He practiced very hard, chanting the Great Dharani mantra for 20 hours every day. His skin turned green from a diet of crushed pine needles. He repeatedly packed his bags to abandon the retreat but, ultimately, never walked down the mountain. Mid-way through the retreat he began to hallucinate extensively.
But on the last of the 100 days, he attained a great enlightenment. And later he became known as Zen Master Seung Sahn.
In October, 200 members of the Kwan Um School of Zen visited Buyoungam Hermitage, the place where Zen Master Seung Sahn attained. The small hermitage is perched on a small ledge on a cliff, high in the mountains above Magoksa Temple. It's a precipitous place to practice, in many senses; take five steps from the front door of the hermitage, and you'd be falling.
While visiting the hermitage, we unveiled a small plaque honoring Zen Master Seung Sahn's awakening and we also chanted the Great Dharani mantra.
May all beings awaken to their true nature!
You can watch a video of our visit to Buyoungam Hermitage here.
Zen Master Seung Sahn's Enlightenment Poem:
The road at the bottom of Won Gak Mountain
is not the present road.
The man climbing with his backpack
is not a man of the past.
Tok, tok, tok - his footsteps
transfix past and present.
Crows out of a tree.
Caw, caw, caw.
Crows were in the trees everywhere around the hermitage.