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Haein-sa Temple, Ready to Welcome Foreign Guests to Templestay

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Writer Jogye Date31 May 2019 Read6,081 Comment0


Haein-sa Temple, Ready to Welcome Foreign Guests to Templestay

Dedication of the Grand Buddhist Project on May 23

Seon Culture Complex with three buildings in it, including the meditation hall with a floor space of 285.12㎡

All the rooms furnished with beds

Facility to learn how to cook the temple cuisine

Haein-sa Temple in Hapcheon (Abbot: Ven. Hyangjeok) unveiled the grand Seon Culture Complex with the opening ceremony on May 23, newly constructed to better connect with foreigners as well as younger generation Koreans and teach them more effectively the values of the Korean Buddhist culture and spirituality. The project was launched 4 years ago, with the construction having started two years ago, and the ceremony on the 23rd was to celebrate the completion of the construction. Located uphill from the Haein-sa’s backyard, the complex consists of; the Seon Forest Hall, a meditation hall that will facilitate an intense Seon meditation experience; the No-self Hall, a dormitory facility with rooms with beds, and; the Rest Hall where conferences and temple food cooking classes will be held. The opening ceremony began with the eye-dotting ceremony (in which the eyes of the Buddha image are painted before it is dedicated and enshrined), followed by tape cutting, hanging of the signboard, opening remark, Dharma talk, congratulatory remark, offering of music, tour of the facility and sharing of the cake.

Many renowned venerables attended the unveiling and dedication ceremony, including Ven. Semin, the chairperson of the Jogye Order Elder’s Council, Ven. Wongak, the head of Haein lineage, Ven Wonhang, the president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, Ven. Taewon, the chairman of Daegakhwi Assembly, Ven. Wontaek, the head of the Korean People’s Community Headquarters, Ven. Hyangjeok, the abbot of Haein-sa Temple, and Ven. Jingak, the director of the Seon Forest Hall. Among the lay attendees are politicians, high-ranking officials from the local government and famous artists, including National Assembly members Jaewon Kim and Daechul Park, Director of Culture, Sport and Tourism from Gyeongnan Provimce Myeonghyeon Ryu, Head of Hapcheon County Junhi Moon, and the former Head of Hapcheon County Changhwan Ha.

In his Dharma talk, the head of Haein lineage Ven. Wongak said, “Mt. Gaya has been one of the 10 holy sites that have served as spiritual refuges for Korean people from ancient times, and with the opening of the Seon Forest Hall, it will continue to offer the same service to modern Koreans as well as to foreigners. I would like to express my gratitude to those who tirelessly committed themselves to this project with all their heart and I hope that the Seon Forest Hall will be a space where people can rid themselves of greed and find their true-self, who they truly are, and be free from the image fabricated by being compared with others, focusing only on competition.”

Ven. Hyangjeok, the abbot of Haein-sa Temple emphasized in this opening speech, saying. “We have seen time and again the westerners came to Haein-sa seeking to experience Seon Buddhism of Korea, but had to turn back in regret because we did not have any facility for them. That motivated Haein-sa to embark upon this journey. The Seon Forest Hall will be a place where people of all nationalities will come experience Haein-sa templestay and find the true peace of mind, regardless of their religion, and the Hall will give impetus to Haein-sa as one of the world practice centers from which Korea’s Buddhism and its Seon spirituality will spread far and wide.”

Ven. Wonhang, the president of the Jogye Order also congratulated Haein-sa’s endeavor, saying, “Heain-sa Temple is the Dharma Jewel temple, one of the spiritual pillars of Korean Buddhism where the Tripitaka Koreana was carved and enshrined in ardent prayers to protect the country in times of crisis, and the opening of the Seon Culture Complex in this most beautiful time of the year will firmly anchor Haein-sa in this role in the 21st century,” and continued to praise the new complex saying, “Hanok, the traditional Korean architectural style in which the Seon Culture Complex is built, is ideal for Seon practice. I hope you will do your best to write a new chapter in the history of Korean Buddhism in this spacious, beautiful and brand new meditation hall.”

The Seon Culture Complex project stared in 2015 when the Abbot of Haein-sa Ven. Hyangjeok, after his stay at overseas Buddhist temples, saw the need to build the facilities to provide more comfortable accommodations to the foreigners who visit Haein-sa Temple and made a proposal to relevant agencies, both in the central and local governments. After a long discussion and preparation, it was finalized in October 2016 to build the Seon Forest Hall with a floor area of 285.12㎡ on a site within Haein-sa Temple of 3300㎡, and in addition, to renovate conference rooms, offices, dormitories and canteen. The ground breaking took place in June 2017, with the total budget of 5.1 million dollars, and as the construction was completed in May this year, the 4-year project finally culminated in the opening ceremony on the 23rd. Hanseong Culture Construction Co. was in charge of building design and construction, while Design Kao undertook the interior design and renovation. The signboard calligraphy was the work of Chodang Muho Lee.

The old and the new are joined in harmony in the Seon Culture Complex. The Seon Forest Hall, which is the most important building of the complex, followed the architectural alignment of traditional temples and Seon monasteries, so visitors are led to enter the premises through the Gate of Non-duality. Entering the Seon Forest Hall, there is a transitory space between the outer door of the Hall and the meditation room, which serves as a space for walking meditation or rest. In the middle of the Hall stands the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha sculpted by Injong Won, an art professor at Ehwa University. It took 2 years for him to finish this statue, which he chose to create in a modern art style to make it accessible for everyone, even for westerners and non-Buddhists. As part of the opening ceremony, the eyes of the Buddha was painted and the Buddhist text was placed inside the statue on that day, which signals the formal dedication and enshrinement of the Buddha.

The Non-self Hall, though decorated with traditional wooden exterior, has all the conveniences and comforts of western lifestyle with single and double rooms furnished with beds to accommodate foreigners as well as younger generation Koreans who are not used to sleeping on the floor with futons. The Rest Hall has the conference rooms and facilities for temple food cooking classes, fixed up with the cutting edge equipment.

Source: Beopbo Daily (http://www.beopbo.com) , Buddhist Daily(www.ibulgyo.com)

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