불교 바로알기 제 1

[불교 바로알기 1제] 무애거사

위빠사나라는 건 대체 뭐냐?
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.
사두,!

보충1)
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.

보충2)
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.
사두.!

보충3)
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…

The social values and role of Ganhwa Seon

The historical and social reality of China at the time of the foundation of Ganhwa Seon was a circumstance of great crisis. The Song had been defeated in a war with the Jin (Jurchen) dynasty and the society was disordered, the economy was in difficulty and the peasants had fallen into confusion and despair.

In such circumstances, Seon Master Dahui Zonggao systematized Ganhwa Seon and taught lay and cleric the method of investigation of hwadu while living an everyday life. He called up courage in the peasants who had fallen into misery, and in order to elucidate a wisdom that would rebuild and resurrect a collapsing state, he spread widely this active and lively Seon. Seon Master Dahui taught Seon to those people who had lost the war and fallen into despair, positively teaching them to live according to a correct set of values that had removed the idea of two sides and of egotism.

Our society today is not much different from the circumstances of China when Ganhwa Seon was established. Even though compared to the past the level of material life has improved, the maturity of the spiritual culture and the depth of education remains at a low level. Moreover, the social currents that oppose East and West, labor and capital, progressive and conservative etecetera, and the historical reality of the tragic split into North and South, is too much for our life to bear. Even further, the present address attained by human civilization is one where everywhere in the global village there is not a day on which opposition and trouble, and war does not stop.

Korean Buddhism has a feature that is different from the Buddhisms of Japan, Tibet and South-east Asia. That is Seon. In Korean Buddhism, Seon has been fixed and developed continuously. Therefore it has a more deeply examined Dharma than the Buddhism of other countries. The Seon School, that is the tradition of Patriarchal Seon and Ganhwa Seon, has been best preserved in Korea. Even though we have an impressive pride, to a major extent we have preserved a significant value in respect of Seon thought, real consultation and real practice. Is it not a reality that although there are various countries in the world and there are various religions, far from resolving the opposition and troubles between ideologies and religions or races, it has made them worse? But Buddhism does not have a history of creating wars or of extreme confrontation. If one properly knows the Seon of Buddhism, it will show mutual equality and without opposition and trouble, it can possibly resolve these problems of limitless improvement in this age of unbridled competition.

Although it is important in any age to make those Seon values widely known to the world, it is now an even more urgent and earnest task due to the extent of emergencies and disputes. Will the devastated and sterile spiritual culture of our age that has been greatly changed through the desires and individualism that have destroyed the value foundations of everything that supported our lives, not guarantee a rose-colored future and some realistic comfort to us now? The experience of Seon and the causation of Middle Way in which one can live well together in limitless improvement in our own individual duties, transcending at a stroke the fundamental problems that human beings face, must present a new plan for human civilization.

Now is the time when practitioners, lay and monastic, who are conscious of their own problems as the problems of humanity, must take the path of an intense Seon practice that will give rise to a great mental resolution that will merge together individuals and ages. Above all else, lay and monastic practitioners, while setting up a model of life through the practice of meditation, must make widely known in this land the values of Seon and must make Seon culture and thought bloom brilliantly.

And the active and lively, free and independent disposition of Seon must contribute to the freeing, wisely and peaceably, the mind of each person, and broadcast this to all members of society.

Now, at this moment, in just this place, although there are no shapes or traces, let us look directly at this actively living and moving mind.

Look directly at one’s own self.
We originally are Buddha.

How do the enlightened convert sentient beings?

The Śākya Mūni Buddha, after being awakened at the end of six years of austerities, while he was together with sentient beings for forty-five years, led them on the path to enlightenment. This life of the Buddha showed well the characteristics of the life that an enlightened person must take.

While quoting from the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra, Seon Master Mazu in the Gucunshu yulu said, “Even while being in the world one does not perform contaminated actions, and even while residing in nirvana one never enters into extinction.” He also said, “A genuine bodhisattva, even though at the status of a commoner, is not addicted to worldly things and even in the state of a saint does not abandon sentient beings.”

Because Ganhwa Seon stands on the faith that frustrations as they are are enlightenment, and the world as it is is the supra-mundane, even while among frustrations, one is not bound by frustrations, which is to change direction towards the site of the Buddha. Being in the world and not being tainted by the world, and practicing all the practices in the world is the unfolding of conversion activities.

If it is the life of an enlightened person, no matter whether he teaches students in the mountains or converts sentient beings in the world, whatever side he takes will not be a problem. If there is pure water deep in the mountains people who wish to drink it will gather automatically, and so persons of the Way, even though he teaches practitioners who come seek him, or whether they gather in an assembly in the bustling city, he can convert them.

There is a Seon painting called the “Ox-seeking Diagram” that expresses the course of practice of seeking the mind through pictures and hymns. The pictures show the stages of Seon practice which are compared to an ox and a boy. It draws the process of seeking one’s own original share of enlightenment sites until one reaches enlightenment in ten stages, which are also called the “Ten Ox Diagrams.”

The last scene of the ten ox diagrams is called “Entering the bazaar and lowering one’s hands.” It means going into the market and converting sentient beings. In this picture of the most important moment that is expressed by this “entering the bazaar and lowering one’s hands” the practitioner has a walking stick and shoulders a huge bag. It depicts him going to a place where there are many people. Again, in a certain picture there is depicted the appearance of him talking with a child. The huge sack is a bag that contains blessings and virtues that can be bestowed on sentient beings, and symbolizes the ultimate Buddhist aim of enlightenment and the salvation of sentient beings. Filling up his gourd and carrying a stick, he goes from door to door to have everyone become Buddha and to build the Buddha land. Even if his clothes are dirtied with mud and his head completely covered in ashes, with a bright smile from morning to evening, he rescues sentient beings from a worldly life that is full of dust.

One must then try to take note of the points that are developed through the Seon method and the method of salvation. An elder in everyday speech exchanges greetings with a child:

“Who are you?”
“Where have you come from?”
“Now where are you going?”

This is via a thunderous lecture that says to look at one’s own original face by borrowing everyday speech, and if we are not like the child in the picture it will be difficult for us to understand and hear that lecture. The enlightened, according to the causation, naturally go on the path of saving sentient beings. Each time he clearly shows each one their original face according to the ability of the sentient being.

The reason one is not trapped by contrary and favorable realms when one is enlightened

Enlightenment indicates a state that is not restrained anywhere by the realms of calm or noise, good or bad, contrary or favorable. The enlightened do not dwell anywhere and are not trapped anywhere. No matter what they are doing or where they are, they are free, dignified and imposing, and even at death nothing can be done to them.

Grand Master Bodhidharma said that the enlightened enter (the Way) without choosing between the state of the saint or common person. He said that on entering into the world of the commoner they display the various characteristics of the commoner and they themselves become sentient beings. This is because they show an appearance that is uninvolved in order to save sentient beings.

Grand Master Bodhidharma also said, “The saint gains total freedom and independence in the contrary and favorable realms, and since (the saint) cannot be restrained by any karma, the state of the saint is eternal.” (Xuemolun)

Seon Master Honzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157) said concerning this state:

    Lofty and imposing, not hindered by anything, (the saint) is resolute. Even in noisy places he can shove one’s head in, and in serene places he can put down his feet. (Hongzhi guanglu, fascicle 2)

The awakened are not involved in any realm. They walk resolutely step by step without choosing any place and without discriminating between realms. They are free and independent, without obstacles, moving freely and at will and without any concerns in calm and noise, pain and peace. Even in a market district full of frustrations, noise and bustle, the house-style of the Buddha is fully revealed.

On the other hand, the mind that distinguishes between favorable and contrary realms intervenes and various obstacles arise continuously. Therefore one can set up the criteria of the examination for enlightenment as being whether or not one is free of the favorable and contrary realms. The reason for not being trapped by the favorable and contrary is because the relativistic world of the contrary realms and favorable realms is not two. The enlightened, because they dwell in the state that is not these two, are free of sorrow and happiness, like and dislike, and good and evil.

Good and bad things do not exist separately. They arise according to the mind, and that mind complies with enlightenment. Because the enlightened stop the functioning of the mind that distinguishes right and wrong, they are free from contrary and favorable. Therefore the world of enlightenment never discriminates between the contrary and favorable realms. Whatever realm it is, it becomes one with my mind and is free from coming and going. It does not have a set home and leaves no traces of having dwelt anywhere.

Seon Master Yuanwu spoke of this state in case 87 of the Biyanlu:

    A bright-eyed person has no home to stay in. At times he is alone on top of a lofty, soaring peak, and at times is hidden by covering grass, and at other times is in the noisy, bustling market streets, and appears totally naked without a spot of dirt. (Biyanlu case 87)

What is “Frustrations are Enlightenment”?

Mountains are mountains, water is water

Because the mind originally had nothing to be got rid of originally such as stain or dirt, frustrations do not exist separately. It is just because subject and object were divided and ‘cleverness’ produced that frustrations and wisdom, or samsara and nirvana appeared to be separate.

