27 March 2010

My Soul Searching Experience

“When the owner of the house leaves the body and the last breath is taken, in a few days the body will rot. It will be cremated and buried. Bones and flesh return to earth, the phlegm will return to the water, the breath will return to the wind and the heat will return to fire. When we return to the original home, there is nothing found. However, the owner of the house, the TRUE SELF has existed before the universe was formed and will remain changeless after the universe is destroyed. When we see this directly, the path of truth is completely found within there.” Seon(Zen) Master Jinje
“Embittered by arrogance, jealousy, envy, desire, fear, and anxiety of the ‘SELF,’ being live mindlessly and die. This is the fate of ordinary beings. With foolish desire, we try to make all things our own. No matter what great university we graduated from, even if were the president or high government official, we can not eliminate conflictive emotions and suffering, When we get to know our TRUE SELF, the conflicts of the mind disappear. All the world with this self included is one house and one body. We don’t need to make anything our own.” Seon(Zen) Master Jinje
On a cold and windy winter morning of March 2010 I arrived at Bonginsa Temple-Korea in search of my True Self and to learn the basic practice that consists of sitting in Zen meditation, walking in Zen meditation and Tea ceremony. I was warmly welcomed at the reception in traditional Korean style.
Buddha way has always fascinated me in a deeply spiritual way to know true self better! And keeping up with the elegant tradition of the temple, you will be sleeping in small quarters, getting up before sunrise, eating spartanly, seating and walking meditatively – all in between exploring unique architecture of the temple ground, its serene surrounding and the minds of the Bhikkhu and Bhikkuni that escort you through this divine journey of wisdom to introspect the Buddha within us.
It is a rare place where one can practice the vipassanaa meditation with great monks who visit Bonginsa from Myanmar and Tibet for the vipassanaa meditation. Vi means the complete absence of ego and passanaa means illumination. It is a practice of Theravadan Buddhism to root out ignorance, greed and evil passion and achieve the state of liberation through wisdom.
The practice demands trainee to focus on self by observing state of their mind. In order to take a look at the state of our mind and body, we have to concentrate on breath, heartbeat, footstep, movements and feelings. The basic practice consists of sitting in Zen meditation and walking in Zen meditation. We are asked to observe the right posture, breathing and abdominal movement when we sit in Zen mediation, and to observe the footstep when we slowly walk in Zen meditation. We are also asked to notice every movement including having meals, ideas and the external sounds in everyday life. While taking a look at ego, we can realize that everything comes and goes, and mind is just a constantly changing state made by ideas, images, emotions and environment.
Meditation hall is located in such a tranquil atmosphere where the sound of breathing is even louder. This silent environment has helped me to cut off from outside distractions, removing noise of my mind and becoming one with point of focus.
Making or drinking tea in a ceremonial fashion is a part of Buddha’s eightfold path. If one does not make or drink tea with clear and focused mind, the served tea will not be able to achieve its potential in terms of fragrance and taste. Also one’s posture while serving and drinking tea is important; the proper posture for such an event is to sit in a meditative position with calmpose mind. Tea is to be imbibed with all five senses. One must try to focus to hear the sound of the boiling tea water, see the light’s and reflection in the vessel, feel the warmth of the tea cup, smell its fragrance and taste the tea.
It was a great soul searching experience.....
I express my profound thanks to:
-Mr. I. S. Park for arranging my stay at Bonginsa
-Mr. D. I. Kim for extending enormous help to ensure my journey memorable
-Ms. Kang Jong M. - A wonderful affectionate buddhist teacher. She has spent very valuable time to show me traditional side of korea. I am thankful to her for valuable teaching and guidence on buddhism. I will always cherish her teaching and warmth in years to come.
By: Aditya Ajmera