Introducing MuRyangSa Temple

Mu Ryang Sa Korean Buddhist Tradition

In the Jewel of the Pacific

 

The idea of creating Mu-Ryang-Sa originated in 1975. On a beautiful mountainside far up in Honolulu’s Palolo Valley, with its lovely view of the Pacific Ocean, construction on the first temple building began in 1980.

About a decade after its founding, the temple name was changed from Daewonsa to Mu-Ryang-Sa, which means “Broken Ridge Buddhist Temple”. The meaning reflects the history of the temple within the context of Buddhism. During the temple’s construction, it was discovered that the roof of the main hall exceeded City and County’s permit. As a result, the roof was lowered to its present height. However, in demolishing the roof ridge, the temple was realizing the very essence of Buddha’s teachings. One of the first utterances of the Buddha upon achieving enlightenment was:

 

Through many a birth in existence wandered I,

Seeking but not finding, the builder of this house,

Sorrowful is repeated birth,

O house builder, thou art seen

Thou shalt build no house again.

All thy rafters are broken.

Thy ridge pole is shattered.

Mind attains the unconditioned.

Achieved is the end of craving.

 

Caught in an endless round of births and rebirths, the Buddha is unable to find the source of the suffering he is experiencing in his “house of illusion”. He ultimately discovers that the architect of the house is “craving” itself as described in the Four Noble Truths. The rafters of this self-created “house” are the passions, such as attachment, aversion, illusion, conceit, false views, doubt, sloth, restlessness, shame and fear. The ridge-pole that supports the rafters represents ignorance, the root cause of wisdom results in the demolition of illusion and the attainment of liberation or nirvana. As with the enlightenment of the Buddha, may the shattering of the ridge-pole of ignorance by wisdom results in the demolition of illusion and the attainment of liberation or nirvana. As with the enlightenment of the Buddha, may the shattering of our own ridge-pole be seen as a purification of the temple for the Sacred Dispensation of the Buddha in the many years to com. This booklet explains the meaning of the architecture of Mu-Ryang-Sa within the context of Korean Buddhist history and culture.

 

The Gate of The Four Heavenly Kings

(四天王門 : Sa Chon Wang Mun)

 

At the main entrance to the temple, is found the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings. This gate represents one of the many levels of the Buddhist spiritual plane. On this level of the spiritual plane, four Kings or heavenly generals stand guard over the four directions(East, West, South and North). Their role is to keep out “evil influences”. The evils they are guarding against are not like the devils one might expect in some traditional Christian thinking; evils from without. Rather, these are “evil influences” we all find within ourselves: greed, lust, the will to do violence and self-destroying pride. Beneath each guardian we see these ills represented in quasi-human form as little imps, which the kings crush under their feet. This symbolizes a pilgrim or seeker of enlightenment overcoming his or her baser nature, as they endeavor to remember their true nature.

The Four Kings each have their own symbolism and each has his proper place in the Buddhist hierarchy. The King of the East carries a sword, the King of the West holds a small pagoda, the King of the South holds a lute, and the King of the north holds a pearl and dragon.

The tanchong style of painting used on the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings is found only on temple buildings, palaces and royal government buildings of old Korea. This brilliant coloring is achieved by powdering minerals of various hues and mixing this with a fish-glue base. These colors are extremely long-lasting and while they may peel eventually from their wood or stone surfaces, amazingly, these mineral colors retain all of their brightness after centuries.

Both inside and outside of the gate structure paintings of human figures can be seen high up under the gables. These are famous monks and teachers of Buddhism. Each of these historical Catholic Christian traditions are associated with certain personal characteristics. One example is the monk sitting astride the tiger. This is a representation of a sixth-century Chinese monk who was so enlightened that the duality between man and animal did not exist for him. He and the tiger were companions for life. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Buddhist art all have various representations of this scene, with the monk and the tiger usually sound asleep, the monk pillowing his head on the tiger’s body. Another example represents the monk sitting on a bag which he holds like a steed.

