Monday, September 26, 2005

Hwagyesa Temple

On Sunday I made my way to the Hwagyesa temple located in northeast Seoul on Sam Gak mountain for sitting meditation and a Dharma talk in English. The guiding teacher was born into a large Catholic family in New Jersey, graduated from Yale and received his Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard and then decided to become a monk after meeting Zen master Seung Sahn at Harvard. He led the Dharma talk and was very captivating and humorous, not at all what I was expecting and in reality, much better. The focus of the talk (and the primary focus of Buddhism) is to always live in the moment for nothing is guaranteed in life. I believe this poem says it all:

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.

The afternoon was very relaxing--especially after the chaos of kindergartners. I also met a few new friends that I went to dinner with in Hiwa when we left the temple. If you want to see pictures of the temple or read more about the founder Zen Master Seoung Sahn the website is: