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Regulations of Monastic Life at Seon Centers (선원청규)

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Writer Jogye Date22 Jul 2015 Read9,228 Comment0


Regulations of Monastic Life at Seon Centers


The so-named “Pure Rules (淸規)” concern the Vinaya, or regulations regarding monastic life, established by the Seon School of Buddhism. One of the most well-known texts concerning monastic regulations in the Chinese Seon School is the Pure Rules of Baizhang (百丈淸規; Ch. Baizhang qinggui; Ko. Baekjang cheonggyu), which is famous for its aphorism, “A day without work is a day without food (一日不作 一日不食).” The monastic regulations of Korean Buddhism also rely on the Pure Rules of Baizhang, but the Korean Sangha has also established its own, more simplified monastic regulations several times in its history, as shown in the Self-Admonitions for Beginners (初發心自警文; Chobalsim jagyeongmun) and Guidelines for Communal Living (共住規約; Gongju gyuyak). 

A complete and authoritative book containing the regulations for monastic life was recently published in Korea. In 2011, the Bureau of Monastic Training, an administrative division of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, published the Pure Rules for Seon Centers of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism (Daehanbulgyo jogyejong seonwon cheonggyu). The publication attracted much attention as it was the first attempt to systematize monastic regulations in the 1,700-year history of Korean Buddhism.

The Pure Rules for Seon Centers of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism modernized monastic regulations by addressing diverse issues and questions faced by modern Sangha including: financial transactions, the reversion of monastics’ private belongings to the order, and the ownership of vehicles and electronic appliances as well as issues such as ecology and organ donation. In addition, this publication also addressed, in simple and concise terms, what is required to practice Buddhism in these modern times, rendering itself a guide for the daily lives of practitioners.


- excerpt from Buddhist English (Intermediate 1) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism


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