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Part3: Formal Dharma Discourses - Summer Meditation Retreat 1976

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First Lecture
After ascending the Dharma platform the Master said, “The ancients said, ’A hair swallows the broad ocean, and a mustard seed contains Mount Sumeru.’ Any of you monks possessing the Dharma-Eye, speak! Do you understand the meaning behind this verse?” After a pause and no reply, the Master shouted and said, "One red flower produces the spring in the triple-world; a pair of orioles perched atop a tree embellishes ten thousand trees. A poem says:
“There is One Thing that is eternal and spiritual,
Appearing clearly in all places.
Horizontally it blankets the four continents,
And vertically it envelops the sky.
How is it that Yang Pong Lae(梁蓬萊)
Could appreciate the taste of heavenly peaches?
He himself possessed the invaluable Gem of the Unborn.”
Regarding the role of Great Anger, Great Bravery, and Great Doubt (in one’s practice), a poem says:
"Investigate and awaken to Reality,
Then the Tathagata is seen.
If we cheat ourselves and also deceive others,
We are akin to Mara, the Evil One.
If Kim Il Sung(The former leader of North Korea) had not been so boastful
How could he have been defeated in the Korean War?"
The Master descended from the Dharma platform.
Second Lecture
The Master ascended the Dharma platform, struck his staff three times, and said, "I dare to question this com­munity of monks: the Buddha’s body fills all the Dharma realms. Those of you possessing the Dharma-Eye, speak out! Have you intimately seen Rocana Buddha?"
After a pause, and no reply, he shouted and said, "His eyes are horizontal and his nose vertical. His complete potentiality manifests fully. Do you understand this? If you are able to understand this, you can walk hand in hand with the Buddhas and Patriarchs of the three time-periods. But for those of you who do not understand this, the mur­derous devil of impermanence will perpetually come and assail you. Then, how will you be able to avoid the iron cudgel of Emperor Yama? A poem says,
“The Buddha’s body fills the three thousand realms.
Everybody originally is Truth;
There are none who are not intimate with it.
The streams flowing in the green mountains polish the stones white.
At dawn, the orioles around the meditation seats
Turn the Dharma-Chakra.”
"During the T’ang Dynasty, the Chinese monk Yen T’ou(岩頭) was working at Han Yang (漢陽) as a ferryman on the Han River. On both sides of the river he hung signs announcing, ’PEOPLE WHO WANT TO CROSS STRIKE THE WOODEN BOARD ONCE.’ One day, an old woman arrived carrying a child and struck the board, asking to cross.
"The Master was in his straw hut and (on hearing the sound) came out dancing with the boat’s oar. The matron said, ’Please stop dancing with that oar and answer me. Where did this child, here in my hands, come from?’ Then the monk struck the woman with the oar.
"The woman said, ’This old woman has given birth to seven children, but the other six never met anyone who could answer this question. And this last one I cannot raise.’ Whereupon she threw him into the water."
Master Ku San asked the assembly, "What would have been the correct answer so that she would not have thrown the seventh child into the water? Had I been present, I would have taken the child in my arms, and asked him, ’Are you Vairocana who has come; Rocana who has come, or Siddhartha who has come? The bright moon and the cool breeze come and go of themselves.’ While rocking the baby, I would have said, ’Ah, precious child!’
"How could the old lady not have laughed? A poem says:
"Isn’t it lamentable that she had to throw her own child into the river?
He could not shield the old woman from her frantic mind.
Don’t earn your livelihood by dancing with an oar, cheating yourself, and passing your life emptily.
The clouds on the mountain and the moon reflected in the sea,
Rest at ease, according to their own wishes."
The Master struck his staff three times and descended from his seat.
Third Lecture
Addressing the assembly of monks, the Master said, "I dare to ask the Community: can you see the Perfect Mirror which everyone has possessed from the very beginning? If you want to comprehend this you must break the lacquer barrel; then you will see the Dharma-kaya. Speak! What is it?"
After a pause he shouted and said, "When you can kick over Jogye Mountain, and play with a pearl in the ocean with your hand, then you will be able to see it. A poem says:
"If we practice the Way while attached to form,
It is like dreaming within the Dream.
All kinds of sufferings bind the body;
This road (of unsatisfactoriness) is endless.
One morning we will lay down our attachments to ‘I’ and ’mine’.
What happiness it will be when our Great Mirror Wisdom is bright,
Just as the morning sun.
"In ancient times, the Ch’an Master Kao T’ing Chien of Jang Chou saw the monk Teh Shan across the river; from the distance he put his hands together in greeting, and said, ‘Haven’t you investigated yourself yet?’ Teh Shan waved the fan which he was holding in his hand and Kao T’ing Chien was suddenly   enlightened. He then ran off down the bank of the river without even turning his head to look back.
"Fa Chen Yi said, ‘How strange it is! All these virtuous meditators like this eminent one, are very difficult to meet. Old Teh Shan’s cudgel was always in use, as if he was sowing stars; his blows certainly did produce some good monks.’
"Today, this mountain monk will give you a few words."
Then raising his whisk, the Master said, "Is it the same or different when in the past Teh Shan shook his fan, and now today, when I, Ku San, raise my whisk? If you say that it is the same, the clouds are covering the clear sky. Should you say that it is different, the wind is passing over the surface of the water. Monks endowed with the Dharma-Eye, speak out!"
After a pause, he struck the Meditation seat with his staff, and said, "With one fist I knock over Jiri Mountain. I must explain this for you. A poem says:
"The weeping willows on the two banks are as green as silk,
The willow’s fluff is like balls of down rolling in the wind.
For falcons to see the finest of hairs isn’t a difficult matter.
Teh Shan threw a needle and Kao T’ing Chien caught it on a mustard seed:
What a great wonder!
"You monks! Watch over yourselves carefully!" Quoting a short story from Verses on Holding Up the Flower by National Master Jin Gak, the Master Ku San said, "Because Ma-tsu had the habit of often sitting in meditation, one day the Master Huai Jang took a tile and sat polishing it in front of the hermitage.
"Ma-tsu asked, Why are you polishing a tile?’
"Huai Jang replied, ’I am polishing it into a mirror.’
"Ma-tsu asked, ’How can you polish a tile into a mirror?’
"Huai Jang replied, ’If a tile cannot be polished into a mirror, then how can you achieve Buddhahood by sitting in meditation?’
"Ma-tsu asked, ’How is that?’
"The Master said, ’If pair of oxen is pulling a cart, and the cart does not move, should you strike the oxen or the cart?’ At that point, Ma-tsu was enlightened.
"Reflect on this!"
The Master then struck his staff three times and descended.
Fourth Lecture
After ascending the Dharma platform the Master struck his staff three times and said, "This assembly gathered here now: this ninety-day retreat is (the road designed) to lead you from this shore directly to the other shore. Vow not to retreat even though the bones be cut out of your flesh, and their marrow ground up. Practice to the limit of death. As today we have reached the half-way point of this retreat, how far have you gone on this road? Those men who have understood the Great Affair (of birth and death), tell us something!"
After a pause he shouted and said:
"The clouds scatter over 10,000 li,
And the bright sun shines alone.
Everthing is Vairocana Buddha;
And all is a Store of Flowers.
"National Master Bojo has advocated in his Secrets on Cultivation of the Mind: ‘Mental clarity and quiescence must be held evenly; both samadhi and prajna must be cultivated as a pair.’ Holding mental clarity and quiescence evenly, consists first, in the use of quiescence to control thoughts arising from conditions. Later, mental clarity is used to develop wisdom. The simultaneous culti­vation of samadhi and prajna means relying on samadhi to develop prajna. This assembly gathered here: can you understand this fully? If you cannot answer according to Reality, the contact place of whatever you see, hear, feel, and know is subject to the Inversions. At the moment of your death, what are you going to do? To regret after­wards what is left undone now will not be effective.
"Who would want to sing about making his abode in these six realms of existence? If, by discovering the true-na­ture, the void and quiescent spiritual understanding is com­pletely comprehended, the forms we see and the sounds we hear will all be like waves on which an empty boat is riding. If we can follow the highs and the lows, the curves and the straights, naturally and in freedom, how could we not but be happy?
"In ancient times, a lord-in-waiting of the governor of Mu Chou Province (睦州刺史), Ch’en Ts’ao (陳操), picked up a cake in his fingers while having a meal with a monk, and asked, ’Do they have this in Chiang Hsi and Hu Nan also?’ The monk asked, What are you eating your Lordship?’ The official said, ’When I strike the gong its echo resounds.’
"Chiang Shan Ch’uan (蔣山泉)said in a poem:
"’The tea and rice eaten daily in the houses is not very refined.
If we firmly hold a knife which can even cut a hair,
Then we can cut the discomforts.
If we meet a visitor from a Patriarch’s sect,
It is as if we get news from 108,000 li away.’
“Personally, I would prefer to say:
"If the tea and cakes we eat daily are not craved for,
Who would be able to discover the meaning of Ch’en Ts’ao’s idea?
When the balance of the myriads of worlds is stabilized,
Sakyamuni Buddha will wait inside Maitreya’s house."
The Master struck his staff three times and descended.
Fifth Lecture
The Master ascended the Dharma platform, struck his staff three times and said, "I dare to ask this assembly: who here can receive and use Vairocana Buddha’s Golden Seal? If there is anyone here who can, let him try to show me."
After a pause and no reply the Master shouted and said, "If you hold (the golden seal) up then the sun and the moon stop shining; if you put it down then heaven and earth are without form. Do you understand? This One Thing, whether in a saint or an ordinary man, is without a hair’s breadth of difference; so why can’t you understand?
"A poem says:
"The summer’s heat has risen a little more,
And filled worlds as numerous
As the the sands of the Ganges.
The grasses and trees of the forest,
Are all a belt of one color.
If anyone wishes to know the very bottom of the Original-Source,
He must merely investigate,
And he will come to know a hundred incomprehensible things.
"This completes today’s Dharma Lecture. A story follows, in reference to Buddhist cosmogony. [At the end of a descend­ing kalpa period, there is a threefold calamity in space between the air (motion), fire (heat), and water (cohesive) elements and the worlds are produced. At first human life-span is 84,000 years, but as the kalpa declines, human life-span decreases by one year every hundred until it reached its nadir at ten years. From then, it increases by one year every century in the ascending kalpa period and reaches its zenith again at 84,000 years. After passing through twenty complete cycles of combined decline and ascent, there follows another grave disaster as the fire at the end of a kalpa destroys all the form, formless, and sensuous-desire realms.]
"A monk asked Meditation Master Ta Sui Fa Chen of I Chou Prefecture (益州大隨法眞禪師), ’I am still uncertain whether, in the engulfing fire at the end of a kalpa when all the worlds are annihilated, this thing (the Mind) is also annihilated or not?’ The Master said, Yes, it is annihilated.’ The monk asked, ’Then in that case, must we accompany it to annihilation?’ The Master said, ‘Yes, you must accompany it.’
"The monk went and asked another monk, Hsiu Shan Chu (脩山主), the same question. Hsiu replied, ’It is not anni­hilated.’ The monk asked, ’Why it is not annihilated?’ Hsiu replied, ’Because it is the same as the worlds.’
"Chih Men Tso’s (智門祚) poem says:
“‘Be careful not to accompany it,
Without having understood it.
These words of Ta Sui,
Disperse the limits of heaven.
If in the true and pure Original-Nature
Still one thought is remaining,
It is just as before,
When there were tens of
thousands of discriminations.’
“Today this mountain monk is not of the same opinion. We must discuss these two old Masters’ sayings; ’it is annihilated’ and ’it is not annihilated’ according to the case, (for these answers) are like a shadow or an echo. If somebody asked me, I would say it is correct to say ’it is annihilated,’ and also correct to say ’it is not annihilated.’ If we discuss this through words, we are completely attached to dreams. Gold and copper-essence are the same color: who can tell them apart? In the blaze ending the kalpa, how can we ask about ’east’ and ’west’?
"There are these ten erroneous methods of pondering over the kung-an Mu, as listed by the National Master Bo Jo:
"First, do not understand it as yes or no.
Second, do not surmise that Mu is real nothingness.
Third, do not consider it in relation to theory.
Fourth, do not consider it to be an object of thought to be reasoned about at the consciousness-base.
Fifth, when the Master raises his eyebrows or blinks his eyes, do not think that he is giving indications about the meaning of the kung-an.
Sixth, do not make stratagems (for the kung-an’s solution) through the use of speech. Seventh, do not float under the helmet of unconcern. (i.e., do not drift in voidness.)
Eighth, do not undertake to inquire into the kung-an at the place where the mind rises to become aware of sensory objects. (i.e., do not transform the doubt which the kung-an produces, into a doubt about who or what is that mind which is aware of the external sense-spheres.)
Ninth, do not look for the explanation through the wording of the kung-an.
Tenth, do not grasp at a deluded state, sitting without energy and without the kung-an, simply waiting for enlightenment (to come.)
"Reflect upon this!"
The Master struck his staff three times and descended from the Dharma platform.
Sixth Lecture
Master Ku San said, "All the Buddhas and Patriarchs have transmitted Mind by means of Mind. This is like throwing a needle at a mustard seed. Can you catch the needle? May the assembly speak!"
After a pause he shouted and said, "You must take one needle and pierce the world-systems of the entire universe. Then you will succeed. A gatha says:
"In giving fire and receiving fire,
There is really no transmission.
The brilliance of the lightning flash penetrates limitless space.
The clouds coming over the mountain peaks suggest that tomorrow it will rain. The roses blossom and turn the Buddha’s face yellow.
The Master, quoting from an old record, said, "Near Master Ta Sui’s (大隨禪師) hermitage there was an old turtle. A monk asked, ’in all living beings the skin wraps the bones; how is it that for this creature, the bones wrap the skin?’ Master Ta Sui said, ’I have put some straw sandals on the turtle’s back.’ The monk did not have a reply.
"Chih Men-Tso (智門祚) said in his poem:
"’As the turtle pulls in its six,
Its name is clearly illustrated.
It stopped in front of some people,
And eyed them.
With one leather shoe,
It has all been covered up.
And yet even now,
It still has not awakened.’
"Today this mountain monk is not of the same opinion. Should I have been present then, I would have taken a stone step-slab and put it on the turtle’s back. May the assembly speak! Have you seen the sacred turtle or not?"
After a pause he said, "In the vast heaven of myriads of li, the icy ghost is shining on us. In the third watch of the quiet night, the midday bell is struck. My poem says:
"It has jade nails, golden eyeballs,
And bones wrapping the skin.
Bearing a step-slab on its back,
Even now it is marvelous.
The pattern on its scales,
Form eight times eight=Sixty-four hexagrams.
How long will its eternal spirit
Continue to inhale the air?"
The Master then descended from the seat.
Last Lecture
The Master ascended the Dharma platform, struck his staff three times, and said, "Today is the first day of the Free Season. Can you understand thoroughly the brightness of the Dharma tradition of Jogye Mountain? If there is anyone who can understand, let him speak!"
After a pause, he shouted and said, "In the spring the flowers blossom; in the autumn the fruit is formed. In the summer there is the shade of the trees; in the winter the white snow. Thus, to whose tradition do the Ten Thousand Phenomena belong? Do you know? If you do not, then is it Free Season? I beseech this assembly: it is true—there is this big matter of birth and death. Do not do wrong actions which lack restraint and discipline. A poem says:
“Those mountains which tower above all others,
Are the abode of the lions.
In the clear mountain torrents,
The dragons dwell.
One who can grasp the eyebrows of a lion,
And the beard of a dragon,
Is a great man playing
A lute beneath the moon.
"What is this ’playing a lute beneath the moon’? Do you know?
"The mountain moves, the moon doesn’t move.
Everywhere is a Bodhi-mandala.
On an old pine a grey stork perches.
In the green trees the orioles call to one another.
"In ancient times, the Master Yun Chu (雲居和尙) asked a monk, ’Acarya, in the depths of your thoughts, what sutra is there?’ He replied, ’the Vimalakirti Sutra.   The Master said, ‘I did not ask you about the Vimalakirti Sutra! In the depths of your thoughts, what sutra is there?’
"The monk obtained (Stream) Entry from this. T’ien Chang Shan (天章善) said in a poem:
"‘He asked about the sutra,
He did not ask about thoughts on Vimalakirti.
Have you seen clearly the depths of your thoughts?
If you wish to enter the sea of those Dharma-doors
Which are as numerous as specks of dust and sand,
You need only expand upon one word, and need not use many.’
"However, today this mountain monk is not of the same opinion," said the Master Ku San, and raising his staff, he struck the Dharma seat and said, "You hear this clearly."
Next, holding up the staff, he said, "You can see this distinctly. What sutra is it? If you follow sounds and forms, you are like a dog running after a clod of earth. A poem says:
"As he did not ask about Vimalakirti,
Do not follow after sense-objects.
When the mountain goat hangs by his horns,
The hunting dogs are left alone.
One strike on the Dharma seat pervades the whole earth:
Instantaneously the eighty thousand teachings are revealed according to reality."
The Master then descended from the seat.
Lecture for the Guidance of a Departed Spirit
After ascending the Dharma platform, the Master struck his staff once on the Dharma platform and said, "With this I strike and destroy the innumerable karmic hindrances of all sentient beings."
Again striking his staff, he said, "With this I strike and destroy any stereotyping of the unprecedented achievements of the Buddhas and Patriarchs."
Striking the staff for a third time, he said, "With this I expose the Original-Face of today’s departed spirit. Both the assembly of monks gathered here, and you, departed spirit: do you understand the principle behind this?" Then, after a pause, he said:
"The clouds scatter over 10,000 li,
And the solitary moon shines of itself.
"A poem says:
"The pure Dharma-body is without coming or going:
It does not arise or cease
And is constantly in peace and happiness.
It is empty and bright, and shines of itself:
It is without obstructions.
It reaches to even the deepest darkness,
And transcends all limits.
Quoting the Diamond Sutra, the Master said, "All charac­teristics are empty and false; if you see all characteristics as uncharacterizable, then you see the Tathagata.’’ But I would, prefer to say, ’If you see all characteristics, and that which is not characterizable, then you see the Tathagata.’"
Continuing the quotation, he said, "’If one takes the seven precious jewels in the trillions of world systems, and uses them as offerings; or (on the other hand) if one receives and holds four phrases or stanzas of this sutra, explaining it to others—this merit will exceed that of the former.’
"Even though the merit required for human or deva rebirth is not small, still the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West cannot be imagined, even in a dream. And why? Because if the clouds cover the wide heavens, the sun and moon cannot then shine."
The Master struck his staff, three times and descended.

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