Deluded sentient beings divide I and objects. Therefore that is relativistic. That all things are not one but are seen as two is because of this. Because one thus divides into and sees and thinks and acts on (things) as two, there is war and strife, trouble and opposition.

If this cleverness is enlightened to conditional production and no-self, it will achieve a release in which life is equal and free, and know that samsara and nirvana, frustrations and wisdom are not two. This is called mountains are mountains and water is water.

Let us look at such a realm through the hall Dharma talk of Qingyuan Weixin:

    Thirty years ago, before I meditated, I saw “mountains are mountains and water is water.” Later I met an excellent Seon master, and when I sought out the truth, (for me) “water was not water and mountains were not mountains.” But now, having seen and attained enlightenment in a restful place, “mountains are truly mountains and water is truly water.” (Xu Chuandenglu, fascicle 22)

Here, before he practiced, the stage of “mountains are mountains and water is water” again became mountains are mountains and water is water after enlightenment, which is the same as the reason why frustrations and wisdom and samsara and nirvana are not two.

The practical field of “frustrations as they are are enlightenment”

Those who are enlightened are Buddha. The Buddha is our mind. Because the mind and the Buddha are not different, the mind is the Buddha. There is no fixed Buddha apart from the mind. Seon Master Huangbo in his Chuanxin fayao clarified the phrases “frustrations are bodhi” and “delusions are enlightenment” as follows:

    Pei Xiu asked, “Now just when false thoughts arise, where is the Buddha?”
    Seon Master Huangbo said, “Now when you are aware that false thoughts have arisen, that awareness is the Buddha. If the false thoughts do not arise, the Buddha likewise does not exist. Why is it like this? You give rise to thought and create the view of a Buddha, and as soon as you do so you think there is a Buddha to be achieved, and making the view of sentient beings think there is a sentient being to be saved. But the disturbances of thought that give rise to the mind are all only your discriminating views. If all the views do not exist, where can the Buddha be? It is just as when Mañjuśrī temporarily made a view of Buddha that suddenly he was chased out to the two surrounding mountain ramparts of iron.” (Chuanxin fayao)

Seon Master Huangbo said, “When you are aware that false thoughts have arisen, that awareness is the Buddha.” Likewise, delusion and enlightenment do not exist separately. Since the moment one is aware of delusion transforms into awakening, one must not create the view that delusion and awakening exist separately.

Mountains are mountains and water is water. Frustrations as they are are enlightenment. All things of the world and all events and functions are the appearances of the Buddha. The moment the cleverness that (holds that) they are separate appears is the moment pain is born. One must know this principle well.

What is enlightenment and what world is opened up?

If one conquers the hwadu and is awakened, it is like waking from a dream or like the shining of 100,000 suns in the sky. That world, like space, is boundless and limitless. All the things that exist in it are equal, lacking superior or inferior, valued and despised, intimate and estranged, right and wrong. There is only a world of no oppositions or troubles, and no strife. Moreover, all existences being united into one, to do something for another is to do it for oneself, and to do something for oneself is to do it for another.

If one is enlightened, one is independent, autonomous, voluntary and positive, and for oneself and for others there is limitless benevolence, and in all favorable and contrary realms one becomes a person of great freedom who is independent and free. These dynamic phenomena cannot be explained with words and cannot be expressed in writing. It is the same principle as the person themselves having to drink the water themselves and only then do they know if it is hot or cold.

That being so, enlightenment does not mean that there is a separate world. It is only the characteristic of life that one obviously lives here and now. As this is only too obvious, even if one intentionally informs them, it is like to make a wound on bare flesh. This, as Seon Master Zhaozhou said, is going and drinking a cup of tea. There is nothing to be gained by adding anything more. As it is already itself perfect, it cannot be gained and cannot be spoken of.

If one is awakened, it is plainly clarified. There is not the slightest skerrick of doubt and one clearly sees definitely where one has to go, what one has to do, and the path to go. And so, not only is there no unease or aimless wandering, but also the characteristics of a perfect life where every place one stands or sits is clearly displayed. Moreover, one escapes from all restraints alone and there is nowhere at all to rely on. This is called esaping alone without action (doktal muwi). Because there is nothing to depend on and nowhere at all to be attached to, being unattached is to dwell spiritually in a quiet and calm condition.

Seon Master Dahui’s master, Seon Master Yuanwu Keqin, said that as soon as one thoroughly realized the original face of no-mind and no-thought, one is staightaway enlightened, and that this no-mind no-thought state is seeing the nature and becoming Buddha.

