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Bangbu (방부)

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Writer Jogye Date22 Jul 2015 Read13,732 Comment0


Bangbu (榜附), a Procedure to Participate in a Seon Retreat 



Before participating in the biannual three-month meditation retreat, named “angeo (安居)” in Korea, a practitioner first needs to get permission from the temple where he or she wants to spend the retreat. This procedure is called the “bangbu,” which literally means “putting one’s name on the plaque of Yongsangbang.” The term Yongsangbang (龍象榜) refers to the plaque on which the retreat participants’ names are, listed along with their assigned tasks and responsibilities during the retreat. In other words, bangbu is a procedure by which a participant conveys his or her wish to participate in an upcoming angeo at the temple and, hopefully, receives permission. There is also a qualification screening process involved before an applicant is approved.

When the permission is given, the retreat participant fills in the retreat participation application. This application usually covers such items as the participant’s secular name, Dharma name, monastic register number, Korean citizen identification number, name of his or her teacher, home temple, ordination information and history of retreat participation. The style of the application varies slightly between different Seon Centers but the general content is the same.

The formal bangbu ritual is usually performed during a monastic gathering. The retreat participant is fully dressed up in a long grey robe and brown kaṣāya and offers three prostrations toward the center of the room where the gathering is held. Then he or she announces his home temple, his teacher and his Dharma name, after which the Guiding Teacher (Josil) or the Director of the Seon Center (Seonwonjang) encourages the applicant by saying “Practice diligently!” After these formalities, the applicant finally receives official permission to attend the angeo retreat at that particular temple.

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


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