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“I wasn’t brave enough to go and ask, and didn’t have the insight to understand… I have just awaited a chance to meet a teacher.”
Hong, Seonhee (60, Sincheon-dong, Seoul), who retired from government service three years ago, has tasted Ganhwaseon only through books. She couldn’t hide her expectations at the opening ceremony for “the 1st Introductory Ganhwaseon Program”, which is being held by the Jogye Order. She is looking forward to having systematic Ganhwaseon practice and at the same time studying correct Buddhist doctrine. In a hall for laymen at Bong-eunsa Temple in Seoul on March 14th at 7 pm, 54 lay Buddhists sat with the same expectations as Ms. Hong. When Ven. Jinmyeong, the Director of the Research Office for Missionary activities of the Jogye Order, said, “You can have hope and trust”, on the faces on the participants there was firm resolution. Right after the congratulatory speech, seon practitioner Hwang, Su-gyeong told them about the program’s features, purpose, schedule, and so on.
“Each of us is truly a Buddha. That is the definite answer for ‘Why should we practice seon?’” This program will let you know how to solve difficult situations you run into on a daily basis with Ganwhaseon, and find a link connecting the two things (practice and daily life) on your own. You can have an expectation. Check your changed inner world in 10 weeks.” This program thoroughly focuses on actually experiencing Ganhwaseon practice, and on raising the understanding of that practice. In other words, its main emphasis is “strengthening the foundation.” The program is divided into three sections: lectures, questions and answers, and sharing experiences with each other. Sharing their experience is especially important for the beginner practitioners to check their study by themselves by sharing their changes from the situation of not knowing Ganhwaseon practice to after experiencing it, with others.
This program’s development team provided a time for questions and answers particularly considering beginners. To get the maximum out of Ganhwaseon practice, the Q & A time will be run with a couple of principals, such as: ∆ questions must get to the point within one minute ∆ refrain from questions too controversial or questions to show off ∆ questions only related to one’s practice ∆ no questions just to test the teachers, and so on.
Ven. Jinmyeong said, “It’s time for practicing Buddhism, not simply believing in it. So this program has a great meaning for popularizing Ganhwaseon, which is the core of the Jogye Order’s practice.” He also added, “We will try to make this introductory program a basic guide for lay Buddhists by continually improving any weak points of the program in the future.”