Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea

Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:47 pm

An essay by Ryan Bongseok Joo:

"Western Buddhists, who were introduced to Korean Seon (Jp. Zen, Ch. Chan 禪) Buddhism through Seung Sahn sunim (1927-2004), might find it surprising that gong’an (Jp. kōan 公案) meditation practice is taught quite differently in Korea from the way Seung Sahn sunim trained his disciples in the West. For instance, Seon masters in Korea generally do not ask their student to resolve a series of different gong’an gates like the way Seung Sahn sunim did. Instead, meditating on a single gong’an is considered sufficient in itself to bring the student to full awakening. It is also not a common practice to allot one-on-one private interview (Jp. dokusan 独参) time with a Seon master as part of the daily training schedule in a Korean monastery; although students can certainly meet with their teacher after having a breakthrough experience or when facing a difficult internal obstacle outside the regular monastic schedule. For native Korean Buddhists, it has been an open secret that Seung Sahn sunim heavily adopted the Japanese Rinzai Zen style in his teaching of gong’an practice, which was familiar to his Western disciples, but foreign to most Korean Buddhists. In this paper, I would like to introduce the other side, the teachings of gong’an practices by contemporary Korean Seon masters in Korea, which would be familiar to Korean Buddhists, but probably new to many Western readers."

Gradual Experiences of Sudden Enlightenment: The Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea (PDF)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea

Postby bulhaeng » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:36 pm

Astus wrote:For instance, Seon masters in Korea generally do not ask their student to resolve a series of different gong’an gates.

I used to repeat that thought to many people until I read an interview with a student of Seongcheol Sunim in the last issue of "Budddhism & Culture". Seongcheol Sunim also asked his students to solve series of different cases (this person describes going through Gateless Gate and other collections) so this style of practice must be one of the varieties found in Korea, not necessarily a loan from Rinzai.
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Re: Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea

Postby Astus » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:17 am

I would assume it is a "borrowed" practice because it was Hakuin who organised the Rinzai curriculum in the way it is today with many levels of koans.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Location: Budapest

Re: Varieties of Ganhwa Seon Teachings in Contemporary Korea

Postby bulhaeng » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:48 pm

I would assume it is a "borrowed" practice because it was Hakuin who organised the Rinzai curriculum in the way it is today with many levels of koans.

The guy didn't really say that there was a curriculum, just that he went through the major collections.
Seung Sahn's gates are also not really a curriculum in a sense that there is no set sequence. You can get anything anytime.
I was not really referring to the question of sequence, just to the fact that I always thought that Koreans would rather spend 30 years focusing on "What is this?" rather than giving answers to many gongans.
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