The enlightened are like space, nothing at all can confine them. The enlightened are not shackled by (the ideas of) ordinary person or saint, as they are free whenever and wherever. In this way, enlightenment, being an ever so great freedom, is not restricted by any realm at all. The enlightened rest the mind, and being persons of the Way who are mindless and without matters, even though they are approached by various affairs, are not disturbed in mind by these. And so people of the Way must not be thought of as akin to leisurely strolling immortals outside of this world with nothing to do. This is because the enlightened correctly handle all things ceaselessly with a mind that has nothing to do, a mind that is at leisure.

Moreover, enlightenment through hwadu has no distinction of lay and monastic, no discrimination of male or female. In this excellent Dharma all things are united without discrimination. All sentient beings, for the reason that they are originally Buddha, the moment they approach the opportune condition that informs them of that orginal news, will be enlightened.

If one examines one’s own study, what should one do?

It is a rule that one receives the examination of study from the teacher. However, when the circumstances are not suitable, there is also a method of examination by oneself following the criteria recorded in the collected sayings of the patriarchs. In such a case, one definitely must not deceive oneself, and one must be able to coldly judge one’s own study. If one is resolute in only this mental attitude, one can examine whether one’s own study is right or wrong, deep or shallow, in accordance with the patriarchal masters’ recorded sayings.

 The methods of examination of Seon Masters Taego and Seosan

Seon Master Seosan in his Seon-ga gwigam presented a method that enabled one to examine study in the midst of everyday life on the basis of the method of examination of study of Seon Master Taego. This is his excellent method of self-examination through which one can try to definitely see the extent of one’s own study in the everyday. Through it he set up criteria of examination that are for the improvement of the practitioner’s own practice. If one, on this basis, looks daily at one’s own study, it can be a great help.

  1. Does one know the depth and warmth of the four favors?
    (Here the four favors are parents, country, master and donors.)
  2. Does one know if the filthy body of the four elements of earth, water, fire and wind is decaying moment by moment?
  3. Does one know whether the life of people is suspended between breathes?
  4. Having met people such as the Buddha and patriarchs already, has one not overtaken them?
  5. Having heard the eminent and holy Dharma, has one not completely forgotten those happy and fortunate thoughts?
  6. Without leaving the place of study, is one keeping to the regulations that are appropriate to a person cultivating the Way?
  7. Is one not spending time in useless gossip with those around one?
  8. Is one not engaging busily in right and wrong?
  9. Is one not shading the hwadu but rather making it clear at all times?
  10. Even when speaking with others, does the hwadu continue on uninterrupted?
  11. Even though one looks, hears and is aware of it, is one achieving the hwadu uninterruptedly in one piece?
  12. When looking back on study, is it sufficient to seize the Buddha and patriarchs?
  13. Will one be able to achieve the life of insight of the Buddha in this life?
  14. Is one thinking of the pain of hell while sitting, lying down and at ease?
  15. Can one escape from rebirth with this physical body?
  16. Is one’s mind not moved by any realms at all?
  17. If one cannot rescue this body in this life, in which life can one be rescued?
Besides the items of the examination introduced by Seon Master Seosan, Seon Master Taego presented the following extra items:

  1. Regardless of the rank of upper, middle and lower, does one respect them?
  2. Does one not talk of the faults of others or look for them?
 And it is hoped one will try to examine the items below:

  1. Is one establishing correct views properly and firmly?
  2. Are your practice and life in agreement?
  3. Is the conviction about the hwadu expanding daily?
  4. Is the desire for material things being disciplined?
  5. Has one established the power of a vow to save all sentient beings and to be definitively and greatly enlightened?
  6. Does one keep well the Vinaya at all times, whether in the retreat or not?
  7. Is the mind of right and wrong, or victory and defeat, lessening daily?

How is the examination and seal of approval achieved?

After Patriarch Bodhidharma in Patriarchal Seon, if one looks at what structures the study through the hall sermon or dialogue had progressed through, one can confirm the universal procedures of examination and the seal of approval. The study of Patriarchal Seon passes through the process of mental resolution, consultation questions, investigation, inquiry and seal of approval. The spirit of Patriarchal Seon continued in this way, and Ganhwa Seon passes through the same process.

The mental resolution is the earnest thirst that one would be enlightened and escape all frustrations and without fail become a person of great freedom. Therefore the mental resolution can be the departure point of Seon practice. It is the way of life that has to continue constantly, and is the motive power for achieving the aim.

