikkhunis.Three out of these additional four rules applicable to the Bhikkhunis pertain to sex life and can be considered as secondary rules deriving from the first parajika rule. Hence half the number of the parajika rules laid down for Bhikkhunis deal with sex in one way or another.6) Out
5) Mohan Wijeratne , Buddhist Nuns, p. 74.
6) Jothiya Dheerasekara , Buddhist Monastic Discipline, Colombo, 1992, p. 149.

of these, Parajika rule No. 1 which is held in common with the bhikkhus and rules 5 and 8 of the additional four rules applicable to the bhikkhunis are direct references to sexual acts.

Parajika rule 1- Whatever bhikkhuni should deliberately indulge in sexual intercourse, even with an animal, she becomes one who is defeated. She cannot live any more with the other bhikkhunis.7)

The equivalent of the above rule for the bhikkhus is as follows;‘ If a monk who has accepted the discipline , without rejecting it, without pronouncing his ability to continue (monastic life), has sexual intercourse, even with a female animal, he commits an offence entailing defeat⋯�⋯’ In the bhikkhuni’s rule the words‘ without rejecting it, without pronouncing his ability to continue (monastic life)’has not being included.
Accordingly a monk had to make known his intention to abandon the discipline before the assembly of the Community or before a group of monks or before an individual monk who has obtained Higher Ordination or at least before a layman who can understand what he says.
However a bhikkhuni could leave the order without such declaration.8) As applicable to the bhikkhus the above rule extends to restraining from sexual activities with not only animals, but also with non-humans such as demons and celestial beings, with dead bodies, hermaphrodites (ubhatobyanjanako) , eunuchs (pandakas) , with a person asleep etc.
7) Mohan Wijeratne , Buddhist Nuns, p. 182.
8) – do – Note 6, 116.

Whilst the Parajika rule 1 deals with active participation in sexual activity, the following Parajika rules preclude a bhikkhuni from even being a passive sex partner.

Parajika rule 5- Whatever bhikkhuni filled with desire, should consent to rubbing, or rubbing up against, or taking hold of or touching or pressing against a male person who is filled with desire, below the collor bone and above the circle of the knees, she becomes one who is defeated⋯

Parijika rule 8- Whatever bhikkhuni, filled with desire, for the sake of following this unsuitable thing , should consent to a male person who is filled with desire, taking her hand, or should consent to his taking hold of even by the edge of her outer cloak (sanghati), or should stand or should talk or should go to rendezvous, or should consent to a man coming towards her , or should enter a covered place or should dispose her body for such a purpose, she becomes one who is defeated⋯

In both above rules though it appears as a passive role physically, the words‘ filled with desire’and‘ consent to’(sadiyeyya) indicates the role of the mind.
Psychologically‘ to consent’does not mean simply‘ to give in’or‘ to let things go’or‘ to give way to’. It means‘ to agree with’,‘ to approve’, and particularly in the case of Parajuka 5, to accept and actively indulge in the pleasures that are felt, that have been felt, and that are going to be felt.9) It is for the same reason that the victim of rape in the event the victim being an Arahant or emission of semen in a dream do not fall within the definition of this offence. The Arahant theri, Uppalavanna who was raped by a young man in the woods was declared by the Buddha not guilty of Parajika 1 as, an Arahant is one who has eradicated lust and therefore can not be guilty of consenting to the act .
The following Sanghadisesa rules10) applicable to bhikkhinis are noteworthy.

Sanghadisesa 3 – No bhikkhuni shall, alone leave the village , cross the river and go beyond, shall stay a night out, or be out of the company of the group. Whoever does so shall be guilty of an Sanghadisesaoffence.

Sanghadisesa 5 – No bhikkhuni shall with lustful intentions receive and partake of any food from a lustful man with similar intentions.