All the art in the Korean temple buildings has a meaning, historical in nature, but its actual rendition will be less formal than would be found in Chinese or Japanese temples. The Figures painted under the gables will vary from temple to temple.

 

The World Peace Pagoda

(世界平和塔: Sekye Pyong Hwa Tap)

 

The Peace Pagoda which dominates the central garden courtyard is built in the traditinoal style of the Silla period in Korea and is a millimeter-exact reproduction of the Sokka-Tap (pronounced “top”). The Sokka Tap is located at the Temple of the Buddhist Country in Kyongju, the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty. This Temple served the same function in Silla Dynasty Korea as the Notre Dame de Paris served in Catholic France.

The three levels of the pagoda represent the three basic forms of all existence or the three foundations of Buddhism, which include the Buddha, the Law and the Brotherhood of Monks. The three basic forms of all existence are the world of rom (the plane of matter or mortality), the world of formlessness (the plane of spirit or energy), and that which is beyond both form and formlessness (the indescribable of unperceivable which gave rise to the other two worlds).

In the center of the pagoda’s lowest level rests a small urn. It holds sari or the calcified and hardened remains of the Buddha (in this case a few pea-sized peal-like pieces of organic calcium, which are the only solids that remain after cremation). These were presented to this temple by a temple located in Sri Lanka and are reputed to be genuine relics of the historical Buddha. While on may doubt the authenticity of the remains, this does not affect their symbolic value because these remains are an object not of worship but rather of deep reverence. Usually, all Buddhist pagodas in Asia have a sari case within them and all are said to be the remains of holy monks or of the Buddha himself. A counterpart to this in the West are the several “Veils of Veronica” on display in Italy. Although it is doubtful that Veronica had more than one veil with which to wipe the face of the Christ, the reverence for each of these veils is equally profound.

The pagoda is called “World Peace Pagoda” because the entire temple complex is dedicated to that idea. This is the central idea of Buddhism itself. As part of Buddhism’s Indian heritage, the concept of ahisma or non-violence is the realization that all things share Buddha Nature. The Buddha Nature is that which creates both the spirit and the form of everything in an interacting whole-part and parcel of the Mystery that is life. In Buddhist belief it is improper to use force to gain your way. Of all the world’s greatest religions, Buddhism may be the only one never to make converts through force or conquest or have an ecclesiastical court to enforce doctrine.

The stylized lions which stand guard at the corners of the pagoda’s base symbolize royalty. They are remainders of the first Buddhist King in India, Ashoka (c.250 B.C.), who adopted Buddhism as his state religion. The loins stand as guardians of Buddha, who was himself, of the princely caste in ancient India. These lions are not to be seen as ferocious watchers but rather, reminders of the regal dignity which surrounds the origins of Buddhism’s founder.

Flanking either side of the pagoda are two symbolic offering tables. When the Buddha gave speeches, the angels would descend from the heavens to offer food on these tables. Functionally, these two tables serve as ventilation routes for the vault that lies beneath the pagoda. The entrance way to this vault is just below the burning tower and two palm trees. The statues and decorative stone carvings that will line the entrance hallway and the vault are currently being constructed in Korea. This vault will serve as a display room for the stone carvings depicting Buddha’s life and teachings, created by Sokkram, a famous Korean architect.

 

The Burning Tower

(燒却臺: So Gak Dae)

 

In the corner of the courtyard is the burning tower which is used during a memorial service for the deceased. This burning tower is used to burn favorite personal belongings of the deceased person, such as books and clothing. The meaning of this has its roots in Confucian Taoism, where the belief is that nothing remains after death. The belongings are burned so that they can be returned to the poor spirits and ancestors as they continue on their journey to the Buddhist Paradise.

 

The Bell Tower

(鐘閣: Chong Gak)

 

The Bell Tower at Mu-Ryang-Sa originally held the bell, the drum, and the symbolic artwork in the tower’s roof whose meanings interacted with each other. Traditionally, these instruments are used everyday in Korea, but to make peace with the neighbors, the bell is rung only twice a year, during the New Year celebration and also during the Buddha’s Birthday celebration. The drum, metal gong (oon pan), and the hollow wooden fish were moved to the Sul Bop Jun for this purpose also. The first floor of the Bell Tower is now used as an office.

The sound of the drum spreads forth to call the spirits of the animal kingdom, to freedom that karma and suffering. The sound of the bell attracts the notice of the spirit world. In a traditional bell tower there would be a hollow wooden fish that would be struck by a mallet. This sound is conveyed to all creatures of the sea. There would also be a metal gong called oon pan which translates into English as “could-plate”. The sound of the oon pan beckons the creatures of the air.

There are two pairs of angels in low-relief on the sides of the bell. These angels are faithful reproductions of those on the Emille Bell in Korea, which is the oldest Buddhist bell in Korea and is the largest ringing bell in all the world. Its sounds will carry for miles on a still morning during the call to vespers.

Inscribed on the side of the bell is a poem which gives it its name, the “Praying for World Peace Bell”. On the side of the bell, in relief, is this poem by Korea’s national poet, Choong-Joo So:

 

Corruption is the origin of the lotus flower,

This bell is like the phoenix, no fire can burn it,

All forms in the universe have no a place and existence, even if we don’t see them,

The beautiful(bell) sound will permeate the universe.

One day of this bell’s sound will be like hundreds of millions of years,

Because of that the tones of this bell have no beginning and no end.

Those who hear the sound of this bell stand in righteousness forever.

 

The “corruption” referred to in the poem is the mud at the bottom of a pond where the lotus is found growing. The beautiful blossom reaches into the light of the sky while the nourishing roots are anchored in the mud beneath the water. The symbolism that can be drawn from this image is vast. Beauty (enlightenment) can spring forth from a seemingly corrupt beginning. A lotus cannot grow or flower without the nourishment provided by roots anchored in the earth. Rather than judging against what seems evil to our limited vision, find the good in all things and use it to nourish the opening flower of enlightenment.

The call to remembrance of our Buddha Nature cannot be destroyed by the fire of our inner “evil” influences. This call, like the Buddha Nature itself, permeates every corner of the universe and all of time. This realization brings profound peace. Those who hear the sound of this bell-like call–however distantly or inconsistently–are, whether they know it or not, followers of the way of enlightenment. Some day they will find it, if not in this life, then in a future one.

On the ceiling of the bell tower are six images of Posal (Buddhist saints), who devote themselves to the cause of peace. The focus on peace is a central idea of Buddhism. Another central idea is to see clearly and practice the denial of cravings ant to shatter the illusion of the duality that the secular world and society seem to thrust upon us once we have forgotten our own Buddha Nature.

The Buddha was the son of a warrior prince and was expected to conquer and rule. His social image and self-worth would be determined by the number of his subjects he controlled. In modern time most people’s self-image and social worth are determined by financial status as they seek to “conquer and rule” a personal empire, whether business or professional. The Buddha rejected this false image of the world and sought beyond these illusions to the core of existence.

Directly below the paintings depicting the bodhisattvas are the twelve zodiac animals. Eastern astrology has a sixty-year cycle divided into five twelve-year segments related to the five elements (fire, earth, air, water and metal). There is a different zodiac animal associated with each of the twelve years within a segment. Twelve zodiac animals exist all together, each with different attributes. The rat, for example, is a symbol for one who is clever and will gather wealth as a rat as well as will store grain for the winter. The dragon is an idealist who rushes headlong into action. The pig has an easygoing personality, who is easily fooled and quick to forgive those who have sighted him.