Consulting questioning means after having made the mind resolute, to find a teacher and request the teaching. It is also called requesting the question. In this way the teacher responds to the questions of the practitioners who come asking of the Dharma, and through various opportune conditions, directly try to show them their minds. Those concrete methods are the sermon and the dialogue. In the process of the sermon and the dialogue, the practitioner through the mediation of language comes to awaken the mind. And according to the case, through the shout or the staff or other direct actions, this was to explode open the original face. If the practitioners, in the process of the teacher’s replies, met with an opportune condition, they were directly enlightened. Such cases were called “enlightened at a word,” that is, “enlightened at the end of a word.” This corresponds to an excellent person of superior ability.

If the practitioner in the process of consulting and questioning the teacher cannot be enlightened at the end of a word, they will fall into doubt and confusion. In that case, one continues to cherish the doubt about the hwadu presented by the teacher and continues to investigate thoroughly. Such a process is called investigation. When there is no causation with the teacher one has first sought, here the practitioner wanting to resolve the doubt and confusion that is developed in one’s breast, seeks another teacher by going on pilgrimage. In cases that are not so, one serves the teacher and while vigorously practicing, one will gamble one’s life on resolving the questions that are blocking up one’s breast.

Inquiry means the definite discernment of the condition and extent of the practitioner’s enlightenment by the teacher. If the practitioner has gained enlightenment, he seeks the teacher in seeking the seal of approval, and at that time the teacher presents various problems and through the procedure of confirmation determines whether the practitioner’s enlightenment was sound or not. This was called inquiry.

Through the strict procedure of inquiry, if one had conquered the hwadu and the enlightenment was confirmed, the teacher handed down the seal of approval. If one received the seal of approval from the teacher, and the practitioner himself had not a spot of suspicion, and one had definitive, great enlightenment. However, if the practitioner cannot receive the seal of approval from the teacher, he must continue the investigation of the hwadu. This process continues on until the final moment of great enlightenment.

What are the examination and the seal of approval?

The examination is the practitioner being asked about the condition of his own study and having it confirmed by the teacher. If one tries to reach the state in which one is skilled in all the other things of the world, while one must receive an examination from the guide and must strive and endeavor, only when one has received a fine examination to make certain from a bright-eyed supervisor of Seon practice can one proceed along the correct path. In paricular, the path proceeding to enlightenment through the investigation of the hwadu may also develop into very detailed and unanticipated circumstances. The movements of the mind that may arise internally in a practitioner, if they are not guided by a teacher, may harbor the danger that can proceed in a mistaken direction.

Therefore the practitioner has to occasionally seek out the teacher to ask about whether his study is proper or whether it is or is not going along a mistaken path, and what points need repairing and what are to be perfected, and according to the master’s guidance he must correct them and in order to mature his study he must be examined. In cases when the examination between the master and the disciple does not go well, practitioners may not be able to have an interest in the hwadu meditation and may fall into outrageous paths. For that reason the examination is important.

The seal of approval means the final process of practice in which one receives recognition that one is enlightened through the examination of whether the practitioner is enlightened or not to the hwadu. That is, when the practitioner has conquered the hwadu, the teacher examines that realm and if the practitioner is correctly enlightened, then he gives his nod and the seal of approval.

In Seon the seal of approval has a very important meaning. It is indeed just like the instant when one dots the eyes of a painted dragon in which one dots the eyeball of the dragon to vivify it and make it move. In Seon this final nod of approval in particular is important because when a practitioner says he is enlightened, there are no objective criteria to confirm that enlightenment. In other words, there is no exeternally visible yardstick through which to verify and ensure whether the practitioner is truly enlightened, or mistakenly enlightened, or if not, still incomplete in enlightenment. Therefore there are cases when the person is under the illusion that he is enlightened according to his own opinion. By gaining a minor knowledgeable view through study and being attached to that, or by interrupting the study, one may fall into a side-track, and so a deluded person of the Way is produced.

And so the practitioners, no matter how sure they are that the enlightenment they have experienced is correct, must receive a formal seal of approval that confirms whether they are mistaken or correct. If not there will be the appearance of pseudo persons of the Way and the unfortunate situation can spread to themselves, or indeed even to other people, who will be driven out onto private paths. They are to be warned against and should be warned against.

And if so, can anyone receive the seal of approval? The Dharma that the Buddha gave to the Venerable Kāśyapa through the mind-to-mind transmission like a lamplight so that it would not die out, has passed through many teachers and has been inherited up till today. These teachers are called the proper masters of the lineage or true masters of the lineage. Patriarchal Seon and Ganhwa Seon have cherished the tradition that has transmitted the Dharma that has given the seal of approval to the state of enlightenment and the pride in that distinctive enlightenment. By doing so, in a desolate land, the water of truth has flowed and the great land has achieved a green forest and finally a brilliant bloom has blossomed.

PART 3: The world of enlightenment