With the hope that some day I might do a Temple Stay in Korea, I want to learn more about Korean Buddhism.
I was raised a Protestant Christian, and I practice Metta (loving kindness) meditation. My knowledge of other religions is limited. I am chanting the Heart Sutra and bowing each morning for about a month now. I want to learn to write the Heart Sutra in traditional Chinese characters.
My visit to the Providence Zen Center made me think about what life is like in Buddhist temples. I was amazed that most people did not need the chanting book, while I struggle to memorize just the short Heart Sutra. Learning language, both Korean and Chinese, becomes an essential step on the road to my future Korean Buddhist Temple visit.
You may enjoy this speech given by an American Buddhist nun who went to South Korea for nun training.
“The monastic life is first and foremost not an ideal but something that regular people are trying to live.” – Seon Joon Sunim
“If you go to the traditional seminary, you will learn how to make harmony with others. If I had to say one thing about monastic community in Korea that defines it is it’s emphasis on harmony. … A good monastic is someone who creates no friction in the community … In learning to make harmony, you have to learn how to give up your own stubborn desires.”
As I was helping clean the kitchen after morning chanting, chatting with the residents of Providence Zen Center, hearing them laugh, listening to them speak of Buddhist principles as applied to every day life, I felt that being a part of a community, even if just for a short retreat, could be a powerful way to learn about Buddhism.