What is behind Koreanization? It is setting proper root on culture, and mind. And from it, we may graft politics, economy, and culture.
Copyright © 2005 Hyundae Bulkyo Media Center
Zen Master Seung Sahn
In the Chinese Chán tradition there are two types of Transmission: Secret Transmission and Public Transmission. Dàjiāng Huìnéng is an example of a Chán Master who received Secret Transmission. The reason that he received secret transmission is that at the time there were seven hundred monks were in residence at Chán Master Daman Hongren’s temple. Shénxiù, who was the head monk, had been practicing for many years with Master Hongren and the monks in residence had assumed that he would receive Transmission; furthermore, Huìnéng was not a monk at the time, he was a layman who was just a kitchen helper. Master Hongren realized that if Huìnéng received Transmission his life might be endangered. Because of this he received Secret Transmission at night and then immediately left the Temple. For eighteen years Huìnéng hid in the mountains of Southern China. Eventually he shaved his head and ordained as a monk and this was the first case of Secret Transmission.
Măzŭ Dàoyī received Transmission from Báizhàng in a large public ceremony. This is a famous Chán story. Prior to Transmission is what is known in Chán as “Inka,” which means a candidates Zen practice is clear and that it is possible for this candidate to teach Chán to others. Inka also implies that many Dharma Heirs may be possible; whereas, Transmission means there is only one Zen Master in a particular lineage.
Inka and Transmission are different. The Kwan Um School’s title of Jido Pŏpsa Nim is synonymous to the Japanese title Sensei. In Korea, it is commonly known as Ch’ŏng Yong Sǔn—your practice is clear, and teaching student’s is authorized. The title has practically disappeared in Korea, although it still exists in China. In Korea a more common and current title would be Ip Sung Sunim.—Head Monk.
In the Kwan Um School we have the Jido Pŏpsa Nim ceremony, which is very important. Why? In this ceremony the Sangha comes together and believe in the Candidate. How strong is this candidate’s center? If the Zen Master grants Inka or Transmission only privately to this person, the Sangha’s students won’t understand. So in the Kwan Um School the Jido Pŏpsa Nim ceremony means that the public can come to the Zen Center and ask any kind of question, and the candidate must answer. Whether it is a good answer or a bad answer really doesn't matter; it is most important how much the candidate believes in himself or herself one hundred percent.
Even my teacher, Zen Master Kōbong, had young Zen Masters coming to him, challenging him. There is a famous story of the time a young Zen Master asked him: what did Yántóu whisper in Zen Master Deshān’s ear? This is from a famous kōan. Deshān Zen Master had not heard the drum (announcing meals) yet he carried his bowls into the dining room. That was a big mistake, so this is a mistake kōan; consequently, what did Yántóu say to Deshān?
My teacher was stuck. He was thinking a little bit, like everyone does (even Zen Masters), and he was stuck. This young Zen Master wanted to become a great Zen Master, so he came and hit my teacher. When my teacher could not answer, the young Zen Master said, “Aigo! Aigo!” This means, “You are already dead!” Then he went away.
After one week the young Zen Master understood. So he came back and said, “Thank you for your teaching.” This kind of thing happens. So whether the answer is good or bad doesn't matter. The Jido Pŏpsa Nim test means how much does he or she believe in himself or herself one hundred percent? This is very important. Zen means believe in your true self one hundred percent.
When asked “what is Buddha,” Măzŭ Zen Master would respond, “Mind is Buddha, Buddha is mind.” This statement is not correct and these are bad words. Later he was known to say, “No mind, no Buddha.” These are also bad words. If a student gave that answer today, they would get hit! But that's okay.
So in this ceremony I check two things: center and wisdom. Checking the center means, does the answer appear quickly or not? If there's no hesitation, that's a strong center. If the answer is sometimes a little slow in coming, that means the center is not clear. Next, we check whether the answer is correct or not. Correct answer means wisdom.
In the future many others will become Jido Pŏpsa Nim’s. Wisdom and a strong center are necessary. A strong center means their mind is not moving, their mind is clear like space. They can reflect action. Whether or not their answer is correct, they can reflect action. That is center.
In the future, everyone must practice strongly and many Jido Pŏpsa Nim’s will appear, to help the Kwan Um School and help all beings. Thank you.
Four generations after Bodhidharma introduced Chán Buddhism to China, Buddhism and the Zen sect began to flourish in Korea having been originally brought to Korea from China by Sŏn Master Pŏmnang, a Korean disciple of the Fourth Chinese Ancestor of Chán, Dàoxìn. Zen Master Dàoxìn was thirty–first in direct apostolic succession from Śākyamuni Buddha. Although Pŏmnang Sŏnsa was give formal transmission of the Dharma from Chán Master Dàoxìn, his lineage eventually died out in Korea.
The hallmark of the Korean Sŏn Buddhist practice since the time of Sŏn Master Chinul’s dharma heir Sŏn Master Chingak (1178-1234) is the huàtóu or kōan meditation, a uniquely Chán Buddhist technique of “cultivating great doubt” through the contemplation on the exchanges of the ancient teachers of the Chán transmission lineage. Chinul is the one who first introduced this technique to Korea although he himself had no direct contact with Chinese masters but discovered this methodology indirectly through reading Dàhuì’s (1089-1163) Records, which consequently brought him to his third and final awakening experience. This culminating experience was so transformative, according to his memoirs, that he concluded that this special technique was the most effective short-cut to enlightenment. Even though Chinul considered the huàtóu method superior he provided his students of lesser capacity with two other approaches. The first method was the simultaneous cultivation of meditation and wisdom through the study of the Platform Sūtra, and the other was a sudden approach utilizing the student’s great faith through the study of Lidong-xuan’s interpretation of the Avatamsaka (Huáyán) Sūtra.
This uniquely Korean Línjì style of practice followed the modified practices of Dàhuì as well as other aspects handed down through the Mǎzǔ sects in China. However; Chinul’s triple approach to Buddhahood or true humanity consequently accepted, among the three approaches, the huàtóu meditation to be the exclusive, effective method for cutting off conceptual adherence to words and form and thereby attaining final enlightenment.A partial adaptation of Línjì Chán is further witnessed by Chinul’s utilization of Línjì’s various instructional devices. Chinul uses specifically the so-called three mysteries of dark gates and four processes of liberation from subjectivity and objectivity as instructional devices as presented in the Línjì-lù. The former was utilized by Chinul to analyze and classify entire Buddhist scriptures including Chán writings, while the latter was included in the ten kinds of No-mind practice.