Gwa-sa-um-bo-sa

My Korean coworker and I headed up to visit Samkwanga Buddhist Temple, and had an appointment to meet her monk friend at 2:30 pm. We found him walking past dozens of kids that were visiting that day. The kids were from a Buddhist school near us. On their backs, their shirts said: I <heart> Buddha (with the heart icon!). ha ha cute!

We took off our shoes, walked into an office, past the receptionists and sat on big couches and talked to the monk. Found out that he went through school studying Mechanical Engineering. Loved physics, but felt it failed to explain the universe. Found Buddhism, and felt that explanation to be valid and real!

His Korean name sounds great, but translated it’s “Love Dragon”. With his English, which is pretty good, and my friend helping translate sometimes, he talked to us for awhile about general stuff. Then gave us instruction on meditating.  I’ll try to convey what he said, but maybe not perfectly…

In this Buddhist order, they use a phrase “Gwa-sa-um-bo-sa”. So, you sit on the ground. Open your palms. Then touch your thumb to the base of your palm and where your fourth (ring) finger starts, then close your hand lightly into a fist. Place hands on knees with fists facing upward (a bit of your palm showing facing upward). Then close your eyes and chant, “Gwa-sa-um-bo-sa.” Try to say it about seven times or more per breath. Sing it anyway you want. And expect the universe to speak to you …telling you what you need to know to understand the human mind. For best results, he recommends meditating at 3 am or 10 pm, when the world is quiet and can most easily communicate with you.

From there, we headed into the big hall. Here maybe 1000 10″ high Buddha statues line the front and side areas. Quite a sight! They were preparing for the monthly service (which happens on the 1st and 2nd day of the month), so there was quite a bit of decorating activity and many ‘ajuumas’ (older ladies), sitting on the floor, talking or praying, and many others sleeping. The monk led us to the front of the hall seating area and we sat on the floor and meditated for about 15 minutes.

It was a cool experience! Then we rushed out, taking the small bus back down the hill in time for me to rest for awhile before teaching at 8 pm.

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