By Cultural Editor Song Na-ra (vice chairman)
Venerable Chief Abbot Hongpa of the Korean Buddhist Gwangeum Order was appointed the 9th-term leader of the Order, and Ven. Beopmyung, the chief abbot of Beopseongsa Temple in Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do was tapped as the Order’s new general secretary.
The Korean Buddhist Gwaneum Order held a ceremony for the appointment ceremony for the new head of the General Assembly on the occasion of the 95th birthday of Deokodang Beopseong, founder of the Beopseong-sa Buddhist, at the Temple in Changnyeong on June 24, 2022.
The ceremony was attended by famed Buddhist leaders, Venerable Hongpa, who was appointed as the 9th-term leader of the Gwaneum Order, as well as other Buddhist leaders such as Venerable Daedeok and Shindo to commemorate the birthday of the Bodhisattva Beopseong and congratulate the appointment of Ven. Beopmyung as general secretary.
Above all, the appointment meeting heralded the advent of a new era of a leap and development of the Order.
Venerable Hongpa, the newly tapped 9th-term leader of the Korean Buddhist Gwaneum Order, said in his remarks: “As the members of our Order, together as the founding leaders of the Beopseong-sa Temple, we will devote ourselves to training and engraving the legacy of the Beopseong and Deokodang, who worked hard for the development of the Temple. I am very happy to see the developments done and I hope hope that the new leaders will continue to work hard so that the development of the Order can best meet the expectations of the Korean Buddhist believers and further grow into an Order that stands out in Korea and around the world with the passage of time.
General Director Beopmyung who received the appointment letter, said, “Thanks to the benevolence of Beopseong Bodhisattva, the founder of Beopseong-sa Temple, I was able to concentrate on my training and tactics, and my shoulders are heavy to take on such an important role of the Order. I will do my best for the bright future of Buddhism with a good mind of repaying Venerable Beopseong.”
Myogak-sa Buddhist Temple is a Korean Buddhist temple located in the heart of downtown Seoul, the Republic of Korea, in the Jong-no District, is located nestled snugly on the east side of Naksan Mountain. The Temple houses the administrative headquarters of the Gwaneum Order of Korean Buddhism. It is located close to the Dongmangbong Peak, Naksan Park, Donggwanmyo Shrine and Dongdaemun Market.
Myogak-sa was established in May 1942 by Ven. Taeheo Hongseon in accordance with a geomantic prediction that Seoul residents would be at peace if a temple was constructed here. Based on a geomantic principle, Mt. Naksan, on which Myogak-sa is located, corresponds to a land formation known as “blue dragon on the left” in regards to Seoul, and Myogak-sa stands on the edge of the mountain.
Although Myogak-sa is situated on a rather small piece of land in a residential district, its structural integrity is evident in the layout of such structures as Daebulbojeon, Wontongbojeon, Nakga Seon Center, Seokguram, Mountain God Shrine and an Avalokitesvara image carved into the mountain cliff.
Designated a temple specializing in Temple Stay programs since the 2002 World Cup, it preserves the oldest tradition of Temple Stay programs. The program provides participants the opportunity to experience the life of Buddhist practitioners and learn the various aspects of the Korean Buddhist culture and history through stories told by monks. The temple stay program has been operating since 2002.
Myogak-sa Temple offers two kinds of Temple Stay programs. The first option is an overnight program, where participants spend 2 days and 1 night experience life as a Buddhist practitioner. The second program is a daylong cultural program called "Laying Down My Mind." Depending on age, personal preference, and the time participants would like to spend at the temple, there are a variety of program activities available for everyone, such as:
108 Yeomju (Prayer Beads) Making: Participants experience an opportunity to make a rosary, during which they will thread 108 beads one by one followed by one prostration for each threading.
Experience of Bell-striking: Participants join the temple bell striking ceremony in the quiet and still hours of dawn and evening.
Dawn Trekking at Naksan Park: To promote reflection on oneself, participants are given the opportunity to take a short hike behind the Mountain Spirit Shrine to turn their attention within.
Dado (Tea Ceremony): Participants are able to feel the gratitude and preciousness of having tea and a little fruit after finishing the group work and breakfast. The tea ceremony has a difficult and complex decorum and helps enable participants to experience the non-duality of tea and Seon (Zen), namely one of the supreme stages of Buddhist practice.