(The hot place for designs) (Korea’s landmark DDP) (Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Jung-gu, Seoul) (112th class at the foreigner school) This is My Neighbor, Charles where we meet foreigners living in Korea. – Hello. / – Hello. We have a flower and candles in here today, Sayuri. Do you know why? Why is that? Is there a fortune-teller? I guess you don’t know about the Buddha’s birthday. We have that in Japan too but we aren’t really familiar with it. It’s the Buddha’s birthday special today so… Are there many Buddhists in Japan? Yes, but I think Japanese don’t really care about each other’s religion. So they hold weddings at church but also go to a temple and pray on New Year’s Day. In France, there aren’t that many Buddhists. It’s about 1%. But people are very fond of Buddhism because it has that image of being righteous and peaceful. Today’s guest is from Europe. She’s not a regular Buddhist. She came to Korea from Hungary to become a monk. Let’s invite her. – Come on in. / – Come in. Hello. So cool. – Hello. / – Hello. Hello. I’m from Hungary. I’m Cheongjin, a Buddhist ascetic. The word “Cheong” means pure and clear. And “jin” means truth. So it means to share and teach dharma all around the world. How did you learn about Buddhism in Hungary? I’m curious. In 2010, I went to Thailand. I wasn’t interested in Buddhism at that time. I was practicing qigong. But my karma appeared within 4 days. What did you do in the past? Yes, I’m also curious. I was a marketing manager. Marketing manager? I also taught at a university about advertisement production. You grew up in a place that has nothing to do with Buddhism. Why did you choose Buddhism? I was about 31 years old and my job was stable and my salary was good. But one day, I felt that it’s all unnecessary. I thought that I needed a real master. I decided to give up my job and all the materials because it was all senseless for me. We all are living such busy lives. I hope we could get comforted today through the life of Cheongjin. – I want to learn. / – Let’s follow… The daily life of the Buddhist ascetic Cheongjin. (My Neighbor, Charles) (A Buddhist ascetic with blue eyes) The sound of the clear bell rings through the dawn, waking up the city. (The sound of the bell rings through the dawn) According to the rules of the Korean Buddhist temple, the Buddhist ascetic’s day begins from early morning. (Cheongjin bows 300 times to Buddha every morning) It’s only her 2nd month in Korea. She can’t speak Korean yet but she’s pretty good at the ceremonial service done in Korean. When the morning ceremonial service finishes she begins preparing breakfast which is one of the most important daily tasks for an Buddhist ascetic. But the flames rise… And the water boils over. Cheongjin isn’t used to the kitchen work as she was always an office worker. (A total mess) The fireplace is different in Europe. And for me, it’s very unusual. The gas is very strong here. So that’s why she was having trouble with the fire. But she seems to be pretty good with the knife. Everyone likes her food. Is she good at cooking? Yes, she’s practically a cook. She’s really good. Cheongjin prepared a Hungarian breakfast. She made carrot soup instead of Korean stew. And kimchi and salad are the side dishes. It’s a multinational table. (A fresh vegetarian breakfast) Monks don’t eat meat so they eat cheese for protein. Cheongjin doesn’t eat cheese. Although, she came from the country of cheese. Cheongjin, who was born and raised in Europe, enjoys her rice with pickles and kimchi. I think she was a Korean in her previous life. I think so too. She loves kimchi. Have one, Cheongjin. Yeah. (Hahaha) Teach her properly. You should say “yes.” Not “yeah.” You say that to people of your age or below. To become a monk, one has to spend about 6 months to a year as a Buddhist ascetic. It’s a period of time that she has to forget about her identity in the real world and to lower herself and serve others. Aren’t you tired? No, I enjoy working. Really? Yes, I like physical labor. It’s good for the mind and the body. Bara Agnes was born and raised in Eastern Europe, where Buddhism is very rare. She was raised in a happy family and succeeded as a marketing manager of a global company. Why did she decide to become a monk leaving behind her envious life? I had good career and I had everything but I felt empty inside. I didn’t feel like I was living my life. “Why am I living and what am I doing? What do I have to do here? Why is that a good job and good salary don’t give me satisfaction?” (To become a monk