“Where is Buddha? Empty your mind and be enlightened. Then you are Buddha.” : Bohyeon Temple Chief Monk Mookwon

김태인 기자l승인2022.08.18l수정2022.08.18 13:21

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“It is the purpose of my life to spread teachings of Buddha to as many people as I can. Buddha lets us escape from the human bondages, makes our mind peaceful and treats others like our teachers. Treating others like our teachers means to see others without prejudice.” says Mookwon, Chief Monk of Bohyeon Temple in Tongyeong. 

Buddha taught us that the world and I are not two different things but one as we live in a one great community. Each community big or small is linked to each other. Peace naturally comes when each community speaks and acts for goodness. Buddha taught us that everything in the world is impermanent and constantly change. There is no such thing as original but only tranquil and peaceful when we become enlightened. 

“Greed is but the trigger of all unhappiness. Greed has two best friends: anger and foolishness. No matter how cutting edge technologies and convenience of lives we are talking about, we are only unhappy as long as we carry these three inside.” says Moonkwon.

Instead of these bad friends, we are challenged to seek two good friends which are ‘sharing’ and ‘humility’. These two good friends open our eyes wide to see wonders in everyday life and be thankful at what the bad friends think it trivial. 

“You cannot gain luck because you come to a temple and bow to Buddha every single day. You can have luck because you share things with others and be thankful at even a small thing. Buddha taught us do not do bad things but do all good things as an ultimate tool to brighten up our mind. “ says Mookwon. 

In 2009, Mookwon went to Laos for a pilgrimage. He heard about  children there from the travel agency head who organized the trip and was encouraged to give out free clothes. Touched by this, he suggested to his fellow pilgrims doing this on a regular basis. Agreed unanimously, the charity organization Nanuwoori set sail in March 2010. 

▲ Bohyeon Temple / Chief Monk Mookwon

Starting from Laos with building schools, the Nanuwoori spread its projects to neighboring Cambodia to build water supply. Schools and water facilities were built and are being built alongside providing free stationaries and necessary electronic goods. 

“About 300 members of the Nanuwoori are helping people in need regardless their religion and location. We find disadvantaged areas, where the government’s hands are not reaching, to provide support for education, health and emergency relief. Alongside, we are donating where people and houses are damaged by natural disasters not only overseas but also in our homeland.” says Mookwon.

Monk Haehwa went to Bulguksa in Gyeongju. Back in Tongyeong in 1970, he enshrined the 1,300 years old clay Buddha on the location where Bohyeon Temple stands today.

Mookwon left home to study philosophy at Dongguk University, Seoul, and served a number of positions at the Taego Order of the Korean Buddhism office before settling himself down at Bohyeon Temple in Tongyeong in 1990. He engaged in many activities including the founding of Chungmu Buddhist School that has 31 years of history and led the opening of a temple inside Tongyeong Coast Guard Station in 2015. 

“I believe that the 1,300 years old clay Buddha in Bohyeon Temple is the living will of Buddha that drives us to do good things no matter where we are. We become happy by doing good things and that is one of the key teachings of him.” says Mookwon. 

“Where is Buddha? Empty your mind and be enlightened. Then you are Buddha.” <PowerKorea>


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