Meditation in Gandh

Meditation in Gandhāra

Andrew Glass


Meditation must certainly have been a central practice of Buddhism in Gandhāra, however, direct evidence for the practices and techniques has been lacking. A recently discovered manuscript containing four sūtras concerning meditation has shed new light on this important aspect of Gandhāran Buddhism, but the picture is still incomplete. This paper provides a brief survey of the evidence from art and archaeology, as well as introducing the evidence from the new manuscript.


In ancient India, Gandhāra originally referred to a tribe, but later came to denote a place connected with that tribe, that is to say, the Peshawar Valley, located between the Suleiman Mountains along the modern border with Afghanistan in the west and the Indus River in the east. This area is now part of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. At the time of Alexander the Great’s invasion the main city of the region was Puṣkalāvatī(modern Charsaḍḍa), near the modern city of Peshāwār(Fussman 1994: 18). The important districts of Swāt and Buner as well as the cities of Bamiyan and Taxila are sometimes included with this area under the umbrella-term ‘Greater Gandhāra’ (Salomon 1999: 3). The Gāndhārī language, written in the Kharoṣṭhī script, served as a lingua-franca for this area, and is recorded in documents from the Northwest of the subcontinent from the time of the Emperor Aśoka until the 4th century of the Common Era. It is this period that I will focus on in this paper.

The study of Gandhāran Buddhism has seen enormous progress in the last 12 years, primarily due to the discovery of several important collections of Gāndhārī manuscripts. These collections are now preserved in the UK, the USA, Norway, Japan and Pakistan, and provide us with direct textual evidence of Buddhism as it was practiced in Gandhāra almost 2,000 years ago. These manuscripts constitute the oldest Buddhist manuscripts known in the world today and are likely to be among the oldest Buddhist manuscripts ever written. When we read these manuscripts, we generally find that the picture they provide of Buddhism at this early time closely matches our expectations based on our knowledge of the Pali, Chinese and Tibetan traditions. However, we also find new information that is not documented in other Buddhist traditions. One particular Gāndhārī manuscript exemplifies this situation, as it contains both familiar descriptions of meditation practices known to us in Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan versions as well as descriptions which are unique. But first, let us consider meditation.


Meditation has been a central practice of Buddhism from the very beginning. It was, after all, through meditation that the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The role of meditation has changed over time and the details of its practice have diversified over the centuries and from one Buddhist school to another. To try to understand the role and practice of meditation in Gandhāra during the Kharoṣṭhī period, we should consider the evidence available to us: evidence from art, archaeology, and the surviving written texts. However, the picture of Gandhāran meditation that emerges from this study is, inevitably, incomplete.

In order to fill in the gaps I would like to start with a framework based on the Pali commentaries and Buddhaghosa’ s Vissudhimagga. In this way, we can look at the Gandhāran evidence and see where the pieces might fit into this framework. The Pali sources are a natural place to look for such assistance as many of the texts available in Gāndhārī have close parallels in Pali. Of course, we must be aware that these sources also are removed both in time and space from Gandhāra, so the results will be at best, only an approximation of the role and practice of meditation in ancient Gandhāra. Other possible frameworks, such as Kamalaśīla’s Bhāvanākrama(8th century) are further removed in time and doctrine than Buddhaghosa.

Buddhist meditation includes practices of both sensory withdrawal(dhyāna, śamatha), and sensory observation(smti, vipaśyana). There is also some overlap between these categories. The meditation practices described in the Pali suttas may be arranged in the following schema. Double-underlined items have direct examples in Gāndhārī, single underlined items are mentioned in Gāndhārī documents.

1. Sensory Withdrawal

1.1. Ancillary techniques to counter lust, hatred, and delusion, in preparation for trance(dhyāna):

1.1.1. Meditation on the foulness of a corpse(EĀ-G ll. 61–3) and mindfulness of the body(RS 5 ll. 1–5) are used to counter lust.

1.1.2. Four immeasurable contemplations(love, compas sion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity) are used to counter hatred.

1.1.3. Mindfulness of breath is used to counter delusio n, and is part of a larger, and distinct, series of pr actices called the foundation of mindfulness (sm ṛtyupasthāna RS 5 l. 33).

1.1.4. Six remembrances (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, virt ue, generosity, and deities) are used to increase faith.

1.1.5. Mindfulness of death(RS 5 ll. 5–7) and the reme mbrance of nirvāṇa are used to motivate and reinf orce trance.

1.1.6. Perception of the repulsiveness of food(RS 5 ll. 7–9) and the four elements are used to remove di stractions.

1.2. Trance

1.2.1. Meditation on a device (kasiṇa), this progresses t hrough the stages: the beginning sign, the eidetic sign, the five hindrances, the representational sig n, and culminates in the meditation of attainment. The devices are: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yello w, red, white, light, limited space.

1.2.2. Four trances(BL 26, 29; RS 5 l. 39): in the first t rance, five factors of concentration are present (discursive thought, reasoning, enthusiasm, pleas ure, and one-pointedness). In the second trance, factors 1 and 2 are eliminated. In the third, factor 3 is eliminated; in the fourth trance only one-poi nt edness remains.

1.2.3. The four formless attainments(infinite space, inf inite perception, nothing-at-all, and neither ide a nor non-idea); in each case the meditator prog resses by eliminating the object of each successi ve formless trance.

2. Sensory Observation

The latter five of the seven purifications in Buddhaghosa’s scheme of seven steps on the path of purification(visuddhimagga) concern insight meditation.

2.1. Purification of view is concerned with removing all at tachment to self by examining the constituents of the body(RS 5 ll. 1–5), his senses, their objects and the five aggregates (RS 5 ll. 15–31).

2.2. Purification of overcoming doubt is concerned with re alizing the twelvefold chain of dependent origination (CKI 153) by examining the causes through which th e body comes into being. The result of this is insight into the three characteristics(impermanence (RS 5 ll. 30–31), suffering, and non-self).

2.3. Purification of what is and what is not the path exam ines all things in terms of the three characteristics. T his leads to eighteen great insights and the permanen t rejection of striving for permanence, happiness, and self.

2.4. Purification by knowledge and vision of the way is co ncerned with the pursuit of nine knowledges: knowle dge through contemplation on the appearance and dis appearance of conditioned things; knowledge through contemplation on the destruction of conditioned thing s; knowledge gained through fear of conditioned thing s; knowledge gained through contemplation of the da nger of conditioned things; knowledge gained through revulsion for conditioned things; knowledge gained th rough desire for liberation; knowledge gained through analysis of conditioned things; knowledge gained thro ugh equanimity for conditioned things; and knowledge gained by following the path the nirvāṇa.

2.5. Purification by knowledge and vision concerns knowl edge of the four noble paths (stream-winner, once-re turner, non-returner, and arhant), as well as two furt her attainments (attainment of fruition and cessation of thought and feeling).

