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Religions 2018, 9(11), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110341

Tracing the Satipaṭṭhāna in the Korean Ganhwa Seon Tradition: Its Periscope Visibility in the Mindful hwadu Sisimma, ‘Sati-Sisimma

Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, Stony Brook University, 1046 Humanities Building, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role and Meaning of Religion for Korean Society)
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Abstract

The Buddha is said to have awakened to the true nature of existence and attained final liberation from suffering through the practice of Satipaṭṭhāna. This practice begins by addressing sensations from the processes of body and mind, as characterized by ‘bare attention’ and ‘clear comprehension’ through non-judgmental observation, ultimately effecting a transformation into a unique religious experience. During its transmission to East Asian countries, particularly in the Chan tradition, the essence of Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta has become transformed, while maintaining the theme of intense concentration, perhaps in the form of ‘counter-illumination’—an extended equivalent of ‘bare attention’. Not much has been written on which aspects of the Indian contemplative tradition were passed on to the Chan/Seon schools. In the Korean Ganhwa Seon practice, however, there are some indications that the spirit of Satipaṭṭhāna, resonating as a role of sustained attention with mindfulness, has been partially manifested, having crystallized into the mindful hwadu called Sisimma, or ‘Sati-Sisimma’. To substantiate this, this paper investigates how the two seemingly different practices can be seen to link together in the Korean Seon tradition, and proposes pari passu meditative parallels, Satipaṭṭhāna and Sati-Sisimma, recommending for an ‘attentive’ mode and a ‘non-attentive’ mode respectively, in modern meditative practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: Satipaṭṭhāna; mindful hwadu Sisimma; Sati-Sisimma; bare attention; counter-illumination; Chan/Seon/Zen; Korean Ganhwa Seon Satipaṭṭhāna; mindful hwadu Sisimma; Sati-Sisimma; bare attention; counter-illumination; Chan/Seon/Zen; Korean Ganhwa Seon
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Choo, B.H. Tracing the Satipaṭṭhāna in the Korean Ganhwa Seon Tradition: Its Periscope Visibility in the Mindful hwadu Sisimma, ‘Sati-Sisimma’. Religions 2018, 9, 341.

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