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경허성우 / 鏡虛惺牛 Gyeongheo Seongu (1846-1912)
Kyŏnghŏ Sŏngu (1857/alt. 1849-1912)



(Magyar átírás:) Kjongho Szongu

Kjong Hó története
In: Szung Szán zen mester: Hamut a Buddhára, 66. fejezet


Gyeongheo Seong-U

Contestations over Korean Buddhist Identities
The "Introduction" to the Gyeongheo-jip
경허집 (鏡虛集)
by Gregory Nicholas Evon

The Story of Kyong Ho
In: Dropping Ashes on the Buddha (PDF) > (DOC)
The Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn
Compiled and edited by Stephen Mitchell.
Grove Press, 1976. pp. 145-148. (Ch. 66.)

PDF: The Collected Writings of Gyeongheo, Vol. 1.
tr. by 박영의 Park Young-eui

PDF: The Collected Writings of Gyeongheo, Vol. 2.
tr. by 박영의 Park Young-eui

Mirror of Emptiness: The Life and Times of the Sŏn Master Kyŏnghŏ Sŏngu
by Henrik H. Sørensen

In: Makers of modern Korean Buddhism / edited by Jin Y. Park.
State University of New York Press, Albany
(SUNY series in Korean studies), 2010
Part two, Ch. 6. pp. 131-156.

"A Crazy Drunken Monk": Kyŏnghŏ and Modern Buddhist Meditation Practice
by Jin Y. Park
In: Religions of Korea in Practice, ed. Robert E. Buswell,
Princeton University Press, 2007


Gyeongheo Seong-U

Master Gyeong-Heo is esteemed as a great revivalist of contemporary Korean Seon following on from Seon Master Hu-jeong Cheong-Heo (1520-1604).

1. Biography

Master Gyeongheo lived during a particularly violent, agitated period of the country, when the Joseon Dynasty was collapsing and Japanese colonization was just starting. He was born as the second son of his parents at Jadong-ri, Jeonju in 1846 C.E. He lost his father at an early age, and then his mother went to live with him at Cheonggyesa Temple when he was 8 years old; there he began to live as a monk under Venerable Gyeheo. When he was 13 years old, he first learned Chinese characters from a Confucian scholar who was staying at the temple. Learning came easily to him and he was praised as a brilliant boy. In the winter of the same year, Venerable Gyeheo recognized Gyeongheo’s ability and so sent the boy to study under a famous lecturer, Manhwa, in Donghaksa Temple. Gyeongheo learned and studied not only Buddhist sutras but also the Confucian and Taoist texts. When he was 22 years, he was appointed to the post of lecturer and taught the students at the Buddhist academy of Donghaksa Temple.

When he was 33 years old, there was a major change in his life. On the way Seoul to see his previous teacher, Gyeheo, who had given up his robes and returned to secular life, a heavy storm came up. In desperation, he went from door to door in the hope of finding shelter from the rain. At each house he was rejected as the families were afraid he would bring the raging epidemic to their house. Unable to find shelter, he was forced to spend the whole night under a big tree outside the village. He struggled with fear and with death. At that moment, he suddenly realized that the truth that the principle of life and death in his heart and so actually realized are the facts that he had only known intellectually until then. Then, he said, “Even though I am totally ignorant, I must be free of words. As I search through the teachings of the great masters, I will go beyond this world.” And he made a resolution in this pious and serious state of mind. The next day he returned to Donghaksa Temple, and then and there decided to no longer teach his students. He shut the door of his room and devoted himself to investigating his hwadu. After three months of diligent practice, he attained enlightenment on hearing the question of a novice, “ A cow has no nostrils? What does that mean?”

In spring of the next year, he moved to Cheonjangam Hermitage in Mt. Yeonamsan, and continued the practice which succeeds enlightenment. He said he was continuing the lineage of Yongam who was a successor of the Cheongheo and Hwanseong. At the age of 34, he recited his Nirvana poem.

“ I heard about the cow with no nostrils,
And suddenly the whole universe is my home.
Mt. Yeonamsan in June lies flat under the road.
A farmer, at the end of his work, is singing.”

For the next 20 years, from that time on, he founded many Seon training monasteries not only at Cheonjangam and Sudeoksa Temple, but also Beomeosa and Haeinsa in Gyeongsang-do Province, Songgwangsa and Hwaeomsa in Jeolla-do Province. He developed and spread the Seon tradition nationwide by teaching many Seon monks. He especially influenced the disciples of masters Mangong Wolmyeon, Hyewol, Suwol, Hanam and other Seon monks who have been instrumental in developing contemporary Buddhist history. These masters and monks, who succeeded the Seon tradition and lineage, made the foundation of the Jogye Order which is the center of Korean Buddhism today.

Master Gyeongheo suddenly disappeared from public view and the Buddhist world in 1905 C.E. when he was 59 years old. Up until then he had been involved in many projects, delivering a lot of dharma talks and attending many assemblies as a dharma teacher and an observer. He took to wearing secular clothes and he let his hair grow. He wandered around Ganggye in Pyeongan-do and Gapsan in Hamgyeong-do, and taught illiterate children. His disciples said that when he was 66 years old, on April 25th, 1912, he entered into final Nirvana. The following poem is his last hymn before his death.

“Light from the moon of clear mind
Drinks up everything in the world
When the mind and the light both disappear,
What is this?”

2. Writings

The existing writings of Master Gyeongheo were compiled by his disciples rather than written personally by him. In 1942, thirty years after his death, his disciple Mangong collected the late Gyeongheo’s materials and published a book, A Collection of Gyeongheo. This included such chapters as “Master’s Dharma Talks,” “Preface,” “Records,” “Letters,” “Activities,” “Poems,” “songs,” and his disciple “Hanam’s Activities,” and “A Short Lineage” written by Manhae Han Yong-un. The dharma talks encompass his main ideas and include “The Weeping of a Muddy Ox,” and “ How to Live as a Monk.” “The Song” emphasized the way of Seon practice and aspects of spreading Buddhism to the public while “The Preface” and “The Record” included the aims and major characteristics of The Retreat Community of Samadhi (meditation)and Prajna (wisdom).

In 1981, The Dharma Talks of Master Gyeongheo was published and this book included new material which had never been published before. For instance, “Hymns of Mt. Geumgangsan Travels,” “The 40 Verses of Seon,” “The “Biography of Master Gyeongheo written by Master Hanam,” “Thirty-eight Amusing Anecdotes of Master Gyeongheo” were added to the this edition.

Seonmun chwaryo ( The Essential Sayings of the Seon House), a collection of the Seon Masters’ sayings and studies in China and Korea compiled by Master Gyeongheo in early 1900 C.E., is well known as a text of Seon.

3. Characteristics of His Thoughts

Master Gyeongheo showed himself as a mirror of Seon practice as he made special efforts to improve the Seon tradition through the foundation of a retreat community and the re-opening of many closed Seon monasteries. He was 53 years old when he founded the retreat community was in 1899 C.E. The community succeeded the tradition of The Retreat Community of Samadhi and Praijna of Master Bojo during Goryeo. The aim of the retreat community was the attainment of enlightenment. The main characteristic of this retreat community was to have a realistic view of liberation, with the vow of rebirth in the Trayastrimsa heaven (the heaven of the thirty-three gods). This is not for people who can attain enlightenment by themselves, but for the poor and the suffering whose only hope is through faith and vow.

In late Joseon, when Master Gyeongheo lived, the Seon tradition of the Seon Order which had been established in the late Silla period, was almost non-existent and practitioners were hard to come by. It was due to the retreat community of Master Gyeongheo that the Seon tradition was revived.

He continuously taught Seon, yet he was not limited to Seon practice; he openly enjoined the practices of chanting and mantra recitation and considered them as equally beneficial. In particular, he insisted on the unification of the Seon and Doctrinal approaches.

His thought was reflected in his other writings, “Song of the Ox Herd” and “Verses of the Ox Herd.” In these works he explains how the innate Buddha Nature is discovered and developed by using the symbolism of the ox. His view was different from those of other ox herd pictures popularized at that time, he didn’t even stick to the schematic pictures, nor even the number of ten scenes. He emphasized the innate place of Self Nature rather than simply showing the stages of evolution of the black ox into a white ox. In the final stage of the series, he would teach, “The ox herder, carrying his bag and ringing a hand bell, returns to the village; this is the final stage of an accomplished man.” This statement underlines the importance of drawing compassion into worldly life, thus benefiting all human beings and all other beings as well.

Master Gyeongheo was a reformer of Seon who made Seon practical and popular; he is revered as one of the great pioneers of Seon in showing the ultimate stage of enlightenment. He always extolled the virtues of Seon not only in his dharma talks but also in his dialogues and encounters of Seon questions and answers. His unusual behavior and written message were expedient means for spreading the teachings of Seon.


Seon Master's Episode

1] Heavy Sacks

Gyeongheo and Mangong, his disciple, were returning to their temple in the evening after getting some rice for their food. Especially that day, they got rice full of sack. Apart from their satisfaction, the sacks were heavy and it was still distant to their destination. Mangong felt tired and got pain on the shoulder, so it was very difficult to follow his master. Noticing this, Gyeongheo said, "I will use one method to get fast. Please see." They were passing a certain village. Then, a beautiful young woman was coming from the opposit side of them with a water jar on the head. She was apparently a bride just over 20 years old. When Gyeongheo faced her, he held her both ears and kissed her lips. The woman screamed, dropped and broke the jar, and ran back into her house. A distubance arose. Villagers ran out of their houses with sticks or clubs and shouted, "Wicked monks, stop there." The two monks began to run away. They ran so desperately that villagers couldn't follow them to the last. After a while, when they took a rest, Gyeongheo said, "Was the sack heavy?" Mangong said, "Regardlessly, I don't know how I could run so long way with it." Gyeongheo said, "Don't I have talent?" They laughed together looking at each other.

2] A Preach for Mother

One day, Gyeongheo gathered people to preach for the sake of his mother and told his student to fetch her. His mother was very glad, so she dressed herself with new clothes and paid her respects to him, and took a seat. Thereupon, Gyeongheo took off his own clothes piece by piece until he became all naked. He said, "Mother, please look at me." His mother waiting for a great preach was very surprised, got angry and said, "How can you preach like this ? How outrageous !" She returned to her room right away and locked the door of her room. Then, he smiled bitterly and said, "How can she be my mother ? When I was a child, she took off my clothes, washed my body, hugged and kissed me. Why can't she do that now ? How pitiful are those worldly customs !" His students had to beg her parden saying that it had been a great and special preach.

3] A Leper

Master Gyeongheo was dwelling at Cunggyesa temple, when a leper woman knocked at the door of his room.He noticed that she had wandered lacking in love. He allowed her to enter his room. Since then, he shared his mattress together with her for a week, until his disciple Mangong said, "I notice your Dharma is supreme, but we can't endure it. Please have her get out of here." Gyeongheo said, "You seem to have many boundaries catching you. Then I can't help it." So he had to tell her to leave.


In: The Collected Works of Korean Buddhism
© 2012 by Compilation Committee of Korean Buddhist Thought, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
http://www.international.ucla.edu/media/files/09_Seon-Poems_web-ac-l3s.pdf > pp. 547-551.


Zen Master Kyonghŏh

Kyŏnghŏh Sŏngwu (鏡虛 惺牛; 1849-1912) went into the mountains to become a monk at the age of nine, and at the request of many other monks, eventually began to preach at Tonghaksa. He was on his way to visit his mentor when it suddenly began to rain. He sought shelter, but was turned away from every house because the village people were dying of diphtheria.

He felt the presence of death all around him. He returned to Tonghak Temple and sent away the assemblage, closing it down to seek the dharma. He had been able to solve: most of the kongan, but he could not for the life of him solve "Although the pony matter has not arrived, the horse matter has already arrived." It was just like facing a mountain of silver or a wall of steel. He made up his mind to solve this kongan with a life or death effort. When sleep seized him, he drove it away, pricking his muscles with a screwdriver and holding his chin up with the tip of a knife.

One day in November, 1879, when he was 31 years old, after hearing a certain monk's song, which went, "Even if I were to become a cow, he would have no nostrils to puncture." he attained enlightenment. He sang of his enlightenment with a poem:


Hearing someone's song
Saying men have no nostrils to puncture,
I realized the great heavenly world
Of three thousand is my house.
On the road below Mount Yŏnam
On a June summer day
A farmer who is idling away
Is singing a taepyŏng song.

(* taepyŏng song is a song that admires the virtues of the king and that appreciates the happiness of the people)

He clarified that his transmission lantern originated from Master Yongam, with Master Hyujŏng becoming his 12th-generation progenitor and Master Hwansŏng Chian becoming his 8th generation progenitor. Since that time, the Korean Zen Buddhist order bustled with the fresh wind of Zen study. Meditation halls were erected. Zen adepts and monks practicing asceticism freshened the desolate atmosphere of Korean Zen Buddhism.

Kyŏnghŏ was a devout Buddhist, but he was beyond and above dharmas; He guided lay people, but in his eyes there were no lay people. He rowed a boat of no bottom, frolicking in the ocean of life and death. He sang a lifeless melody with no vocal cords and let the deaf hear the priceless treasure of the world. In his later years, he was freewheeling and unrestrained with regard to social norms. He traveled incognito under the name of Nanju, hiding himself among the people of the Kapsan and Kanggye areas, not cutting his hair, wearing the clothes and headgear of a traditional Confucian scholar, while offering spontaneous Buddhist instructions. He entered nirvana at the age of 64 in 1912. Immediately before his nirvana, he made a circular movement and left a nirvana poem:


The moon of mind is round and alone;
Its light engulfs
All the images of the world.
Light and atmosphere are all empty;
How can there be this thing again?

In the summer of that year, his disciples Manggong and Hyewŏl, hearing of their mentor's departure, went to Kapsan, brought the corpse back and had it cremated on Mount Nandŏk.


