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‘Watch your mind as it arises and subsides’
Visit to the Korean American Buddhist Youth Program
‘I can’t understand my mind because my mind is running so wild.’
‘Do not force it. If you simply watch your mind you will eventually see the gap in between thoughts’
‘Is it possible to attain Enlightenment just by finding that gap?’
‘Just let go of that thought too. Just put it aside in your secret hiding place and you can open it 20 years after.’
This is a wholehearted conversation regarding the law of Seon meditation practice, which took place
between Lee Jaewon (10 yrs, youth participant) and Ven. Sangin(Chief Secretary, Korean International
Buddhist Network). Ms. Jaewon was very excited about her first Seon experience and poured out various
questions to Ven. Sangin. The Ven. was able to teach the students in fluent English as he studied in
Australia and have experience in teaching the students.
Other student participants also asked various questions without hesitation, such as “Is there a way
become a monk in the U.S.?’ or ‘Why do we have to eat vegetarian meals?’ The Ven. moved the minds of
the participants with simple answers such as, ‘What is important here is not about avoiding the meat, but
to appreciate the food offered to us with a humble attitude.’
‘I can’t take control of my mind because it is changing so quickly.’
The poured out questions that they were always curious about
The Korean Youth Cultural Program is hosted by Headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism (Director of Social Affairs, Ven. Hyegyeong), New York Buddhist Association (President, Ven. Hwi Gwang Sunim), and New York Buddhist Network (President, Mr. Go Chang Rye). This 3rd year program is supervised by the Korean Buddhist International Network (President, Ven. Jeongbeom). Over 30 students participated in this year’s program and participants varied from elementary school students through college students. After listening to the instruction from Ven. Myeongbeop, students sat for 2 different sessions for 10 minutes each. Although they were full of energy at first, they suddenly became serious when the meditation session began. Following the meditation session, the participants followed Ven. Sangin to view the Main Buddha Hall and the rest of the JogyesaTemple.
Most of the students were born outside of Korea, but they all agreed that they ‘wish to participate in the retreat again’. Ms. Yiyera (22 yrs.) states, ‘Although it was a little frustration because there are too many buildings, I feel like I am making history when I am inside the temple.’ In addition to her testimony, she added ‘I would like to lead a life of dedication.’
Ms. Choe Jihaeng (17 yrs.) who came with his brother said, ‘It’s very peaceful and serene here’ and added with a smile, ‘I want to participate again if the opportunity presents itself again.’
Many students from Jogyesa, Okcheonam and Mitasa temple, along with other Buddhist students from SeoulCity also participated in this retreat, which made this retreat even more meaningful. Kim Teseong (Grade 2, Geumjeong Middle School) said, “I decided to participate to meet Korean friends from overseas.” and added, “It was a little awkward at first. Although we may look alike, we could not really communicate with each other. But, I would like to keep in touch with them.”
Pictures are provided by Buddhist Newspaper.