Translated from the Korean by
Martine and Stephen Batchelor
The Buddhas of the three times arise solely from the mind. Likewise, all sentient beings arise solely from the mind. Furthermore, all things in the universe arise solely from the mind. And limitless space also arises solely from the mind. Thus the Buddhas and the sentient beings are not two. Likewise, what has form and what is formless are not two. Therefore, all of you gathered here today, say something about this one thing which is nondual! Have you awakened to this?
(The master strikes the base of the Dharma seat with his staff.)
The green pine and the green bamboo reveal the spring throughout the four seasons. White snow blending with the wind passes over the mountain behind.
The Dharma sea, long ago or now, is flowing without any movement.
All grasses, long or short, touch each other at their tips.
Although the sun sets and the moon rises, there is no change.
On the night of the last or the first day of the month, the moon is bright indeed!
In general, people who practise meditation say that they are doing ‘sitting meditation’ (zazen). ‘Sitting’ (za) occurs when the external environment is quietened and the internal state is vivid. Thus ‘sitting’ refers to the state when the hwadu, while firmly settled in the mind, remains unbroken and clear. ‘Meditation’ (zen) occurs when inside the practising mind is vivid and outside the environment is quietened. Then the mass of questioning manifests clearly and thus does not disperse. ‘Meditation’ refers to one’s becoming a single mass of questioning from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. Hence National Master Bojo said that one must be endowed with both vividness and quiescence in order to cultivate concentration and wisdom together.
If someone practises in this way, then whether walking, standing, sitting, lying, talking or not talking, in the midst of activity or nonactivity, the hwadu (Koan) will be always vivid. When the mind and the environment become a single mass, then even if one raises one’s head, one will not see the sky and even if one lowers one’s head, one will not see the ground.
Furthermore, when confronted with good or bad circumstances one will not be disturbed. Thus when going, one does not know that one is going. When sitting one is not aware that one is sitting. Although the whole day passes by, there is never any change.
Therefore, when the practice is as deep as this, how could you not awaken?
You must truly practise in such a manner in order to complete the task of a hero. The universe is all equal, without high or low, and the clay-dragon is flying away. Do you understand?
When you possess both vividness and quiescence,
concentration and wisdom brighten.
The great truth is manifested in each speck of dust, in every world.
Do not fall into either of the two extremes;
For when your actions become equanimous,
Without even taking one step, the Pure Land is reached.
Click here to read more from Kusan Sunim.
First published in the June 1990 Buddhism Now.
Top photograph from around 1930, are from the British Library #endangeredarchives project.