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Manhaeng (만행)

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Writer Jogye Date22 Jul 2015 Read9,176 Comment0


Manhaeng (萬行)


After finishing the three-month Seon meditation retreat, most Seon practitioners enter into traveling practices called “manhaeng,” also called “haenggak (行脚).” This is when practitioners test themselves to see if they can practice hwadu well or if their minds are unwavering even in the midst of various earthly situations. During manhaeng, the emphasis is not on wandering itself but on visiting other places of learning. That’s why virtuous masters say, “The end of a retreat is the beginning of another.” Therefore, during manhaeng, practitioners should keep in mind that there is no place where learning can not occur, and they must never cease their hwadu practice. Therefore, traveling practice exists for the sake of practice.

Pertaining to this, Seon Master Wuzu Fayan (五祖法演; 1024-1104) gave the following advice to a practitioner who was about to leave on traveling practice. It is from his Dongshan chongzangzhu songzi xingjiao fayu (東山崇藏主送子行脚法語).

In general, you must always be with the Way during traveling practice. You must not idle away time just eating the food you are offered. Keep the two words “life” and “death” in the center of your forehead and contemplate thoroughly the hwadu of “life and death.” Do this all day long until you find the answer. If you idle your time away hanging around with mindless companions, then the King of Hell, Yama, will make you repay the cost of every meal you ever ate at the time of your death. At that time, do not complain that I did not forewarn you. 

- excerpt from Buddhist English (Intermediate 2) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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