Kyong Heo Sunim

Zen Master Kyong Heo was born in Jadong, Jeonju City, on August 24, 1849. His father died when he was a child whereupon he moved Seoul at the age of nine. He then went to Mt. Cheonggye in Gwangju County, shaved his head, and received the precepts from Master Gyeheo.

When he was fourteen, a scholar stayed at the temple for a summer and he studied from time to time between his duties. Before long, his master had to return to lay life. The master was very regretful that he could not help the boy's study and sent him to Preceptor Manhwa at Donghak Temple in Mt. Gyeryong with a letter of recommendation.

Under Preceptor Manhwa, Gyeongheo Mastered all the Buddhist sutras. There was nothing that he did not know whether in the realm of either Buddhist or non-Buddhist writings and classics, and his fame was known all over the country. At the age of twenty-four, when he started teaching in response to a request from the Buddhist community, hundreds of students from all over the country came to hear his Dharma lectures.

When he was thirty-one, he missed his old master Gyeheo and set out to visit him. On the way, he encountered a storm, and when he was standing under the eaves of a house to escape the rain, he was chased back out by the house's owner. He was not welcomed by any of the house in the village, and he soon found out way. An epidemic was raging in the village, and once anyone caught the illness, there was no way to escape death, hence, their unwillingness to welcome the wandering traveler.

Hearing this story, he was frightened and felt as if he were at the edge of the precipice of death. He also realized that one's life could not be saved through letter alone. With great resolution, he returned to the mountain, and after sending all his students back to their homes, he locked the door and stared his rigorous meditation with Seon Master Yeong-un's hwadu, "The problem of a horse came up even before having solved the problem of a donkey."

This training continued for three months. On day a monk asked, "What does it mean that even if you became a cow, there will be no hole to make a nostril?" At that instant, the master felt that the bottom of the earth was dropping out. He forgot every phenomenal form, including himself, and felt as if billions of billions of Dharma lectures and the countless sublime teachings were dissolving like melting ice. The date was around November 15, 1879.

After his great enlightenment, Gyeongheo resided at various place. On April 25, 1912, at the age of sixty-four, he died at Doha village, Ungiban, Gapsan. His Dharma age was fifty-six.


The Great matter of Life and Death
by Master Kyong Heo

1. It is no small thing for a person to become a Bhikku (Buddhist Monk) or Bhikkuni (Buddhist Nun). A person does not become a Sunim (Korean honorific for monk or nun) to eat and dress well. Rather, they want to be free from life and death by accomplishing Buddhahood.

2. To accomplish Buddhahood, one has to discover one's own Mind, which is already within one's own body.

3. To discover Mind, one should understand that one's body is no more than a dead corpse and that this world is, for good or bad, nothing but a dream. One's death is like popping out in the evening of the same day that you have popped in during the morning. After death, sometimes one may be born in one of the hells, sometimes in the realm of animals and sometimes in the realm of ghosts. Then one must endure incalculable pains and sufferings.

4. Since this is true, do not concern yourself with the worldly life. Just examine and carefully observe your mind at all times. What does this which is now seeing, hearing and thinking look like? Does this have any form or not? Is this big or small? Is this yellow or green? Is this bright or dark?

5. Examine and observe this matter carefully. Let your examination and observation become like a mouse-catching cat; or like an egg-laying hen; or like a desperately hungry, old, crafty mouse gnawing a hole in a rice bag. Let your examination and observation be focused at one point and do not forget it. Keep it before you by raising doubt and by questioning yourself. Do not let this doubt go away while you are doing chores or the like. Do not let your question (doubt) escape from you even while you are not doing anything special. By eagerly and sincerely practicing in this manner, finally, there will be the moment of awakening to your own Mind.

6. Study hard by raising your faith. Raising your faith is sincerely reexamining the matter just mentioned.

7. To be born a human being is most difficult. It is even more difficult to be born into favorable circumstances - harder still to become a Bhikku or Bhikkuni. It is the most difficult thing of all to find correct and righteous Dharma teaching. We should reflect on this matter deeply.

8. Shakyamuni Buddha once said, "One who is already a human being is like a speck of dirt clinging to a fingernail, while the one who has become an animal by losing his human form is as common as the dirt of the ground. If one loses the human form this time, then one will have to wait countless eons to recover it. When someone is in one of the many hells, he is unaware of it, as if playing games in a flower garden. Becoming a hungry ghost, asura, or animal, he acts like he is dwelling in his own home.

9. "However, if one is awakened and has accomplished Buddhahood, he does not have to live or die. That is, he does not have to endure any kind of suffering again." These words should be carefully considered one by one.

10. Once, Zen Master Kwon, a Bhikkhu, began meditating from morning to night. As soon as the sun would set, he would beat his fists against the ground in frustration and cry out, "I have lost another day without realizing my Mind." He continued this way every day until he was fully awakened. Since there are many who have exhibited the determination of Master Kwon, it is impossible for me here to cite everyone who has had the determination to meditate until enlightened.

