Removing the clouds that are blocking our pure light of wisdom, we can become liberated from the chains of karma, thereby becoming truly free. But how do you do this? There are many methods, but the fastest is meditation and the fastest of those is the hwadu, or gong-an (enquiry). By going beyond the level of being able to meditate in deep sleep, you will reach a place of perfect serenity, your original, bright, shining mirror devoid of all dust that had sat on it. You will see your original face, your true nature, the nature of the entire universe, and realize that you had always and originally been a Buddha. This is nirvana. ”
“ No one can help you with this endeavor. No books, no teachers, not even the Buddha. You must walk this road yourself.
Do not sleep more than four hours.
Do not talk more than necessary.
Do not read books.
Do not snack.
Do not wander or travel frequently."
Seongcheol also set a clear benchmark that the practitioner could apply to gauge his level of practice. Throughout his life, many followers came to him to obtain acknowledgment of their enlightenment. He felt dismayed at the number of people who thought they had attained perfect enlightenment by experiencing some mental phenomenon during their practice. He therefore reiterated that every enlightened person from the Buddha and on had given the same definition of enlightenment. True attainment, he quoted, came only after going beyond the level of being able to meditate in deep sleep. Only after being able to meditate on a gong'an continuously, without interruption, throughout the waking state, then the dreaming state, and finally in deep sleep, one reaches the state where enlightenment can become possible. Before any of this, one should never claim to have become enlightened, even though there may be many instances of weird mental phenomena that happens during one's practice:
“ Many practitioners believe that they have attained enlightenment. Some say they have attained it multiple times. This is a big delusion. There is only one true enlightenment, such that the attained state never disappears and then reappears, but is constantly present even through the deepest sleep. As Ma Tzu said, 'attained once, attained forever.' Any enlightenment that comes and goes or has gradations is nothing more than delusion. ”