by Bhikshuni Myoom Sunim
Abbess of Pongnyongsa, Rector of the Diamond Vinaya Institute, and President of the Pongnyongsa Monastic Seminary for Nuns
Kŭmgang Yurwŏn (Diamond Vinaya Institute) is the only Bhiksuni Vinaya Institute for nuns in Korea. It was founded in 1999 by Myoŏm, Abbess of Pongnyŏngsa Monastery and President of the Pongnyŏngsa Monastic Seminary. Pongnyŏng-sa is one of the five traditional Korean monastic seminaries for nuns that belong to the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order. The Pongnyŏngsa Monastic Seminary was established in 1974, and the Diamond Vinaya Institute is affiliated to this seminary. At present Bhiksunis who graduated from the monastic seminaries can apply for the Diamond Vinaya Institute. It takes the student nuns two years of study to complete the curriculum required by the Vinaya institute.
In order to explain the structure and curriculum of the Diamond Vinaya Institute, this paper is divided into three parts. In the first part, I will discuss the educational methods of the traditional Korean monastic seminaries and the main Buddhist texts that are taught at the institute. In the second part, I will examine the daily activities of student nuns at the institute such as their daily classes and practices, and the Bhiksuni Prātimoksa and Fan-wang ching (Book of Brahmā’s Net) ceremonies that are performed on full and new moon days. The last part of my presentation will focus on the roles of these student nuns during a period of intensive monastic training of female haengjas (postulants).