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Echoes from Mt. Kaya: Selections on Korean Buddhism Paperback – 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Lotus Lantern International Buddhist Center (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007C7WS4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,103,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Shoemake on October 28, 2012
Regrettably, this is not an easy book to find, nor will you easily get other writings by the same author, though Ven. Seong-cheol (1912-1993) wrote a lot in his day and was well known and widely respected in his homeland of Korea. This unfortunate fact is on account of Korean Seon (Zen) being much less well known than its Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Exactly why this is the case I can't say, especially when one considers the close ties historically between the United States and South Korea. One thing though I can say with a fair degree of certainty is this: if you want to get a first hand taste of traditional Zen practice the place to go is not Japan, and most certainly is not China (I'm not sure what, if anything is left there)--it is Korea.

Consider the practice of the koan. In Japanese temples koan practice has degraded into a sort of mantra-like parody. The Japanese--I'm speaking from my experience, others may have had different experiences--seem to have lost a sense of what it means to go beyond samadhi (zanmai), and in fact I knew many monks who had spent years, even decades, working on koan after koan but never getting beyond samadhi states. (If only they took a month or two off for a vipassana course, what a difference it would make. But I digress....) And the reason for this is on account of how they approach koan study which, as I noted, has too much in common with a mantra.

The Koreans have a different understanding of the koan, which they call hwadu, or "head of speech." If you investigate the dialogues of early Chan and Zen masters you'll see that enlightenment experiences, though often proceeded by many years of practice, typically erupt out of a paradoxical situation, question or experience.
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