One difference I take note of in regards to Master Jinul’s quote as opposed to what the apostle Paul says is that Master Jinul uses the pronoun “they”.  If they aspire to the path of the Buddha while obstinately holding to their feeling that the Buddha is outside the mind…

Paul, on the other hand uses the pronoun “I”.  If I speak with the toungues of men and of angels yet have not love, I am but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

I’m just curious as to what that implies.  I mean, it seems to me that Master Jinul “has arrived”; that he cannot fall back into that state of ignorance of seeking the Buddha nature outside himself.  Paul, on the other hand, seems to be implying that he is capable of doing something which is not in love.   

Granted these two men are speaking of two entirely different topics.  One love, the other, aspiring to the path of the Buddha. 

But are they really entirely different topics?  How is aspiring to the path of the Buddha different from posessing love through acts of patience, kindness etc. ? 

I also understand that Master Jinul is just one man and he doesn’t speak for all of Buddhism, so I am not trying to use my observations as a criticism to Buddhism.  I’m just stating what stood out to me this morning. 


I came across the following passage in this book I’m reading p. 284.  It’s what lead to a Korean monk’s enlightenment:

“If they aspire to the path of the Buddha while obstinately holding to their feeling that the Buddha is outside the mind or the Dharma is outside the nature, then, even though they pass through kalpas as numerous as dust motes, burning their bodies, charring their arms, crushing their bones, and exposing their marrow, or else write sutras with their own blood, never lying down to sleep, eating only one offering a day at the hour of the Hare (5-7 a.m.), or even studying through the entire Tripitaka and cultivating all sorts of ascetic practices, it is like trying to make rice by boiling sand–it will only add to their tribulation.” -Susimgyel by Master Jinul

p. 284

I realize this statement is not entirely related to the following passage I am about to quote, but I couldn’t help but to consider how the author’s reasoning reflects the reasoning of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Christians.

Meditation farming Buddhism

February 20, 2008


I’ve been going through a book about Buddhism in Modern Korea.  In it, I came across this passage:

Master Yongseong “[…] founded Hwagwawon center at Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do province in which he demonstrated “meditation farming Buddhism,” a life of working and practicing Seon (Zen).”  p. 282

My curiousity is this:  a life of working and practicing Zen; does that imply practicing Zen while working?  If so, I think that such a life would be incredibly challenging,

 yet the thought of living that way is very appealing.

Some Background on Zen

D.T. Suzuki asserted that satori (awakening) has always been the goal of every school of Buddhism, but that which distinguished the Zen tradition as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan was a way of life radically different from that of Indian Buddhists. In India, the tradition of the mendicant (bhikkhu) prevailed, but in China social circumstances led to the development of a temple and training-center system in which the abbot and the monks all performed mundane tasks. These included food gardening or farming, carpentry, architecture, housekeeping, administration, and the practice of folk medicine. Consequently, the enlightenment sought in Zen had to stand up well to the demands and potential frustrations of everyday life.[citation needed]