Japanese and Korean Buddhism in Bangkok

Toward the great bodhisattvas in all directions
Who practice the Way out of sympathy for all,
One should have reverence and respect,
Saying, “These are my great teachers”.
– The Lotus Sutra, chapter 14
Somebody asked me the other day if, as well as the Korean Seon Centre, there were any other East Asian temples in Bangkok with activities in English. And as I put together a response it occured to me that there might be others here who’d also like this information, so here’s the list as far as I am aware. Please add comments if I have made any mistakes or if you can expand on or update any of the information.
1) The Bangkok Hanmaum Seonwon
Hanmaum Seonwon was established by Seon (Zen) Master Daehaeng Sunim, a female Seon master widely respected throughout Korea and is part of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism – the largest Buddhist Order in Korea with a history stretching back over 1,200 years.  The essential teaching is to realize and awaken to our inherent nature, also called Buddha-nature, or Hanmaum.
The Bangkok branch of Hanmaum Seonwon was established ten years ago and serves the spiritual needs of Korean residents and visitors and is very much a centre of the Korean Buddhist community. The centre is run by two resident sunims (monks) who arrange regular ceremonies (one of the main practices is chanting, including a version of the traditional ‘Thousand Hands Sutra’ rendered into modern Korean) and deliver teachings.
In 2009 the Seonwon established the English-language Zen Club which meets once a month, usually on a Saturday night, to practice a little meditation and study Korean Zen in general, and the teachings of Zen Master Daehaeng Kunsunim in particular. The group is led by Hyaedan Sunim and is made up of a friendly bunch of regular members and frequent visitors. Latest news on meetings and activities regularly appear here on the Littlebang site.
The best way to contact the Bangkok Centre is through the comments page here. And the address for Zen Club meetings is:
The Bangkok Hanmaum Seon Centre
86-1 Soi 4 Sukhumvit 63
BTS Ekamai Station – Exit 1
Take Exit 1 from Ekamai Station, and go down Ekamai Road (aka Sukhumvit 63). Turn right along Soi 4 and go to the end. Turning left you will see the Centre on your right a few meters along. A motorcycle from Ekamai can also take you there cheaply. Ask for the ‘Wat Gao-lii’ (Korean temple)
2) The Thai Rissho Friendship Foundation 
 an overseas branch of  Rissho Kosei-kai:  http://www.rk-world.org/
The teaching and practice of Rissho Kosei-kai is based on the Lotus Sutra (my favourite Sutra!) and Geene Reeves, the translator of the most recent and best version, is a member of RKK in Tokyo. They are a very open, active, and truly ecumenical organisation. Good people.
The Thai Rissho Friendship Foundation was establishged in Bangkok by some Japanese ex-pats about thirty years ago and now has about three hundred members, ninety percent of whom are Thai. RKK does not use the daimoku but, rather the main practice is to chant selections from the Sutra. In Bangkok this is done in Japanese and Thai.
The centre holds regular study groups, camps and classes for all ages, and the main hall, with a magnificent standing Buddha and plenty of chairs, is open 6 days a week. They even have language classes, Thai and Japanese, but there are curently no activities at all in English.  However, for anyone seriously interested in this form of Buddhism, they’d offer a very warm welcome.
You can contact them at:

Thai Rissho Friendship Foundation
201 Soi 15/1, Praram 9 Road, Bangkapi, Huaykhwang
Bangkok 10310, Thailand
Tel: 66-2-716-8141 Fax: 66-2-716-8218
e-mail: thairissho@csloxinfo.com

 3) Shinnyo-en, Thailand
  – an overseas branch of Shinnyo-en: http://www.shinnyo-en.org/
The teachings of Shinnyo-en are based on the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (or Nirvana Sutra, in short) in which the Buddha gives his final teachings and expresses his wish that everyone, including lay people, will cultivate their latent Buddha-nature. In order to pursue this, the centre holds Buddhist services, study sessions and mentoring, and sesshin meditative training.
I’ve yet to visit the Bangkok branch and so have not met anyone there personally, but will update this blog post post after I have done so. However, I found out about Shinnyo-en from a Thai person who has family members who attend and I’m told it’s a very welcoming centre. But, again, I have no idea if anything is avalable in English.
You can contact them at:
Shinnyo-en, Thailand
House No. 647/1
Between Sukhumvit Soi 35-39,
Klongton Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok, 10110 Thailand.
Tel: +66-(2)-662-0901.
If you ever visit, let me know how it goes!
4)  Soka Gakkai International, Rainbow Group, Bangkok
 – an overseas branch of Soka Gakkai International: http://www.sgi.org/
From the SGI website: “There are three basic elements to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism: chanting the phrase Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a prayer for oneself and others; studying the teachings of Nichiren; and making efforts to share the teachings of Buddhism, to spread the Buddhist perspective of life’s inherent dignity and potential. SGI members perform a morning and evening practice known as Gongyo, which consists of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra.”
There are, as far as I understand, some 15,000 SGT (Soka Gakkai Thailand) members in Thailand, and there are English-language groups, known as Rainbow Groups, that meet regularly in both Bangkok and Pattaya. However, I’ve never been to a meeting or yet visited the centre (I understand it’s open every day) and so all the information I have here comes only from looking through the Internet.
You can contact them at:
Soka Gakkai Thailand
Wittaya Centre
137 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Bangkok
Tel: +66-(2)-252-5528
Other centres: http://www.sgt.or.th/th/sgt-location.htm
I hope this will all prove useful and do please leave comments here with any new or updated information
With palms together
(Seok Jeong)

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