Sanghadisesa 6 – No bhikkhuni shall tell another‘ whatever will this man do to you. whether he is lustful or otherwise, as long as you entertain no such thoughts. Therefore you accept and partake of whatever he offers you’

The above rules seem to be with the objective of not only to curtail the opportunities to entertain lustful thoughts and conduct but also to safeguard the bhikkhunis from being victims of rape, molestation and
9) – do – , 118.
10) Jothiya Dheerasekara, Buddhist Monastic Discipline, 149.

other physical dangers and also to safeguard the community of bhikkhinis as an Institution from disrepute and unwarranted accusations from the public, supporters of the community and other interested parties. Some of these have been considered so grave that it warrants the guilty bhikkhuni to be reduced to a probationary period.

The following Pacittiya rules11) are also for the same objective.

Pacittiya rule 11 – No bhikkhuni shall in the darkness of the night, at a place there is no lamp, stay alone in the company of a man or converse with him. Whoever does so will be guilty of a Pacittiya offence.

Pacittiya rule 12 – No bhikkhuni shall stay alone in the company of a man or converse with him in a secluded place.

Pacittiya rule 13 – No bhikkhuni shall stay alone in the company of a man or converse with him in an open place.

Pacittiya rule 14 – No bhikkhuni shall, in the street, in a blind alley or at the cross roads, stay alone in the company of a man, converse with him, whisper in his ear, or send away the bhikkhuni who is her only companion.

It is noteworthy that the above conduct is considered an offence what ever the state of mind of the bhikkhuni may be, whether she acts with or
11) – do – 150.
without lust. The following rules serve the same purpose.12)
Pacittiya rule 51 – Whatever bhikkhuni who knowingly enter a monastic residence where a bhikkhu lives, without asking for permission, she is guilty of a fault of Pacittiya category. Pacittiya rule 102 – Whatever bhikkhuni should lie down in the lodging where a male person lives ⋯

Pacittiya rule 103 – Whatever bhikkhuni who teaches Dhamma to a man in more than five or six sentences , unless a knowledgeable woman is present ⋯

Pacittiya rule 125 – Whatever bhikkhuni should sit down and wait in private in a secluded seat with a man ⋯

Pacittiya rule 126- Whatever bhikkhuni should sit down and wait together with a man ⋯

In the bhikkhuni Vinaya there seem to be several rules to safeguard against sexual practicessuch as masturbation, homosexuality etc. The restrictions in the Vinaya againstsharing the same bed, couch, sharing the same blanket, from rubbing each others bodies, applying oils etc on another could be multi purpose including to safeguard against possible
12) – do – 197, 201, 203.
sexual activity. Some of these are as follows ;

Pacittiya rule 3 – In slapping with the palms of the hands (on the private parts of the body), a bhikkhuni is guilty of a Pacittiya offence

Pacittiya rule 4 – In penetrating some thing e.g. some thing made out of wax (in the private part of the body) a bhikkhuni is guilty of an offence

There is a reference in the Pali text to a bhikkhuni inserting a ‘jatumutthaka’inside her genitals. The term jattumuthaka is translated in to English as a‘ decking with lac’(Pali English Dictionary – PTS London), a device used by women in society at that time to prevent conception. It is something made of wood, flour or clay. Subsequent to this incident the Buddha laid downa rule which not only forbids them from using jatthumuttaka but also touching their genitals even with a blade of grass.13)

Pacittiya rule 5 – states that when bhikkhunis wash their genitals, their fingers should not be inserted for more than two inches inside the vaginas.14)

Pacittiya rule 31 – Whatever two bhikkhunis who should share one couch , they are guilty of a fault⋯�⋯ 13) Chamindaji Gamage, Buddhism and Sensuality, Colombo, 1998, 63. 14) – do – , 64.