In addition to these practices we might also take into account activities such as chanting, recitation, and circumambulation which, according to Luis Gómez, “hold an ambiguous status between ritual and meditation, mechanical reading and deep reflection” (Gomez 2005: 522). These activities are likely to have been a part of Gandhāran Buddhism.

As a further addition, I would like to briefly mention the visionary and ecstatic techniques which became so developed in the Mahāyāna. Techniques consisting of visualizing Buddhas and Purelands are not mentioned in the Gāndhārī texts we have found to date, but one is tempted to speculate that Gandhāran art may have played a complementary role in developing these practices by providing highly evolved portrayals of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas which could have been used as subjects for training these visualizations.


The products of the Gandhāran school of art are among the most famous of all creations of Buddhist art. Gandhāran art can tell us about meditation in Gandhāra in two ways. First, through illustrations of meditation being practised, and second, through depecitions that could be used as subjects for meditation.

Fig. 1. A wall-painting from Qizil.

Illustrations of meditation, which attest to the contemporary practice of meditation in Gandhāra are found, but for the most part consist of Buddha images. Typical of these are depictions of the Buddha in the classic meditation posture(dyāna mudra). Images of monks in meditation are rarer. One very clear example of a monk practicing a specific meditation comes from a wall painting in Qizil, Xinjiang. Admittedly Qizil is some distance from Gandhāra, but was certainly influenced by Gandhāra, as demonstrated by the fact that Kharoṣṭhī documents have been discovered there. Consequently, it is sometimes included in the area covered by the term Greater Gandhāra. This painting is datable to the 4th and 5th centuries of the Common Era. The painting shows a monk looking at, or perhaps thinking about a human skull. Clearly this suggests that the monk is reflecting on death (1.1.5), or possibly the constituents, or decomposition of, the human body(1.1.1). These possibilities are included in the outline of meditation practices given previously.

Since the evidence is rather limited, I would like to simply note here, that art objects, such as the Buddha sculptures, and especially more elaborate scenes like the Mohamed-Nari stele may have played a role in, or at least developed alongside the kind of visualization exercises that were a feature of Mahāyāna meditation(see Rhi 2003: 176–7).


One of the best preserved Buddhist sites from the Gandhāra region is the monastery of Takht-i-bāhī. As such, these ruins are a good place to look for evidence of meditation in Gandhāra.

The ruins at Takht-i-bāhī are situated 50 km northwest of Peshawar, on a hilltop 500 m above sea level. The origins of this monastery are uncertain, but it probably dates back at least to the first part of the 1st century(see Konow 1929: 57). The monastery flourished during the Kharoṣṭhī period, and was perhaps destroyed in connection with the arrival of the Hephthalites early in the 5th century.


Fig. 2. The monastery at Takht-i-bāhī

The plan of the monastery is typical of many Gandhāran sites. It consists of a main stūpa; a courtyard which once contained many small stūpas and pillars; as well as the monastery proper, consisting of a further courtyard surrounded by the monks’ cells. At Takht-i-bāhī the main stūpa court and the court of many stūpas are surrounded by high walls, in which niches are set that would have contained sculptures.

The main stūpa is now gone, but its platform remains. This platform has a flight of steps which would have provided access to the base of the stūpa. Certainly, the practice of circumambulation, walking around the stūpa, would have been performed here. As mentioned previously, this can be considered a special form of meditation practice.

Other architectural features which might be associated with mediation are the monks’ private cells, the conference hall, and some underground chambers. Fifteen private cells are arranged on three sides of the monastery courtyard. A stairway at the northeast corner probably led to another fifteen, or so, cells on a second level but these are now lost. It is estimated, therefore, that up to about thirty monks might have been in residence in this part of the monastery at any one time. These cells would likely have been used by the monks for their private meditation practice in addition to sleeping and other activities.

The conference hall at the northwest of the site would have been large enough to easily accommodate all of the monks in residence for meetings, communal recitations and ceremonies. Lantern brackets in the walls suggest that this room was also used at night.

Ten underground chambers are situated in two rows below the courtyard south of the conference hall. The five chambers on the east side are extremely dark. It has been suggested that these were used by monks as meditation chambers (Shakur 1946: 25). Of course, it is impossible to rule out other functions for these rooms, for example, it has also been suggested they were used as granaries (Shakur 1946: 26). Similar, subterranean chambers are found at other Buddhist sites in Gandhāra, such as the nearby site of Jamālgaṛhī. If these dark spaces were used for meditation, it may be that they were suitable for the ancillary techniques (1.1), or sensory observation techniques (2) in the above scheme. The trance techniques (1.2) would have required a little light in the initial stage of the practice in order to perceive the device(kasiṇa).

To summarize the evidence thus far, art and archaeology can give us only a very limited picture of Gandhāran meditation. Evidence from art suggests the posture meditation practitioners might have used, and to a very limited extent, what practices they engaged in. Archaeology on the other hand, cannot tell us anything about the content of the meditation, but only suggests places that might have been used. To know any more about meditation in ancient Gandhāra, we must refer to the available texts.


Gāndhārī words for the meditation practices described previously, and cognate with Sanskrit terms such as dhyāna, śamatha, smṛti, vipaśyana, occur in various Gāndhārī manuscripts and a very few inscriptions. Examples of these have been presented by Jason Neelis in his contribution to this volume.

At present, the best source for information about meditation in Gandhāra is a manuscript from the Senior Collection. This collection consists of twenty-four scroll fragments on birch bark; and is similar in many respects to the British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments which have been described in detail by Richard Salomon in his book Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhāra(1999). Like them, the provenance of the Senior Kharoṣṭhī fragments is unknown, but it might be Haḍḍa in modern Eastern Afghanistan. These fragments can be dated to about 140 c.e. Unlike the British Library manuscripts, the Senior Collection seems to have been prepared on request for a donor as a ritual deposit (Allon 2007: 4).

The twenty-four scrolls that make up the Senior Collection contain 41 texts of varying lengths and degrees of completeness. Many of these texts are parallel to āgama sūtras in Pali and Chinese, by far the best represented of which are sūtras belonging to the Saṃyuktāgama/Pali Saṃyutta-nikāya. A catalogue and overview of this collection is currently being prepared by Mark Allon (forthcoming). The Saṃyuktāgama is a rich source of sūtras describing meditation. Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5 contains four such sūtras. The instructions in this manuscript probably reflect contemporary views and practice of meditation in Gandhāra around the middle of the first century.

Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5(see appendix)

Scroll 5 from the Senior Collection is a short manuscript comprising 42 lines of text, 21 on each side, and four sūtras, with two on each side. Despite damage to the center of the manuscript, it is, in fact, one of the best preserved of all Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts.

The first sūtra on this manuscript contains a description of four perceptions(saññā), these are: perception of foulness (asubhasaññā), perception of death(maraṇasaññā), perception of the repulsiveness of food(āhārepaṭikkūlasaññā), and perception of non-delight in the entire world(sabbaloke anabhiratasaññā). The first three directly relate to the ancillary techniques described earlier, items 1.1.1, 1.1.5, and 1.1.6 respectively. We should note also that either of the first two items may be indicated in the wall painting from Qizil discussed earlier.

The description of the first perception has parallels in Pali and Tibetan. The descriptions of the remaining three do not have direct parells, however, the sentiments of the perception of death and the perception of the repulsiveness of food are echoed elsewhere. As far as I have been able to discover, the description of the fourth perception, non-delight in the entire world, appears to be unique to the Gāndhārī tradition. One might imagine the monks of Takht-i-Bāhī going to the subterranean chambers and feeling isolated and alone, and then recreating this feeling when they walked down to the town at the base of the hill.

The second sūtra on this manuscript is a Gāndhārī text directly parallel to the Pali Natumhāka-sutta. This short sūtra preserves a teaching on the five aggregates(skandhas), recommending that one not think of them as one’s own, hence the sūtra’s title ‘Not Yours’(natumhāka). The sūtra contains a simile comparing the aggregates to the grass, sticks, branches, leaves, and foliage in the Jeta-grove, which one can readily acknowledge as not belonging to the self. Therefore, we may connect the teaching of this sūtra with the Purification of view(2.1).

The third sūtra also has parallels in Pali and Chinese. It instructs the adherent to view the five aggregates with disgust. Through this practice one is said to gain understanding of the aggregates, and in turn, be released from the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death. Again, this instruction is might be classified under the Purification of view(2.1). The context of disgust suggests a connection with the first part of the first sūtra on this manuscript.

The fourth and last sūtra on this manuscript has direct parallels in Pali and Chinese. This sūtra teaches that liberation depends both on the recognition of the five aggregates as impermanent, and on the maturation of factors which contribute to enlightenment(bodhipākṣyadharma). The Gāndhārī version ends in the middle of the first of three similes found in the parallel versions, in which the practitioner is compared to a hen whose eggs won’t hatch unless they are properly incubated. This sūtra, like the previous two, concerns the five aggregates, but in this case they are to be viewed as impermanent(anitya, 2.2), that is, as subject to arising(samudaya) and passing away(astaṃgama). Not only that, but also the factors which contribute to enlightenment must be cultivated(bhāvita) too. In the Gāndhārī list of these factors forty-one items have been included as opposed to the usual thirty-seven.


RS 5.33–5


SN III 153.8–13

Chinese (SĀ)

T no. 99 67a29–b1

Chinese (DĀ)

T no. 1 16c10–1

4 spaḏoṭ́haṇa

4 satipaṭṭhāna


4 niànchù念處

4 samepas̱aṇa

4 sammappadhāna

zhèngqín 正勤

4 yìduàn 意斷

4 hirdhaüpaḏa

4 iddhipāda

rúyìzú 如意足

4 shénzú 神足

4 jaṇa

4 chán

5 hidria

5 indriya


5 gēn

5 bala

5 bala


7 bejaga

7 bojjhaṅga


7 juéyì 覺意

aria aṭhagia mag̱a

ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga


xiánshèng bā dào賢聖八道

= 41

= 37


= 41

This list itself seems to be a very early attempt to catalogue the practices conducive to the path. Some of these are directly concerned with meditation, such as the four foundations of mindfulness(smṛtyupasthāna), and of course the four dhyānas(G jaṇa). The inclusion of the four dhyānas seems to be associated with the Dharmaguptakas, or perhaps more generally with the Gandhāra region (see Glass 2007: 35).


The evidence regarding meditation in Gandhāra is admittedly quite scant. Fortunately, we are able to draw on a variety of sources, art, architecture, epigraphy, and manuscripts. Taken individually, the data from each may not amount to much, but together, I think we can draw some tentative conclusions about meditation in Gandhāra.

First, the descriptions of meditations given in Senior manuscript 5 occur in the context of sūtras, that is, teachings set at the time of the Buddha. The fact that these sūtras were chosen specifically for inclusion in a ritual deposit suggests that they were both revered and relevant at the time of their creation. Therefore, I suggest, that the descriptions of meditation practices they contain would have been current in Gandhāra in the second century of the Common Era. The fact that one of the practices described is apparently depicted in a wall painting two or three centuries later strongly supports this claim.

In terms of the scheme of meditation practices provided by Buddhaghosa, we find that the ancillary techniques of sensory withdrawal are the best represented in our sources. The sensory observation practices are also represented, particularly where they overlap with the ancillary techniques. This leaves the trance practices as the least well represented in out texts so far. I would not infer from this that the trances were less significant to Gandhāran Buddhism, rather, this is likely to be an accident of preservation. In this regard, it is interesting that the four trances have been included in the practices conducive to the path in Gandhāra.

It is also apparent that descriptions of Mahāyāna-type visualizations are, so far, absent from the Gāndhārī materials. It is perhaps likely that in this case too, our sample of Gāndhārī texts is too small. We can hope that, as Gāndhārī manuscripts continue to come to light, this situation may change, and we will come to know more about meditation in Gandhāra.

Translation of Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5

The Sutra on the Perceptions(S̱aña-sutra)

“What is the concentration connected with perception of foulness? Concerning this, a monk who is at the foot of a tree or in an empty house or in an open space examines this very body, as it is placed, as it is disposed, upward from the sole of the foot, surrounded by skin, downward from the tip of the hair, (*full) of impurity of (*various) kinds. (*There are in this) body: head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, dust, networks, outer skin, thin skin, bones, bone marrow, (*flesh, sinews, kidney, liver), heart, pleura, spleen, lungs, small intestine, large intestine, anus, bladder, fecal matter, tears, sweat, saliva, mucus, pus, blood, (*bile, phlegm, fat, grease), joint fluids, head, and brain. It is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of foulness.’

“(*What) is the concentration connected with the perception of death? Concerning this, a monk who is at the foot of a tree or in an empty house or in an open space, this one … [thinks,] ‘I will die, I will not live long, I will perish, I will die, I will disappear.’ (*It) is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of death.’

“What is the concentration connected with the perception of the repulsiveness of food? By ‘food’ is meant porridge, sour gruel; this, the monk … realizes, is ‘fecal matter’; he realizes [it is] ‘saliva’; he realizes [it is] ‘vomit’; he realizes [it is] ‘a lump of putrid bodily secretions’—‘black filth.’ It is the undistracted (*one-pointedness of mind) of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of the repulsiveness of food.’

“ere, in every respect … he is dissatisfied. he reflects. he (*does not enjoy. he does not delight). It is the undistracted one-pointedness of mind of a person so positioned which is called ‘the concentration connected with the perception of nondelight in the entire world.’”

