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Dharma Talk Marking the End of B.E. 2563 Winter Retreat by H.E. Jinje, Supreme Patriarch

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Dharma Talk Marking the End of B.E. 2563 Winter Retreat by H.E. Jinje, Supreme Patriarch



At the closing of the winter retreat of B.E. 2563, H.E. Jinje, Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism counselled the monastics to “never let go of the practice; in fact all must step up your efforts by arousing the great aspiration and ferocious vow.”

In his Dharma talk released on February 5, H.E. Jinje exhorted the Sangha to “reflect upon again and again how much you havesingle-mindedly focused on hwadu during the retreat while braving the bitterly cold winter,” and he sternly warned,“If you havejust been sitting on the cushion out of habit, lost in lazy delusions or wasting time in daydreaming, you would never attain enlightenment even if thousands of Buddhas or tens of thousands of Patriarchs manifest themselves right in front of you this very instance.”

H.E. Jinje instructed the monks and nuns to “hold and doubt the hwadu ten thousand times a day until the Great Doubt is spontaneously aroused. Endeavor ceaselessly, never stopping.” He continued to preach, saying “If you already have a hwadu, continue on investigating it. If not, choose the hwadu of, ‘What is my true self before born of the parents?’ and investigate it again and again.”

Thewinter retreat season for B.E. 2563 officially ended on February 8, B.E. 2564.According to The Records of Seon Practice compiled by the National Seon Practitioners Association, At 99 Seon centers around the nation (8 Headquarter temples, 58 Seon centers for bhiksus and 33 Seon centers for bhiksunis), a total of 1966 monastics (276 at Headquarter temples, 1049 bhiksus and 641 bhiksunis) gathered and joined three months of ardent practice during the winter retreat.

The full text of the Dharma talk marking the end of B.E. 2563 winter retreat is as follows:



Dharma Talk Marking the End of B.E. 2563 Winter Retreat by H.E. Jinje, Supreme Patriarch

If you attain the Truth of this Dharma staff, you will not only be liberated from dualistic perceptions, but also make a free use of dualistic appearances according to Dharma, standing tall among humanity, peerless under the heaven.

Today marks the end of B.E. 2563 winter retreat. The beginning of the retreat was but a half season away, and before you know it, the end is already upon us.

Time flows same for everyone, but as we grow older, it inevitably feels as if days go by more quickly. So never say, “I will do it tomorrow.” Days grow into months, months grow into years, and in no time you find yourself blind and deaf, and your hair turned all white. So don’t even waste this very second.Never let go of the practice; in fact all must step up your efforts by arousing the great aspiration and ferocious vow.

The Dharma Sakyamuni Buddha attained about 2,600 years ago when he looked at the morning star is too great to be covered up by anything of this world, and too sacrosanct to be obscured. It was, it is, and it will be as such.

The Path that led Sakyamuni Buddha to the perfectly enlightened wisdom, the how of it, is also immutably the only true way, how he attained it suddenly one instance when he gazed upon the morning start in the state of absolute single-minded focus where one even forgets to see or hear.

Withoutachieving the constant flow ofsingle-minded focus, there will be no enlightenment.

Assembly! Each and every one of you must reflect upon again and again how much you havesingle-mindedly focused on thehwadu during the retreat while braving the bitterly cold winter.”

If you have just been sitting on the cushion out of habit, lost in lazy delusions or wasting time in daydreaming, you would never attain enlightenment even if thousands of Buddhas or tens of thousands of Patriarchs manifest themselves right in front of you this very instance.

You must hold and doubt the hwadu ten thousand times a day until the Great Doubt is spontaneously aroused. Endeavor ceaselessly, never stopping.


If you already have a hwadu, continue on investigating it. If not, choose the hwadu of, ‘What is my true self before born of the parents?’ and investigate it again and again and again.

Perhaps the greatest Seon master since Sakyamuni Buddha’s time isMazu Daoyi.

Prajñādhara, the 27th Patriarch and Bodhidharma’s teacher from India once predicted,“A pony will appear in the nexthundred seventy yearsand trample every man on earth to death.”


In fact, Mazu Daoyi’s superb wisdom eye was unparalleled. Under the tutelage of this great master of unsurpassed enlightenment, eventuallyeighty four disciples achieved the status of theenlightened sage, of whichBaizhang Huaihai and Nanquan Puyuan are considered extraordinarily outstanding.

One day, whenBaizhang Huaihai was Mazu Daoyi’s attendant, he was passing through a remote mountain field with his Master. When they reached a large reservoir, a flock of wild ducks flew away upon sensing their approach.

At that moment Mazu Daoyi asked him, “What are those that fly away?”

“They are wild ducks, Master”

“Where are they flying?”

“They are flying over to the other side of the mountain, Master.”

Upon hearing this reply, Mazu Daoyi took hold of the attendant’s nose and pinched it hard.

“Ouch!” the attendant shouted.

Upon hearing this Mazu Daoyi said, “How could it have been flying? They didn’t.”


AfterBaizhang Huaihai returned to the temple, hestarted practicing fervently, single-mindedly focused on this question of, why did Master pinch my nose when I answered, “They are flying over the mountain to the other side,” to Master’s question, “Where are they flying?”

After completely absorbed in only questioning it for seven days, the answer emerged spontaneously. He suddenly understood why Master pinched his nose.

BaizhangHuaihai ran to his Master and shouted outside hisbedroom, “Master, my nose was in pain until last night, but it is not painfulat all today.”

Upon hearing this,Mazu Daoyi realized Baizhang Huaihai’s wisdom eye was finally open. He had another attendant to ring the bell and summon the entire assembly which amounted to several hundreds.

The whole assembly gathered in the Dharma Hall. While Master ascended the Dharma seat, readying himself to give a talk, Baizhang Huaihai entered the hall last, rolled up the mat on which monks offered prostrations to Master, put it on his shoulder and left the hall.

At this, Mazu Daoyi immediately descended from the Dharma seat without saying a word and returned to his living quarters.This is how enlightened beings know each other’s mind. This is how questions and answers flow without hindrance between the people whose wisdom of mind’s ground is finally open.


Decades passed, and one day Baizhang Huaihai entered the room whereMazu Daoyi was sitting on the Dharma seat. Master took the whisk hanging from the corner of the desk and held it up.


Baizhang Huaihai asked,

“Are you using it as it is, or are you doing without it?

At this, Master hung the whisk back on the desk.

When Baizhang Huaihai remained silent, Master asked Baizhang Huaihai, “How are you going to teach the Dharma to all sentient beings?”

Baizhang Huaihai responded by lifting the whisk from the corner of the desk.

Master asked again,

“Are you using it as it is, or are you doing without it?"

At that very moment when Baizhang Huaihai was about to return the whisk back to the corner, as Master had done earlier, Master bellowed a thunderous “AUUK! (喝)”

Due toMazu Daoyi\'s deafening roar, Baizhang Huaihai lost his hearing for three days. He stayed unconsciousness for three days, and when he finally woke up, he realized the meaning of Master’s roar.


This Dharma was passed on to Huangbo Xiyun, and from him to Linji Yixuan, who founded the Linji school of Chan Buddhism.Linji’s teaching swept the world during Tang Dynasty and introduced to Korea during Goryeo Dynasty by Master Taego. Linji’s teaching passed down to this date whole and intact only in Korea and is still ardently practiced.

Nanquan Puyuan was another of the most outstanding disciples of Mazu Daoyi. When he began to teach Dharma, monastics and laity alike gathered from all over the world to learn from him. One day, an old monk came to see Nanquan Puyuan. He brought with him a child monk, who appeared not even ten years old.

Seeking Nanquan Puyuan out, the old monk stood outside Master’s bedroom and said,

“This child with me is exceptionally bright, but I am afraid I am less than capable of giving him a proper guidance his talent deserves, which only a learned teacher like yourself can provide. Please teach him.” The monk then prompted the child monk to enter Master’s bedroom.

The child monk offered a bow to Master, who stayed in his lying position. Master asked him,

“Where did you come from?”
“I am from the Garden of Auspicious Presence.”

“Since you are from the Garden of Auspicious Presence, did you see any auspicious presence?”

“No, but I saw a lying Buddha.”

This refers to the fact Master was lying down.

Surprised at the child’s reply, Master sat up and asked again:
“Are you a snamarena with or without a master?”

“I am with a master.”
“Who is your master?”

“Master, January is bitterly cold. Please take care of your Dharma body.”
Here comes a child sage!

Impressed by the child’s wisdom, Master summoned the vice-abbot who was in charge of managing the temple and said,

“Make sure this childis placed in a clean room and well waited upon.”

Once you see the true nature according to Buddha’s teaching and realize the Truth thoroughly, even when you are born in a different body, you will never suffer ignorance, and be inherently with this luminous knowledge.

This little child monk was none other than Zhaozhou Congshen. Without cultivating any, he already realized it all when he was not even ten years old. Zhaozhou Congshen stayed with Nanquan Puyuan’s sangha for many years, and continued the linage of Nanquan Puyuan’s Dharma as his successor.

Zhaozhou Congshen wandered the world until his eighties, when he settled down and started to teach Dharma. One day, a monk came to see Zhaozhou Congshen after a 3-month retreat to thank and bid farewell to Master.Zhaozhou Congshen told him,

“Do not stay where the Buddha resides. But quickly run away from any place the Buddha does not reside as well. While on the run three thousand miles away, if you meet someone, make sure you do not convey to him the words just uttered incorrectly.”

Then, the monk answered, “If so, I will not leave.”

To this Zhaozhou Congshen responded, “It is plucking the willow leaves and doing it again!”

This sort of Dharma is exceedingly difficult to attain.

If you practice fiercely and realize the true meaning of this Dharma, you will spontaneously accomplish thousands of different states of samadhi, attain the boundlessly subtle wisdom and walk the heaven and earth all alone, unrivaled by any being.

Assembly! Do you know the true meaning of “Plucking the willow leaves, plucking the willow leaves.?”


摘楊花摘楊花jeokyanghwa, jeokyanghwa,
千里烏騅追不得cheonriochu chubudeok


Plucking the willow leaves,

Plucking the willow leaves.

Not even a black stallion that runs 1,000 miles a day can follow.



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