11. None of them were worried about living or dying, nor about eating, dressing well, nor sleeping. In our study, we should practice the same way. Consider this carefully!

12. Once Zen Master Dong Sahn wrote: Do not seek noble titles nor wish to have possessions nor ask for prosperity. Wherever you happen to be, just live in accord with your karma here and now in this life. If your clothes wear out, patch them again and again. If there is no food, barely even search for it. When the warm energy under your chin grows cold, suddenly you become a corpse. What remains after death is only a hollow name. After all, how many days will this transient body live? Why work hard only to acquire useless things? That only makes your mind dark and causes you to forget your practice.

13. After awakening one's own mind, one should always preserve its purity and tranquility. Cultivate this mind without allowing it to be tainted by worldly things. Then plenty of good things (that is, pleasure which comes from the Awakening) will happen. Faithfully, trust in this. When you have to die, there will be no more suffering or sickness. You can go freely to Nirvana or anywhere else you chose (i.e., you control your own life as a free person in the world).

14. Shakyamuni Buddha said, "If anyone -- man or woman, old or young -- has faith in these words and studies, each will, as a result, become a Buddha." Why would Shakyamuni Buddha deceive us?

15. The Fifth Patriarch, Hung Jen Zen Master, said, "By examination and observation of mind, one will become enlightened naturally." Then he further promised us that, "If you don't have faith in what I say, in future lives you will be eaten by tigers over and over again. On the other hand, if I have deceived you, I will fall into the dungeon of hell with no exit." Since the Patriarchs have said these words, should we not take them to heart?

16. If you take up this practice, do not agitate your mind; let it be like a mountain. Let your mind be like a clear and empty space and continue to reflect on enlightening Dharma like the moon reflects the sun. Whether others think that you are right or wrong is not your concern. Do not judge or criticize others. Just be at ease and go on mindlessly like a simpleton or a fool; or, be like one who is struck deaf and dumb. Spend your life as if you cannot hear a thing, or like an infant. Then, sooner or later, all the delusion will disappear.

17. If one wishes to accomplish Buddhahood, it is useless to attempt to understand and master worldly life. It would be like one trying to fix food out of dung, or like trying to cut jade out of mud. It is totally useless for the accomplishing of Buddhahood. There is no reason for occupying oneself with worldly affairs.

18. See your own death in the death of others. Do not put your trust in this body. Rather, remind yourself again and again to not miss a moment to awaken your own mind.

19. Ask yourself repeatedly, "What does this mind look like?" In your daily rounds, continue to ask yourself, "What does this mind look like?" Reflect upon this question so intensely that you are like a starving man thinking of nothing but good food. Do not lose hold of your questioning at any time.

20. Buddha has said, "Whatever has a form, that is, everything, is all delusory." He also said, "Everything that the ordinary human being does is subject to life and death. There is only one way for us to be a true person and this is Realization of our own mind."

21. It is said, "Do not drink liquor," since it will intoxicate and make your mind dull. Also, "Do not speak lies," since it will only accelerate delusive states of mind. Furthermore, "Do not steal," since it only helps to make your mind jealous and full of desires. You should observe these and all the precepts. Breaking the precepts can be very harmful for your cultivation and for your life itself. You should not cling to or incline yourself towards breaking any of them.

22. Master Ox-herder, Mokguja (Chinul), once mentioned that, "Indulging in craving and desire for property are as vicious as poisonous snakes. Watch your body and mind carefully when such desires arise and then understand them as they are. Detach yourself from them as much as possible."

23. These words are very important and they should be remembered. They will make your study more effective. Buddha said, "Becoming angry even once raises ten million vicious sins. A student must simply endure and tolerate the angry mind." Many masters have also said that because of anger, one becomes a tiger, a bee, a snake, or some similar stinging or biting creature. From foolish-mindedness, one becomes either a bird or a butterfly. Depending upon his degree of low-mindedness, one becomes either an ant, mosquito or the like. From craving things, one becomes a hungry ghost. The type of desire or anger molds the nature of hell into which one will accordingly fall. Each and every state of mind determines the kind of creature one is to become.

24. However, if one's mind is unattached, one becomes a Buddha. Even a "good" or positive state of mind is useless. Even though such a condition of mind can create a heavenly future life, it is still limited. As soon as one reaches heaven, he immediately begins descending to the hellish or animal realms in successive re-births. If no intention is held in the mind, then there is no place to be born again. One's mind is so pure and unconfused, it cannot go to the dark places. This pure and quiescent mind is the way of Buddha.

