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Short Journey to Look for `True self`

Posted May. 31, 2001 09:24,   


`A short journey, a long-lasting awakening.`

A sound from a woodblock in a temple that wakes up the dawn, 108 bows that makes one’s body soaked with sweat, Balwoo Kongyang in which one can not leave a little piece of red pepper powder, the self-discipline of meditation in which one can be stricken by a bamboo stick not to loose the `Whadu`….

Although one cannot understand a longtime trained monk’s state of mind with a short stay in a mountain temple, instead of going to a summer vacation, growing number of people leave home to discipline themselves in the mountain temples to look for the `true self`.

The `three precious temples` including Tongdosa in Yangsan, South Kyungsang Province, Haeinsa in Hapchon, South Kyungsang Province, and Songkwangsa in Sunchon, South Jeolla Province and other major temples in the country have opned all schedules for the summer campers and are accepting applications from those who want to participate in a summer disciplinary camp.

The propagation center in Jogyejong has already installed an information phone-line (02-730-0108) to provide information about the summer disciplinary camps.

Haeinsa wil begin a camp on 26th. The camps at Haeinsa, Songkwangsa, and Tongdosa, the three precious temples, are so popular among people that a half of applicants are left off from the lists. The three precious temples are to begin accepting applications from the first day of June. To go to a certain camp for a certain time, people have to apply in advance as people have to hurry to make reservations for hotel rooms in famous vacation destinations.

Haeinsa (from 24th to 28th, July) and Daedunsa in Haenam, South Jeolla Province (from 8th to 14th, August) will have separate disciplinary camps for those who already experienced disciplinary camps. Bumeosa in Busan is to open a camp for those who had studied at Buddhist universities. It is to consider those with more experience so that they can have a deeper meditation.

Many temples prepare disciplinary camps for students from elementary, middle, and high schools, beside of the camps for ordinary people. Especially, Yongjusa in Whasung, Kyungki Province are opening a camps that all family members can come together from 26th to 28th, July.

Although more detailed plans have not been announced yet, many temples are preparing specialized programs based on their own peculiar situation. Daewonsa in Bosung, South Jeolla Province provides a program of Wipassana Discipline of the Southern Buddhism. Pagyesa in Daegu opens a meditative discipline program that is related to prenatal education. Golgulsa in Kyungju, North Kyungsang Province prepares a program that teaches Sunmoodo.

Although there are differences in the daily schedules in a camp depending a certain temple’s situation, they are almost the same. In case of Haeinsa, one wakes up at 3 am and goes to bed at 11 pm. There are a time for meditation after a morning worship, a time for lectures and meditation after the breakfast, a time for strolling and meditation after the lunch, and after dinner, a time for reflection.

Long hour of meditation can be physically challenging for novices. As a matter of fact, in the camps at big temples, such as Tongdosa, Haeinsa, and Songkwangsa where strict rules exist, many people cancel their plans and go home due to the physically challenging schedule and unprepared state of mind. Therefore, one has to be cautious in selecting a disciplinary camp and considering his or her own level.

Song Pyoung-In pisong@donga.com