Master DaeWon began experiencing spontaneous states of deep samadhi while still a child. Eventually, he became a novice monk, and was thought to be an absent minded idiot by the other monks because he would wander off for days and nights and be found standing alone in a sesame field, or would be given the task of boiling beans for the monastery and would enter deep samadhi and burn up the entire pot of beans.
Eventually, he devoted himself completely to Yongmaeng Jeongjin, "Fearless Practice," eating only one meal a day and sitting up day and night in meditation. Everyone started calling him “the mute” and treated him as if he were someone else. Sitting in silence without food for a whole day would make his lips chap and stick together so that he had to go down to the brook and wash his lips before taking his meals.
He finally experienced great enlightenment upon hearing the sound of wind passing through the pine trees at his hermitage. He then composed this poem:
What is this thing that carries this body?
On the third or fourth year I had contemplated thus,
To the sound of the wind swishing through the pine trees,
The great work was completed all at once.
What is sky and what is earth?
This mind, as it is pure, is boundless, just like this.
Responding, just like this, where there is no inside or outside,
There is originally nothing gained nor lost.
Is there anyone who can believe without a doubt?
All thoughts, knowing and distinguishing,
Over which we spend our day;
This is the mysterious awakening even before the ancient Buddha!
After reciting the Song of Enlightenment, he exclaimed, “You of yesterday is not the I of today but I of today is the you of yesterday.” Then another song sprang from his lips:
Illusion is destroyed by illusion,
being destroyed, there is no destruction!
Three times three reversed is still nine.
Later, while passing the field of Gimje, he composed his second Song of Enlightenment:
The sun in the west and the moon in the east,
lightly hang over the mountains.
And the fields of Gimje are filled with the autumn hue.
Even though the whole universe cannot be,
people come and go on the road with the setting sun.