All the other zodiac animals have their special characteristics in the same way the signs of western astrology do (changeable Geminis, dreamy Aquarians, and hot-tempered Scorpios).

There is a chant recited during the striking of the bell and it reflects the Buddhist ideal of seeking release for those trapped by their own false images of life:

 

Let those who hear the sound of this bell achieve release from suffering.

Let them achieve a greater wisdom about the cycle of the world.

 

Donor’s Tablets

(功德碑: Kong Dok Bi)

 

Between the bell tower and the Memorial Hall are large stone tablets, inscribed with messages of praise and memorial, dedicated to the temple donors. In the great works of post-medieval Christian art, especially in painting, the artists would actually paint their important donors or patrons into the scene of their painting. For instance, the figures and faces of the artist’s patron might be included in a painting among a group of people witnessing the crucifixion or among the servants of the Disciples of Christ among many other examples.

Buddhist art usually honors its donors in its paintings, but in this pagoda and temple, these tablets memorialize gifts of land and money which made the various aspects of the temple construction possible.

 

The Hall of Memorial to the Departed

(冥府殿: Myung Bu Jon)

 

This is the memorial hall for departed souls. Inside the Hall, the central Buddhist figure is Chijang-posal, who lifts souls from the Nether world to the Buddhist Paradise Amitabul, the Buddha of Infinite Light. The altar has a statue of Chijang. To the right and left of the altar stand row upon row of pictures of the departed. In this Hall, the living relatives are invited to offer prayers for the release of the spirit from its state of punishment and to comfort these unfortunate spirits. The Buddhist concept is that the true nater of everyone is their Buddha Nature. However, while we remain in ignorance of this fact, we live in an illusion of guilt and sin. Seeing our sins clearly and unflinchingly is a necessary step toward dispelling this illusion. No one is saved specifically through faith alone.

When not used for prayer, the memorial hall is used as a lecture room as well as a meditation room. Currently, a Vipassana meditation class is held every Saturday from 4-5 PM.

 

Vipassana Meditation Class

 

For the English speaking community, Mu-Ryang-Sa Temple offers a meditation class every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM that is open to the public and free of charge. The class is taught by Dr. Gregory Pai and is based on the Theravadin lineage know as Vipassana or Insight meditation. The class in comprised of a 45-minute guided meditation followed by questions and answers and open discussion. The program closes with a closing meditation. All persons interested in meditation are welcome to participate.

 

The Bodhisattva Garden

(地漿展: Ji Jang Jon)

 

Behind the memorial hall is the 1080 stone statues that make up the Garden of Ji Jang Posal. Watching over them are fifteen Gwan Seum Bodhisattva statues flanked by two guardians on both side. Each member of the Mu-Ryang-Sa Temple has their own bodhisattva to wish for themselves and their ancestors’ freedom from bad karma and suffering, and also to be reborn in the paradise. The cavern between the garden and the memorial hall is being developed into a columbarium where the cremated remains of the deceased will be stored in their urns following the 49th day of the memorial prayer period.

 

The Lotus Pond Pagoda

 

This smaller pagoda surrounded by water and lotus flowers is a place of prayer for aborted and unborn babies. The inscription on the bridge of the small pond pagoda is a prayer for the poor spirits of these aborted and unborn babies to be born in Paradise, symbolized by the lotus flowers. This pagoda is placed in the center of the water to symbolize the mother’s womb. The angels in the background are symbolic representations of mother figures who will care for the spirits of these unborn or aborted fetuses. In Buddhism, it is believed that the poor baby spirits linger around the parents, and it is the responsibility of the parents to care for these poor spirits and help them to be born in paradise.

 

The Great Hero Hall

(大雄殿: Dae Ung Jon)

 

In Korea, this would be the traditional central hall of a Buddhist temple, surrounded by many other accessory buildings which might be given more emphasis by worshipers that the Great Hero Hall.

