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inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #51 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Wed 22 May 02 03:31
    
Even some Emperor-worshippers like Ueshiba (founder of the pacifist
martial art Aikido) thought the militarists were complete idiots.

One of the things which struck me about your book was the vast range
of different styles represented in the various paintings.  I am curious
to know if you feel there is a particular traditional style or technique
for painting these San-shin images which is the "most" traditional?
Are there different "schools" of San-shin painting, or do the artists
simply individually decide how they are going to depict the deity?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #52 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 06:01
    
Individually.  No "schools" that I've yet discerned.  There are some
conventions followed as you can see, but within those bounds each 
artist does as s/he likes on each painting -- that's why even with 
thousands extant, no two of the big ones are the same (only the very
simple smaller ones used by low-class shamans are exact replicas,
they may even be produced in batched on a printing-press).  

Of course some artists are distinctive, with consistent colors and
motifs and quirks, and i've seen the same guy's work in several 
different temples, even in different provinces (well, it's a small
country).  Sometimes an artist is commissioned to do a San-shin based
on a vision or special dream of a monk or shaman; naturally, those
are more unique.  It's extra-exciting to find one of those.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #53 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 22 May 02 09:52
    
#47:
> Just when I came up for tenure, i was abruptly fired 
> (with zero due-process) for "teaching inappropriate 
> things to the students".
> ... That's right, can ya believe it?, i was thrown 
> out of a top Korean university for preaching Korean
> culture!   The irony never stops...

How terrible!  I am incredibly saddened (though somehow not surprised)
to hear of that.  The narrow-mindedness of many Christians would
probably bring Jesus Christ himself to tears.  
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #54 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 22 May 02 09:56
    
David, this may be a slight digression from our topic, but I would
appreciate it if you could explain the difference between Confucisnsism
and Neo-Confucianism.  I'm roughly familiar with the teachings of Kong
Fu Tse, and some of the practices that followed from them, such as
ancestor worship, but before reading your book, I'd never heard the
term Neo-Confuscianism before.  Could you shed some light on that for
those of us who don't know?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #55 of 234: Jim Fisher (fishjim) Wed 22 May 02 11:59
    
Hello David,

I just finished Spirit of the Mountains, and want to congratulate you
on a comprehensive and fascinating study. I can see why local academics
might feel threatened -- any thesis based on 15 years of primary
research is bound to be substantial. And to see a foreigner get there
first!

One thing I'm curious about, seeing how San-shin was sometimes
hybridized with Chinese geomantic philosophies --  i.e. that "the earth
is alive with ji-ki ... which concentrates in lines and pools
according to geological and geographical conditions" (p.148) -- is
whether there you found any evidence of San-shin being associated with
mineral prospecting -- be it for precious metals, hot springs,
petroleum, what have you.  It seems to me that identifying mineral
deposits often owes as much to good fortune as to science, so I'm
curious if San-shin was ever invoked along these lines.





 
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #56 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 19:23
    
> #53 of 55: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 22 May
> I am incredibly saddened (though somehow not surprised)to 
> hear of that.  The narrow-mindedness of many Christians 
> would probably bring Jesus Christ himself to tears.

I'm sure it would.  The Catholics, at least, are more tolerant than
the Prots...   On my "Links" page there's one to the writings of my
old friend Frank Tedesco, with an article detailing a whole long 
string of violent & political attacks by Christians against Buddhism
and Buddhist temples in Korea.  He made sure it got to all the big
Christian leaders here, asking for a collective public denunciation 
of such (and even apology?) but they never made any response at all.


5 years ago, as part of the neo-traditionalist movement that i love 
to monitor & encourage here, a nationalist/religion group put up the
money and energy to install less-than-life-size statues of mythical
Founder-King of Ancient Korea Dan-gun [2333 BCE; son of a Son of the
Emperor of Heaven, after they reigned for 1211 years Dan-gun retired
as the San-shin of Mysterious Fragrance Mountain in north K] in the 
courtyard/playground of every Elementry School in the land.  Some 
teachers would lead their class in a bow of respect (NOT "worship")
in front of it.  Before they got too far with this, the was a nasty
reaction from the Prots, who got the gov to stop it.  Some of the 
statues were beheaded at night; no arrests were ever made.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #57 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 19:56
    
> #54 of 56: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 22 May '02
> I would appreciate it if you could explain the difference between 
> Confucisnsism and Neo-Confucianism.  