Pacittiya rule 32 – whatever two bhikkhunis should share one blanket or one bed sheet, they are guilty of an offence⋯

Pacittiya rule 90 – Whatever bhikkhuni should cause herself to be rubbed with ointment massaged by a nun, she is guilty of a fault of pacittiya

Pacittiya rule 91 – Whatever Bhikkhuni should cause herself to be rubbed with ointment or massaged by a postulant , she is guilty⋯

Pacittiya rule 92 – Whatever bhikkhuni should cause herself to be rubbed with ointment or massaged by a female novice, she is guilty ⋯

Pacittiya rule 93 – Whatever bhikkhuni should cause herself to be rubbed with ointment or massaged by a woman householder, she is guilty The Vinaya rules also safeguards against the bhikkhunis conducting themselves in such a manner that would arouse lustful feelings in men i.e. wearing ornaments, scents, bathing naked in public places etc.

Pacittiya rule 96 – Whatever bhikhuni who should enter the village without her vest , she is guilty ⋯

Pacittiya rule 86 – What ever bhikkhuni should wear a sanghani, she is guilty of ⋯�⋯�(a sanghani is a decorated cloth or an ornamental chain to wear around the hip).15)

Pacittiya rule 87 – Whatever bhikkhuni would wear women’s ornaments, she is guilty of ⋯

Pacittiya rule 88 – Whatever bhikkhuni should bath with scent and skin lotions , she is guilty of ⋯

Pacittiya rule 21 – Whatever bhikkhunishould bathe naked, she is guilty

Sexual intercourse has been commonly referred to in the text as not true dhamma, it is a village dhamma, low-caste dhamma, wickedness, the final ablution, secrecy, having obtained in couples. The extent of the sexual taboo on the Path to Enlightenment of a monk or a nun who has renounced the household life can be determined by the Buddha’s advice to Sudinna at the time of promulgation of the first parajika rule as follows;

It were better for you, foolish man that your male organ should enter the mouth of a terrible and a poisonous snake , than it should enter a woman. It were better for you, foolish man , that your male organ should enter the mouth of a black snake⋯�⋯ charcoal pit ⋯�⋯burning ablaze, a fire than enter a woman.16)

15) Mohan Wijeratne, Buddhist Nuns, note 4, 200.
16) I.B.Horner, The book of Discipline, Vinaya Pitaka, Vol.1, London, Oxford University Press, 1938, 36-37.

Based on these statements there is a tendency to interpret the essence of the brahmacari life as celibacy. However in Methuna Sutta of Anguttara Nikaya, replying to brahmin Janussoni the Buddha declared a bhikkhu or Brahmin who declares himself to be a person of perfect brahmacariya, may not enjoy sexual intercourse with a woman, but this is not enough to warrant such a declaration.17) It is further said that if he allows a woman to rub his body with oil or perfume, to give him a bath and shampoo him and enjoys or longs for it, if he laughs sports or enjoys with a woman, if he looks in to, watches with expectation, the eyes of a woman who does the same in return, if he listens through a wall or a fence to the noise of a woman who is laughing, reciting, singing, or weeping , if he remembers that he has formally laughed, talked , and sported together with a woman, if he sees a householder or a householder’s son, in possession of five sorts of pleasure and being attended by a woman or if he practices brahmacariya desiring to join a class of celestial beings, such brahmacariya cannot be called unbroken, uninterrupted, unvaried, unadulterated, perfect and pure brahmacariya.18)

The above clearly shows that abstinence from sexual activity is not the essence of the practice towards Enlightenment even in the case of a monk or a nun . Mohan Wijeratne in Buddhist Nuns writes; 17) Anguttaranikaya, Buddha Jayanthi Tipitaka Series, Colombo, 1960-77, Vol. 21, Pt. 4, 362 / Chamindaji Gamage, Buddhism and Sensuality, Colombo, 1998, 83.
18) – do- 362-364.
No where in the Buddhist doctrine or its discipline do we find any praise of perpetual virginity, or any notion such (as) physical saintliness or ecclesiastical celibacy. Moreover the Buddha does not attach any importance whatsoever to sacred ritual nor does it search for any ritual purity through abstaining from sexual relations. Attaching a sense of spiritual value to the human body was foreign to Buddhism. ⋯�⋯we should also note that with regard to abstinence, Buddhist nuns never had a notion such as‘ giving one’s life completely to a divine spouse”, nor were they tied to a spiritual marriage.19)

