Another season at seminary begins. Now in the fourth year, my class has officially become “the class of the Great Teaching (대교반),” a reference to the single sutra which comprises our curriculum for this last year at school: the Avatamsaka, or Flower Garland, Sutra. This engraved monolith at Seokjeong-sa bears the long title of the Sutra in the calligraphy of Hye Guk (“Wisdom-land”) Kun Sunim.
Today’s the first day of the fall season at school. This picture is actually from the summer season, but because of extreme technical difficulties–the largest one being I couldn’t even get to a computer for several months–I’ll be putting up a lot of summer pictures now. Besides which, the first study hall (입선) of the season isn’t until tomorrow evening, and I couldn’t help wanting to kick the season off in photos a little earlier.
Ordinarily we wear our short bowing robes during study hall. The summer months are brutally hot, however, so we switch to work jackets while studying, unless it’s group recitation time (독성) or the presentation of a passage by one of the student-nuns (논강).
Ban Ju Sunim, one of the most diligent in our class, is reading a paper on the Surangama Sutra at her desk.