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운봉성수 / 雲峰性粹 Unbong Seongsu (1889-1944)

(Magyar átírás:) Unbong Szongszu

Zen Master Unbong

Unbong Sungsu (雲峰性粹 1889-1944) went into the mountains at the age of thirteen and made a complete study of the sutras, precepts, and treatises. Realizing the limitations to the road of dharma through scriptural study, he knocked on the door of Zen meditation. He inquired of many well-learned masters, traveling to the famous monasteries of the country. Ten years passed and he was still not able to focus his concentration on the kongan. In 1923, when he was 35 years old, he undertook a 100-day prayer, making the wish that he would solve the kongan at Unmunam of Paekyangsa. Due to his arduous practice, night and day, he was able to concentrate his mind on the hwadu. One month passed, and on the fifteenth of December in the lunar calendar, as he was going through the gate, his mind opened and all his doubts vanished. He praised the state of his enlightenment, singing:


When I walked out of the gate,
Chilly air penetrated my bones
And the thing stuffed in my lungs
On a frosty moonlit night,
After the guests have returned to their nests;
The tower of tanch'ŏng-coloring stands alone.
In the still mountain
Water runs loud and clear,
Breaking the stillness.

* Tanch'ŏng is a traditional color scheme for holly buildings, and the colors are composed of blue and red. The literal meaning of tanch'ŏng is blue and red.

In order to have his enlightenment approved Sŏnim Unbong paid a visit to Master Hyewŏl, who was known as the best Zen adept at that time. Unbong asked, "Where are the Buddhas of the past, present, and future resting in peace?" The Zen Master sat silent, unanswering. Sŏnim Unbong struck him with his fist and asked again, "Why is a live dragon submerged in dead water?"

"Then what will you do?"

Sŏnim Unbong showed a broom. Master Hyewŏl, pretending ignorance, said, "No. That's not it."

To this, Sŏnim Unbong responded,

"Sŏnim, the wild ducks have flown past the window a long while before this."

Then Master Hyewŏl guffawed with delight. "I can't pretend to disregard you." He was very satisfied. Zen Master Hyewŏl approved Sŏnim Unbong's enlightenment and gave him the transmission lantern.




On Behalf of Unbong Sungsu

All things of every form
Are formless in origin;
If you know
All things are formless
You see the nature of all things.

All things of every form
Are non-form in nature;
Non-forms reside in nothing.
If you know
How to use this truth,
You deserve the designation
Of an enlightened one.

Since that time he guided many pupils, and the studious atmosphere of Zen meditation became very pronounced. In 1929, when he was head of Naewŏnsa Monastery, he met Hyanggok, who became his dharma disciple.