The central image within this hall will be one which represents the focus of the sect of the temple, but surrounding the image are supporting artworks showing the many facets of Korean Buddhism.

On the exterior wall, running around three sides of the building, at a level just above the tops of the doors, is the Shim-U-Do or “Ox-Herd Series”. This traditional series of paintings shows the path to enlightenment followed by the Buddhist. The ox represents the idea of truth or self-realization.

The first painting depicts the disciple seeking “truth” in the wilderness (or in the natural world). The second shows the moment he sees the footprints of the ox and knows he is on the right path. Next, the disciple sees the tail of the ox and realizes he will confront with it soon. In the fourth painting, the disciple is shown wrestling with the ox. He is wrestling with the false self-images that fill his mind. In the fifth painting, the animal is changing color from brown to white, the color of enlightenment. Next, in the sixth painting, the disciple and the ox are shown in harmony. The seeker is riding the back of a white ox, indicating that he has mastered the truth and feels at peace with himself. In the seventh painting the disciple is seen alone, for the ox, (truth), (self), or (meaning) never really existed at all but was only one more illusory image. The disciple realizes he is part of the totality of all that is and realizes everything springs from the same source. All things in nature share something which is “within” and is an inherent part of oneself. This “something” is not something outside the mind to be sought like treasure or fame.

The circle in the eighth painting symbolizes the moment of enlightenment, which is often caused by a sudden sound or visual experience which strips away from the mind the last illusory image. At the moment of enlightenment, the self is no longer experienced as being separate from all other things that exist. The last painting in the series show the monk returning to the world to teach. Now he is a living example that an answer can be bound to the riddle of the universe and the why of existence.

The images of dragons, phoenixes, and clouds high on the exterior of the central hall represent the mythological animals which inhabit heaven. The roof of the hall represents the dome of heaven or the edge of the universe. This inclusion of the Chinese Taoist influence in the artwork of Korean Buddhism illustrates the tolerant nature of Buddhism. As Buddhism passed through various lands it never adulterated its main message. However, the people of each land felt comfortable with, and understood best, the symbolism and beliefs of their own culture. Buddhism allowed these regional symbols and beliefs to join with it and used them as the clearest language in which to express the central truth of Buddhism– that all things are part and parcel of the same existence. Using the symbols of various cultures to express the same truth is as acceptable in Buddhism as the selection of various synonyms in a particular language to express the same thought. It is the idea that if you have something to explain, you explain it in the language of the person you are speaking to.

Buddhism has no vengeful gods or holy wars. Not even the Buddhist “hell” is eternal. All those who die pass through “judgment” and must clearly face the sins of their life before entering Paradise or undergoing rebirth.

In the middle of the Deaung-jon stands the main altar with the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni (Sokkamoni in Korean) in the center. To his right sits Maitreya, who is the Buddha of the future. He will Someday return to restore paradise on earth. To his left sits Kuanyin (Kwanseum posal in Korean), a personification of compassion. He is the one who helps those who suffer in this world.

These three figures do not represent images to which one submits prayers of petition, asking for favors. Rather, these figures represent ideals that the Buddhist pilgrim should emulate. Sokkamoni sought and found the truth, losing the excess baggage of his own illusions. Kwanseum signifies the compassion that all should show towards other beings and other people in all circumstances. Miruk symbolizes hope for the perfect world which can exist in the future if all beings seek and achieve enlightenment. Directly above these images rise the stylized roof of a Chinese palace, enfolding the dragon and phoenix, symbols of Chinese royalty. This indicates the regal nature of the Buddha and the Posal (those who achieved enlightenment but have delayed their release from life’s troubles to help others).

Showing the spirits of these supreme animals as guardians of the Buddhist truth points to the essential unity of all things. Lastly, it shows how thoroughly Buddhist imagery absorbed Chinese magical symbolism on its passage through China to Korea.

