The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Six: Doubts Clarified


A disciple asked, “which mantras should I recite and which method should I apply to open my mind’s numinosity (simnyŏng) open so that I may quickly attain the Way?” The Founding Master said, “Great practice does not depend on some mantra, but only on a person’s sincerity. Long ago an illiterate peddler of straw sandals was inspired to cultivate the Way, so he asked a sage about the Way. The sage told him that ‘mind is buddha’ (chŭksim si pul) but the illiterate peddler thought he heard ‘three pairs of straw sandals’ (chipsin se pŏl). For many years he recited ‘three pairs of straw sandals’ and pondered over it, until one day, his spirit suddenly opened and he realized that ‘mind is buddha.’ Furthermore, another practitioner went out to buy some meat and said to the butcher, “Cut me a piece from the clean part.” The butcher thrust his knife into the meat and asked, “Which part is clean and which part dirty?” Upon hearing this question, he attained the Way. These anecdotes clearly show that attaining the Way does not depend on some place, time, or mantra. However, since we have our own designated mantras, our merit will increase even more effectively if we resort to them while we are maintaining our dedication.”