Doing practice by Gan-Hua Seon
Jong-Ho(Bark, Mun Gi)
Dept. of Seon, Dongguk University
This paper look into the Gan-hua Seon practice in American society. I’d study just 3 Seon Master; Joshu Roshi, Shengyen, Seungsahn Haengwon. They are come from Japan, China, Korea and had big influence on American Seon.
All this 3 Seon Masters do not insist on Gan-hua Seon only. They are using all the methods for practice such as; Mook-jo(Soto) Seon practice, reading sutra, invoking mantra, counting breaths and so forth. If some monk said that I solved one Huadu, the Masters never admitted him to be a realized man. Because they are all stand for gradual enlightenment, rather than sudden enlightenment.
Moreover, the Seon Masters give the big questions and check the answers to their Seon 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 Seon 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 huadu to their Seon 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 Seon students and check the answers continuously. Specifically, this is the main method that the Seon Masters teach their students.
Sixth, the Masters teach to the practitioners Seon practice, and also to apply what they have learned or attained to their own everyday lives.
The Seon Masters have found many Seon 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 Seon Masters have considered how to teach the American lay-people and finally they got what the Western Seon 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.
Kan-hwa Seon, Hwadu, Kong-an, Joshu Roshi, Shengyen, Seungsahn Haengwon