Written by Ven. XianAn
When we visited Korea in early 2019, we met a monk, Seok-Du Sunim, at BongEunSa. BongEunSa is one of the biggest temples in Seoul city. After the retreat ended, I (at that time, Shana) visited BongEunSa again to help with English translation for their temple introduction catalogue.
Seok-Su Sunim called a laywoman who practices vigorously and introduced her to me. He and I encouraged her to learn how to sit in full lotus. After that, she contacted me through Messenger and began a daily practice of sitting in full lotus.
She blamed herself for not being able to concentrate well when she meditated. She had been instructed to do Hua-tou by a Korean master but was having much difficulty. I explained to her that not being able to concentrate was normal because she didn’t have the proper foundation.
It was challenging because she was in so much pain. She had not broken through the pain barrier even when sitting for over an hour and a half in full lotus, but she wasn’t giving up. She kept practicing and followed the instructions. She endured and endured.
Last night she texted me that she had finally sat for 2 hours. She said, “The pain is too much. It’s unbearable, but in this extreme pain, for some reason my mind is more clear.” She practices at BongEunSa Seon Center, but their sitting duration is only 50 minutes. I encouraged her to continue to sit through their normal break time, which she was able to accomplish, with a lot of tears and sweat.
She can feel her concentration has improved, and her mind is much more clear than before. I understand that this was not easy without our support in person. She is strong and determined to cultivate!