Letters Sent by a Monk from Odaesan Mountain

Category : Nonfiction literature
Target : Young adult, adult
Published Date : 22-Aug-19
ISBN : 9788974796815
Pages : 352
Book Size : 175 x 205  paperback
Keywords : Essay; Buddhism; meditation; conversation;  peace; harmony; social activism


A Buddhist monk took his tonsure at a temple on Odaesan Mountain in 1980. This year marks forty years since his tonsure, and he still resides on the mountain. He is Venerable Jeongnyeom. As the Chief Priest of Woljeongsa Temple for the past fifteen years, he has been visited by many and also has been invited to numerous occasions, but during the Vassa (Buddhist Lent), he stays at the temple to focus only on meditation with his fellow priests. Venerable Jeongnyeom wrote 41 letters during his forty years at Woljeongsa Temple, and the letters are based on the lectures and sermons he delivered from 2015 to 2018. The letters explain the Buddhist beliefs that have been delivered to and shared by people for the past 2,500 years: happiness, emptying of desires, and sharing. In the letters, Venerable Jeongnyeom emphasizes the importance of practicing one’s beliefs with others rather than offering advice to change their mind or perspective, and also emphasizes the importance and need of understanding the call of the times rather than offering simple words of comfort or support. In the book he focuses on meditation, true listening and understanding, and peace and harmony. They are the guiding principles to practice the Buddhist creeds—happiness, emptying of desires, and sharing—but they are also the direction where Buddhism and other philosophies in this new millennium should be headed. His reasoning behind this belief lies in our responsibility in the “collective karma,” which we have accumulated but which has grown to the point of being irrevocable. The present-day conflicts and problems that have become shackles to communities and nations cannot be solved by individuals and their efforts. In the book, Venerable Jeongnyeom presents the problems, and using the Buddhists creeds, the dialogues of master priests, and classical antidotes, he suggests easy and clear ways to overcome them. The book also includes pictures of everyday life at Woljeongsa Temple on Odaesan Mountain, and like wordless sermons, the pictures, beautiful and transcendent, captures ever-changing nature and the people living in it. The book invites readers to open all 41 letters of Venerable Jeongnyeom, and by opening one letter at a time, readers can meditate on his teachings. There is no need to write letters back; all we need to do is to share his ideas with the world.


Venerable Jeongnyeom

Venerable Jeongnyeom took his vow under the guidance of Venerable Huichan, also known as the Forever Changing One. Venerable Jeongnyeom graduated from Joong-ang Sangha University, and he was the Chief Priest at Sangwonsa Temple on Odaesan Mountain. Presently, he is the Chief Priest at Woljeongsa Temple on Odaesan Mountain. During the Vassa (Buddhist Lent), he stays at the temple to focus only on meditation with his fellow priests. He established Munsu Seonwon (Munsu Meditation Center) and Donglim Seonwon (Donglim Meditation Center) for practicing Buddhists. In 2012, he received the Camelia Award, an Order of Civil Merit. He was a board director of Dongguk University and BTN (Buddhist True Network) and also a representative of Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice. Presently, he is the director of the One-Hundred-Year Plan Center at Joyge Order of Korean Buddhism. He is committed to conceptualizing the role of Buddhism and implementing its precepts for future generations.

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