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What is Ganhwa Seon?

The reason one is not trapped by contrary and favorable realms when one is enlightened


Enlightenment indicates a state that is not restrained anywhere by the realms of calm or noise, good or bad, contrary or favorable. The enlightened do not dwell anywhere and are not trapped anywhere. No matter what they are doing or where they are, they are free, dignified and imposing, and even at death nothing can be done to them.
Grand Master Bodhidharma said that the enlightened enter (the Way) without choosing between the state of the saint or common person. He said that on entering into the world of the commoner they display the various characteristics of the commoner and they themselves become sentient beings. This is because they show an appearance that is uninvolved in order to save sentient beings.
Grand Master Bodhidharma also said, “The saint gains total freedom and independence in the contrary and favorable realms, and since (the saint) cannot be restrained by any karma, the state of the saint is eternal.” (Xuemolun)
Seon Master Honzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157) said concerning this state:
Lofty and imposing, not hindered by anything, (the saint) is resolute. Even in noisy places he can shove one’s head in, and in serene places he can put down his feet. (Hongzhi guanglu, fascicle 2)
The awakened are not involved in any realm. They walk resolutely step by step without choosing any place and without discriminating between realms. They are free and independent, without obstacles, moving freely and at will and without any concerns in calm and noise, pain and peace. Even in a market district full of frustrations, noise and bustle, the house-style of the Buddha is fully revealed.
On the other hand, the mind that distinguishes between favorable and contrary realms intervenes and various obstacles arise continuously. Therefore one can set up the criteria of the examination for enlightenment as being whether or not one is free of the favorable and contrary realms. The reason for not being trapped by the favorable and contrary is because the relativistic world of the contrary realms and favorable realms is not two. The enlightened, because they dwell in the state that is not these two, are free of sorrow and happiness, like and dislike, and good and evil.
Good and bad things do not exist separately. They arise according to the mind, and that mind complies with enlightenment. Because the enlightened stop the functioning of the mind that distinguishes right and wrong, they are free from contrary and favorable. Therefore the world of enlightenment never discriminates between the contrary and favorable realms. Whatever realm it is, it becomes one with my mind and is free from coming and going. It does not have a set home and leaves no traces of having dwelt anywhere.
Seon Master Yuanwu spoke of this state in case 87 of the Biyanlu:
A bright-eyed person has no home to stay in. At times he is alone on top of a lofty, soaring peak, and at times is hidden by covering grass, and at other times is in the noisy, bustling market streets, and appears totally naked without a spot of dirt. (Biyanlu case 87)
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