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Wolwoon Sunim, dean of Neungumhakrim opens summer class for public temporarily

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Writer admin Date12 Jun 2006 Read7,742 Comment0

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Wolwoon Sunim, director of Dongguk the sutra translation Institute who has been devoting his entire life to sutra translation in Korean, aspired to produce many sutra translators. He is also the dean of Neungumhakrim, professional education institute for Jogye order in Bongseonsa, as such he will open the summer class for public from 13 to 18 of August.

The open class is for student monks who are interested in the study of sutra or potential instructors to experience the traditional method. Above all, the purpose of class is to promote senses of reading Buddha’s taught and doctrine which are fundamental to accurate sutra translation. The registration period is from June 1 to July 31.

“One sutra says ‘Buddha gives a fortune’, and another says ‘Kill the Buddha’ at the same time. They look inconsistent, but there is a single point in common among them. How to explain them properly is up to instructors. Just like good translation only when you read between the lines.”

The temporary open class is to take Neungumhakrim everyday, rather than a special event. Needless to say, participating class itself is extraordinary experience. The teaching material in class is mainly <Flower Garland Sutra(華嚴經)> and ‘Sagi(私記)’. Sagi is a kind of ‘studying journal’ commented by senior practitioners from their experience, which are only found in Korea. They are result from great perspiration and efforts of ancestors. Most of Sagis are written in cursive hand and hard to recognize, but they are treasure accumulating knowledge of sutra translation for generations.

Goado(科圖), the subject index of sutra is dealed with in class as well as Sagi. That is ‘what kind of’ sutras to be read through Goado and ‘how to read them’ are through Sagi. Eventually, students will learn a basis of translation. The method in Neungumhakrim asks great passion and patience. The open class is to teach the relentless sprit of old practitioners, so that nowadays student can learn precious way of traditional studying.

Wolwoon sunim is 78 years old and the oldest instructor in Jogye order, but he has never been missing teaching monks for 3 hours every morning from 7 o’clock. “I would like to deliver advantages from traditional studying to juniors just as I learned Neungumhakrim from my teacher, great master Woonheo Sunim” he said. He hopes to cultivate the best scholar monks who know Korean Buddhism well and spread their knowledge around the world. This is his last aspiration in present life.

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