Wondam ( 1926 ~ 2008/03/18 )

The great Seon Master Ven. Wondam considered calligraphy as one means of practice. He was an extraordinary monk who was renowned for his calligraphy, alive with the spirit of Seon. “Sentient beings, full of sin, are not too low for me; and Buddhas, gone to Nirvana, are not too high for me.” He would say that if we meditate, we will gain wisdom. “I lost myself,” even such a thought must be abandoned. Ven. Wondam was born in Okgu, Jollanamdo Province in 1926. His mother had a dream, where a monk appeared and gave her a name for her baby. He was called “Mongsool (Dream Manifest).” He was not prone to crying, yet on one occasion a monk came for alms and the baby bawled. At 12, he followed his aunt to Sudeoksa Temple. He saw the bright countenance of the meditating monks and great delight arose in him. He entered the monastery and for more than five years, he trained as a postulant at Chunjangsa Temple and Junwolsa Temple serving Ven. Mangong. In 1941 at the age of 16, he received novice (sramanera) precepts with Ven. Byukcho as vocation master (Unsa) and Ven. Mangong as precept master. Ven. Byukcho was a Seon-farmer monk. He was known for his humility and served others all his life. Ven. Wondam inherited the Seon-farmer practice lineage and increased the renown of the practice of “farming and Seon are one.” He received Dharma transmission from Ven. Mangong. In 1970, he became the Abbot of Sudeoksa Temple. In 1983, he established Sudeoksa Temple as a Chongrim (a large-scale temple, which provides comprehensive training for the monastics; there are four such temples in Korea). Thereafter, he published the “Teachings of Mangong.” In 1986 he became the third spiritual director of the Chongrim. Ven. Hye-am and Ven. Byukcho were the first and second. Ven. Wondam was a true practitioner all his life. On March 18, 2008 9 p.m. at Sudeoksa Temple, Ven. Wondam passed away at the age of 82. He was a monk for 76 years.