The Not yours Sutra(Ṇatuspahu-sutra)

The setting is in Śrāvastī. “What, Monks, is not yours, you should abandon that. When abandoned, that will be for [your] benefit and ease. (*Moreover, what is not yours?) Form is not yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, that will be for [your] benefit and ease. Feeling, perception, conditioned forces, perceptual consciousness are not yours; you should abandon them. (*When abandoned), that will be for [your] benefit and ease.

“[It is] just as if a person were to cut or carry off or (*burn or) do as they please with the grass, sticks, branches, leaves, and foliage in this Jetavana. Then what do you think? Would this occur to you: ‘Now then, this person cuts us or carries us off or burns us or may do as he pleases with us’?” “Indeed, this is not the case, (*sir). Why is (*that)? [Because] this [Jetavana], sir, neither is the self nor belongs to the self.”

“In the same way, you should abandon what is not yours. When abandoned, it will be for [your] benefit and ease. (*In the same way,) form is not yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, it will be for [your] benefit and ease. Feeling, conception, conditioned forces, perceptual consciousness are ⟨*not⟩ yours; you should abandon that. When abandoned, it will be for [your] (*benefit and ease).” This is what the Lord said.

The Faith Sutra(Ṣadha-sutra)

The setting is in Śrāvastī. “For one having faith, Monks, for a noble son who has gone forth from the home to homelessness out of faith, this accords with the dharma: That he should live full of disgust with respect to form; he should live (*full of) disgust with respect to feeling, perception, conditioned forces, and perceptual consciousness.

“Living full of disgust with respect to form, he fully understands form. (*Living full of) disgust with respect to feeling, perception, conditioned forces, and perceptual consciousness, [he] fully understands perceptual consciousness.

“Fully understanding form, fully understanding feeling, perception, conditioned

forces, and perceptual consciousness, he is released from form; [he] is released from feeling, perception, conditioned forces; [he] is released from perceptual consciousness; [he] is released from birth, aging, sickness and death, grief, lamentations, (*suffering, despair,) and frustration. [he] is released from suffering, so I say.” This is what the Lord said.

The Adze handle Sutra(*Vasijaḍa-sutra)

The Lord was staying in Śrāvastī. “Monks, I say the destruction of the taints is for one who knows [and] sees, not for one who does not (*know [and] does not) see. I say the destruction of the taints is for one who knows how and sees how? To wit: [for one who knows] ‘This is form, this is the arising of form, this is the (*passing away) of form; (*this) is feeling; this is perception; these are the conditioned forces; this is perceptual consciousness, this is the arising of perceptual consciousness, this is the passing away of perceptual consciousness.’ So I say the destruction of the taints is for one (*who knows thus), who sees thus.”

Then a certain monk said this to the Lord: “you say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows thus, who sees thus. Then, why, in this case, is the mind of some monks not liberated from the taints without clinging?” “It must be said, ‘due to (*its) noncultivation.’ Due to the noncultivation of what? Due to the noncultivation of the wholesome states. Of which wholesome states? Due to the noncultivation of the four foundations of mindfulness, of the four right strivings, of the (*four) bases of supernatural power, of the four meditations, of the five mental faculties, of the five powers, of the seven factors of awakening, and of the Noble Eightfold Path—due to the noncultivation of these wholesome states.

“A monk who lives without engaging in the practice of meditation may well form the desire ‘Oh, let (*my) mind be liberated from the taints without clinging!’ But in fact his mind is not liberated from the taints without clinging. For what reason? It must be said, ‘due to (*its) noncultivation.’ Due to the noncultivation of what? Due to the noncultivation of the wholesome states. Of which wholesome states? Due to the noncultivation of the (*four) foundations of mindfulness, of the four right strivings, of the four bases of supernatural power, of the four meditations, of the five mental faculties, of the five powers, of the (*seven) factors of awakening, and of the Noble Eightfold Path—due to the noncultivation of these wholesome states.

“[It is] just as if a hen might have eight, ten, or twelve (*eggs). [And suppose] these eggs were not properly sat upon by this hen day in and day out, were not properly incubated day in and day out, were not properly nurtured day in and day out …”



BLBritish Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragment

CKICatalog of Kharoṣṭhī Inscriptions (


EĀ-GGāndhārī Ekottarikāgama (ed. Allon 2001)

RSRobert Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment



TTaishō Shinshū Daizōkyō

Allon, Mark. 2001. Three Gāndhārī Ekottarikāgama-Type Sūtras: British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments 12 and 14. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts 2. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

______. 2007. “Introduction.” in Glass 2007: 3–25.

______. forthcoming. Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhāra II: The Robert Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragments. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Beyer, Stephan V. 1975. “The Doctrine of Meditation in the Hīnayāna” and “The Doctrine of Meditation in the Mahāyāna.” In Charles S. Prebish, ed. Buddhism: A Modern Perspective. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Glass, Andrew. 2007. Four Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgama Sūtras: Senior Kharoṣṭhī Fragment 5. Gandhāran Buddhist Texts 4. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Gómez, Luis O. 2005. “Meditation.” In Robert E. Buswell Jr., ed., Encyclopedia of Buddhism. New York: Macmillan Reference.

Konow, Sten. 1929. Kharoshṭhī Inscriptions with the Exception of Those of Aśoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum 2.1. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publication Branch.

Rhi Juhyung. 2003. “Early Mahāyāna and Gandhāran Buddhism: an Assessment of the Visual Evidence.” Eastern Buddhist 35: 152–2002.

Salomon, Richard. 1999. Ancient Buddhist scrolls from Gandhāra: the British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Shakur, M. A. 1946. A Short Guide to Takht-i-Bahi. Peshawar: M. A. Shakur.

