Gumgang Sunim from Mihwangsa Temple is an uomo universale. He is head monk, tea ceremony master, writer, calligrapher, and historian.
My mother first met him when he came to India to give a demonstration of dayeh, Korean tea ceremony. He had been invited by a Japanese artist and tea ceremony performer. So this week, as my mom is in the country, we drove together with a family friend to Mihwangsa, located at the Southernmost tip of the Korean peninsula (this article was scheduled for June 13th, but somehow got backtracked).
Mihwangsa Daewoongjeon (Main Hall) with Dharma Mountains at the back
Living quarters for templestay guests
Gumgang Sunim is head monk at Mihwangsa. This means that he oversees the temple’s daily schedule, runs rituals and celebrations, receives guests, consoles grieving parents, and, I’m guessing, also takes care of the finances. In addition to all this, he of course has to keep studying Buddhist texts and analysing them, I suppose.