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Pious Canine Wins Buddhist Hearts

Digital Chosunilbo, Sept 16, 2005

Seoul, South Korea -- A dog at a small Buddhist temple on Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province has attracted a substantial following by performing Buddhist rites. Hama, a one-year-old Jindo dog at Buljang Temple, has won the hearts of Buddhists over a month of performing the "Yebul," a ceremony paying respect to a Buddha image, alongside the monks.

<< 'Hama' (name of the canine) bows in just the same manner like a monk who places his hands together, bowing to the Buddha

The Ven. Buksan of Buljang Temple said, "We keep about 30 Jindo dogs, but we were able to train Hama, who is especially smart, to do simple things, and now, he can perform the Yebul... I wonder if he had some connection with the Buddha in a previous life."

The monk said Hama is so smart that when worshipers bow, it even stops barking. “It’s amazing to see it prostrate itself with its four legs outstretched," he said. Word of mouth is attracting locals and outsiders to the temple to see the spectacle.

Kim Yeong-seok (65), a resident of the country, said he was surprised to see that when a monk places his hands together and bows to the Buddha, the animal bows in just the same manner. “The dog's posture looked really sincere," he said.

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