Vetter, Tilmann. 1988. The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

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우리가 출가수도하는 것은 처음부터 끝까지 부처님 말씀에 의지하는 거거든요. 이걸 위법망구(爲法忘軀)라 하는데… 이 세상 좋은 줄 알았는데 말씀 듣고 보니 고해였다 세상이 공허해서 꿈처럼 실체 없는 헛모양 뿐이다 그래서 무얼 바란다는 것 자체가 헛 될 뿐 아니라 삼계 만물이나 나조차도 공(空)하고 무상(無相)이고 무원(無願)이고 무아(無我)다. 이런 이치가 누구나 다 아는 것처럼 보여도 이거 부처님께서 최초로 하신 겁니다. 또한 부처님 지혜의 정수예요. 무아(無我)다 중도(中道)다 말은 쉽지만 불교 이치는 중생으로서는 알아먹기가 참 어려운 거요. 유식(唯識)을 예로 들면 요새 말만 유식(唯識)한다 떠벌리는 거지 종당엔 다 유식(唯識) 이치를 못 믿고 저 편한 대로 반만 믿는 반식(半識)으로 돌아서거든요.
지금 한국이나 외국이나 유식 공부한다 하는 똑똑하신 학자님들 다 이 모양이라오. 사실 부처님 말씀을 한번 귀로 들었으면 이치도 마음에 비춰져서 바로 담겨져야 하는데. 실상은 안 그렇습니다.
듣기는 들었는데 자기가 안 게 아니라 부처님께 얻어듣고 겨우 알 듯도 한 건 대 마음속 깊이 체득하지는 못하지요. 만약에 한 번 듣고 심득(心得)했다 하면 그건 타고난 도인이요. 또 자기가 스스로 알았다 하면 그건 연각ᆞ벽지불이라 하는 겁니다.
겨우 귀동냥해서 말만 그럴 듯 해진 것이라, 그래서 성문(聲聞) 즉 귀가 보배인 중생이다 그러는 건데 어쨌든 이걸 어찌 말하냐 하면, 얻어 들은 부처님 지혜법문은 달빛인데 중생 마음이 탐ᆞ진ᆞ치에 마냥 흔들려서 저 달빛 같은 부처님 지혜 법문이 호수 같은 내 마음에 비춰지지 못하여서 지행합일(知行合一)이 안 되기 때문이다 그러는 겁니다.
그래서 정말이지 귀동냥해서 겨우 얻은 지혜를 믿음 속에서 진짜 내 것으로 만들려고 흔들리는 마음을 부처님 말씀 속에서 조용히 가라앉히는 거예요. 이걸 지(止) ᆞ 정(定) 또는 ‘사마타’라 하는데 흔히 선정에 든다 이렇게 말하지요. 그러면 귀동냥한 부처님 지혜 법문은 이치만 그런 줄 알지 실제로 번뇌를 끊는 힘이 없다 해서 말라죽은 건혜(乾慧)라 하는데. 이 건혜를 살려서 한 번 번뇌를 끊어보자 해서 선정을 닦아 자꾸 관찰 사유(思惟)하는 것을 지(止)에 상대해서는 관(觀)이라 하고 정(定)에 상대해서는 혜(慧)라 하고 사마타에 상대해서는 위빠사나라 부르는 거요.
그런데 처음 선정을 닦는 때는 마음이 자꾸 흩어져서 부처님 말씀에 염주(念住)하기는커녕 자기 마음도 갈피를 못 잡거든요. 이때는 수식관(數息觀) 등등 방편을 써서 마음을 다잡게 하고 부처님 지혜 법문을 관찰해야 하는 법인데 막상 마음이 침착 조용해지면 그만 부처님 지혜 법문도 묻혀져서 멍해지거든요. 그래서 무기(無記)에 빠져 멍해지는 외도선(外道禪) 즉 명상(冥想)에 빠지지 않도록, 아침마다 부처님 말씀을 외우는 것을 송경(誦經)이라 하는 겁니다.
여러분들 수타비 사원에서 새벽마다 들었을 텐데 송경과 선정은 이렇게 같이 가는 겁니다. 화두 참선은 송경과 참선이 통합된 거라 볼 수도 있는데… 어쨌든 송경을 잘해야 선정 즉 사마타 수행도 바로 서는 겁니다.
사마타는 위빠사나의 인(因)이고 위빠사나는 사마타의 과(果)인데, 사마타가 부처님 말씀을 독송하는 송경을 통해서 정화 감득(感得)되면 이를 이계인(離繫因) 즉 해탈하는 원인이라 그럽니다. 다시 말하면 선정 즉 사마타는 과일나무에 물을 주고 거름을 주어서 잘 키우는 거고 송경은 부처님 지혜에 의지해서 열매가 잘 맺도록 가지를 유인하고 전지 전정 해주는 것이다 이렇게 말할 수도 있답니다.
이렇게 선정을 닦아 가면 점차로 부처님 말씀 즉 관혜(觀慧) 속에서 선정이 점점 깊어지는데… 문제는 잡념 때문에 또 바깥 사물경계에 마음이 흘러가서 집중이 잘 안 된다는 거죠.
밥을 먹으면서도 문득 맛이 있다 없다는 한 생각, 공양하는 사람 보고는 잘 사네 못 사네 잘 생겼네 못 생겼네… 이런 잡념 한 번에 몇 일동안 밤새서 공부한 것이 그냥 날아갑니다.
이런 경우 화두를 실참(實參)하는 간화선에서는 조도(助道)로 삼는 것이 예참 아니면 주력인데, 남방에서의 고(苦)ᆞ집(集)ᆞ멸(滅)ᆞ도(道) 사제(四諦)의 행상(行相)을 순차적으로 수습하는 선법(禪法)에서는 사념처(四念處)라는 방편을 쓰지만 실제로 조절하기 매우 어려운 게 문제. 그래서 결국 계율로 외행(外行)부터 콘트롤 하는 겁니다.
마음의 이탈을 겉으로 드러나지 않게 108중학법(衆學法)으로 신업(身業)과 구업(口業)을 절제하고 의업(意業)으로는 생각이 밖으로 흐르면 일체가 공(空)하고 무상(無常)하고 무원(無願)인데 너는 무엇에 집착하는고 되새겨서 마음을 추스립니다. 결국은 내 심원의마(心猿意馬)를 부처님의 지혜 말씀으로 조복시킨다 해서 관혜(觀慧)의 관(觀) 즉 진짜 위빠사나인 제현관(諦現觀)이라 부르는 거지 요새 엉덩이 뿔난 것들이 저 남방에 가서 고잉카 아무개 등등 사이비한테 배웠다 자랑하는 소위 <마음 챙긴다는 가짜 위빠사나> 하곤 아주 다른 거요.

<내 소견(所見)으로 내 마음을 관(觀)하는 것을 관(觀) 즉 위빠사나라 하지 못하는 이치>는 중생의 시커먼 무명심(無明心)에 일체가 다 깜깜 절벽인데 본디 없는 마음을 스스로 본다거나 원래 없는 망상을 자기가 알아차린다 하는 것은 다 소경이 개꿈 꾸는 헛소리기 때문예요. 이런 이치를 바로 알아야 합니다.
이 위빠사나는 사실 비구율의의 구족계에 포함되는 것인지라 미얀마나 태국에 가서 단기 출가라도 해야 작동하는 선법(禪法)인데도 이를 율법(律法)이라 안하고 염처(念處)라 하는 것은 그 심행(心行)을 단속하는 바탕이 혜심(慧心)에 주(住)하기 때문에 이름을 염처(念處)라 그러는 거랍니다
그렇게 계속 위빠사나를 감득하는 사마타를 열심히 가행 정진하다 보면 마음도 부처님의 혜심과 하나 되어 잡념 없이 성성(惺惺)해지다가 마침내 삼계가 고해임을 증득하는 부처님 말씀의 지혜 법문 즉 사제(四諦)의 도(道)에 들어가면 비로소 불도(佛道)를 수행하는 도인(道人)이라 하고 또 이때부터 현관(現觀)이라 하여 공부길이 열리는 거지 소나 개나 겉모양 흉내 낸다고 공부라 하는 게 아니예요.
요새 저 위빠사나니 뭐니 깨춤 추는 것들 알고 보면 집에서 새는 바가지 나가서 깨진 꼴예요.
우리 앞산에도 절이 하나 거창한 게 생겼는데 선방이랍시고 하나 지어놓고 참선하실 분 위빠사나 하는 분 이렇게 섞어놨대요. 그래서 총무하고 한번 가봤더니 법당은 쥐새끼 한 마리도 없는데 옆의 산신각에서는 목탁소리 염불소리가 진진하니 낭자한데 신발이 주변에 가득 발 디딜 틈도 없이 벗어놨더라는… 이렇도록 본분사의 본 자도 모르는 그 절 주인을 가지고 다들 큰스님으로 대접하는가 본데….. 이런 꼴들 안 보고 안 듣고 사는 것도 사실 오복 중 하나예요.
나는 법전대사 열반하시고는 아무데도 안 가는데. 하여튼 님들 아잔간하 존자(尊者)님을 부지런히 참방(參訪)해서 성불하는 선근(善根)을 깊이 심어가셔요.

