'' Sermon of One Hundred Days '' ... '' Echoes from Mt. Kaya: Selections on Korean Buddhism '' ... " Opening the Eye " .
Seongcheol (is the dharma name of a Korean Seon (Zen) Master. He was a key figure in modern Korean Buddhism, being responsible for significant changes to it from the 1950s to 1990s. Seongcheol was widely recognized in Korea as having been a living Buddha, due to his extremely ascetic lifestyle, the duration and manner of his meditation training, his central role in reforming Korean Buddhism in the post-World War II era, and the quality of his oral and written teachings.
Born on April 10, 1912 in Korea under the name of Yi Yeongju, Seongcheol was the first of seven children of a Confucian scholar in Gyeongsang province. Having read numerous books on philosophy and religion, both Western and Eastern, he reportedly felt dissatisfied, being convinced that these could not lead him to truth. Seongcheolfelt as if "a bright light had suddenly been lit in complete darkness," and that he had finally found the way to the ultimate truth.
Immediately, he started meditating on the "Mu" gong-an (Japanese: koan) and started ignoring all his responsibilities at home. Deciding that his parents' house had too many distractions, he promptly packed his bags and went to Daewonsa (Daewon temple). After obtaining permission to stay in the temple, the young Seongcheol started to meditate intensively. Later in life, he would say that he attained the state of Dongjeong Ilyeo at this early point in his life in only forty-two days.
In the summer of 1940, he went into deep meditation at the Geum Dang Seon Center and attained enlightenment. Having become a monk at the age of 25, he had attained his true nature in only three years. He went on to write his enlightenment poem. He also expounded on the true definition of the Middle Way stating that it was not limited to avoiding the two extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification as many understood, but that it was also an explanation of the state of nirvana where all dualities fuse and cease to exist as separate entities, where good and bad, self and non-self-become meaningless.