Gee, i've never even heard of "Confucisnsism"... you must be
confusnsed...   :-)

> I'm roughly familiar with the teachings of Kong Fu Tse, and some 
>of the practices that followed from them, such as ancestor worship,

Are these rituals really "worship" or just paying due respect?  Hot
topic here for 110 years, still debated back and forth...  Families
are divided at holiday time, as Confucian male members want to do it
but Protestant female members insist to not.  The Catholics made 
their peace with it long ago, bless 'em.

> but before reading your book, I'd never heard the term 
> Neo-Confuscianism before.

Really? it's very commonly used in academia, it's the standard label
although some profs dispute it's use of course;  they dispute all.

> Could you shed some light on that for those of us who don't know?

Confucianism refers to the teachings of Master Kong in the 5th Cen
BCE, the late Chou Dynasty, in which he created a traditionalism out
of Earlier Chou-dynasty culture, and urged Kings of the day to rule
with Benevolence (human-heartedness, goodness, virtue) rather than
brute force & raw exploitation. A message still needed in our world.
Mencius and other thinkers amplified his message and added stronger
& systematic moral teachings at the chaotic end of the Chou.  In the
Han Dynasty 200 BCE - 200 CE, Confucianism was co-opted by being 
selected as the Official State Doctrine and supplemented with an 
early metaphysical structure, I Ching -type fortune-telling, etc.  
It then waned for 1000 years as Buddhism (and Religious Daoism) took
over and dominated all new thought.

Neo-Confucianism is what we call the teachings of Chu-hsi [Chuxi] 
around 1200 and their modifications until now.  Chu was a great 
genius-scholar of the Sung Dynasty who synthesized the teachings of
5/6/7 great thinkers of the generation or two before him, compiling
and explaining their ideas into what would become the basic textbooks
of Chinese thought for 600 years or so.  He/they incorporated the 
best of Daoist and Buddhist metaphysics, ethics and contemplative 
techniques into the Confucian structure, creating a grand holistic
worldview, guide for government & education, and way-of-life.

Kublai Khan adopted Neo-Confucianism as the Official State Doctrine
of the Yuan (Mongol) Empire in 1313, and it remained so throughout 
the subsequent Ming and Ching Dynasties, until western ideas took 
over China in the 20th Century.

An Hyang brought the Neo-Confucianist teachings to Korea in the 14th
Cen, they spread rapidly among the elite and prompted the overthrow
of the Buddhist Koryeo Dynasty.  Neo-Confucianism took over Korea in
a radical fire-breathing way, like communism took over Russia, China
etc.  But was loosely implemented outside of the Capital City area 
for 1400-1650.  After that, it was taken strictly everywhere in Korea
for 250 years.  Buddhism and Shamanism were supressed...
 
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #58 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 22 May 02 20:30
    
> Gee, i've never even heard of "Confucisnsism"... you must
> be confusnsed...   :-)

Yes, I am.  Sorry for all those ugly typos...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #59 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 21:25
    
And i must add -- the whole point of Neo-Confucianism was SUPPOSED
to be Self-cultivation into virtue all the way to enlightened Sage-
hood, harmonious well-functioning families, community solidarity, 
pious frugality and use of surpluses to help the poor, education 
for all, ritual-respect leading to sincere conduct, peaceful minds
and voluntary social order, freedom of investigation & opinion, and
really good governance.  The major books are still very inspirational
to read, often really right-on -- remarkably "modern" philosophy
without mysticism or superstition.

but the REALITY of Neo-Confucianism turned out to be oppressive 
patriarchy, maintenance of wealthy aristocracy obsessed with "pure
bloodlines" like race-horses, monopoly of education by the
privi-ledged, taxes squeezed out of the poor, slavery, stifling
conformity
of thought and behavior, empty ritualism, bizzare archaic laws, 
paranoid witch-hunts to punish the 'disloyal' and 'unorthodox', and
utter stagnation of the economy.

Remarkably like Marxism   :-)
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #60 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 21:36
    
If interested, check out:  http://faculty.washington.edu/mkalton/
An online introduction to the best of Korean Neo-Confucianism, incl
the complete text of _To Become a Sage_, a translation of the "Ten 
Diagrams on Sage Learning" by Korea's greatest philosopher Yi Toegye
(1501-1570).  Translated, with extensive annotation and commentary, 
by Michael C. Kalton. Published by Columbia University Press, 1988,
now out of print so Kalton generously put it up on the web.

Kalton is the best of contemporary scholars on this area, he really 
"gets" Toegye's spiritual philosophy down deep, and explains the
difficult stuff in a very friendly, readable, understandable fashion.

He gave me a copy of this in 1989 and it really turned my interest 
on; he permitted me to bootleg it to all the Yonsei Univ Grad-school
of Korean Studies in 1991.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #61 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 22 May 02 21:49
    
Welcome to the discussion, Jim Fisher (fishjim), and thanks for the
supportive comments.  

> #55 of 60:
> One thing I'm curious about, seeing how San-shin was sometimes
> hybridized with Chinese geomantic philosophies --  i.e. that "the
> earth is alive with ji-ki ... which concentrates in lines and 
> pools according to geological and geographical conditions" 

That Chinese feng-shui (Feng-shwae?) is called *pung-su-jiri* in 
Korea; imported directly and then adapted to Korea's all-mountain 
terrain and weather.  As i wrote, it was sometimes conflated with
San-shin beliefs but more often served as competitive with them.

> -- is whether there you found any evidence of San-shin being 
> associated with mineral prospecting -- be it for precious metals,
> hot springs, petroleum, what have you.  It seems to me that 
> identifying mineral deposits often owes as much to good fortune 
> as to science, so I'm curious if San-shin was ever invoked along
> these lines.

No, i've never seen anything like that.  Pung-su & ji-ki theories
used for that, sure.  San-shin heavily used by ginseng-hunters, 
tiger hunters and etc, sure.  But not San-shin for the things you 
mention, no, never heard of that.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #62 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Thu 23 May 02 00:33
    
Yes, a similar thing happened to Buddhism in India --- Hinduism co-opted a
lot of the best ideas of Buddhism and then ended up supplanting it as a
result.  If Neo-Confucianism was what it was supposed to be (a hybrid of
Confucian and Buddhist and Taoist ideas) then it would have been fine, but
as you say the worst version of it (misinterpretation) became the standard.
I've finally come to the opinion that there is often this danger --- it's
the Murphy's Law of religion or culture --- if it can be misinterpreted,
it will be.

Do you see any evidence for a resurgence of traditional Korean culture
and/or Buddhist or Taoist ideas in the intellectual class in recent years?
As you know Buddhism and Taoism is becoming quite popular among
intellectuals here in the West at the moment.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #63 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Thu 23 May 02 01:05
    
Sure, i know that -- i'm a part of it!  ;-)   Yet another suburban
white kid reading the Tao Te & I Chings and Zen explications back
in 1976...  And sure, yes, plenty of "evidence for a resurgence of 
traditional Korean culture and/or Buddhist or Taoist ideas in the 
intellectual class in recent years".  All over.  

Books by famous Zen Masters sell well. I've met quite a few middle-
aged urban professionals who study Daoism or Geomancy or Toegye or
the Diamond Sutra in their free time.  There's a copy of somebody's
commentary on the I Ching sitting on the desk of the Dean of the
City College branch i teach part-time at; he reads it over tea after
lunch.  Just two years ago some SNU prof gave a series of lectures 
on the Tao Te Ching, late evening on the #1 national TV channel -- 
it was wildly popular and he became a star. Followed up with another
series on Chuang-tzu late last year, i think.  I wish those would be
done with English sub-titles...

I'd like to minimally copy his success with a short series of half-
hour shows on all aspects of the San-shin.  Some Program-Director 
is now thinkin' about it.

But Daoist and Buddhist ideas are much more acceptable to the PTB 
than is {the primitive superstions of} Mountain-spirits; they're 
established World Religions.

> it's the Murphy's Law of religion or culture --- if it can be 
> misinterpreted, it will be.

This is very good, quite correct  {sigh}.  and doctrines can ALWAYS
be misinterpreted...   thus Zen did away with them, right?
It's an advantage of Mountain-worship -- no doctrines.  Just symbols
connections, practices, direct experiences and perceptions...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #64 of 234: Elisabeth Wickett (wickett) Thu 23 May 02 06:17
    

I was so sorry, David, to read of your dismissal from your teaching post, 
because of your dissemination of your knowledge about San-Shin.

So, if children aren't told San-Shin bedtime stories and students aren't
taught their native religious traditions, how does this rich tradition get
passed on?  Among traditional, country people, I understand that it's 
embedded in their lives.  But what about educated, professional, urban, 
even Christian Koreans?  Does your interest in promoting tourism derive 
from a desire to perpetuate these traditions?  If so, what safeguards do 
you envision to support the spiritual dimension and prevent the practices 
from becoming spectacle or sterile?

Any speculation on why Protestant Christianity has such a strong and rigid 
influence on Koreans at the expense of their own rich heritage?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #65 of 234: Gerald Feene (gerry) Thu 23 May 02 08:31
    <scribbled by gerry Thu 23 May 02 08:35>
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #66 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Thu 23 May 02 08:35
    
> Are these rituals really "worship" or just paying due
> respect?  Hot topic here for 110 years, still debated
> back and forth...  

As one who is fluent in Spanish, I can well appreciate that problem,
largely because I'm aware of certain problems with the language itself
as it relates to the concept of worship.  In modern English, the word
"worship" is used almost exclusively in context of deity, or the
deification of someone or something.  But we also have the word
"adore," which in reality means the same thing as "worship," but its
actual usage has changed over time.  We also have other variations,
such as "revere" and "venerate," but these have pretty much faded from
common usage.

In Spanish, the word "adorar" is used in the same way Americans use
"adore," but in addition to that, it's also the most commonly used
term for worship.  Thus, a Spanish speaker would say, "Adoro a dios" (I
worship God), but would also say to his sweetheart, "Te adoro" (I
adore you).  The verb "adorar" is used interchangeably with the verb
"amar" (to love).  

Among traditional Spanish speakers, this has never been a problem (and
note that traditional Spanish speakers are for the most part
Catholic).  But interestingly enough, I have seen problems come up
with this word among Mexicans who've been converted by missionaries of
certain Protestant sects (Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses were two of
the most active proselytizing groups in Mexico when I lived there).
Likewise, the Mexican custom of asking one's parents for a
blessing/benediction before going on a trip was frowned upon by 
Protestants.

Also, in Freemasonry, the Master of a Masonic Lodge is usually
addressed as "Venerable" in Spanish (and the equivalent in Protuguese,
French & Italian).  But in English the Master is addressed as
"Worshipful," which many outsiders (especially fundamentalist
Bible-thumpers) misconstrue to allege that the Masons "worship" the
master of the lodge.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #67 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Thu 23 May 02 08:54
    
I'm reminded of a time when I accompanied my Korean friend, Mr. Lee,
and two Korean friends of his.  The two young men were brothers 
visiting here and we all went to their mother's house.  Their
grandmother was there, also.  The two hadn't seen their grandmother in
several years.  When we came into the house, the grandmother sat on the
floor and arranged herself in a pose, as if for a photo.  Then the two
brothers *and* Mr. Lee (who was no relation of theirs) ceremoniously
prostrated themselves before the grandmother.  Lee explained to me, in
his very limited English, that it was just "Korean custom."  But I
noted with interest that the two brothers and their mother were
Christian.  I interpreted this to mean that perhaps some/many Korean
Christians have retained or assimilated certain Neo-Confucianist
practices together with Christianity.  Is that correct?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #68 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Thu 23 May 02 09:28
    
Oh, I forgot to thank you, David, for explaining Confucianism and
Neo-Cofucianism.  Notice how I used the term above - almost like I know
what I'm talking about.   ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #69 of 234: Jim Fisher (fishjim) Thu 23 May 02 10:59
    
> #61 of 68
> No, i've never seen anything like that.  Pung-su & ji-ki 
> theories used for [mineral prospecting], sure.  San-shin
> heavily used by ginseng-hunters, tiger hunters and etc, 
> sure. But not San-shin for the things you mention.

Thanks David, sorry if that seemed to come out of left field --
geology is just a fascination of mine (though I'm no academic).

With this in mind, is there any chance you can provide a quick
overview of the geology of Korea's mountains?  Having never been to
Korea it would help me visualize some of the terrain -- don't need
anything fancy or scientific, just curious if the mountainous terrain
is primarily sedimentary or volcanic (I saw the mention in #26 of the
great volcano in North Korea, so am guessing this is was a main
component of the mountain-building forces), whether there's any major
faults in the country, etc.

Given the discussion in posts #18 and #26 about the tendency towards
idealization of mountains in San-shin paintings, rather than towards
naturalistic studies of particular peaks, I realize that these
considerations are not really preoccupations of San-shin -- but I'm
still curious! When it comes to mountains my spiritual imagination
tends to move around underground ;)
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #70 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Thu 23 May 02 13:31
    
>Are these rituals really "worship" or just paying due respect

This reminds me of an anecdote I heard about a scene in Japan where there
were a whole bunch of Japanese in a crowd waiting for the Emperor to give a
public address.  Before the address began everyone in the crowd placed their
hands in gassho position (i.e., palms together).  Someone asked one of them
later what it was they were doing when they put their hands together ---
praying?  To what or whom?  The person answered that he had no idea.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #71 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Thu 23 May 02 19:35
    
Yeah, i think that palms-together poisition is just "respect", maybe
"reverence"...  doesn't come up to worship.  Very common in Korean
Buddhism, laypeople even do it for each other.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #72 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Thu 23 May 02 20:07
    
> #64 of 70: Elisabeth Wickett (wickett) Thu 23 May 
> I was so sorry, David, to read of your dismissal from your 
> teaching post, because of your dissemination of your knowledge 
> about San-Shin.

Thanks; yeah, it was weird, and a life-wrecking blow at the time.
But then i ended up with this cool new job with the government... 
So all's well that ends well.

> So, if children aren't told San-Shin bedtime stories and students
> aren't taught their native religious traditions, how does this 
> rich tradition get passed on? 

In many caes, it just isn't.  But it is in enough of the population
that it's not dying, just evolving under pressure.

> Among traditional, country people, I understand that it's 
> embedded in their lives.  

Not nearly as much as before.  Few Koreans below elderly age live 
in a "village" anymore, and few villages have folk-deity shrines in
use (but all the bigger ones have churches in the middle).

> what about educated, professional, urban, even Christian Koreans?

In my book there's a photo of a man teaching his little kids to bow
to the Mountain-spirit; I have a dozen of those.  It is being passed
on, but only by a fraction of families.  Some Koreans develop a 
strong interest in their cultural traditions for the first time
around college-age.

>  Does your interest in promoting tourism derive from a desire 
> to perpetuate these traditions?  

Yes, sure.  I am an advocate as well as a researcher, and i *do*
believe that properly managed tourism can preserve religious/cultural
traditions threatened by the modernism wave.  It can bring money and
attention to things that might not otherwise survive.  And for the 
tourists, it's lots more interesting & fulfilling than just laying
on a beach, shopping or hangin' in a nightclub...

> If so, what safeguards do you envision to support the spiritual 
> dimension and prevent the practices from becoming spectacle or 
> sterile?

Good question, one that we wrestle with all the time here at the 
Ministry of Culture and Tourism.  General rules are hard to make,
each particular situation needs to be handled on its own terms, 
according to the exact conditions there and the attitudes of the
practitioners involved.  It's important to actually GO there and 
talk with them a long time on their turf, and not have bureaucrats
sitting in downtown offices making all the decisions about giving 
tourists access to temples and shrines off in the remote mountains.

We are dealing with these issues heavily now in designing our new 
"Temple Stay" program -- Korea's Zen Buddhists are still quite 
serious about what they do and have never welcomed foreign tourists
until just now.  I'm a leader in putting this together, and am trying
to have it done right.  See:  http://www.templestaykorea.net

For my views on a remote place that only grudgingly admits tourists
and only on their own terms:  http://www.san-shin.org/3sages1.html
"The Wise-Discernment Mountains Azure-Crane Village Three-Sages 
Palace - Korea's Daoist Utopia"
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #73 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Thu 23 May 02 20:26
    
> Any speculation on why Protestant Christianity has such a 
> strong and rigid influence on Koreans at the expense of 
> their own rich heritage?

