Home Ganhwa Seon How to Practice

How to Practice Ganhwa Seon :

Seon is the practice that is used to find our True Self. Every Truth in the universe can be found here. It was when Shakyamuni found True Self that he became Buddha, and it is when a sage sees this True Self that they are called a sage. If anyone here finds True Self then they too will be called Buddha, called a sage.

Seon can also be called the road leading to your true home. The 84,000 great wisdoms are kept here, in everyone’s true home. All types of merit and virtue can be found here, the only reason people are unable to use this treasure is because they don’t know about it.

“Before I was born, what is my True Self?” If one can keep this question all through the day, without forgetting it, then it will soon go through the night. Regardless of who you are, as long as this question can be kept then soon you will reach your true home. Alongside the Buddhas and the Patriarchs you will live with this eternal peace and perfection unchanged.
Correct Practice
Your body is made of the four elements: earth, water, fire, and wind. If you breathe out and then don’t breathe in, that is the end. This body will decay and smell so we must dispose of it by burial or cremation. This isn't our True Self, so we must ask again,
"what is our True Self- that which was, even before we were born?"

"Before I was born, what was my True face? Before I got this body, what is my unchanging True Self?" This True Self isn't something foreign to us. This inherent wisdom isn't something that needs to be attained, yet we cannot use it. Sentient beings are caught in the cycle of birth and death, chained to endless suffering. Isn't this strange? You must keep this question throughout the day. At first you may be a little curious as to what this True Self is, but because of karmic habits your attention will be drawn away to other matters. If you keep this up however, one day true curiosity or what we call "True Question" will form. This is the question that will form and eventually run on its own without the need for you to intentionally think about the hwadu. It is like starting an old motor with a pull cord. At first we may pull at the cord but nothing will happen and we have to pull again, however one of those times the engine will catch and turn over all by itself. Then this question will be in front of you at all times of the day, regardless of what you are doing. It will even continue while you sleep. This is a sign that you have developed "True Question."

At first it will not be like this however. Though you may try a thousand times, after you bring up the hwadu you will forget it again. However you must not get frustrated, and you mustn't try to think about your hwadu as if you could find the answer. Only keep the question "What is my True Self before I was born?" in your thoughts. While you need to make an effort to continually bring this hwadu up, you must not try to force anything, otherwise your Ki(氣) will rise out of your abdomen into your head and you will be overwrought with illness and headaches. You must relax, and keep quietly bringing up this question that neither words can explain nor thoughts can comprehend.

Just trust that eventually "True Question" will form and then it will continue like the flowing of stream water, day and night. Like this, if you continue with your hwadu, you will enter into single-minded Samadhi. It will be as if you died, but then were reborn. You will become one with the hwadu and no other thoughts will arise, until one day you will see or hear something and this hwadu will break open. You will see the True Self that has remained unchanged for tens of thousands of years. Without even have taken a step you will have arrived at the doors of Truth and the 84,000 sermons of Buddha will pour out from your heart.

At this time it is very important to find a master who has the ability to confirm this enlightenment. Often times a person will practice with or without a hwadu and suddenly a thought will burst into their mind. Or they may fall into a deep meditative state where days or weeks pass without them even knowing. People commonly mistake these experiences for enlightenment, but unless they have experienced something similar to what I have just described, then this is simply delusion.
Correct Posture
While you are sitting, a proper posture is very important. Whether you sit cross legged or are kneeling, your hands rest in your lap against your lower abdomen. Back is straight and chest opened up wide.

Your eyes should be resting on a point two meters in front of you on the ground. But they need not focus on anything, they should be open naturally. Don't try to make your hwadu appear in front of you. The reason it is important to look two meters to the front is to maintain proper posture. If you look closer your head will sink, if you look farther away your neck will tend to bend backwards.

You may wonder, "why should our eyes be directed downwards?" This is because as you work with your hwadu, even though you may try not to force it, there will still be the tendency for your energy (Ki) to go to your head. By looking downwards this may be prevented.

It is not necessary to concentrate on your breath. As long as you relax, maintain proper posture, and keep your hwadu your breathing will naturally deepen.
Living Seon
Seon is not just something you do when you are sitting. While you are working, cleaning, washing your face or bathing; taking a walk and sleeping, while you are awake and asleep just keep this hwadu in your mind. "What is my True Self before I was born?"

Seon departs from all appearances and forms, since everyone has a True Self, it does not rely on anything from the outside. It doesn’t matter whether you are a monk or lay person; a man or a woman.

A meditation hall isn't anything separate. While you continue to listen to correct teachings, as long as you keep this hwadu at all times then the kitchen, living room, and office are all superb meditation halls. On the other hand if this hwadu does not ripen, if it only seems to be present when you are sitting but disappears when you are moving around, the Dharma Eye will not open even after one hundred lives.

When you are new with the hwadu, sitting is the best way for it to ripen. But at the same time you must work with becoming one with the hwadu in your everyday life, letting your sitting practice nourish your practice in your life. This effort must be made before the hwadu becomes natural. Then it will flow like running water 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.