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About Sunmudo

Harmonizing body and mind

Moving Seon(zen)

The philosophy of Sunmudo practice


Vipassana is one of the Buddhist traditional esoteric practice to be cultivated in order to obtain insight into truth.


According to the book ‘Suseupjigwan-jwaseon-beopyo’ written by the ancient chinese master Jieui of Suseonsa temple, it is said that even if there are several ways to enter Parinirvana, the fundamental ways are only Samatha and Vipassana.


During the period of the Six Dynasties in China, following the teaching of Buddhist master Hyeneung, Samatha and Vipassana had developed into Seon (Zen). Arrived in Korea, they impacted the Korean practice and the Koan meditation derived from them.

Grand master's the Buddhist traditional esoteric practice

2,600 years ago, with the advent of Buddhism, new ideas and philosophies were established and developed into a unique practice.

Sunmudo is based on this esoteric Buddhist practice, Vipassana, which is found at the core of today’s Korean Buddhism.

You will find out that Sunmudo is a way of practice to seek enlightenment beyond just martial arts, how it relates to Buddha's teachings and how it has been conveyed in thought and methods based on scriptures and related literature.


There are two ways in the Buddha’s teaching, Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism.


Exoteric Buddhism represents open teachings. Esoteric Buddhism, meanwhile, represents the secret teachings of the Buddha. Therefore, Esoteric Buddhism (Guhyana in Sanskrit) is the teaching of the three secrets: karmic action, karmic speech, karmic thought. You can observe and enjoy by yourself what Vairocana Buddha, the Buddha of Cosmic Energy, realized: “the perceived wisdom is converted into an action of compassion to help all sentient beings to realization.”


The history of Buddhism through this Esoteric aspect shows that Tantric Buddhism derived from Hinduism and primitive Buddhism. It’s a combination of Buddhism and Tantra Buddhism. When Buddhism was founded for the first time, traditional practice such as yoga had already flourished among former inhabitants for a long time and had been accepted by all religions and philosophers universally in India.


Buddha's birth name is Gautama Siddhartha. After he became a monk, he practiced asceticism for 6 years. Yoga was a general practice at that time, but he failed to awaken to enlightenment. He realized that the ascetic practice making the body stressed was wrong. He finally reached concentration (Samadhi in Sanskrit) and enlightenment after he ate a milk porridge which was offered by a girl at the riverside. So, the way to reach Samadhi and enlightenment is to keep balance between body and mind and harmonize them.


The harmony that is mentioned means not only between body and mind but also between strength and weakness, motion and stillness, subjectivity and objectivity, furthermore, between myself and the universe.

 It is known as the Middle Path and is a key to Vipassana.


Vipassana, as an Esoteric Buddhist practice for obtaining an insight into truth, was characterized by the practice of Theravada Buddhism. But metaphysics of Mahayana Buddhism has been added to it gradually.

The sutras of Esoteric Buddhism, Daeilkyeong and Geumkang-jeonggyeong were made, and then in the late 7th century, Esoteric Buddhism had an authentic link to the Buddhist characteristics.


Around the time when Buddhism started to decline in India, the most illustrious and eminent Buddhist monks, like Bodhidharma, were masters of Esoteric Buddhism. This sect of Esoteric Buddhism was known as「the Diamond Way Buddhism」

The legend that Buddhist monks of the Geumgang Buddhist lineage influenced the middle ages by using various new techniques as a way to spread Buddhism, is also found in many early Buddhist temples in Korea. In particular, the Nahangong ceremony and the Yeokgeunkyung book, which were invented by Bodhidharma, contributed greatly to martial arts and health in later generations.


Right Mediation is one of the eight steps of the Noble Eightfold Path, a specific practice from the Buddha’s first teaching: the Four Noble Truth, and the way to reach enlightenment. Right Meditation is the point of Vipassana. It is said that the Buddha also made this “Right Meditation to Samadhi (Perfect Concentration)” the basis of his practice.


The key point of Vipassana is to pursue the three secrets of Esoteric Buddhism, body, speech and mind which are creating karma. By purifying karma made by body, speech, and mind, and harmonizing everything through Vipassana, we dissipate our past karma and get wisdom in the present time.

According to Cheontaesojikwan written by the Buddhist monk CheontaeJieui for meditation, there are three ways: body control, breath control and mind control.

Body control is to regulate and train your body. Practitioners are doing yoga in India and Sundo in China. It makes mind and body empty, transcending oneself to come back to emptiness in order to improve the flexibility, elasticity, muscular strength and body balance through practice of both stillness and motion.


And it is to harmonize all the motions, walking, standing, sitting, lying, speaking, being silent, moving, and being still, from a perspective of practice with reasonable conditions and methods.


Ocheyubeop, a Sunmudo practice like yoga, to keep balance and work our fundamental constitution.

It relaxes the five parts of body: arms, legs, belly, back, head and makes them flexible. The deformed or deteriorated bones, joints, muscles, as a result, are relaxed and corrected.


Nowadays, people living in a material civilization building their life only in a comfortable way.

Too much division of work and repetitive actions also cause unconscious imbalance in the workers’ body.

In terms of psychology as well as physiology and anatomy, it is found that most of people suffer and have neurological diseases derived from a disturbed state of mind and body.


The practice of Vipassana in our modern time can purify and harmonize irrational thoughts and habitual behaviors that can bring mental anguish and physical diseases. It helps us achieve the right way and a healthy social life in society.


The Buddhist traditional esoteric practice of Sunmudo

There are a variety of Sunmudo practice, and sitting meditation is one of them. First, you sit in lotus posture, take a deep breath, do many kind of mudras and then control your psychological state in order to go into Samadhi (perfect concentration)


Mudra (Sanskrit) is named ‘Suin’ or ‘Ingye’ in Korean. It expresses the Buddha’s world with the symbolic of hand gestures. It is also called ‘In’ or ‘insang’ which means a seal or mark in Korean. When the word ‘In’ is combined with Buddha’s enlightenment ‘Beop’, it is called ‘Beopin’ which means the seal of the dharma. There are three Dharma seals that are called Tri dharma mudra in Sanskrit:

1. All things in a phenomenal realm are impermanent

2. All phenomena have no self-nature

3. Nirvana is to be free from birth and death, samsara


‘Ingye’ furthermore, means a Buddha statue or mantra. Mantra also means ‘the true word’ according to Geumkang-jeonggyeong Sutra, one of three esoteric Buddhism’s sutras. It also means the seal of Bodhisattva's great vows in a narrow sense in the Daeilgyeongso, Buddhist book written by Ilhaeng of Chinese Tang Dynasty.


Ingye is to make a mind stay in one place and to attain samadhi through this form of yoga. The samadhi through this form of yoga has been descended from Upanishad and one of the original Buddhism’s sect, Sujeong, and means going into the true nature through watching phenomena.


If you have a careful look at Buddha statues or Bodhisattva statues, you will notice that all of them have different postures. In other words, standing or sitting statues, have different mudras and hand postures. Each mudra symbolizes each Buddha and Bodhisattva’s great vow and ideal.

If you relate the mudras to the human body, you will realize that the psychological state and the physiological function vary depending of the type of mudras you are practicing.


You will harmonize your body, mind and breath and then go into samadhi by connecting the motions of mudras in the correct way.

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