25. If one questions with one-pointed concentration, then this mind naturally settles down and become tranquil. By this one automatically realizes one's own mind as quiescent and tranquil. This is the same as becoming a Buddha.

26. This way is very direct and goes right to the point. It is the best way one can practice. Read and examine this talk from time to time and, on the right occasions, even tell other people. This is as good as reading eighty-four thousand volumes of scriptures. Studying in this manner, one will accomplish Buddhahood in this lifetime. Do not think this talk to be some contrived encouragement or expedient deception. Follow these words with your whole-hearted mind.

27. In the deep canyon where the clear stream is flowing continuously, all kinds of birds are singing everywhere. No one ever comes to visit this place. It is the so-called Sunim's place (monastery), and is quiet and tranquil. Here is where I sit and contemplate and examine what this mind is. Now, if this mind is not what Buddha is, then what else is it?

28. You have just heard a very rare talk. You should continue to study this great matter enthusiastically. Do not hurry, otherwise you might become sick or get a terrible headache. Calm yourself, then ceaselessly meditate. Most of all, be careful not to force yourself. Rather, relax and let your right questioning be within!


Contestations over Korean Buddhist Identities
The "Introduction" to the Gyeongheo-jip
경허집 (鏡虛集)
by Gregory Nicholas Evon

This article partly derives from research contained in a Ph.D. dissertation (Evon 1999), and it represents a re-articulation of certain basic points made therein. Here, the fundamental point I seek to make is simply this: there exists an inherent conflict between the assumptions that a self-conscious Korean Buddhist identity can be founded on the singular notion of purity, or celibacy, and that this singular notion of identity, in turn, reasonably can be judged to be nationalistic or patriotic in the context of the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945). Such a general notion of identity, I would argue, at once elides the contestation over identity among Korean Buddhists themselves during the colonial period and ultimately conflates religious for national identities. Further, such elision and conflation seem to be products of post-liberation discourse. Throughout this paper I will use the expression post-liberation in order to allow for a distinction suggested elsewhere: that post-colonialism ought to refer to all that follows the “beginning of colonial contact” (Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin 1999: 2). In that sense, however, post-colonialism is inaccurate to the extent that it allows for little distinction between the colonial period and its aftermath.
Such a distinction is, in part, what this paper seeks to address?hence my employment of post-liberation. In this connection, it should be admitted that this paper makes some general claims in regard to post-liberation Korean Buddhist discourse without always staking these claims to definite examples. Yet as with all generalizations, these claims are not necessarily applicable to the entirety of specific cases, or to be exact, the entirety of the work of all scholars. On the other hand, at least this shortcoming can be explained partly in reference to Whitehead’s dictum that much
can be learned about an era through what it assumes rather than expresses. By the very definition of assumption, we are forced to deal with frameworks of inquiry in which ideas are embedded, or assumed. These frameworks and implicit ideas limit the questions asked and the answers given, thus demanding an “unearthing of silences” which requires “a project linked to an interpretation” so we may locate “the retrospective significance of hitherto neglected events” (Trouillot 1995: 58).1 In this paper, the neglected events to be addressed are those surrounding the publication of a Korean Buddhist text in the colonial period, and the silences are those of post-liberation scholarship on these events. This paper, then, is an interpretation.



The Story of Kyong Ho
In: Dropping Ashes on the Buddha (PDF) > (DOC)
The Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn
Compiled and edited by Stephen Mitchell.
Grove Press, 1976. pp. 145-148. (Ch. 66.)