was her answer) However, it still isn’t easy to read Buddhist scriptures. (Wrong) (Wash away) (Wrong) (All the suffering) (Monk Jau appears) (Wrong) (Sin and the mind) (Wrong) (The true) (They shouldn’t be laughing) (I can’t help it) (Wrong) (Person) (Wrong) (Buddha) Wait, it sounds really weird. (Fixing the pronunciation first) She has many things to overcome. For you, if you chant fast, it’ll be difficult. You are doing it like this. (Tapping the temple block without any rhythm) People will be out of breath. (Panting) (The teacher gives a demonstration) Give some rhythm and then people can also follow the rhythm. It will be more fun and interesting. It’s difficult to do it at the same time, right? Hitting and reading… I can’t even think of the rhythm of the block. She has a long and tough way to go but she feels relieved thanks to her teacher. Cheongjin wants to understand the scriptures completely and realize the Buddha’s teachings. (Wants to understand the teachings of the Buddha) How did she end up coming here? She first learned about Buddhism in Thailand where she went to learn mediation. While working again in Hungary, she met Monk Cheongan from Korea. Cheongjin has found the answer to her suffering through Buddhism in Korea. She came to Korea to become a monk. I had a very good washing machine which was produced in Korea. It’s like a symbol. I’m washing away all the dirtiest things and I’m clearing my mind and heart in Korea through Buddhism. So it’s like a symbol for me. Maybe I didn’t choose Korea maybe Korea chose me. (Getting used to Korean culture) In principle, a Buddhist ascetic is not supposed to go out. Where is she going that she’s so excited? (The temple is in the middle of Seoul) Since the temple is in the middle of a city she learns to take the public transportation and she can observe the lifestyle of Koreans. There are many people. It’s because it’s time to go to work. This is Gyeongbokgung. It’s really beautiful, right? Kings and queens lived there. Press the button. Oh, we’re late. We should hurry. But monks shouldn’t run. Yes, I know. I know that you have to walk fast. (Buddhist store) Oh, they came to get clothes for Cheongjin. What’s her Buddhist name? – Cheongjin. / – Jongjin? – Cheongjin. / – Jongjin? – Cheongjin. / – Oh, Cheongjin. She’s an ascetic. She isn’t a monk yet. If we order her clothes… – She has short arms. / – Right? Usually foreign monks have long arms. Who’s going to come to get the clothes? She should come and get it herself. You think she can? She doesn’t know the way. She’s very smart. That doesn’t have to do with being smart. It must be flustering for her. I hope so. I have to take the bus, right? I’m not sure if she will be able to do it. You are going to buy shoes as well? – Do you have rubber shoes? / – Yes. The white ones. What size do you want? A big one. To take of the shoes from the mundane and to wear rubber shoes means to give up on luxury and live a poor but honest life. – How big are these? / – 260mm. – Do you have 265mm? / – Yes. 265mm? She has huge feet since she’s a foreigner. The black one is big and the white one is small. What is she going to do? It’s better to take the white one. The black one comes off very easily. Then wear the white one and stretch it out? Want to stretch it out? What should we do? Whatever it is, they can just laugh it off. Today, you can try. Just try. (First step after getting ready to become a monk) It’s soft and comfortable. I feel the floor under my feet. Thank you, monk. (Entering the world of asceticism) Good-bye. Gid-bye. Good-bye. – Good-bye? / – No. There are so many ways. Good-bye. (The teacher wants her to experience Korea) There’s a reason why the teacher is still letting Cheongjin stay in the world. Usually a Buddhist ascetic is not allowed to go out for about a year. It’s to help them get rid of their worldly habits. But since she’s not a Korean, there could be a cultural shock. I want her to get used to the Korean culture, and Korean temple culture. (Taking the bus alone for the first time) I have to go to Jongno Police Station. I’m not a big fan of big cities and traffic. I’m more closer to nature, forests and mountains. So I can find the way in the forest more easily. Cheongjin used to live in a small city. To her, Seoul is a big city and thus it’s more unfamiliar to her. She’s nervous and frustrated to find the way that she’s been just once. (Should I get off now?) (Or not?) Jongno Police Station, is it the next station? – Jongno Police Station? / – Thank you. That’s right. Ask if you don’t know and get used