[Answer]「Seongcheol Zen master’s critical view on the Theory of Pojo’s Sudden Enlightenment」
The question of students in the Zen school in September 21, 2005:
This is the review request for the paper「Seongcheol Zen master’s critical view on the Theory of Pojo’s Sudden Enlightenment」written by Chung Kyong Kyu. While arranging documents, we found that the contents and the name of writer were missed. We apologize to the questioner for it. The questioner is a student of Zen school. He asked for the review because he wanted to know whether his understanding on the paper of Chung Kyong Kyu is objective or not.
The Answer of Buddhist Scripture translation Societies, in April, 19, 2006: We may write a paper lightly or seriously according to our style. In this regard, the paper of Chung Kyong Kyu is sharp in his writing style but his writing responds to the counterpart’s argument too elaborately so that his writing seems to lose his attraction.
Even though we need to match the counterpart’s tone, it will not give the excuse to the unreasonable view and cannot provide a way to escape the heretical view like gradual cultivation theory.
Anyway, the valuable paper「Seongcheol Zen master’s critical view on the Theory of Pojo’s Sudden Enlightenment」must be an established theory that reveals the root of good behavior in his previous life. It cannot be written only with memorizing and learning. In fact, in terms of the Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Cultivation, the completion of ‘Gradual Cultivation’ was originally impossible because the original word of this Sanskrit, Dhū’or ‘Krt’ is the sound, which is generated when bamboo is split at one time. The meaning of this word puts its origin in the onomatopoeic word, Dhū.
Early translators tried to ensure the equivalence of meaning of a word about Dhū. So, they translated this word with cultivation (修), which is ahead of “Cut-off(斷)” or “Breakdown(破)”. The word, 修 can be translated into practice or cultivation. However, the meaning of it implies the dull sound of bamboo split. Gradual Cultivation is inconsistent because ‘gradual’ represents the gradual flow of time, but cultivation implies the meaning of moment. Gradual Cultivation is just futile words like rabbit horn in which the combination of gradual + cultivation is nonsense.
In terms of the combination of the verb and noun, the single and rightful illustration of Buddhist cultivation in practice is the ‘Sudden Enlightenment’ or ‘Sudden Cultivation’ which is the broad translation of Sanskrit, Dhū. In this, verb Dhū and Krt, implying ‘breakdown’ and ‘cut-off’ are combined. Sudden Cultivation is the entity of causes in mind that puts the observing mind in the absence of the worldly desires. Sudden Cultivation is not the opposing words of Gradual Cultivation, whose meaning is decided in its use. It is the proposition to exchange, satisfying self awakening and awakening of others.
Seeing the context of misrepresentation of ‘Sudden Cultivation’, we can compare it with the blind stanza written by Shen Hsiu, “Our body is the Bodhi-tree, and our mind is the mirror. Carefully we wipe them hour to hour in order to let no dust alight”. Like this, we can misunderstand the cultivation of mind with the study of cut-off(resolution).
Of course, it is interpreted that Dhū, which is the split sound of bamboo, expresses the cultivation or practice as great monk, Gyubong mentioned. However, it is based on Hua-yen-ching, recommending experience of Buddhism doctrine for the establishment of Buddhist law based on the true doctrine. For this reason, we should not be farfetched by saying that Zen school has divided practice into ‘Sudden Cultivation’ and ‘Gradual Cultivation’. Seongcheol Zen master has said that ‘Gradual cultivation is mere succession of words. It is not different from the teaching that the meaning of words in cultivation (修) should be expressed with the hypothesis for delivering its principle to lay people. Accordingly, if we are caught in the thinking ‘the Gradual Cultivation is also the way of study and Zen Buddhist meditation’, it is truly wrong.
To the conclusion, is the result of misunderstanding about the transference and it is the mere of a sort of hallucination. Whether it is solemn or not, it is just like the Fruit of Poisonous Tree, which undermines the upright spirit of Zen practice. People who like forming a faction argue Gradual Cultivation. However, it cannot be even dubbed with the succession of words in the Zen school. We can know it if we think a little about the question “How can we lead others’ awakening without self awakening?”
The Wall of Hwang Mae Hyeon, Ojosa(五祖寺) where great monk, Jukjo attached stanza