Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ave, GI Korea!

GI Korea, over at ROK Drop, has put up a very nice photo essay about a recent visit to Songgwang-sa, one of the "Three Jewels" Zen temples in Korea. Dr. Robert Buswell of UCLA, author of many books and articles on Korean Buddhism, trained at Songgwang-sa and lived there for several years. His insider's book on life at the temple, The Zen Monastic Experience, is a must-read for people interested in Korean-style Seon (Zen) Buddhism.

In Buddhist terminology, the Three Jewels (Sam-bo in Sino-Korean) are the Buddha (the Teacher), the Dharma (the Teaching), and the Sangha (the monastic community, but now widely interpreted to mean all practitioners/adherents of Buddhism, and sometimes interpreted even more cosmically than that). In Korea, Tongdo-sa, which possesses some of Shakyamuni's relics, represents the Buddha; Haein-sa, thanks to an extensive library that includes the Tripitaka Koreana, represents the Dharma; Songgwang-sa, known as a major center of monastic training, represents the Sangha.

One of GI Korea's impressive photos shows the famous monk Wonhyo at the moment he encounters the skull that he'd thought was a bowl.


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