to it one by one. Hello. – Oh, you came! / – Yes. They say an ascetic’s luck goes away if they wear new clothes instead of old clothes. Cheongjin got her coat from someone but she couldn’t get the jacket so she has to wear a new one. Is this alright? Cheongjin, now that you got a new jacket, you should gather your luck and train harder. Pity? Petty? It’s pretty. Thank you. We can’t communicate. It seems like she will have no problem living in Korea. I’m back. I was worried about you. It was simple. Everything was simple. (Cheongjin is getting used to her life in Korea) She’s become smart now. She’s become smart. (Getting rid of the suffering) Shaving one’s head, which is a part of monks’ lives, has another meaning. In Buddhism, the hair symbolizes delusions. So whenever you shave your hair, you’re getting rid of your delusions. In Buddhism, hair is called “mumyeongcho,” which means the grass of foolishness. I think you have a lot of thoughts these days. Really? Yes, because you have red spots which means you have a lot of thoughts. It means that you’re tired. I’m learning a lot of things these days. (Getting rid of the suffering) – Finished. / – Thank you. I’m sorry. Today, we removed our delusions and ignorance. You should have that kind of time all the time. It was hard to even spend a single day without a worry in the world. The more she tried to satisfy her desires, the farther the happiness seemed. She’s happy now that she knows how to be satisfied. (Realizing the abundance of the heart) At the time I had some problem with my eyes. I almost went blind. I had some very serious problem. I didn’t find much happiness in my life at the time. I get much more happiness from practicing dharma and living in a temple. (Seocho, Seoul) They are going to a temple in the mountains. There’s a Buddhist university at Donghaksa. You can learn Buddha’s teachings there. They also teach how to live together. The hardest part in the practice is to act together, and do everything together. People are very individual in Western lives. (Who will they meet there?) It’s hard to have a meal outside the temple. You have to check what is inside. I brought this. You can remove it with this. Since it’s forbidden to kill life in Buddhism, they have to watch what they eat. Would you like some? (Mercy on living things) It’s really tasty. The ancient temple Donghaksa is located at the foot of Gyeryongsan. (On their way to Donghaksa) How will this rookie ascetic feel when she meets Buddhist nuns who already went through this road? It’s beautiful. I like Korean mountains very much. They have such good energy. The ancient temple Donghaksa is the very first Buddhist university for nuns in Korea. To Cheongjin who hasn’t declared the rules, the elderly monk is very admirable. Just visiting the elderly monk makes her Buddhist beliefs get stronger. Welcome. It’s the beginning. Even the grass is putting its hands together for you to successfully become a monk. The trees, flowing water and the whole universe is praying that she becomes a great monk. Please tell her. Thank you. I would like to practice and learn more about Buddhism. This place feels very close to me I got a very good first impression. She must finish her life as an ascetic to be able to enter the Buddhist university. From freshmen to seniors, everyone studies and lives together here. Monk Jau also studied here in the past. Now she teaches English for Buddhism. (Introducing the future student) She’s an ascetic so please bow 3 times. It seems like these monks are more nervous to see a foreign ascetic. I’m Cheongjin. I feel happy. We feel happy too. (Thank you) Please explain this. Cheongjin is playing a huge role today. Slowly. Which hand do you use when you write something? Right. She asked which hand you use when you write. Do you understand? (Guessing is the best when it comes to English) Body language. (Flapping) (We like her) I wonder why you decided to become a nun in Korea. I like the Korean Buddhist practice very much. Korea has been practicing Buddhism since hundreds of years ago and they have their own culture. So I’d like to practice more profoundly and deeper. It’s not easy. I feel like I’m a baby in Korea. Every day, I have the beginner’s mind. They seem like high school students. It’s Korean ice cream. This is the first time. The monks are very friendly. Good. I hope she stays here. After you’re done, enter our university next year. Welcome to Donghaksa. (She’s more firm now after seeing the nuns) The monks study and go through Zen mediation as a big community. She resolves