Friday, September 16, 2011

South Korean Buddha visits Riverside Church

A Buddhist monk from the mountains of South Korea asked a crowd of 2,000 to self-reflect and answer the question, “What is your true self before your parents gave birth to you?” at Riverside Church on Thursday evening.
In his first trip to the United States, Zen Master Jinje delivered a Dharma talk on the philosophy of Ganhwa Seon to a packed congregation in the church’s nave.
Ganhwa Seon is the practice of constantly asking oneself a “hwadu,” or topic of inquiry, throughout the tedium of daily life. Jinje contemplated a hwadu for 13 years before achieving enlightenment.
Sitting cross-legged atop an ornate platform in gray monastic robes and a golden sash, Jinje emphasized “the spiritual culture of Asia as one step in fostering world peace.”
The first step to enlightenment is sitting correctly, Jinje said to the crowd assembled at the interdenominational church on 120th Street and Claremont Ave. Then, sitting still, one needs to “focus on questioning your hwadu without ever forgetting it.” After a long period of contemplation, the hwadu will “unexpectedly shatter” and a “dazzling wisdom” will appear before one’s eyes.

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