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Training of Ganhwaseon Instructor Program kicked Off on August 14

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Writer admin Date25 Aug 2006 Read13,735 Comment0

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What is Ganhwaseon or Word Contemplation Seon? It is a meditation practice with holding a word, or "a word-head" to break the "doubt" or question raised in the "word" to perceive our self-nature or our "original face." This unique sudden enlightenment meditation practice has been a long tradition of the Korean Buddhism. However, it has been argued lately that it does not meet the demand of the new era of 21st century. One of the reasons pointed out was that it has been secluded in the monasteries in the deep mountains for exclusive practitioners.

Fortunately, it has awakened from the long slumber. Inauguration of the Training of Ganhwaseon Instructor Program for popularization of the meditation on the 14th of August at Seokjong Temple in Chungju City seems to signal the bright future of the traditional Korean Ganhwaseon practice.

The opening ceremony was the heat of the scorching August sun itself. Total number of 116 ardent trainees were composed of 12 male Buddhist monks, 63 female Buddhist nun, 28 male lay persons, 13 female lay persons.

The following is the encouragement address of Cheonghwa Sunim, Director of the Education Department of the Jogye Order:

"The interest in meditation practice has been increasing both at home and abroad, but the numbers of instructors who can assist the aspirants with the easy way to follow were far below the demand. It is about time that we should be prepared to meet the demand of the new era not only for the popularization of our traditional meditation practice at home but for its propagation abroad as well."

Director of the Seon Monastery at Seokjong Temple also gave a welcome address:

"I understand that all of you are here to look into your heart to find out what you are and where you are now heading to. I wish all of you to have your mind of lotus field filled with its sweet fragrance. But if not, I sincerely wish you to take at least a seed of its fragrance through your vigorous training."

In reply, the trainees swore the following vows:

1. We shall preserve the lineage of great teachings of Buddha.
2. We shall practice with all our might in harmony for the advancement of the Order.
3. We shall proclaim the supreme teaching of Buddha far and wide.
4. We shall illuminate the whole world as the Bodhi-mandala of Buddha.
5. We shall remember the supreme practice of Ganhwaseon and shall do our best in our training and practice.

At the closing of the opening ceremony, Gou Sunim, the director of this program said that when he was asked to superintend the program, he was not sure if he could carry it out successfully, but then he thought that if we all work together with our best, there is nothing we could not do. He also said that it will not be easy to attain enlightenment over night, but he really wished all the trainees to transform their view of life and value of things at this occasion.

The program is scheduled with lecture, question and answer session, group discussion in the theory of Ganhwaseon for a week. They will receive a certificate when they complete another one week actual practice program to be held in November.

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