If you ever wanted to learn Buddhism, this would be the way to do it!
(Image from the FSG site)
Break free. Breathe
We invite you to three months of a simple way of life in the Chan (Zen) tradition learning the religion, language, culture, arts, diet, and philosophy of Humanistic Buddhism.
Discover and experience not just a new perspective in life but also, more importantly, about yourself, in a meditative lifestyle guided by the Buddha’s ancient teachings adapted into the modern world of converging cultures.
Officially called the FGS Philippines Humanistic Academy of Life and Arts, this temple stay and studies program is open to those who want to learn our way of life, to take a break from the world they are used to, or to cultivate spiritually, whatever religious background they are from.
The program will offer three months of:
~ Classes introducing Chinese Chan Buddhism, its philosophy and practice
~ Monastic life experience, routine, discipline and etiquette
~ Vegetarian and silent meals using two bowls and chopsticks
~ Nightly walking and sitting meditation
~ Other forms of meditation like tai chi, calligraphy and tea ceremonies
~ Buddhist rituals like chanting every morning, full moon and new moon
~ Basic Mandarin reading, speaking and writing
~ Special workshops on arts, crafts and music
~ Communal or team work in cleaning and events
Accepted scholars for the second batch will live full-time in Yuan Thong Temple situated in the small but bustling city of Bacolod, Philippines from September 15 to December 15, 2010. The food and lodging are all sponsored by Fo Guang Shan Philippines, but costs of transportation and personal necessities need to be shouldered by the accepted scholar.
I met Dave (who posted about the upcoming course) and Artyom, who are part of the first batch of the FGS Philippines Humanistic Academy of Life (started May this year), at the one-day Zen meditation at the Mabuhay Temple. They’re graduating tomorrow, July 31 (yay!). They stayed for two months in Bacolod and completed their last month here in Manila. Artyom is pursuing further studies in the FGS university in Taiwan.
More details at the couchsurfing event thread and the FGS Philippines multiply site, including answers to frequently asked questions like “What if I am not a Buddhist?” or “Do I have to shave my head?”. Dave says a typical day in the monastery would be:
…waking up to the sound of a woodblock at 6:00 AM, and proceeding to the main shrine for morning chanting. Breakfast follows, then a formal class (Mandarin and/or Buddhism) with a monastic, then lunch. All meals are silent. After lunch, there is time for walking meditation and rest. An afternoon class is next, then personal time to shower, wash clothes, and clean rooms. Temple work will be scheduled assignments to help in the kitchen, keep the garden or temple grounds, or other tasks. Dinner will be called at 6:00 PM. After which, an evening class follows and meditation. Everyone will be called to bed at 10PM. There will be days of the week with different schedules, depending on the occasion. Some days will have special workshops on artwork, music, cooking, gardening, or events. Every Monday is a rest day (no classes but it will be time for cleaning own rooms, personal study, writing, etc.).
You can also look at everyday life in the temple through pictures of the first batch of three-month monks in Bacolod here.