The Second Ganhwaseon Instructor Training Course of the JOKB
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There was the second Ganhwaseon instructor training course at Seokjong Temple in Chungju from 28 October to 3 November, and the trainees were, 25 Bhikku, 46 Bhikkuni, 25 male lay people, and 12 female lay people. The program was composed of 8 hours of sitting meditation, 2 hours of abbot’s Dharma speech, 2 days of all night vigorous training, prayer chanting, and 108 repentance, aimed chiefly on the practical side of meditation, not theory.
[Photo: It is the picture taken after the opening ceremony. Heguk Sunim, the Director of Geumbong Meditation Center, explains about the nature of the program before starting the meditation.]
"I am glad to meet you all again. In the last training program we had in August, we studied about the comprehensive understanding of the system of Ganhwaseon. But the second training program is composed of promoting the power of vigorous meditation with the firm belief and resolution. I sincerely hope that this training program will help you operating your own meditation program."
The trainees were divided into two groups, priests and lay people, and will train at different places. In the afternoon of the first day, there was a lecture on the basic concept and attitude of Hwadu practice by Heguk Sunim, the Director of the Meditation Center.
"Practice with the idea that you are planting the seed to break the Hwadu or the word-head. People sometimes sue to win the case, but during the training, try to win your self with a firm resolution. Try to realize that you have been living the life of delusion in the dark. Hwadu practice is very rewarding but at the same time it is very demanding because the effect depends entirely on the single momentary thought. Try to practice with all your might till your body no longer could stand. You should be proud of having taken ill by rigorous practice."
Following the speech by the Director of the Center, there was a lecture on the sitting meditation by Seongdon Sunim.
"Bodhidharma said that meditation is both to cut off all the causal conditions of the world and disturbing thoughts in our mind. In the sitting meditation, there are two postures, the full cross-legged or lotus position and the half lotus position. For the easy and effective meditation, the right sitting position is very important. Breathing must be deep and relaxed, and it must be accompanied by Hwadu. The ending of meditation is more important than the beginning of meditation. Most of the practitioners lose their Hawdu by shaking their feet or twisting their body at the end of meditation. One should, instead, remain for about a minute in sitting position quietly after the meditation practice, then stand up and walk slowly for a few minutes."
After the lecture, all started their actual practice in quietude either in full lotus position or in half lotus position according to their ability.
On the second day, the practice started with the striking sound of the great bell at three o’clock in the morning. All practitioners went to the Main Dhama Hall in silence with palms joined and started the morning bell chanting. After the morning bell chanting, everybody went back to his living quarter and started vigorous practice for two hours from four o’clock. There were only the sounds of bamboo clapper and the faint rustling sound of changing the sitting position of meditation.
Lee Nam-jae, one of the practitioners, said, "It was a great help to learn the right way of Hwadu practice, and I want to do my best so that I can improve my knowledge of meditation practice as a Dharma instructor."