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Subject FOR NIRVANA /Korean Seon(zen) Master Cho Oh-Hyun 雪嶽 霧山 曺五鉉-6
Name   관리자 Hit 1910








ntroductory by KWON YOUNGMIN




translated by HEINZ INSU FENKLE 




Associate professor of English and Asian studies at SUNY New Paltz.








Jikjisa Temple Travel Diary 5




cold stone, warm hand


gather wants, light a lamp




breath burns in the dark


the pine breeze falls asleep




and myself, alone, an owl


crying all night on this vast mountain








Jikjisa Temple Travel Diary 6




the Yellow Mountain stretch out


immersed in the distance beyond the sky




winds through the scattered reeds


empty wild field in Geumneung




moon rising, 90,000 li night


a cold lamp, burning








Jikjisa Temple Travel Diary 7




storey after storey, the highest peaks


above the lighted lotus lamps




standing once again on tiptoe


the mind moon rises deep into the heart




even the darkness makes way


as I walk in the center of this night










Tales from the Temple 2




It happened some time ago. There was an elderly man, not


especially holy-looking, but with a certain grace to his old age. He was sitting across from Mt. Nakson, on the very end of the cliff that faces it, a dizzying and precarious place. He was sitting astride a rock all day, looking out at the waves on the surface of the East Sea.


I asked him, “Where are you from, old man?”


He said, “I’m sure I saw two sea gulls flying over the horizon this morning, but they don’t seem to be coming back.” It sounded like he was talking to himself.


The next day he was at that same spot again, sitting in that same


pose, so I asked him, “Did the two sea gulls return?”


He said, “ The sea was crying yesterday, but today it’s not.”






Tales from the Temple 3



This isn’t a legend or a story from a once upon a time, it happened just this past year at the hermitage where the nuns come to study. It’s deep in the woods, that hermitage. You step into the courtyard, where the foundation stone is buried amongst the trees and the thousand-year-old pagoda is leaning-you can hear the sound of flowing water, and the cry of the black cuckoo permeates your clothes like ink. In the farthest corner of that courtyard there was a stone Buddha, and the devoted women who came to bear sons for the Dharma used to scrape and eat its nose-half of it was eaten away by them. So when you laughed, it looked like the stone Buddha was crying, and when you were actually crying, then it looked like it was laughing. Well, that desolate hermitage mightjust as well not have been there, but there was an Abbess who had lived there for twenty years. Late that fall, she was standing by the stone Buddha holding on to the shadow of a branch that was floating downstream in the water. She was two squirrels with acorns in their mouths busily going in and out of a stone wall. She said to herself,“Aha! There must be lots of acorns in that wall. We can make an offering of acorn jelly to the Buddha and then eat some ourselves. Namu Amita Buddha. ”When she knocked down the stone wall, a good bushel of acorns did, indeed, come out of there. But after she got that bushel, she took every last one of the remaining acorns, made jelly, and ate it. The next morning she saw those two poor squirrels chewing on her white rubber shoes. They say those squirrels died eating those white rubber shoes.








Tales from the Temple 16



Master Mazu and his disciple Paichang were silently walking


along a river bank at sunset when they saw a formation of wild ducks flying into the west where the evening sky was dyed red. Suddenly Mazu asked his disciple, “What is that noise?”


“ It’s the cry of the wild ducks,” said Paichang.


They walked in silence for a while, and the Mazu asked again,


“Where has the cry of the wild ducks gone?”


“It has gone far off into the west,” Paichang replied. But as soon as the words left his mouth, Mazu grabbed Paichang’s nose and viciously twisted it.


Paichang screamed“ Ouch! Ouch!” at the unexpected assault, whereupon Mazu roared like a thunderbolt, :You said it’s flown away, but isn’t it still here?“


Some time ago, after hearing this story, I asked Abbot Kyeong-bong of Tongdo temple, “The flock of wild ducks had obviously flown away. Why did the teacher yell ‘isn’t it still here’?”


Abbot Kyongbong clicked his tongue and said, “If you were a student, you’d say the cry of the wild ducks is still in the water. Since you’re not a student, go have a look at the Buddha floating under the stone bridge. The world you see and hear is inexhaustible, but you’ll want to know that the world you can’t see or hear is infinite,too...


Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. “








Tales from the Temple 25




A young hunter caught an otter that had come out to the water’s


edge in search of food and he skinned it and strutted home with its pelt, and the next day he noticed that the otter’s bones-which he


had thrown away-had left bloody tracks walking off, and so he cautiously followed the trail of blood into a cave, and inside the dark cave he saw the heap of the thin bones that was the mother otter he had skinned and fleshed the day before still alive, and she was embracing her five tiny pups-which had not yet opened their eyes-and they couldn’t see their mother’s condition, and they were mewling for milk, and the hunter was an cruel as a man could be, but upon seeing the mother and her pups he could not help himself, and so he took the place of the mother otter till the pups were grown; he spent three years like that-which felt to him like three kalpas-entirely cutting off the paths of the world and the vagaries of the mind, and the only place someone like him because of the gamey odor that exuded from his body, and so he stood in the yard with a brazier of burning charcoal on his head until the crown of his head monk, whose name was Muwoe, heal his wounds with a special mantra, giving him a reason to live and they say-bestowed upon him the name Hyetong. Of course, all this happened during the reign of King Munmu of Silla.








Tales from the Temple 29



One morning, after lazily washing my face, I went over to the


wall to dump out the water basin. A green frog happened to be sitting in the grass on the other side at that moment and he got a terrible fright-eek! He leaped up-all the way up to the top of the wall-and alighted there as if he had slipped. As I saw him lying there panting, flat on his belly, I thought, This guy is really something, he really is something! I couldn’t get over my admiration for him. But when I tried to compose a sijo poem with that green frog as the subject, I struggled day after day, only to fall in the end. I came to a minor realization: Whatever words I could come up with-for however many Kalpas-to describe that frog would never do him justice.


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