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Комментарии к оригинальному тексту «Чикчи» представлены на английском языке.

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    When asked about his teachings, Chan Master TianhuangDaowu (天皇道悟) said to Chan Master LongtanChongxin (龍潭崇信), “Ever since you came here, I have taught you every single moment. When you brought me some tea, I drank it for you. When you brought me some food, I ate it for you. When you greeted me, I quickly bowed to you. So, in what way did I not teach you the essence of the mind?” While reading this passage, I felt a pang of conscience. Who wouldn’t come to an awakening if they came to realize that every little behavior, every glance and every facial expression were “meant for them?” I felt embarrassed about having a nervous breakdown just trying to select the “coolest passage” while reading a book and that I anguish over an attempt to write “the most beautiful sentence possible” when writing an essay. A precious lesson does not exist within some dazzling experience. Truth be told, there’s no beginning, rising action, climax or falling action in life.

    Everything is a beginning, everything is a climax, and everything is a falling action. Separation is not the end but possibly the beginning of a new love, not because you will meet a different lover but because your separation now can be the start of a journey to create a more profound relationship with your former significant other. The same holds for the birth of life. Birth may seem like a beginning but, in truth, is a premonition of death. At the very moment we are born, we are booking a separation. And the booking is never a no-show.

    The reason? There is no love without separation.

    In this way, Jikji, with its pithy questions and answers, forces us to check the “pulse of our mind” that penetrates our entire lives. Is my heartbeat normal? Didn’t it stop a long time ago? Isn’t my love a selfish, petty excuse to serve my own ego? Wasn’t it an act of greed when I desperately tried to hold onto love while refusing to acknowledge that the moment love begins, it is headed for its end? Wasn’t my relationship with work identical? Didn’t my desire to prove myself through work justify all my negligence? Using work and better performance as an excuse, didn’t I leave everyone around me lonely?

    We should bravely move forward so that life can take us to a better place. Even if we give our best, the goddess of our destiny often ends up betraying us.

    The key does not lie in studying the secret to avoiding failure but in not letting your self-serving ego overshadow your success. Learning in the context of every moment and every physical space is never easy. If we listen up only in class and study only before the exams, what can we truly learn? Perhaps, a relationship where every gesture and every word of the other person can induce a kind of genuine learning is a kinship more binding than that of any friendship or teacher–student relationship. (Jung Yeo-ul)
  • 2 In old books, supplementary notes were added at the end of a vertical text line using smaller characters. These notes were known as hyeopju (夾註).
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    On the day of his death, Chan Master GuanxiZhixian asked one of his disciples: “Is there anyone who died while seated? Or anyone who died while standing?” The disciple said there were already such Chan masters. Upon hearing this answer, he walked seven steps and passed away. The true face of an ascetic monk’s life is revealed at the time of his death. A true practitioner will not hesitate or show agitation when faced with impending death, so the true nature of his entire life is bound to be disclosed at that moment. In one biography of Seon Master Hyobong, Seon Master Beopjeong described nirvana as a “solemn sunset.” In a hymn to nirvana he bequeathed, Beopjeong compared his final moment in life with a beautiful sunset, saying, “Spewing crimson glow, a round wheel is hanging above a blue mountain.” Facing life’s last moment and sublimating it into a hallowed Buddhist affair is possible only when someone has lived their entire life honestly, refusing to lie to themselves. If we idle our time away, we may be soon facing our own death without having any chance to prepare for it.

    My neighborhood has a Catholic cemetery. On the rear face of its main gate, there is a sign that says: “Today is my turn, tomorrow is your turn.” What a mind-boggling thought! It always makes me think. The owners of those graves have already joined the great majority, but we, the living, are destined to follow them. After all, one way or another, we all have to walk that same path. As such, the aphorism is an appeal from our predecessors not to delude ourselves into thinking we will live forever and, instead, to lead a meaningful life without frittering away time. Every time I see the sign, I feel the urge to make the most out of my 24 hours as if today were my last day.

    Last year I celebrated my fiftieth birthday and prepared my will. “Please do not conduct a funeral. Simply cremate my body and spread the ashes around my favorite cherry blossom tree. Please do not cut down any trees from the temple.” Those were the words I left for those who would be saddened by my passing. In my will, I also asked them to set under the tree a small stone tablet saying, “A place where Monk Hyeonjin once stayed.” On one occasion, I wrote in my jotter: “I lived and found it to be no big deal!” as words for my epitaph. Perhaps, it would be nice if someone remembered this and inscribed it on my stone. But even if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be disappointed.

    On the day of his death, Seon Master Baegun, the author of Jikji, asked: “Cremate my body and have the ashes strewn all around, but do not violate the property of almsgivers.” Even though he was one of the most renowned Seon masters of Goryeo, he asked that no parcel of land be used for his body. Without a doubt, I am no better than he is, so even half a parcel shouldn’t be wasted on me. As such, I would be more than delighted if my ashes are strewn under the shade of a tree.

    One’s last moment is the culmination of one’s everyday thoughts and behavior. As such, the answer to the question “What kind of life did you live?” is “How did you die?”

    In this respect, I hope my last moment resembles that of Chan Master GuanxiZhixian who passed away after gallantly committing his final words to posterity and then walking seven steps. (Monk Hyeonjin)
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