Established in March 2000, Mu Sang Sa is an international Seon temple where anyone from around the world who is interested in meditation can easily learn about and practice Seon in Korea, a country that has maintained a deep-rooted legacy of Seon practice and a strong Buddhist tradition since the 4th century.
At Mu Sang Sa, we support a community of foreign monks, nuns, and laypeople who want to practice Seon following the teachings of Korean Seon Master Seung Sahn. Many students come to practice or train here and later return to help the Seon Centers in their own countries.
Like all Korean Seon temples, Mu Sang Sa hosts two three-month intensive meditation retreats (Kyol Che) a year, in summer and winter. Koyl Che is a time when one can completely devote oneself to meditation practice away from worldly distractions. At other times of the year, we organize short weekend retreats and hold weekly ZEN MEDITATION CLASSES on every Sunday.
Our temple is located on Kye Ryong Sahn, a mountain famed for its strong mystical energy in Korea. Other great temples are also located on this mountain, such as Dong Hak Sa, Kap Sa and Shin Won Sa. Many great Korean Seon Masters, such as Gyeong-Heo Sunim and Mangong Sunim have also practiced on Kye Ryong Sahn. Seon Master Seung Sahn carefully viewed many sites over a period of five years before finally choosing the present location at the end of 1998.
Mu Sang Sa sits directly beneath Kuk Sa Bong (National Teacher’s Peak), where long ago an eminent master predicted that 800 Great Dharma Teachers would appear to help this world.
The temple consists of three buildings, the Main Buddha Hall, a Seon Hall and the Residence building. The Seon building has two floors, the first containing eight residential rooms, and the second a large Seon room in which everyone practices together. The Dormitory building has three stories, the first housing a kitchen and dining room, and the other floors, residents’ rooms.
The Main BUDDHA HALL, or Dae Ung Jon in Korean, sits on a small rise above the Seon building. It is has an inspiring view of the valley of rice fields below and the mountains in the far distance. The Buddha Hall is clearly visible from the valley and bids an impressive welcome to visitors as they approach Mu Sang Sa.
There is the American Zen Master Dae-Bong Sunim, who has stayed at Mu Sang Sa since the very beginning of the construction, practicing and teaching in a run-down prefab house in order to uphold his teacher’s wishes, and who was the pioneer in the history of Mu Sang Sa. Also the American abbot Mu Shim Sunim, who made the most of his more than twenty year’s experience living in Korea, constructing the Main Buddha Hall and meticulously carrying on various projects around the temple. These two monks, who received Dharma transmission from their teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, are absorbed in teaching the students who visit Mu Sang Sa.