A married woman is permitted to enter the order of nuns at the age of twelve years provided there is permission from her husband or the parents to do so (Pacittiya rule 65 and 80). However in the case of a unmarried woman she is not permitted to enter the Order until 20 yrs (Pacittiya rule 71). These rules seem to be giving sufficient time for a unmarried woman to make a decision about entering in to wedlock and in the case of married women this also serves to protect the Institution of marriage. Hence it can be concluded that despite the heavy emphasis on celibacythere is no sacrosanct value attached to celibacy within the Buddhist philosophy except that these rules have been enacted both for molding a mind conducive for treading the Path and for safeguarding and supporting the Community of monks and nuns.

19) Mohan Wijeratne, Buddhist Nuns, 116.

III. The role of celibacy in the practice of lay female

Buddhist disciples who have attained fruits of the Path Once a lay disciple, Migasala questioned Ven. Ananda as to how to understand the dhamma thought by the Tathagata, as it seems that both, one who lives brahmacari life (celibate life) and one who doesn’t, after death takes a similar birth.
She said‘ my father, sir, Purana, lived the godly life (brahmacari life), dwelling apart, abstaining from common carnal things ; and when he died the Exalted One explained : He is a once-returner, dwelling in Tusita. My uncle, sir Isidatta, did not live the godly life but rejoiced with a wife; and of him also, when dead, the Exalted One said : He is a once-returner, dwelling in Tusita. Reverend Ananda how ought one to understand this Dhamma?’
This incident was reported to the Buddha by Ven. Ananda seeking an explanation.
In this sutta , the Buddha comes out very strongly against the attempt of Migasala to pass judgment about the attainments of others.20)

The Buddhist Path to Nibbana, its ultimate goal is marked by four land marks , the four fruits of the Path. They are (a) Fruit of Stream- entry (Sotapatti-Phala) (b) Once Returner (Sakadagami-phala) (c) Non Returner (Anagami-Phala) and (d) Arahatta-Phala (Nibbana). These are progressive stages of development of the mind. This sutta highlights that celibacy by
20) Anguttara Nikaya Vol.III, PTS Edition, 246.
itself is not a factor for the attainment of mental development expected on this Path nor a pre-condition for enlightenment at least up to the third fruit of the Path, as both, the one who‘ rejoiced with a wife’and the one who practiced celibacy have progressed up to the same fruit. At this point it is important to note that at the third fruit of the Path, a Non-returner (Anagami) eradicates all sensual pleasures, naturally reverting to a celibate life whether he or she has renounced lay life or not.
In the light of the above sutta it is important to examine the recorded lives of disciples of the Buddha to determine the role of celibacy on their Path to Enlightenment. Most of the recorded cases of the disciples who attained fruits of the Path are of monks and nuns who are expected to lead celibate lives. Celibacy is a pre-condition for them .Therefore the extent of the impact of celibacy on their practice or its success can not be assessed externally. Hence the extent of the role of celibacy for the purposes of Enlightenment can be examined only by dwelling into the recorded lives of lay disciples who had the freedom to lead a non-celibate life. Following are some accounts of such disciples-

I) It is said of Visakha (the chief female lay disciple of the Buddha) who attained sotappatti phala at the age of seven years Visakha got married at the age of fifteen or sixteen years ⋯�⋯In the course of time she gave birth to ten sons and ten daughters and all of them had the same number of descendants down to the fourth generation. Visakha herself lived up to the remarkable age of 120⋯�⋯ She was strong as a elephant and worked untiringly throughout the day looking after her large family. She found time to feed the monks every day, to visit monasteries, and to ensure that non of the monks lacked food, clothing, shelter, bedding and medicine.
Above all she still found time to listen to the dhamma again and again⋯ she wore her valuable bridal jewellery even when she went to listen to the dhamma⋯ She was declared by the Buddha as the foremost among women lay supporters who serve as supporters of the Order.21)