that she won’t be negligent of practice and Zen mediation like the other monks. (A silent resolution in the mountain temple) (Serving others) – $10. / – $10. The blue one is $1. How much is it? – How much is it? / – And then you’ll say. “Bissayo” means expensive and “ssayo” means cheap. (Flustered) You want to say expensive at the market? No, I won’t. No, you can do it. Sometimes the vegetable is so expensive. I’m going to make bean paste soup. This is the money for tofu. I’m sorry. (Friendly atmosphere) Tofu is expensive. Let’s try it for real. For spinach, $3 for 0.6kg. – $3. / – Yes. $5 for 1.2kg. – Really? / – It’s expensive. It’s expensive. I don’t know the price. I’m just asking. Cheongjin has to prepare 3 meals a day. Thank you. Thank you. This time, she’s going to try making Korean food. (That afternoon) There is a reason why you must learn to cook when you are an ascetic. (Making all-time favorite, bean paste soup) – Should I check the potato? / – Yes. It’s good I think. I think this is okay. The food that Koreans enjoy the most is bean paste soup. I think it’s bean paste soup and seaweed soup. So she needs to know how to make those in order to cook for other people. Cooking is an ability to help others. It looks great. It looks so delicious, right? She adds plenty of tofu which she learned about after coming to Korea. (Slurping) For me, it’s delicious. It’s her first time and she did a great job. Cheongjin has been a vegetarian for 18 years. So it wasn’t hard for her to learn temple dishes. It’s so good. – It’s tasty. / – Is it? It’s so good. Do you think you can make it by yourself? By myself? I think I can do it by myself. I’ll try. She used to have meals when it was time and took her daily life for granted. Now she feels thankful for everything. As we live on offerings and donations I think it’s important to be thankful. She donated money to buy tofu just now. One day, I realized that I’m not myself. I’m part of this cabbage and part of this mushroom. Cucumber and cabbage is inside me. I’m not really me. I exist thanks to everything’s hard work and care. It makes me think again. Every moment feels so precious. These dishes… They know how much effort and hard work was put into the food they eat. They don’t leave even a single grain of rice. (Understanding the charitable deeds in food) As soon as I met Monk Jau, I felt like I’ve known her for a long time. She’s like a good mother, friend and master. To find a person with compassion and kindness like Monk Jau in our busy and hard life is very difficult. But it’s very important. The temple is open even on weekends. Naturally, Cheongjin has no time to rest. How long has it been since you did meditation? Only like about a year ago. But I need to meditate more. Monk Jau has been teaching meditation for foreigners for 11 years. (Sitting on the floor is already a trouble) Be aware of your breathing. Bring your mind from outside to inside. And you can catch this moment. We will do this for 20 minutes. This class is held to comfort foreigners who are having a hard time in an unfamiliar land. (Peeking) You need to focus. Oh, he got a cramp. It isn’t easy to sit on the floor. (Painful) 20 minutes must feel like 2 hours to him. Meanwhile, Cheongjin is very stable. Some are tired, some are sleepy. Meditating isn’t easy as it seems. (Tap) Was it tiring? (Stretching) How was the meditation today? It’s quite difficult to sit like this for a long time. (Meditating while walking) We can’t just think one thing because we have too many thoughts. And we act based on our emotions. How about we stop thinking for a while and take a look at our minds. (Living with compassion) There’s another place she visits every weekend. It’s the nursing home where a helping hand and a companion is needed. Cheongjin is eager to help other people. She learns about the mind to live for others. How does it feel to help others sincerely? Be merciful so that others’ happiness can become your own happiness. (I’m happy when others are happy) It’s a good feeling to help each other. I think that’s the basics of our lives, to give and share with others. Sometimes, it’s more important to use the mind, than to use the body. Sharing is not giving away something that is yours. You actually gain a lot of from sharing. Open up. Open up. The feeling of happiness when others are happy. (Clapping) Sharing is an ascetic practice for an ascetic wanting to lead a merciful life. Good-bye. (The master monk’s words) It’s the road Monk Jau walked on to become a monk 25 years ago. (What did she realize here?) It’s