The Ancestral Teacher’s coming from the West only means that winter is cold and summer is hot, night is dark and day is light.
It’s just that we vainly set up meaning where there is no meaning, create concern where there is no concern, impose “inside” and “outside” where there is no inside or outside, and talk endlessly of this and that where nothing exists.
As evening draws near, you regret that you did not practice early in the morning. The worldly pleasure you now enjoy becomes suffering in the future. Why then are you attached to this pleasure? One moment of patience becomes lasting pleasure. Why then do you not practice?
Moment succeeds moment, and thus day and night are soon past. One day succeeds the next; months slip away. Month follows month, soon next year is here. Years pass rapidly and you find yourself at death's door. A broken vehicle cannot run. An old person cannot practice.
Won Hyo Sunim (617-686) was a foundational teacher of Korean Buddhism, thanks to his efforts to integrate various aspects of Chinese Buddhism into a single tradition. This syncretic approach remains characteristic of modern Korean Buddhism. Although Won Hyo was a contemporary of the Sixth Ancestor, Hui Neng, he was never exposed to Ch'an. Nonetheless, his teaching reveals a deep dedication to practice. The aphorisms above were translated privately by Zen Master Seung Sahn, with the assistance of Rebecca Bernen.