On the ceiling in the main temple are painted the lotus flowers of Buddhism, amidst the dragons and phoenixes and stylized clouds. While the peak of the temple roof depicts the edge of the universe, the interior ceiling represents the visible boundary between sky and heaven much as a church steeple represents the heights of heaven. The ceiling of a Buddhist temple and the steeple of a Christian church can also be seen as the limits of the physical universe in its upward reach of the edge of the spiritual universe.

The Buddhist paintings serve the same purpose as the stained-glass windows of cathedrals with scenes depicting holy figures engaged in their historical actions. The angels (asparas) of Indian Buddhism have become immortals (hsien) of Chinese Taoism, who quite comfortably share the realm of the Buddha, even though they have chosen a different path to the ultimate truth. Slihtly lower on the walls, at a level just above the tops of the columns, are depictions of the arahans. These are the Buddhist figures who have attained a very high level of enlightenment but who still maintain their practice toward full enlightenment. On the east wall is a large painting done in traditional Korean Buddhist style depicting the many guardians of Buddhism.

In the main To the right and left of the altar are five paintings that depict various stages in the life of Siddhartha Gautama of Sokkamoni Buddha. The first painting on the right side of the main hall depicts the birth of prince Siddhartha at Rumbini Park. The second painting is an illustration of Siddhartha leaving the Kaphila Castle to become a 수행자. The third painting shows the ascetic Siddhartha practicing meditation and attaining enlightenment. The first sermon delivered by the former prince, now Sokkamoni Buddha, to his first five students at Benares in India is depicted in the fourth painting. In the fifth painting, Buddha has entered nirvana in the holy park of Kushnagra.

 

The Statue of Miruk Boddhisatava

(彌勒菩薩象 : Miruk Bosal Sang)

 

This large sculpture in the garden replicates an original housed in the National Museum of Korea. This work of art was created in the old Silla period. The original is rendered in bronze covered in gold leaf. This is the Buddha of the future who will return someday to establish a perfect world. He will not do so with fire or sword or by casting out evil. Rather, this will occur spontaneously a as the begins of the universe reach enlightenment. The eight figures underneath refer to the eight barbarian kings which converted as Buddhism spread along the Silk Road from India to China. They are seen as Guardians of Buddhist Law or the supportive bases for the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia. The miruk image is placed here to remind us that peace as not yet been achieved. We shall not be handed a perfect world on a plate to consume as we have done with the present one. It must be through our own efforts that we achieve it.

 

Cultural Center

(無樑寺 文化院 : Mu Ryang Sa Mun Hwa Won)

 

The Dharma Hall, or Sul-Bup-Jun, is located on the fourth floor of the first building in this complex. Just below the Sup-Bup-Jun is the Exhibition Hall, The Korean Language School, and the Siddhartha College. The Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Gardens separate this first from the Myong-Won Tea House, located on the main floor, and the Tae Pyong Sun Won Meditation Hall, located on the upper level of this building. The monastic residence hall on hall and the tea house is located on the floor between the meditation hall and the tea house. The second floor houses the library, parking lot, and the Yak Sa Jun Hall (where the Healing Buddha for sick people is located), and the Laymen Meditation Hall. On the ground floor is the parking structure, a studio, and bathrooms.

The Main Shrine, Memorial Hall, Bell Tower and Peace pagoda were completed in 1982. In 1986, the construct of the Buddhist cultural center on a 2acres of land in Waiomao Valley was begun. In 2001, the Temple lowered the roof ridge and changed its name from Dae-Won-Sa, Broken Ridge, Buddhist Temple. In spite of all these troubles, hardship, and distress the temple was able to bring traditional Korean meditation to the United States when it established the Taepyong Meditation Center and began regular meditation retreats form the winter of 1998. In August of 2002, the Temple established the Hawaii Siddhartha College which was officially approved for a four-year undergraduate college course and a two-year graduate course.

