Getting away from it all’ is something most of us do at least once a year. We call it a holiday or vacation. It has become an integral part of our culture and something we look forward to. But why? Why do we always look forward to the holiday experience? Usually it’s because it is seen primarily as a break from work, a relief from work, an escape from work. When our holiday is seen as a time to be relaxed and happy it essentially means we perceive work as a time when we are unrelaxed and unhappy. Obviously not everyone would say they feel unhappy and unrelaxed at work, however just the use of the word ‘work’ indicates a certain …tension! And unsurprisingly the very idea of work still tends to attract the labels of ‘necessary evil’ or ‘daily drudgery’. Whatever it is, ‘it’ requires a holiday!

Have you noticed during the last ten years the explosion in popularity of going on a retreat. For hundreds perhaps thousands of years, a retreat was perceived almost exclusively as a ‘spiritual pursuit’. It was central to the quest for greater truth, deeper wisdom and more profound meaning. It was a time to go to a place of solitude, silence and self-reflection. It’s purpose was to drop the distractions of worldly concerns and material attachments in order to find the spiritual dimension, commune with the divine and realize ones core spiritual nature

 For the rest of the article, please click the attached file below  : 

MikeGgeRetreatCentre. Mike George(www.relax7.com)

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  1. jimpins Says:

    Simplify your life at temple stay

    Date: June 06, 2008

    By Derek Winchester
    Contributing writer

    We all have hectic lives where one thing or another adds stress to our existence. At those times, all we want to do is return to a time when everything was simple, maybe not easy, but simple.

    Tasks where you knew what you were doing to solve the problem was the right solution. This is what temple stays offer. Through tasks that are designed to occupy the hands while the mind and spirit are left to clarify and connect to nature and the universe around you. Whether it is farming, writing calligraphy or a simple meditative walk through the woods, things become clearer and you obtain a sense of accomplishment.

    At the Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center north of Incheon, you can get a starter course in Buddhism. The temple and center were founded by the late Ven. Song-chol in 1991.

    The late Ven. Song-chol also introduced a practice called Abira which consists of bowing several hundred times in order to cleanse yourself of negative karma. Through physical activity and chanting, the monks clear away bad karma built up by several past lives. This practice originated in China and is practiced by a dozen other temples in Korea. The monks at the temple perform this practice many times a year.

    The temple is home to several international monks. They come from many countries including Russia, Singapore and Bangladesh. The founder of the center traveled to these countries and introduced Buddhism.

    One such monk, Hye Haeng, came to the temple from Moscow where the number of Buddhists numbers less than twenty. He was first introduced to Buddhism through studying psychology.

    One day, He came across a book about the Zen mind and that started his journey along the Buddhist path. Hye Haeng’s view is that most people that come to the temple have a set first impression of Buddhist practices. He says that their idea of Buddhism is chanting, monks meditating or some theory that they have learned in a book.

    To really experience Buddhism you have to practice it yourself. You have to feel the discomfort of kneeling and bowing and let that discomfort clear your head of all other thoughts in order to become more enlightened. Usually, visitors come to realize the practical aspects of Buddhism are more rewarding than what they can understand from reading.

    The daily schedule at the temple starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday. From 2 to 4 p.m., participants get orientated at the temple, pick a room and meet the other people doing the temple stay.

    At 4 p.m., they watch a brief video on Buddhism in Korea and learn about the basics rules of the temple. At 5:30, a wooden instrument is struck to call everyone to dinner.

    Dinner is eaten in the understanding that the food is medicine for the body and not for the pleasure of your mouth. All of the food must be eaten and not wasted. They will also clean their own dishes (another meditative practice great for cleansing the spirit and mind).

    At 6:30, the evening chanting begins. Then, there will be a class on meditation and the practice of this meditation until lights out at 9:30.

    Participants will be woken at 3:30 for pre dawn chanting and sitting meditation until 6 a.m., when everyone will eat breakfast. At 7:30, they take a walk through the woods or farm fields. At 8:30, a tea time is scheduled with the head monk. An hour later will bring copying of the sutra followed by midday chanting and then lunch.

    * How to get there
    – From Seoul
    – From Shinchon Subway Station (Line #2)
    Use exit no. 1 and walk down 200 meters.
    At the Bus stop for Kangwha, buy the ticket for On Soo Ri. (4,300 won).
    Buses leave at 40 minutes of every hour. (ex. 1:40 p.m. 2:40 p.m. etc)
    Then get off at On Soo Ree and take a taxi to Lotus Lantern
    International Meditation Center

    Source: Korea Policy Review June 2008

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