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Hangja (Postulant) Training Course
The Hangja (a candidate preparing to become monk or nun) training course takes place from September 5 ~ 18 at the newly built KoreanBuddhistCulturalCenter near MagoksaTemple and GongjuCity. One hundred fifty one Hangjas participate in this year’s course.
The hangjas (monastic prospects) put aside their past lifestyle, to begin life as a renunciate at a new and unfamiliar temple. There is a need for the elder monastics to show exceptional interest, consideration, and guidance, so that the postulants acclimate well to temple life and correctly pursuit the monastic path.
The temple’s elder monks, while living together with the postulants, must observe whether they have what it takes to make future monastics by thoroughly examining the hangja’s resume, maturation process, past awards and reprimands, family situation, and health history. After closely observing the attitude and behavior of the postulants to determine that they have the sincere motivation of a renunciate, only then are they allowed to stay as postulants.
The hangja (postulant) who has taken the first step, must choose a vocation master (Unsa Sunim) that will lead them, and guide them properly as practitioners. Once the vocation master is selected, the relationship cannot be cancelled without mutual agreement. Therefore, this selection should be done cautiously. The vocation master must have been ordained for at least 10 years, is over 30 years old, passed the third level monastic examination, and must be of at least a Joong-deok or Jeong-deok monastic rank.
Hair-cutting Ceremony and Hangja (Postulant) Robes
Hair-cutting ceremony is meaningful because it officially confirms the hangja as a member of the order. Therefore, this is a formal ceremony, which follows ceremonial procedure with the monastic community in attendance. After this ceremony, the male hangjas wear the brown robes and the female hangjas wear orange robes.
Admission into the Hangja (Postulant) Training Course
The hangja’s (postulant’s) qualifications are: high school graduate, over 15 years old, and under 50. Once the hangja is trained at the home temple for at least five months, he/she enters the group hangja training course. The main contents of the training course are: novice vows, the “Admonitions to beginners” text, life of Buddha, elementary doctrine, and Buddhist ceremonies. After the completion of the training course, by passing the fifth level monastic examination, the postulant takes the Shramanera/Shramanerika (Sami/Samini) vows and becomes a novice.