Mirror of Zen Blog

Hwa Gye Sah Temple, in the Mountains Outside Seoul

From time to time, I get asked about the main home temple where I trained with Zen Master Seung Sahn, from 1990 until about 2010 .

Here is a very recent mini-documentary about the temple these days. The film was produced by Korea’s government-run English language channel, so it is a little bit overly-polished and not focusing deeply on Buddhist teachings. It is mostly the tourist aspect, you could say.

But it does give a sense of the life of an important temple located so close to the center of one of the world’s most densely packed metropolitan concentrations.

When Zen Master Seung Sahn was alive and teaching, there were up to 40 non-Korean monks living and practicing hard together. It was such a glorious place to be.

The room where the four Western monks are filmed drinking tea with the present day Abbot, is the room where Zen Master Seung Sahn passed “out” of his body into Nirvana on November 30, 2004. Some of us had the truly auspicious merit to have been present in the room that day, kneeling by his bedside. If an image of that room suddenly appears — as in this documentary, which was brought to my attention quite by chance — it is hard not to feel a slight skip of the heart on seeing it.

And here is more or less the view into downtown Seoul from the mountain behind Hwa Gye Sah:

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