Yes.  The type of Protestantism that was imported here 1885-1925 was
the very conservative, intolerant, fundamentalist sort.  The same 
guys who got alchohol banned in the USA by 1920 and tried to outlaw
dancing and other religions in local areas.  The very opposite of
the Unitarians, I mean.

Koreans are very conservative people themselves, tending to narrow-
mindedness (from being "the Hermit Kingdom" for hundreds of years).
So they took to this enthusiasticly.  

And, when they import a religion, they tend to keep it in the origi-
nal style in which they got it (this may be a shamanist psychology).
No reforms, no heterodoxy tolerated, grandpa's old-time orthodox 
beliefs "are good enough for me".

This is pretty cool, for an amatuer cultural-anthropoligist like me
-- Korean Buddhism is much closer to the forms of the Tang & Sung
Dynasties than anything seen in China or Japan, the Real Stuff of 
the Zen Patriarchs.  Their Neo-Confucian practices are real early-
Ming-Dynasty style, none of the late-Ming or Ching reforms adopted;
i've seen Chinese scholars get blown away watching a big Korean 
ceremony "why, it hasn't been done that way in China in 500 years!!".

This affects all San-shin stuff, too.  So it has its good side in 
terms of preservation, but in the Protestant Christianity case it 
is causing significant social problems in what is supposed to be 
a pluralistic tolerant modern-thinking society.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #74 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Thu 23 May 02 22:09
    
That Temple-Stay program seems to have good potential for the future
of Buddhist-oriented tourism to Korea.  Right now 31 temples nation-
wide are open to overnight stays by visitors, at quite a reasonable 
price, during the World Cup month (now-June).  We hope to keep it 
going on a smaller scale after the WC, if there's no big problem (i
have nightmares of drunken European Soccer-hooligans burning a big
monastery down).  

Many of the participating temples are located in stunning mountain
scenery, with a fresh clean stream running thru or next to, pine 
trees below the granite crags, etc.  Just to BE there is a beautiful
pleasure, never mind all the spiritual & historical crap.  Bilingual
monks and lay-people volunteers provide translation, guidance and
explanations, very kindly.

There's a good article in the paper just today, about us introducing
this program by taking a gaggle of Ambassadors-to-Seoul for a 24-hr
stay at Directly Pointing Temple, one of the oldest, in the center 
of Korea at the foot of an 1111-meter mountain.  This was 2 wks ago.
It went very well, and we were blessed with perfect spring weather. 
I was along as monitor & guide, with my wife.  See:
http://english.joins.com/Article.asp?aid=20020523234718&sid=600

My boss Mrs. Dho is featured in the 2nd article down.  Unfortunately
this online version contains no photos; the paper has 8 good ones.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #75 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Fri 24 May 02 01:14
    
Direct Pointing Temple!  Quite a nice name.  Ah, the Tang Dynasty, the
height of Chinese culture (in my Zen-biased opinion)!  Although there
are those who say that since Japan imported Chinese culture during the
Tang Dynasty, Japan also preserves a lot of Tang Dynasty flavor that was
lost in China after the Shaolin Zen temples were ravaged and suppressed
(especially during the Qing Dynasty).

Do many Korean Zen temples accept foreign students?  I have recently read
a book by the Zen Master Seung Sahn, and was quite impressed.  I know he
has quite a few students in the West these days.

It occurs to me that there is a difference between state sponsored religion
and religion that must live in the shadows of suppression.  When I visited
Kyoto recently I went to many temples that are open to the public, and
it was impressive to see them all, the great structures, all of the tourists.
It was moving to think that for a time the government (Tokugawas) actually
supported Zen in a big way.  Later, though, it occurred to me that one
drawback of this is that Zen became something more like a career for many
people, something that parents passed on to children, rather than something
done out of conviction.  It is both a blessing and a curse to have the
sanction of the government or the powers that be.

I wonder how you feel the lack of government support that both Buddhism and
shamanism affected them, for better and for worse?
  

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