Accordingly having attained the first fruit of the Path as a seven year old she entered marriage and continued to have ten children and enjoy sensual pleasures. She was obviously not leading a celibate life. With the first fruit of the Path one is assured of completing the Path to Nibbana, at the latest within seven more lives and is assured of not falling back from the Path . He or she is said to have firmly entered the‘ Stream’to Nibbana. Further from this point onwards he or she is said to continue to progress towards the final goal and only the time taken to reach the final goal differs from one another depending on each one’s commitment to the Practice. Hence Visakha having attained first fruit of the Path and whilst continuing towards her final goal and associating the Buddha so closely as his chief lay female disciple, yet celibacy had no real role in her practice.

ii) Nakulapita and Nakulamata (Father Nakula and Mother Nakula) arementioned by the Buddha amongst his foremost lay disciples, and their unfaltering faithfulness to each other has been highlighted in the Text. The Pali Canon depicts their relationship with each other as exemplary and a
21) Nyanaponika Thera and Hellmut Hecker, The Great Disciples of the Buddha, Chapter 7 (Kandy, Buddhist Publication Society, 1997, 247-255.)
conjugal love of divine stature accompanied by absolute trust based upon their common faith in the Blessed One. An old couple by the time they met the Buddha, the wife and husband declared to the Buddha that though married to each other very young they had not even once broken the faith with each other throughout the years , not even in thought leave alone in deed. They had not deviated for a moment from their mutual fidelity. In their devotion to each other, both of them expressed to Buddha their longing to be together in the future births and asked for advice from the Buddha to achieve it and they were advised by the Buddha accordingly.22)

Once when Nakulapita, the husband fell gravely ill and Nakulamata addressed him was as follows;

Do not harbor distress at the thought of my being left behind. To die like that is agonizing, so our Master has advised against it. ⋯�⋯I am skilled in spinning and so shall be able to support the children, after having lived the home life chastely with you for sixteen years I shall never consider taking another husband; I shall never cease seeing the Master and his bhikkhus, but rather visit them even more frequently than before; I am firmly established in virtue and have attained to peace of mind; and lastly I have found firm footing in the Dhamma and I am bound for final deliverance.23)

22) – do-, 375.
23) – do -, 377.


The above words of Nakulamata shows that the couple though been flawless in their conjugal love towardseach other and having had children from this marriage still have lived a celibate life for sixteen years (gahatthakan brahmacariyan samacinnam). Further the words I am firmly established in virtue and have attained to peace of mind; and lastly I have found firm footing in the Dhamma and I am bound for final deliverance is an indication that Nakulamata had attained the first fruit of the Path, Sotapatti-phala.24)

This gives us an indication that though very much in love and attached to each other to the extent of wanting to meet in the future births, the spiritual attainment of the couple had lead them to a celibate life.

iii) Khema was the beautiful chief consort of king Bimbisara who was himself a Stream-enterer. Though the King was a great benefactor of the Buddha and she had heard so much about the Buddha from the King, she never wanted to visit the Buddha as she had heard that the Buddha preaches about the vanity of beauty and sensual pleasures. However once the King managed to get her to visit the monastery where the Buddha was residing and she went with her royal splendor with silk and sandalwood and gradually got drawn in to the hall where the Buddha was preaching.
The Buddha having read her mind, through his psychic powers created a beautiful women, more beautiful than her, standing behind him and fanning him while he was preaching. She was enthralled by the beauty of the woman. Gradually the Buddha created the‘ woman’to change from
24) – do -, Note 7, 392.
youth to middle age, and then to old age, with broken teeth grey hair and wrinkled skin until it finally fell to the ground lifeless. Having made her realize the vanity of beauty the Buddha preached her a stanza at the conclusion of which she was established in the first fruit of the Path. The Buddha continued to preach and at the conclusion of the sermon she attained Arahanthood dressed in her royal clothes itself. She obtained permission from the King and entered the order of nuns.25) Later she was declared by the Buddha as one of the two foremost bhikkhunis in the Bhikkhuni Sangha.

