The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Three: Practice


The Founding Master suffered from coughing every winter and each time he delivered a dharma talk his coughing would disrupt it. On that account, he said to the congregation, “Killyong-ni, where I grew up, as you all know, is a place of severe poverty and backwardness. Thanks to my proclivities from past lives, I fortunately had a spiritual aspiration since I was young and sincerely sought the Way. However, I had no opportunity to ask questions or to receive guidance. I had a spiritual inspiration all on my own, and there was not an act of asceticism and hardship that I did not perform. Sometimes I would go into the mountains and spend the night; sometimes I would spend the whole day sitting on a road; sometimes I would stay up all night with my eyes open; sometimes I would bathe in icy water; sometimes I would fast; sometimes I would stay in a cold room. I finally entered a condition in which I lost all consciousness. While ulti-mately my questioning was resolved, the root of my physical illness was already so deep that, as my physical energy has weakened, my illness has grown increasingly worse. Because I did not know the road, there was nothing I could do at the time. Fortunately, even without performing ascetic and difficult practices, you have directly learned the well-rounded dharma of Mahāyāna practice by benefiting from my experiences. This is your great blessing. Generally speaking, the practice of timeless Sŏn and placeless Sŏn is the fast lane to Mahāyāna practice. If you practice in this manner, you will get twice the results with half the work and will succeed without getting ill. I beseech you all not to fall into the error of harming your body by recognizing the uselessness of the ascetic practices I performed before I found the road.”