All the litigation related to the City and neighbors has been closed by the Judgment of the Supreme Court, and the final inspection of construction has passed and the “Certificate of Occupancy” was issued in September of 2005.

 

The Dharma Hall

(說法殿 : Sul Bup Jun)

 

The name of this building “Sul Bup Jun” means “Bringing Buddha’s Teaching.” The Mok Te Ma, or the main altar of the temple, is housed here on the fourth floor. In the center of the altar is the Birojunabul. To the right of this is the Nosanabul, and to the left is the Sokhamonibul. The same there Buddhas are are in the background image, surrounded by the ten Shakamoni students and bodhisatvas. The tow figures on either end are the Poor Heavenly Kings who guard and protect the Buddhas.

Three thousand small gilt, Buddha statues line the top of the Sul Bup Jun’s ceiling. The three thousand Buddhas here indicate the buddhas of the past would each be four hundred and sixty million years long. A thousand Buddhas would arise in each Kalpa. There are kalpas of various length for differing epochs. The three kalpas of the Buddhas would each be four hundred and sixty million years long. A thousand Buddhas would arise in each Kalpa.

The ceiling design was created using mantra decorations such as the dragon images. The walls and ceiling are further decorated with Tanchong paintings. On the floor is a wool carpet with a Lotus decoration to aid in meditation. The mezzanine above houses the “Sa Mul,” or “four things,”–the bell, drums, gong, and wooden fish—from the bell tower.

The lighting is designed for the special cultural events and performances held on the stage.

 

Meditation Hall

(太平禪院 : Tae Pyong Sun Won)

 

The Tae Pyung Sun Won Meditation Hall on the third floor of the cultural center holds meditation retreats throughout the year. There are two extension meditation semesters, one in the winter and one in the summer, in which a rigorous meditation schedule is followed. About 10 monks are invited each semester to participate in the three-month long meditation sessions. The daily schedule consists of eight hours of meditation and three hours of free time each day. The monks and members alike are invited to participate in the meditation sessions, where they can sit in the main hall together Lay people also follow the same meditation schedule on the second floor in the Sul Bup Jun meditation hall. The principles of the Mu Ryang Sa meditation sessions as well as a sample schedule of typical semester are shown below.

 

  1. THE PARCTICE

Buddhist practice means letting go of preoccupations about one’s personal opinions, situation or condition. To help us do that, we come to Mu-Ryang-Sa, Broken Ridge Buddhist Vihara, to practice together. Everyone staying at the temple, residents and guests alike, are required to attend daily practice and should arrive at the Dharma Hall five minutes before each session.

 

DAILY ACTIBITY SCHEDULE :

 

Pre-Dawn Sitting                                  4:00-5:00

Lunch                                                 11:20-11:30

*Main Hall Sitting                                 5:00-5:50

Afternoon Sitting                                  2:00-3:00

*Service                                              5:50-6:00

*Prayers/Cleaning                                          6:00-6:40

Dinner                                                5:00-5:10

Breakfast                                             6:50-7:00

*Evening Service                                  6:50-7:00

Morning Sitting                                    9:00-11:00

Evening Prayers                                   7:00-8:00

Morning Service                                   10:00-11:00

Evening Sitting                                     7:00-9:00

Offering                                               11:00-11:20

Retire to Bed                                        9:00-3:00

(It is mandatory for all persons to attend *marked practices)

An Important part of our practice is learning “together action”. When working, we work together. When bowing, everyone must bow at the same time. When chanting, we chant together. When sitting, everyone must sit together with correct posture. Active participation in voluntary activities in the neighborhood and the local community is encouraged. Individual practice may also be done during free time. Please remember to extinguish candles, straighten cushions and turn off lights before leaving the Dharma Hall. After 9:00pm, silence is required until breakfast the following morning.

  1. CLEANING

After morning service, everyone is asked to help with cleaning except those that are participating in prayers. Cleaning together is also a very important way for us to learn Meditation Hall, rooms and temple gardens.

