Awakening and the Original Mind

Another post based on the writings of Jinul (지눌, 知訥, 1158–1210), the Korean Buddhist monk.  As with the previous post, I found this quote in Jinul’s major work the Excerpts from the Dharma Collection and Special Practice Record with Personal Notes (법집별항록절요병입사기, 法集別行錄節要幷入私記, beopjip pyeolhaeng nok cheolyo byeongip sagi).

Now, the sudden awakening to the constant awareness of the original mind is like recognizing the immutable moist nature of water.  Since the mind is no longer deluded, there is no ignorance.  It is as if the wind had suddenly stopped.  After awakening, mental disturbances naturally come to a gradual halt like waves which gradually subside.  By developing both body and mind in sīla, samādhi, and prajñā, you gradually become self-reliant until you are unhindered in displaying magic and miracles and can universally benefit all sentient beings.  This is called Buddhahood… (pg. 170, Tracing Back the Radiance, trans. Professor Robert Buswell)

There’s a couple things worth pointing out in this quote:

  • Jinul takes an approach of sudden awakening, followed by gradual cultivation.  This is the foundation of Korean Seon Buddhism, but differs slightly from other schools of Zen.
  • Jinul upholds the importance of the three “pillars” of Buddhism:
    • sīla – Personal conduct (e.g. the Five Precepts, Right Action, Right Livelihood, etc).  Personal conduct isn’t just for one’s own benefits, but also benefits those around you, which in turns does benefit oneself.
    • samādhi – A state of heightened awareness and focus, brought about through meditation training.  In other words, the fruits of long-term Buddhist practice.
    • prajñā – Wisdom and insight.  This is more passive, but part of the natural growth and maturation of a Buddhist.

Interesting stuff.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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