Golgul temple has run Sunmudo training programs since 1992 for those who would like to experience the traditions of Korean Buddhism.

There were a number of simple yet alien rules we had to abide by during our stat in the temple. The first of these was total respect for the natural environment, which including not using toilet paper and eating every crumb at meal times. Meal time was a time to focus on your food and experience its delights. The rule in the canteen being no conversation and that all of the food selected (all of it being clasical Buddhist dishes) had to be eaten - pleasant or not pleasant. Not knowing what an alien food would taste like and knowing that it had to be eaten was one of the hardest experiences that I delighted in.

Invited by Grandmaster Jeog Un who trained in 'Buddhism Gumgangyunggwan' (Traditional Zen martial arts) under the head master Yang-ik and attained enlightenment in 1975 to the Golgul temple to experience Buddhism and Sunmudo martial arts first hand we spent our time taking part in Buddhist practice 24hrs a day.

Every morning we would rise at 5am and walk up to the temple to take part in the Buddhist ceremony. Part of this ceremony consisted of 108 bows to Buddha. During each Bow ;which consisted of kneeling down and then standing up; one had to appologise for some wrongdoing that had been perfomed in our lives. This being part of a daily cleansing ritual. After the cleansing we turned and faced the rising sun, watching it slowly come up over the horizon with the shadows speeding over the hills during every shift in time.

The afternoons and evenings consisted of taking part in Sunmudo, having a break and then taking part in another aspect of the ancient martial art.

 All in all this was a totally enlivening experience

Written by Conrad Howard — November 20, 2012

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