송경(誦經)은 자꾸 신구의(身口意) 삼업(三業)으로 부처님 말씀을 깊이 억념(憶念)해서 전오식(前五識)의 무의식(無意識) 속에 훈습(熏習)이 되도록 하는 거예요. 그러면서 선정의 길이 되게 만드는 거지요. 요새 먹물 도깨비들 교리공부 한답시고 알음알이로 문자 희롱하는 희론(戱論) 즉 간경(看經)하곤 근본적으로 달라요.
그래서 예전의 강원의 송경(誦經)하는 이력(履歷)이 참선하는데 아주 중요했던 거예요. 근데 다 망가졌죠. 강원의 이력(履歷)이 망하니까 선방(禪房)도 망가진 거지요.
우리가 배움터라 생각하는 대학이란 데는 자칫하면 사실 수행과 아무 상관없는 희론처(戱論處)로 빠진다는 걸 모르니. 송경(誦經)을 중심하던 강원이 희론(戱論)의 알음알이 간경 위주로 바뀌는 것도 다 시절인연이고 말세라서 그런 거요. 그나마 해인사가 겨우 겨우 강맥(講脈)을 잇다가 종당엔 간경의 알음알이에 목 매달던 주지 하나 잘못 만나서 박살나지 않았나요.
그래도 여러분들은 복 받은 사람들예요. 멀리 아잔간하 존자(尊者)까지 찿아뵈었으니… 열심히들 심방(尋訪)해서 공부 많이들 하셔.

이렇게 송경과 선정을 수습하면서 마음이 흩어질 때마다 마음 챙긴다 하여 스스로 공(空)ᆞ무상(無常)ᆞ무원(無願)을 되새기면서 선정을 수습하다보면 드디어 부처님 말씀이 눈앞에 현전(現前)되거든요.
이걸 발심했다 하는데… 이처럼 지행(知行)이 일치(一致)되기 시작하면 이제 부처님 지혜 법문에 들어 계속 선정을 닦아 지혜를 발명해서 심지(心地) 즉 마음의 팔만사천 번뇌를 하나하나 단계적으로 끊어 가는데… (이걸 감업[減業]이라 그럼) 처음 공부할 때 학교 보내자면 똥오줌부터 가려야 한다 해서는… 간신히 부처님 말씀 한 두 마디 익혀 마음을 단속하는 단계를 가지고 마구니들이 공부인척 증상만(增上慢)을 내는데. 다 쓸데없는 짓입니다. 그러니까 머리 몸통 다 버리고 달랑 꼬랑지 하나 줏어다 자랑하는 모양인데.. 이에 대해 아잔간하 존자(尊者)께서는 면도칼이 아무리 날카롭다 해도 도끼마냥 선정(禪定)의 무게가 보태지지 않으면 나무 못 자른다 말씀하셨거든요
사실 남방에도 한국 못지 않게 사기꾼 득실거리니까 조심해야 되요. 한국에서 돌아다니는 위빠사나 패거리들도 알고 보면 다 일지반해(一知半解)하는 이상한 작자들이니까 조심 또 조심.!
저것들 모이는 데가 무슨무슨 마을이래요. 그래서 휴게소에서 파는 호두과자 모두 저들이 만들어 파는 줄 알았어요. 하여튼 엉덩이에 뿔 난 것들 이름도 개판으로 지어서 사람 헛갈리게 만드는 데는 재주가 비상한 것 같아요
부처님 지혜 법문이 내 마음에 감득(感得)되면 일체 경계의 묘법(妙法)이 즉시에 환해져서 눈을 떠도 보이고 감아도 환해지는데 이걸 현관(現觀) 즉 abhisamaya라 합니다. 현관(現觀)이 깊어져서 승진하다가 고집멸도(苦集滅道)의 도제(道諦) 단계에 들어가면 드디어 몽중일여(夢中一如)나 오매일여(寤昧一如)가 차례로 열리는데 남방에서는 그냥 수다원 사다함 아나함 그래요. 이것만을 공부라 하는 거지 개코도 모르면서 맘 챙긴다고 돌아다니는 건 그냥 병이요. 병.
제대로 묵묵히 깊이 하심해서 공부 수행할 생각은 안 하고 그저 인기나 얻고 돈이나 벌고 남들 안 하는거 좀 신기해 보이는 거 이런 못난 짓들만 찿아다니며 잘난 척하는 것은 말예요… 내가 보기엔 모두 업장이 두터워서 그러는 걸로 보이거든요. 이거 스스로 업장부터 녹이게끔 잘 가르쳐 줘야 해요. 시급해요.

