The term "mundane realm" refers to the space in which sentient beings abide. In early Buddhism, this mundane realm was regarded as an obstacle to be avoided and overcome. As Mahāyāna Buddhism spread, however, buddhas and bodhisattvas were venerated as beings abiding in that mundane realm and having a thorough insight into it without being defiled by it. This respect for them then led to the notion of "supra-supramundane," which mandates that practitioners transfer their merits to the mundane realm without being stuck in the pursuit of the "supramundane." Wŏnhyo (617–686), who is well known for his unhindered acts (K. muae haeng 無礙行), established firm doctrinal foundations for the notion of "supra-supramundane." Influenced by the scholarship of the Dilun master Huiyan (523–592), Wŏnhyo identified the cognitive hindrance, mentioned in the Awakening of Faith, as the fundamental ignorance that discriminates the mundane from the supramundane. Such an attitude is also discernible in his Yŏlban chongyo. In that text, he does not consider the nirvāṇa without remainder to be an extinction of mind and body; he identified it as a unity of a sentient being's suchness with the dharma-body of buddhas. He also criticizes the Hīnayāna attachment to the nirvāṇa without remainder and upholds the idea of the nirvāṇa with remainder, which underscores active involvement in the mundane realm. He finally emphasized the nirvāṇa of nonabiding. His view of nirvāṇa is closely related to his view of this world in which he recognizes the value of bodhsattvas' salvific activities.


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