Jeffrey Broughton here offers a study and partial translation of Core Texts of the Son Approach (Sonmun ch'waryo), an anthology of texts foundational to Korean Son (Chan/Zen) Buddhism. Core Texts of the Son Approach provides a convenient entrée to two fundamental themes of Korean Son: Son vis-à-vis the doctrinal teachings of Buddhism (in which Son is shown to be superior) and the huatou (i.e., phrase; Korean hwadu) method of practice-work originally popularized by the Song dynasty Chinese Chan master Dahui Zonggao. This method consists of "raising to awareness" or "keeping an eye on" the phrase, usually No (Korean mu). No mental operation whatsoever is to be performed upon the phrase. One lifts the phrase to awareness constantly, when doing "quiet" cross-legged sitting as well as when immersed in the "noisiness" of everyday life. Core Texts of the Son Approach, which was published in Korea during the first decade of the twentieth century (the identity of the compiler is not known for certain), contains eight Chan texts by Chinese authors (two translated here) and seven Son texts by Korean authors (three translated here), showing the organic relationship between the parent Chinese tradition and its Korean inheritor. The set of translations in this volume will give readers access to some of the key texts of the Korean branch of this influential East Asian school of Buddhism.
Jeffrey Broughton is Professor Emeritus of the Religious Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach. Jeffrey Broughton and Elise Yoko Watanabeâs previous books include The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue, The Chan Whip Anthology: A Companion to Zen Practice, and The Record of Linji: A New Translation of the Linjilu in the Light of Ten Japanese Zen Commentaries.
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