Korean Buddhism’s Jogye Order to Build Global Meditation Village – Buddhistdoor Global

The design of Mungyeong World Meditation Village. At yonhapnews.co.kr

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism plans to build a large-scale meditation complex in front of Bongam-sa, a temple in the city of Mungyeong in South Korea’s Gyeongsang Province. Mungyeong Global Meditation Village, the brainchild of Bongam Temple of the Jogye Order and a group of Seon monks, aims to facilitate and promote the practice of Korean Seon (Zen) meditation.

Bongam-sa was founded in 879 and is considered the center of Korean Seon meditation. The temple grounds are generally closed to the public as the monks meditate in closed rooms, except for the public holiday to mark the Buddha’s birthday. In order to create a space where the public can experience Seon Buddhism without disrupting the monks’ practice, the temple came up with the idea of ​​the Mungyeong Global Meditation Village.

The idea was first mooted in 2009, and in April this year, the committee responsible for the project acquired 120,000 square meters of land for the project and received approval from the city government for the first construction stage.

The complex will be located at the foot of Mount Heeyang and will include meditation and education facilities, accommodation, restaurants and other amenities, and will accommodate up to 300 people.

Design by hMa for the Won Dharma Center in New York.  At hanrahanmeyers.com
Design by hMa for the Won Dharma Center in New York. At hanrahanmeyers.com

The resort was designed by Hanrahan Meyers Architects, a New York-based architectural firm committed to sustainable design, which won the resort’s bid through an international competition. Their design is modern but takes into account the natural environment and the building style of traditional Korean temples. Hanrahan Meyers Architects are experienced in creating Buddhist sacred spaces, having designed the famous Won Dharma Center in Claverack, New York.

The Global Meditation Village project aims to promote Seon Buddhism. “Buddhism is in decline and the country is facing many problems, while all of humanity is witnessing a serious disconnect between the material world and the spiritual world,” noted Monk Euijeong, head of the committee in charge of the project. . “Seon should lead the civilization of the 21st century and [we] also plan to revive the spirit of Seon in South Korea to reach out to the world. (Yonhap News Agency)

A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the first day of construction is scheduled for Thursday. The first stage of the project, which will include a visitor center and access road, a meeting room, an office, a restaurant and a conference room, is expected to be completed by December 1. The second stage, which includes the rest of the complex, is due to be completed in 2021 to coincide with the 1,200th anniversary of the arrival of Seon Buddhism in South Korea.

Monk Euijeong, head of the committee in charge of the Global Meditation Village.  From hankookilbo.com
Monk Euijeong, head of the committee in charge of the Global Meditation Village. From hankookilbo.com

Construction is estimated at some 29 billion won ($26 million), partly funded by central and local government, in addition to private donations.

When the complex is completed, it will house various programs, including those taught in English, on traditional Seon mediation for the general public. According to monk Euijeong, the committee hopes to attract famous Buddhist monks and teachers such as Jin Hyeok, Hyunghak and Hae Min. He added that discussions are ongoing on how to make the Seon School’s meditation techniques more accessible to the general public.

The Jogye Order is a school of Seon Buddhism and the largest Buddhist tradition in South Korea, with roots dating back 1,200 years to the unified kingdom of Silla (also known as Later Silla) (668–935 ). Over the past few decades, the Jogye Order has noted a dramatic decrease in South Korea’s Buddhist population. According to 2010 data from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, the majority of South Korea’s population (46.4%) has no religious affiliation, with Christians making up the largest religious segment of the population at 29, 4%, while Buddhists represent 22.9%.

The Jogye Order spearheads various initiatives to promote Korean Buddhism in South Korea and abroad. It is hoped that the “Korean Wave” will spark overseas interest in Korean Buddhism.

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