The Accommodation of Ganwhaseon and Its Characteristics in Korea

Lee, Bub-san / Dongguk University

Ganhwa-seon is one of main kind of chan which was developed in China, following the teaching of Boddhidharma. Its advocate is Dahui Zonggao (大慧宗杲, ca. 1089-1163) who is a main chan master in the branch of Yanggi(楊岐派). His doctrine is introduced in his work, Seojang (書狀). In this work, Daehye recommends the chan disciplinants to practice Jojoo’s gongan that is “a dong has no Buddha nature” (狗子無佛性話).

Ganhwa seon was introduced in Korea from the Gorye dynasty. The famous seon master, Bojo Jinool at the same dynasty wrote the Ganhwagyewuron(看話決疑論). It is a guide book which is a first work that shows how to practice Ganhwa seon in Korea. Bojo’s(普照) teaching was succeeded by Hyesim (慧諶). He wrote Goojamooboolseongganbyungron (狗子無佛性看病論) which includes the way of avoiding problems that occur when the disciplinants do not practice properly. Hyesim also composed Seonmoonyumsong. It is a collection of gongans that are used in Ganhwa seon. From his on, Ganhwa seon rooted in Korea.

All kinds of chan had been introduced in Korea. Among them, the important is Caodong(曹洞), Yunmen(雲門), Linji(臨濟), Weiyang(潙仰), Fayan(法眼). However, Ganhwa seon has been the main stream of Korean seon. Even today, it is the main subject of practicing in Koren temple. It is the chacteristics of Korean Buddhism.