Program & Training


Seung Sahn International zen center Musangsa is open to
anybody who seeks true meaning of life and its direction
disregarding race, religion, nationality and
age. Musangsa walks together with you on the
Boddhisattva path. Through practicing with us, you will be
able to find your true self and help your neighbors, society
and whole world with your compassionate mind.

Haeng Ja (Postulant) Training

The true purpose of leaving behind the secular world and becoming a monastic is to find our true nature and help all beings. Monastic life is not to run away from the world, nor is it to seek a joyous convenient life only for myself.
Musangsa offers certain conditions and processes to those who seek to follow the monastic path. Those who make it through are given the monastic precepts.
The syllables “Haeng” “Ja” literally mean “Action” and “Person”. A Haeng Ja uses his/her own everyday work routine to learn the life the monastic way of life, which is to dedicate your life to all beings and everyone who visits the temple.

Poem by Zen Master Seung Sahn:

Very soft is true strength
With harmony comes luck
Goodness brings you virtue
Follow situation then get happiness
Forbearance will make you a great person

Haeng Ja Application Requirements

At Musangsa, our tradition is in line with the Kwan Um School of Zen and its founder, Zen Master Seung Sahn. Practitioners from around the world come, and some of them become monastics. From our experience, and due to our unique position among Korean temples, our Haeng Ja application requirements have a few differences from many other traditional Korean Temple

  • Applicant should be, physically and mentally, in good health. Haeng Ja training is dedicated to volunteer service for the sangha. Applicant has to be able to perform various physical tasks and must have a correct mindset that seeks Truth. 
  • Applicant should be single and have no other marital status by law, have no liability to a family member that he/she is supposed to support, and should not be involved in lawsuits or have any debt obligations. 
  • Applicant should have had a minimum of three months training as Haeng Won at Musangsa. (Refer to Haeng Won program on our website for details).


All Haengjas must follow the guidance of and report to the Guiding Teachers and Kyo Mu Sunim.

The Haengja training program consists of:
Work / Formal practice/ Study of the basics of Buddhism/ Learn form and etiquettes of temple life

All Haengjas are responsible for following the instructions of the Guiding Teachers and Director Sunims of the temple.

  1. Keep a humble mind and supportive attitude as a Haengja.
  2. Follow the temple rules and situation, respect all Sunims and lay people; respect fellow Haengjas and always do together action with them. These are the parts that will help you a lot in your practice and these are the things you should always keep in mind even after becoming a Sunim.
  3. Haengja should be reminded that the core of the Haengja training is to always maintain the attitude of taking care of the temple, other members and people rather than practicing or resting for themselves. Follow daily schedule and instructions from Supervisor completely. Help with all work required by the temple. Help to provide a clean and harmonious environment that supports everybody who comes for practice. Haengja’s main practice is putting down ‘I, My, Me’, to be mindful and respectful and learn how to help others,
  4. Make an individual extra practice plan with consultation and approval of Guiding Teachers and Supervisor.
  5. Haengja is expected to stay within the community and not leave temple grounds without Supervisor’s permission throughout whole Haengja training.
  6. Haengja is not to cultivate interests and hobbies from lay life.
  7. Haengja is responsible for maintaining their correct legal status in terms of validity of passport and visa, even though the temple will support it. If a serious medical condition develops, it may be necessary for the Haengja to go back to their country for treatment and care.
  8. Teachers may request an additional period of training in another temple to give a chance for the Haengja to experience training in a different context.
  9. Before ordination, learn the basic etiquette and behavior to live in a practicing community.
  10. If Musangsa rules are consistently broken and teachings from Guiding Sunims are not followed in a cooperative manner, the Haengja will be given two formal warnings and the third warning from the Guiding Teachers. If the Rules concerned are still not followed, the Haengja may be asked to leave.
  11. In order to receive the Sami/Samini precept from Musangsa and become a Sunim, you must complete at least one year of Haengja, and you will receive the precept with the consent of the Guiding Teachers and leading Sunim. Some individuals may need to spend more than a year. 

After completing Haeng Ja training, those who become monastics are called Sami (male) or Samini (female) Sunims for the first four years. It has been a tradition in the Buddhist Sangha to have this novice monk stage before becoming a full monk. The first example was Rāhula – Buddha’s own son – who became a monastic at a very young age. The Sami/Samini stage became a policy over the years, to give some time for novice monks to get used to the monastic life. Sami/Samini Sunims are given ten precepts before being given all the precepts as a proper monk. 

One who is a proper monk is called a Bikkhu (male) or Bikkhuni (female). It is a tradition to receive 250 precepts as a Bikkhu, and 348 as a Bikkhuni. It is okay to call all monastics in Korea “Sunim”s – including Sami’s and Samini’s – but Bikkhu’s and Bikkhuni’s are sometimes distinguished as they live by more precepts. This has been a very long Buddhist monastic tradition. 

At Musangsa, those who have completed both Haeng Ja training and received permission to become a monastic are given Sami / Samini precepts. Since Samini precepts require guidance from Bikkhuni Sunims, Samini trainees can be sent to other Bikkhuni temples: i.e. traditional Korean temples, or international temples in Kwan Um School of Zen. 

Sami / Samini are the monastics who learn how to be in harmony with everybody, and how to practice the dharma.
— Zen Master Seung Sahn —

At Musangsa, the training courses for Sami / Samini Sunims are briefly as follows:

**Musangsa is the head temple in Kwan Um School of Zen Asia. The school has its roots in the tradition of Korean Buddhism. Because of these backgrounds, the Sami / Samini training at Musangsa is based on the training in the Korean Jo Gye Order of Buddhism, with extra elements to reflect Kwan Um School of Zen, and the unique position Musangsa has.

** During Sami / Samini training, 100-day retreats separated from others are prohibited, except when the guiding teacher Sunim gives a special permission.

After completing the Sami / Samini training (about 4 years), one becomes a formal monk by receiving Bikkhu / Bikkhuni precepts. After novice monks complete their four-year training at Musangsa, they are sent to Asian temples of the Mahayana tradition that have altars dedicated to the complete precepts. It is a long tradition in Buddhism for a renowned Sunim of high esteem, who lived a monastic life for over 30 years, to give blessings with the complete set of precepts to new monastics.

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