지금 사마타와 위빠사나 관계가 어떠하냐? 이렇게 질문이 하나 들어왔는데… 사마타[지(止)]는 마음을 적정 고요케 하되 심일경성(心一境性)이라 해서 하나의 경계에 안정(安定)시키는 거요.
왜 그래야 하냐 하면 부처님의 지혜 말씀이 달빛처럼 비춰져도 내 마음이 요동치면 비춰지질 않으니까 마음을 명경(明鏡)처럼 맑게 삼매에 들게 해서 부처님의 지혜 법문과 하나 되는 대원경지(大圓鏡智)를 위빠사나[관(觀)]해서 대각(大覺)을 성취하자는 건데… 여기에 <경계의 내용>이란 문제가 하나 있거든요.
달은 중천에 떠 있는데 대야에 담긴 물과 같은 내 마음을 방구석에다 숨겨놓거나 방향을 반대로 놓았다 하면 제 아무리 삼매에 들어 마음이 잔잔해진들 달빛이 비춰지지 않을 겁니다. 그래서 대야를 들어다 달빛이 잘 비추는 곳에 놓고 잔잔해지도록 돌보는 건데 <이처럼 달빛 비추는 곳에 옮겨 놓는 것>을 뭐라 그래요? 삼귀의(三歸依)라 그러지 않나요? 이게 바로 외도의 선정과 불교의 선정이 여기서 갈라지는 거거든요. 하나의 경계라 해서 외도가 제 아무리 선정을 닦는다 한들 달빛이 비춰지질 못해요. 그래서 이걸 지혜가 없어 번뇌를 끊지 못하는 명상(冥想)이다 그렇게 달리 부르는 겁니다. 만약에 비춰졌다 하면 그건 이미 삼귀의가 전제 되어 그리 된 거니까 이미 불자(佛子)가 된 겁니다.
결국 삼귀의(三歸依)가 안 되면 실상 깨달음도 없는 거나 마찬가지요. 어떤 얼간이 목사 하나가 자기도 깨달았다 떠벌리는 모양인데 그건 악귀(惡鬼)에 홀려서 미쳐 발광하는 거나 진배 없소이다.
왜냐? <삼귀의가 없으면 깨달음도 없다는 이치>를 꿈에도 모르니까 그렇게 멋대로 사기 치는 거거든요. 이처럼 하나의 경계에 안정(安定)되는 것이 사마타인데 여기에다 귀의(歸依)를 통해서 달빛이 비춰지면 급기야 보일 관(觀) 자를 써서 <위빠사나> 그러는 겁니다. 처음에 방향 위치 제대로 잡는다고… 흔들리지 않게 잘 놓는다고… 바람이 불면 막아준다고… 알뜰살뜰 돌보는 데만 37가지 조도(助道)의 품목(品目)이 있고 여기다 추가로 사마타를 보조하는 것이 저 사이비 위빠사나 패거리들이 한다는 소위 <마음 챙기기> plus +1 인데… 마음 챙기는 게 무조건 나쁘다는 것이 아니라 무슨 마음으로 챙기냐가 관건예요.
시커먼 중생심(衆生心)으로 심사(尋伺) 각찰(覺察)하는 것을 공부라 할 건지 아니면 부처님께 지극히 귀의하여 불심(佛心)의 불지(佛智) 즉 삼법인(三法印)으로 내 마음을 다스릴 건지에 정사(正邪)가 갈려지는 겁니다.
저 사이비 위빠사나 패거리가 위빠사나 놀음 한지 이미 한 이십년 되었지 않나요?
그러면 이제 도인(道人)이 하나는 고사하고 반쪽이라도 충분히 나올 때가 된 것 같은데… 소식은커녕 여전히 쥐 죽은 듯 조용하잖아요.

불교는 함부로 나대는 거 아니거든요.
만약에 위빠사나를 한다 치면, 위빠사나로 크게 한소식해서 참선하는 제방(諸方)의 선지식(善知識)들을 두루 찿아가 점검하고 끝내… 심심상인(心心相印)해서 인가(印可)마저 받고나면 그때서야 건당(建幢)하여 개산(開山)하는 거지, 미친 넘들 원숭이 흉내 내는 걸 가지고 공부한다 하는 거 아니거든요. 제발 정신 좀 차리셔… 비싼 밥 처먹고 왜들 그러시는지 참 이해가 안 갑니다.
인과적으로는 사마타가 없으면 위빠사나도 없는 까닭에 초학자들에게 송경(誦經)을 가르쳐서 위빠사나 하는 성문(聲聞)의 혜심(慧心)을 길러 사마타의 길로 인도하고자 하는 게 소위 염처(念處)의 심사(尋伺)하는 마음 챙기기인데… 이것만 중뿔나게 연습한다? 잘 해보슈…

ex) 요새 참 재미있는 말이… 저 불법승(佛法僧) 삼보(三寶) 가운데 법은 진리니까 진리는 객관적이고 보편적이니까 나는 부처도 안 믿고 중들도 안 믿고 오로지 진리만 믿겠다 하는 말인데… 부처 다음에 법이 있지 법 다음에 부처 있는 게 아녜요.
부처님이야말로 진리의 당체고 진리의 화신인 것이지 진리가 따로 있어서 부처 버리고 중 들도 내치고서 달리 구할 수 있는 게 절대 아니거든요. 만약 그렇다 하면 이건 이른바 축물(逐物)이라 해서 한나라 강아지 마냥 죽자하고 뼈다귀 물어다 주인 갖다 주고… 주고… 주고 하다 끝장나는 거요. 이런 건 공부가 아니요. 바깥 경계에 끝없이 매인거지. 이런 이치를 어찌 말하냐 하면 진리가 사람을 따라오도록 공부해야지 사람이 진리를 따라다녀서는 평생 중생 노릇 못 면한다 그렇게 말하는 거요.
정말로 쇠뿔은 단김에 뽑는 건지 잘 모르겠으나 공부에는 영과(盈科)라 해서 다 순서가 있답니다.
먼저 복을 많이 쌓고 다시 삼세제불(三世諸佛)에 귀의 참회해서 업장을 녹이고 다시 부처님 말씀을 잘 새겨서 오매불망 잊지 앉게 된 연후에나 선방에 가서 참선 한다거나 남방에 가서 공부한다거나 하는 거지, 지 성질 못 이기고 세상 상대로 땡깡 부리는 걸 공부라 하지 못한다는 거… 좀 새겨 들으슈… 철 좀 드셔… 파리 마냥 여기저기 들러붙는 누구 누구들 말이요. 나이도 먹을만치 먹었으면 이제는 좀 나이값을 하셔야지…

What is Templestay?

What is Templestay?
Templestay is a unique cultural program which lets you experience the life of Buddhist practitioners at traditional temples which preserve the 1700 year old history of Korean Buddhism.

The whole world slumbers in the dark hours before dawn, but as the majestic temple bell tolls, it awakens the universe, and the day begins in the mountain temple, as it has for the last 1700 years. Templestay is a cultural experience program that lets one get a taste for the incredible cultural heritage which has blossomed during the five thousand years of Korean history, as well as experience the cultural consciousness transmitted throughout Korean Buddhist history.

You can realize the Buddhist method of eating ecologically, called BaruGongyang (monastic formal meal), which allows one to live in harmony with nature. Through the practice of Dado (tea ceremony) you can find true stillness and tranquility in a cup of tea. While walking along a peaceful forest path, you can listen to your inner voice, and through the practice of 108 prostrations you can learn the technique of putting down your inner desires and attachments.

It’s a time to search for your True Self and become one with your Original Nature. We hope that Templestay allows you to clear your mind so that you can have a wider experience of the world, and that this serves as a turning point when you return to your everyday life.

A bowl of food and a droplet of water, learning compassion from a tiny blade of grass. Instead of the racket of the city, we can finally become our True Selves through the noble silence flowing within this place.

Buddhist Chef Eric Ripert Learns Korean Buddhist Cuisine __ Yencheon

Buddhist Chef Eric Ripert Learns Korean Buddhist Cuisine
“Korean Buddhist Cuisine, Holding a Key to Human Survival”

This is an article about Eric Ripert who is a head chef of the famous restaurant
“Le Bernardin” and a Buddhist during his visits to Korean temples to learn Korean Buddhist
cuisine and Seon Buddhism in Aug. 2015.

