Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Place v2.0

So I have at long last gotten myself out of the barn. I still have a few bits waiting down there to haul out but for the most part I’ve relocated myself to the town of Brighton, which is kind of a suburb of Boston. It sets between Boston University and Boston College a little closer to Boston College. The public transportation set up here is pretty awesome. I have a train station about a block away and the bus that goes to church stops right in front of my place.

The glamorous bit is that my room happens to be in a church built a little over a hundred years ago which has been converted into a Buddhist temple. To be specific it is a Zen martial arts temple. The organization is called “Shim Gum Do” which is Korean and translates as the Mind Sword Way. The primary martial art practiced here is Shim Gum Do, which is a sword system where training is done by forms with a bokken. They also teach an empty-handed system called “Shim boep” which means the methods of the mind. For myself, I have begun training with the sword and I am quite enjoying it.

I am frequently asked about “the monks.” In this case there are no traditional monks as I knew them in Korea. That has to do with the fact that this is more a Zen martial arts school than a Buddhist monastery. The monks here are all martial artists and right now include our founding master Kim Chang Shik, and five white people. We have a sort of community living situation where we share certain amounts of the temple maintenance work, take turns cooking, train together, etc. Only the founding master has a shaved head.

I have a private room that sits next to (actually was constructed within) the main training room called the Dharma room that used to be the chapel. So, my room has a stained-glass window and a sort-of relief cast in plaster of a choir I think of as the Levites. There is a baby depicted in the cast with nasty grimace on his face.

If you like you can check out the Shim Gum Do Association website at