sweeping discovery

July 14, 2008

The first lesson of the ascetics of Hinayana Buddhism is to regard one’s body as impure.  Here the body is regarded as the source of all evils, and as a hindrance to the practice of the Way.  Dogen, however, revised this interpretation.  According to him, contemplation should be realized in one’s actions in everyday life.  “So-called contemplations are everyday activities like sweeping the ground and the floor.”  That should be concieved as exactly identical to “recognizing one’s body as impure.”  Moreover, in that case, one is expected to transcend the dichotomy of purity and impurity.”  

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 370 (paragraph 3)

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He (Donghak) even went further to say that “human beings are Heaven, and Heaven is Human beings.  Heaven does not exist outside human beings, and human beings do not exist outside Heaven.  Here, Choe identified humankind with Heaven and imbued humanity with the dignity of Heaven.   (Genesis 1.26)

He claimed that because humans are one with Heaven, we mus serve others as if they are Heaven,” saying that prejudices such as the discrimination in the social status system which values sons of wives over sons of concubines and yangban over common people went against Heaven’s will.

Korean Philosophy its Tradition and Modern Transformation (p. 413-14)

Benevolence, righteousness, civility, and wisdom are formed around corresponding conduct.  Therefore, benevolence can be achieved only when one loves others; before this love, benevolence does not exist.  After one commits a good act, one can recognize righteousness.  Before he so acts, righteousness does not exist…How can it be asserted that benevolence, righteousness, civility, and wisdom are inherent in human mind, like seeds in a peach or apricot?

Korean Philosophy it’s Tradition and Modern Transformation p. 363