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Attempt Journey to China

taiyakitaiyaki Veteran
edited March 2011 in Arts & Writings
This is a story about Won Hyo, who is a famous Korean monk. He wanted to travel to China to meet a master that would teach him Buddhism.

One evening as Won Hyo was crossing the desert, he stopped at a small patch of green, where there were a few trees and some water, and went to sleep. Towards midnight he awoke, thirsty--it was pitch-dark. He groped along on all fours, searching for water. At last his hand touched a cup on the ground. He picked it up and drank. Ah, how delicious! Then he bowed deeply, in gratitude, to the Buddha for the gift of water. The next morning, Won Hyo woke up and saw besides him what he had taken for a cup (during the night). It was a shattered skull, blood-caked and with shreds of flesh still stuck to the cheek-bones. Strange insects crawled or floated on the surface of the filthy rainwater inside it. Won Hyo looked at the skull and felt a great wave of nausea. He opened his mouth. As soon as the vomit poured out, his mind opened and he understood. Last night, since he hadn't seen and hadn't thought, the water was delicious. This morning, seeing and thinking had made him vomit. Ah, he said to himself, thinking makes good and bad, life and death. And without thinking these is no universe, no Buddha, no Dharma. All is one, and this one is empty. There was no need now to find a master. Won Hyo already understood life and death. What more was there to learn? So he turned and started back across the desert to Korea.

-From the book entitled, "Thousand Peaks" by Mu Soeng Sunim
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