Shots From Musangsa: An International Zen Centre in Kyeryong, Chungcheong-do

A windy day at Musangsa

Forty-nine days have passed since my dear friend’s mother has passed away.  In Korea, a ceremonial ritual called sasip-gu jae (49재) is held depends on the religious belief of the deceased and their family.  My friend’s mother was a Buddhist and her 49 jae was carried out at a Zen temple called Mu Sang Sa (무상사) in Kyeryong city which is about half-an-hour drive from my home in Daejeon.

The sound of moktak dominated the ritual

Being a nonreligious person, this was my first time attending such rite and although I enjoy visiting Buddhist temples I have never actually been inside one.  The interior of the temple was full of elaborate Buddhist artworks including a portrait of Seung Sahn, the founder of Musangsa and a Buddhist monk who had travelled to America and returned with many disciples that are occupying the temple ground today.

The ritual lasted for about two hours and it included bowing, chanting, and a kind of jesa where the foods are prepared for the deceased.   There was also some type of performance where we assumed that the deceased is “cleansing” herself then putting on a new cloth.  After the ceremony was over, the clothes were then burned outside into ashes.  What I understood was that this could be a process where we wish for the soul’s eternal peace and perhaps a better afterlife.

What is left of the clothes of the deceased

After the unique experience was over, I left behind to capture some of the daily moments of Musangsa.  Although I am no Buddhist, spending time at a Buddhist temple is almost like a healing process for my mind and soul.  The silence and the sight where nature and manmade coexist would allow anyone to meditate naturally.

Official Website of Musangsa




2 thoughts on “Shots From Musangsa: An International Zen Centre in Kyeryong, Chungcheong-do

  1. John Bocskay April 2, 2015 / 3:34 PM

    Nice post! Musang-sa is a lovely place. I had the pleasure to visit there once many years ago. I met the abbot and had a very interesting conversation with him, and I met some of the other monks there. Really cool place. I hope to get back there someday, hopefully soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yMoon April 2, 2015 / 4:47 PM

      I also had a chance to briefly chat with the abbot (at least I think that was him – the one from USA). I asked him to contact me if he’s ever in needs of a volunteer. A very interesting place and I would love to visit again 🙂


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