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What is the “Study to Achieve Enlightenment”?

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Writer admin Date29 Nov 2005 Read8,463 Comment0


Master Baek-un offered these words:

“What does it mean to ’study to achieve enlightenment’? It doesn’t just mean you need to learn a hwadu, nor does it just mean you must carry a hwadu in your mind, exerting all of your energy. It doesn’t just mean studying the teachings of the masters who have interpreted the old Patriarchs for the public, nor does it mean studying those teachings of the masters that are contrary to what was spoken by the old Patriarchs. It doesn’t just mean having to study the sutras spoken by the Buddha, nor distinguishing the good or bad of a certain theory’s construction or interpretation, nor wandering from this mountain to that mountain. Neither concerned with escaping noisiness nor establishing quietude, it isn’t a question of centering the mind to see a reflection of what is outside, nor clarifying the mind to silently see a reflection of what lays within.
Even if you were to master all of these things perfectly, such achievements would still share no relation whatsoever with ‘the study to achieve enlightenment.’ That is why it is said that ‘intelligence cannot overcome karma, nor can one escape birth and death through wisdom that is not applied.’ If someone were to study sincerely, that study itself must be sincere and its enlightenment must also be sincere. If that is true, what is it then that we should consider as ‘sincere study’ and ‘sincere enlightenment’?
Though you should consider the grave concern of birth and death twenty-four hours a day, everyday, while you are moving or at rest, sitting or lying down, you must also separate yourselves from the myriad actions of our consciousness as we seek to distinguish the path of the wise from the path of the unenlightened. Therefore, if you learn to understand the abstinence of thought and action, ceaselessly bearing this in mind, consistently free from false ideas and ignorance—finally the myriad places you’ve come to lean on will disappear and you will arrive at a much deeper place, where you naturally become unified with truth itself.
Like the wise ones long ago also said, ‘It only when you become totally detached that you will see the original you.’”

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