a special place for Cheongjin who wants to be like her teacher. Baekheungam is located deep in Palgongsan. It’s a place for Zen meditation for nuns so outsiders are not allowed in the temple. (They open only twice a year) Outsiders are not allowed to come in. Outsiders are not allowed to come in. A monk with blue eyes is here. This is your first foreigner pupil’s pupil. – Nice to meet you. / – Master monk, nice to meet you. The master monk welcomes her pupil’s pupil with clear eyes. May you attain Buddhahood. Nice to meet you. – She’s from Hungary? / – Yes. You took a plane and learned Korean. I’m very thankful that you decided to become a monk after all the trouble you went through. (Thank you for understanding) It’s not something anyone can do. Do you want to experience Zen meditation? Yes. She prays very hard. She bows 300 times every morning. Many foreign monks come to practice but a lot of them go back to the world. That’s right. I hope you remain as a monk and not end up like that. Yes, master monk. I believe you’ll do well. I started a little late in age. If she has any advice for me I would be really thankful. Become a better monk each day. If you practice asceticism hard today, you’ll become a better ascetic the next day. – Thank you. / – Can you do it? We will remember what she said, which is to forget yesterday and tomorrow and live this very moment. That’s the toilet. The monks have to come here every time? Cheongjin, please read this. – Haeuso. / – Haeuso. It’s bathroom. It means to solve your worry. Oh, it’s easier than… Hwajangsil. It’s so hard for me to remember. Cheongjin, go in there and solve all your worries. This kind of toilet still exists. We had a similar one. My grandpa had a similar one. The kitchen god. The god who protects the kitchen? Even the teacher had a tough time when she was an ascetic. I was the only ascetic at the time. So I had a really tough time. I had to do many things all the time. From 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sometimes we took firewood from the mountains. That must’ve been tough. It’s 3 a.m. The day of the mountain temple begins. (The time when the Buddha achieved enlightenment) The time when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. She meditates to let go of the suffering and fill herself with mercy and wisdom. (A small enlightenment inside the heart) This temple is very peaceful and I would like to enjoy every moment here. The rain has stopped and it’s a clear morning. It’s like the mind of Cheongjin. It’s a perfect day. It is a perfect day. I got to meet your teacher, the master monk. It was a big experience in my life. There are 24 million people in Romania and more 10 million people in Hungary. And I’m the only one who can visit this temple. So I think I’m a very lucky person. Yes, you are. You’re really lucky. Thank you very much. We hope you become a great monk who knows to share one’s wisdom and mercy. (My Neighbor, Charles) That’s the end. And today, Cheongjin’s teacher, Monk Jau has come to the studio. – Nice to meet you. / – Hello. Welcome. We saw the video and I see that you’re so busy. You have so many things to do. You have to chant, clean, organize… Isn’t that a bit too much work for her pay? How much do you pay her? Why make her suffer? We give her a lot. Something that can’t be bought with money. (Enlightened) Lowering oneself and being modest. That’s what she learns in the process. If she doesn’t learn that, it’ll be difficult for her to make others feel comfortable. And that’s something priceless. I’ve changed a lot and I think I’m changing every day. What is good is that I can accept everything is impermanent and I’m not attached. I don’t identify myself with anything. I think that was the biggest change in me. I realized that everything is imperfect. In the past, I had to be perfect in everything. In front of these two great people… I feel that I’m very contaminated. Yes, very. We are. I’m sorry but shouldn’t you say that it’s okay? “Yes, very.” Well, I mean it applies to me as well. We should listen to her worry. I wonder what kind of worry she has since she’s philosophical and endures everything. – You shouldn’t have a worry. / – I know. – Let’s see together. / -Yes. (I want to become a monk) Does that mean that… You’re in the process. Why is that a worry? If you study and proceed step by step, don’t you naturally become a monk? In her case, she can’t speak Korean right now. She has to take a test, but that test is in Korean. She’s studying hard but she’s worried if she can pass the test. I’m surprised to