The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Three: Practice


While the Founding Master was staying at Pongnae Hermitage, he pointed at a lamplight and asked, “Why does that lamplight illuminate all directions except directly underneath it?” Kim Namch’ŏn replied, “This is exactly how I am. I have been the Great Master’s direct attendant for several years already, but what I know and can do is inferior to that of my dharma brothers who come from afar occasionally to visit you.” The Founding Master smiled and asked Song Kyu the same question. Song Kyu replied, “The light of that lamp shines upward, illuminating the far distance, but the lamp stand, which is right below, makes everything underneath dim. If we take this as a simile, this is just like certain people who are well aware of others’ faults, but are blind to their own mistakes. The reason is because, when they look at other people, there is nothing blocking their view, so they can directly look upon the strengths and weaknesses and good or bad points, but when they look at themselves, the shadow of the sign of ‘I’ covers the light of wisdom, preventing them from recognizing their own right and wrong conduct.” The Founding Master asked, “What then can imperfect persons do so that they illuminates ev-erything without distinguishing self and others?” Song Kyu replied, “If one is not attached to joy, anger, sorrow, or pleasure and eliminates all signs from the mind, then one’s understanding will be free from self and others.” The Founding Master said, “You are right.”