Mirror of Zen Blog

How the Bikkhunis Do It

Un Mun Sah is one of the greatest centers of “bikkhuni”-education and training in the world. We call it “nun’s college”. Four years of highly structured life, lots of hard farm work and great sutra lectures several hours a day with the top teachers in Korean Buddhism. Intensive community life. No “privacy” as we would understand it. (I am extremely lucky to have been raised in a house with 10 other humans!) It is a college and a camp and a red-hot kiln for making rough clay into an elegant, simple teacup or bowl.

There are — unfortunately rare — cases of bodhi-filled Western women who were able to really make the tough training their own, and really pass on tradition when they later began teaching. I know of some really great Lithuanian bikkhuni-sisters who were so prepared and brimming with authentic Temple experience to share in the West and in their respective base-Temples in HK and in Korea.

Tragically one of them was lost exactly one year ago at a shockingly early age. She had so much to give. She was just beginning building a Sangha in her native land, near her aging parents. The only-child who’d left them for some 20 years of training and practicing and serving the Sangha. She was now back home.

Only 13 months ago tomorrow. She transitioned unexpectedly. A Sangha in shock.

This video of the chanting nuns of great Un Mun Sah Temple, in honor of the soul of Myong Hae Sunim JDPS.

There’s lots of preliminary material at the beginning, as part of showing the entire temple complex’s twice-daily performance for all sentient beings to hear, to be invited into the Dharma Room for practice. All of the drumming and gonging – – calling out to the beasts, calling out to us. Calling out to Myong Hae Sunim to return to Dharma consciousness, find a good rebirth. And find her Teacher again, Dae Kwan Sunim, while she is still active and fit. Much unfinished work to do…

“Sentient beings are numberless, we vow to save them all.”

Share this on:

Related Posts: