사경: faith, written
Sa-gyeong literally means “to copy (the) sutras,” and it’s a popular practice in Korea. Entire sutras might be copied–I’m working my way through the Surangama Sutra in Chinese right now–or thousands of shorter dharanis or mantras might be written out over and over. In either case, these days most people choose to use a book designed specifically for the purpose of sa-gyeong, where the characters or words (in the case of doing sa-gyeong in the Korean alphabet) are printed in a light gray, allowing the practitioner to trace over them in ink. Some famous examples of sa-gyeong are the Japanese prince who copied out the Lotus Sutra in gold ink on indigo-blue paper, or a Chinese Zen Master who copied out the Hwa Eom Gyeong (I believe) in his own blood–I think that story is in Bill Porter’s Zen Baggage. This isn’t merely copying lines in detention: sa-gyeong is faith, written.
Here, Aran Sunim is copying out “the luminious mantra” (광명진언) while Beom Seo Sunim looks on.