Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 11/04/2017

Hwadu – Who Am I?

Thus when one takes up the hwadu, the paths of seeking via thought must be cut off, for even that without traces must be completely cut off. Here the hunting dog is compared to the function of recognition that discriminates and gropes for the tracks of various concepts and thoughts.
The core of Ganhwa Seon practice is the investigation of the hwadu that cuts of the tracks of language and thought, and where these traces disappear, one becomes free and independent. The hwadu cuts off all the paths of thought of the meditation practitioner, and the body and mind become full with the heat of doubt, and finally it leads to the state when the levee of doubt breaks with a crash. This is not permitted and that is not permitted; negation is not allowed nor is affirmation. If one takes up the hwadu in this way, all of heaven and earth must become one mass of doubt. And so one must attempt to reach the situation where one can neither go forward nor retreat.
One cannot consider the hwadu through recognition and thought. To consider it through thought is called ‘cleverness’. ‘Cleverness’ in Chinese characters is chihae (understanding through knowledge). On the one-pillar (entrance) gate of most Korean monasteries there are the words, “One who comes through this gate must not retain understanding through knowledge.” This has the sense of, “If you wish to come through this gate, do not use cleverness.” Each time we come through a one-pillar gate, we must get the meaning of these words. Not only when one goes through the one-pillar gate, but at any time and place, we should proceed in practicing with this meaning in mind.
With the earnest mind, and not with the mind that considers and discriminates, one immerses oneself in the hwadu and becomes one with the hwadu, and finally when one has conquered the hwadu, one will obtain some news. In this way, as soon as one conquers the barrier of the patriarchs, one will likely become the lone hero of the world.
Seon Master Wumen said,
The great Way has no gate. The path is everywhere. If one bores through this barrier gate, you will walk independently in the world. (Wumen guan, Wumen’s Preface)

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