  1. MEALS

All meals will be served on time. Refrain from talking while eating. O-Gwan-Gye will be remembered during meals. Please try not to leave any left-over food on your plate and clean you own dishes if possible.

  1. RESPONSIBILTIES

All personnel living in the temple complex have assignments and should faithfully perform their duties. The Assignments are as follows:

  1. SPEECH AND BEHAVIOR

Try to blend in to monastery life. Avoid loud speech and inappropriate behavior. Address one another with terms of respect. Please dress modestly. No mini-skirts or tank tops are allowed in the Dharma Hall. Please close doors quietly and refrain from the noise of dragging shoes or heavy footsteps.

  1. ELECTRICITY

Save electricity in every way you can by turning off lights and electric fans when not in use. Dry clothes naturally using the clothes line instead of the electric dryer whenever possible.

  1. WATER

Try to save water as much as you can when you take a shower, wash your hands or clean dishes. When using the washing machine, please do not waste water by washing loads that are too small. If you notice any leaking faucets, please either repair the leak or tell the office. Remember to save water when watering flowers or lawns. Whenever possible, avoid using the water hose to clean floors or driveways.

  1. RECYCLING

We try to reduce waste by reusing and recycling materials. Please separate waste into the appropriate recycling bin: (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass bottles, etc.) Please put food waste into the compost bin for use in the garden.

  1. ALL OTHER TEMPLE RULES MUST CONFORM TO THESE PRINCIPLES

All other rules and guidelines are subordinate to these Principles and must conform to these Principles. If there is any conflict between the meaning and intent of these Principles, and any other rules or guidelines that have been made by the Temple, the provisions contained in these Principles shall govern.

 

Following the wisdom of the Buddha, all members of the Mu-Ryang-Sa family can create a harmonious group by practicing the Broken Ridge Buddhist Vihara principles as described above. We must make every effort to do our duty as followers of Buddha and to help all living beings reach enlightenment.

 

Tea House

(茗園茶道院 : Myong Won Da Do Won)

 

The building adjacent to the Sul Bup Jun holds the Myong Won Tea House on the main floor. The Tea Room is modeled after the traditional middle class living room of the Yi Dynasty of Korea using imported furniture from Korea. The Tea Room Holds traditional Korean Tea ceremony classes which differ from the traditional tea ceremonies of China and Japan.

Also held in the cultural center are Korean opera classes, Korean Calligraphy and painting classes, special lectures, and other cultural lessons for second-generation Koreans. These cultural lessons include the teaching of proper bowing, how to pay respect to parents and elders, and how to wear the Hanbok—which is the traditional Korean dress. This building also contains a library of Buddhist books, DVDs, and audio tapes.

Facing the tea house on the left is the Mauna Kea Garden, and to the right is the Mauna Loa Garden. The top floor of the cultural center is another meditation hall as well as monk dormitory.

 

The Purposes and Goals of Mu-Ryang-Sa

 

Mu-Ryang-Sa is now in its thirtieth year. The temple complex serves as a place of religious retreat. Buddhist speakers are often invited to give guest lectures to the congregation. Children of all ages may learn Korean language and culture in the Korean Language School every Sunday.

The meditation halls are for use by both monks and lay people as part of our intensive Zen and Vipasana meditation programs.

Mu-Ryang-Sa is a religious institution with the purpose of promoting mutual cooperation and better understanding among the Buddhists of the world. The temple is open to everyone interested in understanding Buddhism and the wisdom of its teachings.

The temple has a peace institute which seeks to promote peace in our troubled world—for peace and harmony are part of the ultimate goal in Buddhism. The dualistic barriers created by society and our own illusions blinds us to the essential unity of all beings. The removal of these barriers can bring about an end to both internal and external turmoil and return us to the profound peace of our True Nature.

Please visit us again soon.

 

Dohyun Gwon, Abbot

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