Dharma Talk to Begin 2011~2012 Winter Retreat
Supreme Patriarch, The Most Ven. Beopjeon
“You must arrive at your destination as soon as the day breaks”
The Most Ven. Beopjeon, the Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism delivered a Dharma talk to proclaim the commencement of the winter retreat season for the Buddhist Era of 2555. On November 7th, the Supreme Patriarch’s Dharma talk was announced for the commencement of Winter Retreat on Novemer 10th.
The Supreme Patriarch referred to the dialogue between Seon Masters Zhaozhouchanshi and Touzichanshi during his teaching. He introduced “You must arrive at your destination as soon as the day breaks” and encouraged everyone to practice diligently.
The Great Seon (Zen) Master Zhaozhouchanshi asked,
“How can you survive by giving up your life?”
Seon Master Touzichanshi responded,
“Even if you are not allowed to travel at night, you must arrive at your destination when the day breaks.”
If one gets too tied up in life and disregard death, or if one disregard life because one get too worked up on death, then that person is not holding the Hwadu (Koan) well. In this case, the living can be considered as dead. Death is not death, but an opportunity for a new life. Therefore, the way of the practice is as follows; as long as one dies well, the way of the practice will open its new door to show life.
Although there are no ropes that bind us, we bind ourselves and people with vigorous nature lose their life’s vigor with the invisible rope they create on their own. Moreover, by creating laws that force the supreme truth of the Buddha’s teaching, we may end up killing a perfectly good Hwadu. If one understands how to live but is unaware of how to die, then they will end up losing the way to truly live. Following extreme practices is not the proper way of the Buddhist practice. For this reason, the one who tries to survive by hanging on to the Hwadu will die. In contrast, if one decides to die by holding on to the Hwadu, then they will find the way to live.
Gyeolje (Beginning) means finding ways to live in the midst of the dying. Wandering mind after the Haeje (soujourning of retreat) must die, defilements running the monkey mind must die, and delusions that seems increase the more we try to restrain them must also die. Among such death, Hwadu that tries to escape us like a slippery mudfish must be found in order for us to live. We must keep in mind from the first day of this winter retreat to the last that in death we are trying to find ways to survive.
“Since the old days it is rare to find survivors amid the dead;
countless people have died by looking for ways to survive”
B.E. 2555 (2011) Beginning the Winter Retreat