Asceticism and Enlightenment3
A sea dragon came one morning, shaking and moving. 朝魚龍來攪動
It is truly impressive how it turns over the waves and rises up. 波翻浪湧眞堪重
If one does not sit silently and concentrates one’s efforts 比如靜坐不用功
When will one pass the examination and realize that one’s heart is empty? 何年及第悟心空
- Jikji, Volume 2 -
The poems in Jikji uses various metaphors to effectively convey the author’s message. In lines 1 and 2 of this poem, the giddily whirling heart is compared to a sea dragon causing waves, while achieving enlightenment is compared to passing the civil service examination. By using specific metaphors, the poem reveals the need for practicing mediation in a focused and specific way. In particular, the need to concentrate during meditation has often been customarily compared to a cat catching a mouse, a mouse not giving up in a bull’s horn, and a chicken incubating eggs, but this poem uses a new metaphor to express this concept.
Source: Jeon, Jae-gang (2017)