The above account shows that at the time of this incident, both the King who himself was a Stream-enterer and Khema who was his chief consort were very much enjoying sense pleasures. At the time of attaining Arahanthood she was not leading a celibate life as a part of her practice to Enlightenment. However upon full Enlightenment naturally she renounces lay life. Hence in this case celibacy had no real role in her Practice towards Enlightenment.

When we consider the above reports and many other accounts of enlightened disciples of the Buddha as recorded in the Pali text, it is difficult to conclude conclusively to what extent celibacy plays a role in Enlightenment.
25) – do -, 263-264.

IV. Findings of field research

In the recent field research done by the writer addressing certain controversies surrounding‘ Enlightenment’in the Theravada Tradition i.e.
interviews with contemporary meditators of the Theravada tradition, both monks, nuns and layman and lay women who are believed to be with specific spiritual experiences, it has been found that whilst some have attained the fruit of Stream-entry (first stage of Enlightenment) whilst leading a‘ spotlessly clean’celibate life, some laymen observed the prescribed sila (indulging in permitted sexual activity), whilst some others claim that before their experience which lead them to the‘ entry in to the Path’, as a layman they lived a life breaking all possible norms including the third precept which is an undertaking to abstain from sexual misconduct.

– A 54yrs monk who is 27yrs in robes, the chief preceptor of a well established forest hermitage in Sri Lanka related the impact of his first significant religious experience on this Path as an irreversible change in his morality. He who was ridiculing virtue (sila) and laughing at those abiding in sila realized the power of sila, became virtuous, began to worship the virtuous, preach to others about the power of sila.

⋯I first realized the power of sila. That is, the sila that I ridiculed all this time or that I considered as being restricted to a jail, became the sole purpose of my life .

⋯I who was poking fun at or ridiculing sila began to worship the virtuous and also to preach to others about the importance of sila. That is, there occurred an irreversible change in morality ⋯�⋯Later for years I examined myself, can I kill, can I steal, can I engage in sexual misconduct etc and shame, fear, disgust arise towards these⋯�⋯ Before this experience I had the desire to investigate in to lust, therefore I had distorted ideas about it, that I need to experience everything about it. Similarly with hatred , to chop a creature alive knowing well that its alive and struggling, to steal from the most heavily guarded place, to taste all the possible intoxicating drugs in the world , in cheating, to cheat even my mother and father etc. Having done all this I have been fairly successful. But there has been nothing achieved. Then when I came on to this side the opposite happened. I wanted to stay away from even thinking of lust and hatred. ⋯

He began to feel enormously indebted to the Buddha and to Buddha Sasana, in return wanted to serve unreservedly for Dhamma, felt a need for a teacher and entered monkhood.26) This is the impact of his first fruit of the Path, Stream-entry. Here is a case where Enlightenment has lead to celibacy to say the least.

In the above recent field research out of the three married female disciples interviewed by the writer on their significant religious experiences on the Path, it was found that at the time of their first fruit of the Path, two were leading a normal lay life with their spouse and family and were abiding in the five precepts which is the minimum level of sila
26) Yuki Sirimane, Religious experience in a Buddhist perspective with specific focus on Sotapatti -phala, 2006 (Unpublished) Interview No. 4. (This research has been done for the purposes of her Doctoral Thesis).
expected of a lay disciple. However all these three disciples being in practice for over 10-20yrs, eventually, a few years down the line from this experience, have shifted to a higher mode of virtue including a celibate life whilst continuing in lay life. Except for abstinence from sexual relations, in all other aspects they continued to lead a‘ normal’and a complete lay life. The following is a brief account of the relevant field research.