hear that there’s a test. I thought that she could become a monk if she’s done her training and is ready. Taking a test is… The first section is an essay. The second section is 50 multiple choice questions about the Buddhist doctrine. And then they test how much you practiced chanting. They test everything. Also, there’s a test for the temple block. What kind of test is that? The way you hit the temple block differs according to different chants. Really? I didn’t know about that. How is it different? The way you hit the temple block differs according to different scriptures. (I see) For Avalokitesvara, you have to tap like this. The rhythm is like this. For Prajnaparamita, you have to tap like this. You have to hit it according to the rhythm. So if you fail, you have to take the test again. There are 5 levels to this test. – It’s divided in levels? / – Yes. That’s stressful. Even we are unfamiliar with words related to Buddhism. We are careful when we use it. Isn’t it difficult to learn these words? You have to know Chinese characters as well. In Hungary, we used to chant in Chinese. Here, I have to learn it in Korean so it’s a bit difficult and different. At first, I couldn’t read the Chinese characters. It was hard even when it was romanized. I got used to the Korean version after 2, 3 months. Chinese was also a very strange language for me. I don’t want to make it hard. She has so many obstacles. But she does it anyway because she’s supposed to do it. It’s amazing. I’d be like, “It’s so hard! I have a headache!” I suggested to Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and they said it’s okay to write the answer in English. – Really? / – That’s a relief. That’s a relief. I feel so relieved. You should’ve said it first. If you become a monk, do you want to continue living in Korea? Two cultures, two people, two countries… I think I can become the bridge. Monk Jau was also a bridge for me in Korea and in Europe, Monk Cheongan was also a bridge for me. He helped me to come to Korea. I’m really grateful to both of them. I hope I can help them somehow in the future. We invited these two very precious people. This is very rare. Yes, it’s hard to meet people like them. Let’s ask our own worries right now. – Yes. / – You have a lot, right? Let’s ask them how to resolve our worries one by one. I’ll be 40 years old next year in Korea. You’re that old? When do you think I can get married? – Please. / – They aren’t fortune-tellers. – That’s right. / – They are monks. Usually, I’d be really angry. But thanks to them, I can keep myself calm. The most important thing in Buddhism is cause and effect. If you want to get married, you need to make an environment that you have no choice but to get married. You need a cause for a result. But the problem for many people these days is that they only want the results. They don’t try to make causes. If you want an apple, you should take a close look to see if you’ve planted apple seeds. Then you can get rid of your suffering. For me, I’m a workaholic. Too much work, too many people… I have to take care everything. One day at night, I thought, “Why am I living like this? Why is there only a shell but not me?” It’s a really good thing to help others. Helping others and making them happy is a good thing but you are also a regular person. You need to make yourself happy as well and not just make others happy. Keep in mind that yourself is also a person to be taken care of. Then I think you’ll be okay. I understand very well. Korea is one of the countries with the lowest happiness index. We live in abundance and we have very good condition. I always wondered why we are always unhappy. I think the Koreans are already happy. They have the happiness, they just have to find it. Everybody has the happiness. You just have to find it. Don’t compare yourself and you should think that you are doing your best, you are to be respected and you have a right to be happy. I think you should think that way. Today’s My Neighbor, Charles is a bit different from previous episodes. We listened to other people’s worries. But I think this is okay too. How will you continue your life as an ascetic? Just doing what I have to do. That’s my main goal. What I have to do, I will just do it. And go straight ahead with my teacher’s guidance. Living the very moment is very important for me. We hope you pass all the tests. You can do it, right? Let’s go! Thank you so much for being here with us today. Thank you. We will end here with reverence today. – Good-bye. / – Good-bye! Monk Jau. 1, 2. Thank you. Good-bye.