Eric Ripert said, “Buddhist cuisine brings those who make and eat it closer to enlightenment,” and also emphasized, “The culture of Buddhist cuisine should be propagated more widely in order to pursue a more sustainable way of life.”

Eric visited Tongdo-sa Temple and learned Korean Buddhist cuisine from Master Wonsang. Even though this was their first meeting, they both had a great time making fresh ginseng and vegetable rolls together. Fresh ginseng and vegetables rolls. After peeling fresh ginseng, put seasoned vegetables on top of the fresh ginseng peels and tie it up with boiled water parsley.

At Tongdo-sa, “maji” (offering to the Buddha) and food for monks are made in a gamasot cooked over a wood fire. After the water boils, add rice and adjust the amount of water, stirring at regular intervals with a stainless steel paddle. Adjust the fire intensity as necessary. After making steamed rice, a “nurungji”(crust of overcooked rice) is frequently stuck to the bottom of the pot. It is a favorite snack for Koreans.

 World renowned chef Eric Ripert, head chef of the famous restaurant “Le Bernardin” in Midtown Manhattan, visited Tongdo-sa Temple, Baekyang-sa Temple and Jingwan-sa Temple Aug. 5-11 to learn Korean Buddhist cuisine and Seon Buddhism. This article is about his experiences during that visit. “Le Bernardin,” located in Midtown Manhattan, is famous for its French style seafood dishes. Since Chef Ripert became the head chef at Le Bernardin in 1994, The New York Times has consistently given Le Bernardin four stars for the longest period of time. Since then, Eric’s fame has spread all over the world.
What does he see in the Buddhist cuisine? He says, “Buddhist cuisine is healthy because it uses organic vegetables, and a vegetarian diet doesn’t cause animals to suffer.” He also believes Buddhist cuisine brings people closer to enlightenment. In addition, Eric says, “The survival of mankind depends on developing a sustainable culture and Buddhist cuisine is a sustainable culture.” Thus, he came to Korea in the heat of summer to study Korean Buddhist cuisine.
 “Chef” is not a Job but Passion and Lifestyle
Eric says, “Being a chef is not just a vocation but a passion and a lifestyle.” On this visit he met Master Jeonggwan of Cheonjin-am Hermitage in Baekyang-sa Temple for the third times. Eric had previously appeared with Master Jeonggwan on the PBS series “Avec Eric.” On that occasion he invited Master Jeonggwan to his restaurant to introduce Buddhist cuisine to key media reporters who covered food and restaurants. The reporters had lauded Buddhist cuisine and were fascinated by its diverse flavors.
 Disciple not only of Buddhist Cuisine but also Buddhism
Eric said it was a great experience to work with Master Jeonggwan at Cheonjin-am for three days. They seemed to understand each other very well with little need for a translator. In spite of the summer heat, they made steamed rice with thistle and roasted agastache rice cakes with soybean paste, Eric dutifully added kindlings to the fire and operated the bellows. In addition, he shredded potatoes and agastache, working side by side with Master Jeonggwan to prepare roasted soybean pancakes. Eric also picked agastache, thistle, perilla leaves and red peppers in the kitchen garden. Eric said, “The taste of agastache is fragrant and somewhat like western anise.” He had many questions for Master Jeonggwan.
 I Would Have Like Being a Monk
Master Jeonggwan has great intuition and was very open and honest. He compared Eric to the Tibetan priestess Dakini. Dakini is the goddess of the temple bell in Korea and has the role of directly passing down the self-discipline of Esoteric Buddhism and protecting devotees. It is said that Tilopa and Milarepa inherited Dakini’s esoteric methods. Legend also says that Dakinis incarnated as a human and became not only a companion on the path but also mother to a Buddha, and handed down the truth of Buddhism. Although Eric sometimes thinks he would have liked to be a Buddhist monk, he knows he cannot abandon the people he loves, his wife Sandra and a son Adrian. He said he would like to visit Korea again with his wife and son.
 What is Seon Buddhism?
Eric, a follower of Tibetan Buddhism was curious about Seon Buddhism. Wherever he went, he asked the monks two questions. One was “What is Seon Buddhism?” The other had to do with killing fish. “In my job as a chef, I violate the precept of not taking a life. What should I do?” Master Jeonggwan of Cheonjin-am, Master Wonil of Baekyang-sa, Master Doun of Jingwan-sa, and Master Wonsang, Suan and Doan of Tongdo-sa Temple all answered these questions differently. However, a satisfactory answer seemed to eventually form in his mind. One master said, “It will be good for the fish if you kill it after praying for its rebirth into a better life.” Another master said, “The concept of not killing is not reserved only for fish. There are many small living things and microorganisms that we kill accidently. If this matter weighs on your mind, you should hold a “Cheondojae” (memorial ceremony) once or twice a year.”
 Please Draw My Mind
Eric asked even more questions of Master Suan. He asked Master Suan, who dresses differently from other monks, “You are a monk even though you don’t dress as they do. Do you live the lifestyle of a monastic?” Master Suan answered, “Even though I don’t live exactly as a Buddhist monastic, I need at least one cell inside my body to move.” When Master Suan offered to draw Eric a picture, Eric asked Master Suan to draw a picture of his mind. Suan first drew Eric’s smiling face and painted a broad luminous blue cloud encircling his face. Eric was happy to see the color blue, his favorite color. After drawing a small alms bowl under the face, Suan said, “This alms bowl is empty. Please put your best cooking into it.”
 Nurungji in the Shape of a Full Moon
The monks of Tongdo-sa showed Eric how to make “maji” (offering to the Buddha) and how they cooked over a wood fire using a gamasot (large iron pot). Three monks assisted in adding firewood and water when necessary, steaming the boiled rice and scooping the rice out. It looked like a ceremony. They first boiled water, added rice and then adjusted the water level as necessary. One monk then stirred the rice at regular intervals with a stainless steel paddle while the others tended the fire, adjusting it as necessary. After scooping the steamed rice out, one monk scooped out a large piece of nurungji (overcooked rice crust that sticks to the bottom of the pot). It was larger in diameter than a monk’s chest and in the shape of full moon, a symbol of perfect enlightenment. This pleased everyone greatly.
 Different Buddhist Cuisines of Three Masters
After Eric experienced the Buddhist dishes prepared at three different temples, he knew Buddhist cuisine had infinite possibilities and could be creatively enhanced. He then categorized each temples cooking style. He defined Master Jeonggwan’s cooking as “rustic traditional,” Master Doun’s as “sophisticated traditional,” and Master Wonsang’s as “creative.” I expect that Eric, who wants to advocate Buddhist temple food as a sustainable lifestyle, will continue to inspire others, and I hope his Buddhist practice continues to mature along with his culinary artistry.
Coverage organization | Yencheon (Freelancer), Photos | Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism