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[Intro to Ganhwa Seon] 06. Fully Awakened Life

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Writer Jogye Date04 Mar 2016 Read12,289 Comment0


Introduction to Ganhwa Seon

Chapter 1. What is Seon (
Jp. Zen)?

6. Fully Awakened Life


From Attachment to Awakening to the True Self


They say that 108 different delusions or as many as 3,000 or even 84,000 delusions come to our mind in the blink of an eye. Countless delusions are entangled in our mind whether they are 108 or 3,000 kinds. 


Think about our everyday lives. As a matter of fact, it is common that we are so occupied by and just cannot get away from memories of the past or thoughts about the future, while in the middle of doing something or aimlessly walking. In severe cases, these endless thoughts haunt us tenaciously. Sometimes we obliviously daydream. By doing so, we waste precious time for nothing and give ourselves a hard time.  


It is said that 80 to 90% of our thoughts are repetitive and meaningless illusions. In some cases, we suffer from delusion of persecution by building up and demolishing our own imaginary tower of thoughts and distorting others. Misguided assumption leads to blame and puts us deep into delusion that someone might come to kill us. Eventually, we leave self-inflicted wounds on ourselves, hating others with no reason and suddenly become anxious even with the sound of wind.


Sometimes, regretful and joyful moments of the past make us not able to fully awaken to the present. The same is true for expectations and anxiety about what will happen going forward. As a result, we cannot live in the moment, ending up wandering around and losing ourselves in delusion. One of the main causes for this is over-attachment to certain objects, locking ourselves into the past, present or future. Eventually, attachment that hinders us from letting go of something drags us this way and that way. The leading purpose of studying Ganhwa Seon is to clear our head from such delusions and meaningless thoughts and ultimately to fully awaken to the present.  


When we are fully awake, we are not under the control of time, meaning both time and the flow of our self-awareness stop. It is because time is with the flow of consciousness. An Indian myth says time is the dance of death. The moment when consciousness of time hits us, we grow old.


The moment when we see beautiful sunset, opening flower buds or peacefully moving clouds, all value assessment stops and we are immersed into the moment. This is the moment when time stops. 


We become the purest, the most pristine and clean when all boundaries surrounding us become blurred. Prejudice does not work anymore and we are with what is happening in the present. This way we learn how to embrace and overcome challenging moments rather than escape and avoid them. Apparently, we can never be happy if tragic events, such as loved ones’ death, pain or suffering from diseases, are unfolding right before us. However, we can exist peacefully by not avoiding or resisting but accommodating what is happening as it is despite sorrow and hurt. If we do so, peace and tranquility spring up deep inside of our mind. As such, we should fully awaken to the present and that is why we practice Ganhwa Seon.  


Stability and Concentration of Our Mind


It is important to cut off delusions, be fully conscious of the present and bring tranquility and stability to our mind by investigating the hwadu. Concentration makes our mind more stable. With enhanced concentration and unwavering commitment through Cham Seon, our mind will not be disorganized and we can immerse ourselves into what we have to focus on. Ultimately, we reach the state where we become one with what we do and then, a certain object we fully concentrate on comes right into our mind.


Importantly, Ganhwa Seon helps us enter Samadhi by investigating the hwadu. Single-minded concentration on the hwadu makes our mind tranquil and peaceful. When we are fully awake to the present like this, nothing can influence our steadfast mind. Even death is overshadowed by the power of Samadhi.


Stability through Samadhi makes our mind more pure and sensitive, allowing us to see things as they are without prejudice and to realize delicate feelings immediately. It is like clean water reflects everything as it is. This relaxed and tranquil mind leads to more mindful breathing and a healthy body.   


They say that the root cause of all diseases lies in mind. An anxious mind in a rush prompts us to get angry at even trivial things, misbehave and overreact, leading to unintended consequences while making our bodies exhausted. As there is no inner power, our body is subject to undesirable patterns by just flowing with external stimuli. Meanwhile, we are able not to care too much about externalities with stable and relaxed mind. The power of calm mind helps us overcome any types of challenges, including coldness and annoying moments. This harmony between our body and mind does not draw diseases and enables us to fight them well even if they attack us. How fortunate it is that we can be at ease, satisfied and calm our body and mind according to the principles of nature.    


Seon practice brings these valuable benefits to us. How valuable it is. The path to Seon is never a difficult one. The journey to Seon comes along naturally with unwavering resolution and by channeling energy toward afflictions into devoted efforts to investigate the hwadu.

 Please note that this writing is an excerpt from the book, "Introduction to Ganhwa Seon" published by the Bureau of Dharma Propagation and is contained in the spring 2016 edition of the Lotus Lantern magazine under Buddhist Culture Section on page 18~24.   

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