Case study -1

A 66yr old married lady , a house wife, with two children had her first significant religious experience (Fruit of Stream-entry) 30yrs ago during a meditation retreat at a meditation Center. During the time of this experience she was observing the eight precepts as she was on a formal meditation retreat. However during this time she was leading a perfectly normal married life fulfilling the responsibilities of a mother and of a wife and was observing the five precepts as her regular sila. Though she continued to fulfill her responsibilities as a mother and as a wife in all other aspects, after a period of‘ four to five’years from this experience she started leading a celibate life, observing a‘ higher sila’. Although she was not observing all eight precepts (i.e. abstaining from perfumes, juwellery etc and abstaining from solid foods after the noon meal hich are included in the eight precepts) she was inclined to abstain from sexual relations. Though initially her relationship with the husband was strained due to this reason, with time it was accepted by him. As of today she continues to lead a harmonious married life whilst striving for higher fruits of the Path.

Case Study -2

A 56yr old married lady, a mother of two children, who is a teacher by profession had her first significant religious experience 19yrs ago. She had her first religious experience (which she describes as the Fruit of Streamentry) at home. During this time she was managing a home and was discharging her duties as a mother and as a wife, however was observing a‘ higher sila than the five precepts’. Today several years after this experience though she is leading a normal lay life in all other aspects, she is observing the eight precepts abstaining from not only sexual relations but from many other sensual pleasures including not having solid foods after the noon meal. At the time of this experience her relationship with her husband was already strained and with time it became worse and ended up with separation. However as of today she maintains a harmonious relationship with her husband though not‘ living together’ but living under the same roof.

Case Study -3

– A married lady in her early forties, who is a senior executive in the mercantile sector, had her first significant religious experience (Fruit of Stream-entry) 11yrs ago. She had her experience at home whilst observing the five precepts and leading a perfectly normal lay life. However around 4yrs from this experience she found herself naturally inclining towards abstaining from sexual relations with her husband and today she is leading a celibate life though not observing all eight precepts. The celibate life has not affected the harmonious relationship between her and her husband who is appreciative of the Dhamma. She continues to lead a perfectly normal lay life in all other aspects including perusing her career as she continues her quest for Nibbana.

In all above cases it is noteworthy that the practioners concerned have opted for a celibate life whilst being young enough to be sexually active. In the case of males interviewed by the writer who attained the fruits of the Path as lay disciples, few years after their first experience, both males ended up entering the Order of monks leading a completely celibate life.

Conclusion

Having examined the lives of disciples above it is difficult to conclude that celibacy is a pre-condition for Enlightenment. Nor can we determine the extent of the contribution of a celibate life towards one’s Enlightenment. However given the extreme sexual taboos enforced on the Community of monks and nuns in the form of disciplinary rules, the role of celibacy on the path to Enlightenment can not be under-estimated.
The disciplinary rules have been laid down by the Buddha for the following reasons;

a) Well-being of the Sangha
b) Convenience of the Sangha
c) Restraint of evil minded persons
d) Ease of well behaved monks
e) Restraint amongst the defilements of this life
f) Eradication of the defilements of the life after
g) Conversion of new adherents
h) Enhancement of the faith of those already converted
i) Stability and continuance of the Dhamma
j) Furtherance of the good discipline27)

Hence Disciplinary rules are not merely for Enlightenment. It is also meant to serve multiple purposes vital for the sustenance of the Community of Sangha as an Institution.
Therefore the rule of celibacy imposed on the monks and nuns too is not merely for Enlightenment. With progress on the Path, realizing the true nature of sensual pleasures and the mind and body one progresses through to a celibate life naturally. Some reach such a state of mind earlier than others . In any event at the latest, with the attainment of third fruit of the Path, Anagami-phala one switches over to complete celibacy. Ajahn Brahmavamso writes; ⋯since sensual desire has been totally transcended, there is no spark left to ignite the passion for sex. All Arahants are ‘potently impotent’.28)

27) Jothiya Dheerasekara, Buddhist Monastic Discipline, 51.
28) Ajhan Brahmavamso, Dhamma Journal, Vol.5, Perth, Western Australia, Buddhist Society, 2004 , 55’.