Seventy-five years ago, when Seung Sahn Soen-sa's great-grandteacher, Zen Master Kyong Ho, was a young man, Korean Buddhism was very weak. Then Kyong Ho attained enlightenment and became the teacher of many great Zen monks. He is now known as the Patriarch of Korean Zen.
When Kyong Ho was nine years old, his father died. Since his mother was too poor to bring him up, she sent him to a temple and he became a monk. At the age of fourteen, he began to study the sutras. He was a brilliant student; he heard one and understood ten. Within a few years he had learned all he could from the sutra master, so he moved on to the great sutra temple Dong Gak Sa. There he advanced to the highest level. By the time he was twenty-three years old, he had mastered all the principal sutras. Soon many monks began to gather around him, and he became a famous sutra master.
One day, Kyong Ho decided to pay a visit to his first teacher. After a few days of walking, he passed through a small village. There were no people in the streets. Immediately he knew something was wrong, and he began to feel an overwhelming sense of disaster. He opened the door of one of the houses. There were five corpses lying on the floor, in various states of decomposition. He opened the door of the next house, and there were more corpses rotting on the floor. As he walked through the main street, dazed and terrified, he noticed a sign. “Danger: Cholera. If you value your life, go away.”
This sign struck Kyong Ho like a hammer, and his mind became clear. “I am supposed to be a great sutra master; I already understand all of the Buddha's teachings. Why am I so afraid? Even though I understand that all things are transient, that life and death are aspects of the one reality, I am very attached to my body. So life is a hindrance, and death is a hindrance. What can I do?”
On the way home, Kyong Ho thought very deeply about these questions. Finally, he summoned all his students and said, “You have all come here to study the sutras, and I have been teaching you. But I know now that the sutras are only Buddha's words. They are not Buddha's mind. As many sutras as I have mastered, I still haven't attained true understanding. I can't teach you any more. If you wish to continue your studies, there are many qualified sutra masters who will be glad to teach you. But I have decided to understand my true self, and I will not teach again until I attain enlightenment.”
All the students went away except one. Kyong Ho shut himself in his room. Once a day the student brought him food, leaving the platter outside the closed door. All day long, Kyong Ho sat or did lying-down Zen. He meditated on a kong-an which he had seen in a Zen book: “Zen Master Yong Un said, ‘Before the donkey leaves, the horse has already arrived.' What does this mean?” “I am already as good as dead,” he thought; “if I can't get beyond life and death, I vow never to leave this room.” Every time he began to feel sleepy, he would take an awl and plunge it into his thigh.
Three months passed. During this time, Kyong Ho didn't sleep for a moment.
One day, the student went to a nearby town to beg for food. There he happened to meet a Mr. Lee, who was a close friend of Kyong Ho's. Mr. Lee said, “What is your Master doing nowadays?”
The student said, “He is doing hard training. He only eats, sits, and lies down.”
“If he just eats, sits, and lies down, he will be reborn as a cow.”
The young monk got very angry. “How can you say that? My teacher is the greatest scholar in Korea! I'm positive that he'll go to heaven after he dies!”
Mr. Lee said, “That's no way to answer me.”
“Why not? How should I have answered?”
“I would have said, ‘If my teacher is reborn as a cow, he will be a cow with no nostrils.'”
“A cow with no nostrils? What does that mean?”
“Go ask your teacher.”
When he returned to the temple, the student knocked at Kyong Ho's door and told him of his conversation with Mr. Lee. As soon as he had finished, to his amazement, Kyong Ho opened the door and, with great luminous eyes, walked out of the room.
This is the poem which he wrote upon attaining the great enlightenment:

I heard about the cow with no nostrils
and suddenly the whole universe is my home.
Yon Am Mountain lies flat under the road.
A farmer, at the end of his work, is singing.

Soon afterward, he went to Zen Master Man Hwa for an interview. Man Hwa gave him Transmission and the Dharma name Kyong Ho, which means “Empty Mirror.” He thus became the Seventy-fifth Patriarch in his line of succession. In turn, five great Zen Masters received the Transmission from him: Yong Son, Han Am, He Wol, Sa Wol, and Mang Gong, the teacher of Ko Bong, who was the teacher of Seung Sahn Soen-sa.
Just before Kyong Ho died, he wrote the following poem:

Light from the moon of clear mind
drinks up everything in the world.
When mind and light disappear,
what … is … this…?

A moment after he had finished the poem, he was dead.



In: Szung Szán zen mester: Hamut a Buddhára
Ford. Szigeti György, Sólyom Melinda, Hörcher Péter, Virágh Szabolcs
Kvanum Zen Iskola Magyarországi Közössége, 2002, 164-166. oldal (66. fejezet)

Hetvenöt éve, amikor Kjong Hó fiatalember volt, a koreai
buddhizmus meglehetősen elerőtlenedett. Kjong Hó
megvilágosodása után sok kitűnő szerzetes mestere lett.
A koreai zen pátriárkájaként tiszteljük.
Kjong Hó kilencéves korában elveszítette édesapját.
Édesanyja olyan szegény volt, hogy képtelen volt őt
felnevelni, ezért szerzetesnek adta. Kjong Hó tizennégy
éves koraban elkezdte tanulmányozni a szent iratokat.
Csillogó tehetség volt, ha egy szót meghallott, tizet
megértett. Néhány éven belül mindent elsajátított, amit
egy szútra-mester átadhatott neki: továbbment hát a
szent iratok nagy templomába, Dong Hak Szá-ba. Ott
a tökéletességig vitte tudását. Huszonhárom éves korára
minden fontos szent irat a kisujjában volt. Nemsokára
szerzetesek kezdtek köré gyűlni, és híre járt, hogy a szent
iratok nagy tudója.
Egyszer Kjong Hó elhatározta, hogy meglátogatja régi
tanítóját. Gyalog indult útnak, s az egyik napon egy apró
falucskán haladt keresztül. Senkit sem látott az utcákon.
Azonnal tudta, hogy valami nincs rendjén, és szörnyű
előérzet fogta, el. Bekopogtatott az egyik ház ajtaján, de
senki sem válaszolt, ezért benyitott. Öt test hevert
a padlón, az oszlás különböző állapotaiban. Benyitott
a szomszéd házba is, ott még több rothadó tetemet látott.
Rémülettől dermedten botorkált végig a főutcán, ahol
megpillantott egy táblát, rajta a következő figyelmeztetéssel:
"Vigyázz! Kolera! Ha kedves az életed, tűnj el!"
A felirat pörölyként csapott Kjong Hóra, s tudata
azonnal kitisztult. "Azt hittem, hogy kiváló szútra-mester
vagyok, hogy már értem Buddha tanítását. Akkor vajon
miért félek ennyire? Bár értem, hogy minden mulandó,
hogy az élet és a halál egyazon valóság két arca, mégis
nagyon ragaszkodom a testemhez. Így az élet is, a halál is
akadály. Mit tegyek?" - gondolkodott el Kjong Hó.
Visszatért templomába. Összehívta tanítványait, s így
szólt hozzájuk:
- Mindnyájan azért jöttetek ide, hogy a szútrákat tanul-
mányozzátok, én pedig tanítottalak is titeket. De most
már tudom, hogy a szútrák csak Buddha szavai, nem
pedig a tudata. Igaz, hogy sok-sok szútrát elsajátítottam,
de az igazságot mégsem fogtam fel. Nem taníthatlak
tovább benneteket! Ha folytatni kívánjátok tanulmányaitokat,
sok kitűnő szútra-mestert találtok, akik boldogan
tanítanának benneteket. De én eldöntöttem, hogy megismerem
igazi énem, s nem tanítok addig, amíg el nem
értem a megvilágosodást.
Kjong Hó bezárkózott a szobájába. Tanítványai elhagyták,
egyet kivéve, aki napjában egyszer élelmet vitt neki;
letette az ajtó elé és távozott. Kjong Hó egész nap zent
gyakorolt, hol ülve, hol fekve. Egy kóanon meditált,
melyet az egyik zen-gyűjteményben talált. Jong Un zen
mester azt mondta: "Mielőtt a szamár elmegy, a ló már
megérkezett. Mit jelent ez?" "Milyen szép halott leszek" -
gondolta Kjong Hó. "Esküszöm, ha nem jutok túl életen
és halálon, nem hagyom el ezt a szobát." Amikor álom
környékezte, fogott egy cipészárt, és a combjába vágta.
Eltelt három hónap. Ezalatt Kjong Hó szemhunyást sem
Az egyik napon tanítványa a szomszédos városba utazott,
ahol összetalálkozott Li úrral, Kjong Hó közeli barátjával.
Li úr megkérdezte:
- Mestered mit csinál mostanában?
- Keményen gyakorol. Csak eszik, ül és fekszik -
válaszolta a tanítvány.
- Ha csak eszik, ül és fekszik, akkor bizony tehénként
fog újraszületni - mondta Li úr.
A tanítvány feldühödött:
- Hogy mondhat ilyet? Tanítóm Korea legkiválóbb
tudósa. Meg vagyok győződve arról, ha tanítóm elhagyja
ezt a világot, a mennybe jut!
- Ez nem válasz! - förmedt rá Li úr.
- Hogyhogy nem? Mit válaszolhattam volna?
- Például ezt: "Ha tanítóm tehénként születik újra,
akkor olyan tehén lesz, aminek nincs orrlyuka."
- Tehén, aminek nincs orrlyuka? Mit jelent ez? -
csodálkozott a tanítvány.
- Menj, kérdezd meg a mesteredet!
Amikor a tanítvány visszatért a templomba, bekopogtatott
a mester ajtaján, majd elmesélte a történteket. Mihelyt
befejezte, csodálkozására Kjong Hó nagy, csillogó
szemekkel kitárta az ajtót, és kisétált a szobából.
Kjong Hó a nagy megvilágosodás pillanatában a
következő verset költötte:

Hallottam az orrlyuk nélküli tehénről
Hirtelen az egész világ az otthonom lett.
A Jon Am hegy laposan nyúlik el az út alatt.
A földműves dolga végeztével énekel.

Nem sokkal később Man Hva zen mesterhez ment
személyes tanításra. Man Hva átadta neki a Tant és
felruházta a "Kjong Hó" névvel, ami "Üres tükröt" jelent.
Így lett az általa követett hagyományvonal hetvenötödik
pátriárkája. Tőle öt kiváló zen mester kapta meg a Tant:
Jong Szon, Han Am, He Vol, Sza Vol, és Man Gong, aki Ko
Bong mestere volt, ki utóbbi pedig Szung Szán zen
mestert tanította.
Halála előtt Kjong Hó ezt a verset költötte:

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Felissza a világmindenséget.
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