|▲ Monk Seoho|
Calligraphy is an essence of oriental culture. There is a monk who has been training herself with calligraphy in a way to reach enlightenment and to spread the teachings of the Buddha to the people on earth. For her, this long time practiced art is a tool for training, meditation and enjoying peace of mind.
Seoho has many titles: monk, scholar, calligrapher and teacher. All these professions are nothing but the tools to improve the heart. She particularly enjoys calligraphy since it is a unique genre of art that requires balance and harmony of dots, lines, compositions and symmetries. She feels regretful, however, that this beautiful art is being ignored by people nowadays.
She learned calligraphy and tradition from her grandparent Jo Byeong-hee (aka Heowa) since childhood and carried it on even after becoming a monk. “Jo was a hug influence to me. We were so close each other that when he made his own anthology I translated it into Korean. I then left home to Bongnyeongsa Temple and the chief monk there introduced me to a calligrapher Jung Do-jun in goodwill for myself and for others.”
Zen is a mental training to reach enlightenment. Zen is not necessarily limited to temples or training spaces but it can be done anywhere and anytime in our daily lives. Seoho finished a zen master’s course at Dongguk University and is taking a doctoral course of applied zen at the moment. In her paper, she studied the point of senior researchers’ assertion that the act of calligraphy is an act of zen.
She wrote Heart Sutra and Bodhisattva doctrine in beautiful calligraphy in a way to spread the teachings of Buddha. For her, calligraphy is a tool to train to reach the truth and to promote artistic and cultural assets of Buddhist monks that have been passed down for a long time.
Alongside this of her good will, she has held 2 days and 1 night Buddhist camp for children at Bojangsa Temple for 7 years. In the camp, children learn Sajasohak and the Thousand-Character Classic, and special lectures from the Federation of Korea Buddhist Association Children Division are held time to time.
Also, she is actively engaged in healing calligraphy class at Bohyeon House in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul and another one for elderly residents in Bogae-myeon, Anseong.
“Calligraphy and zen are two of my companions to save ‘bori’ on one hand and spread the teachings of the Buddha to the people on the other hand.”
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