Introducing the Seonae Village
Seonae Village – the village where people love human beings, nature and Heaven
The Seonae Village is the eco-community under cultivation by those wanting to heal their minds. At present, there are currently 12 eco villages around the world, with the oldest eco village being in South Korea: Gidaeri Seonaeville.
The meaning of Seonae Village is a village that loves “Seon”.
The shape of Chinese character, Seon, signifies the co-existence of human beings and mountains; here the mountain signifies nature, the Universe and, furthermore, everything. We can say Seon is the condition where humans, nature and Heaven communicate and are harmonized with each other.
Consequently, we can define Seonae Village as the village where people love human beings, nature and Heaven.
Eco Village Movement
There is a village. The villagers farm together, produce tofu, make money by selling hammocks which they have woven and share products of the village together although they don’t get paid a salary. They work 6-7 hours a day. For longer hours, they talk with each other, debate, sing, dance, write poems and draw paintings. Sometimes they take time for meditation in a forest.
There is no one who presses them to work more quickly and they enjoy their life slowly all the time. They don’t send their children to schools, but they educate their children through homeschooling. In addition, they prepare for their meals in turns, and because they take care of children together, women and men are totally equal in terms of house chores and raising children. Also, the village is always open to sexual minority such as women, gays, lesbians, transgenders and bi-sexuals, and they are not discriminated against due to their choices. As far as not disturbing others physically and mentally, diversity is respected. Buildings in the village use sun rays for their power source, and they recycle through thorough separate collection of garbage. Considering the environmental impact, they restrain from painting houses. Most of them are vegans and they eat vegetables they grow themselves.
This is the description about successful eco-communities written by Mr. Yu Jeong-gil, the environmental activist in the Buddhist field; including Twin Oaks in the US. Community which is a volunteering organization where people who share the same intention gather and share housing, work, play, art and education. The history of community is so long and its types vary. As for religious communities, we can exemplify Buddhist monk’s community in BC 6, the early church community of Christianity, and in 19 century, the Puritans moved to America to form their own community. Also, communists or anarchists once formed co-op and community society as a new model of society. In 1960’s ~ 70’s, those who committed themselves to anti-war and counterculture movements built a community against the culture of the existent generation.
The eco-community was suggested as an alternative for environmental destruction and inhumane city civilization in 20th century; we can say the mainstream of current community movement. It is not that eco-communities pursue changes only in the environmental aspect. Most of eco-communities are pursuing overall change throughout all areas of our lives such as human relationship, occupation, arts, play, education and spirituality. To change the current society, which is worn out by materialism, eco-community activists don’t focus on changing social structure as previous social activists have been doing because they know it is not enough only to change structural change.
As we can know from the collapse of communist countries such as the Soviet Union, without awakening and transformation of individual, the structural changes of a society are likely to collapse. Instead, eco-community activists pursue the “model strategy.” It is “We first have to show a new model of life to people.” That is, they have to show people that it is possible to deeply understand and communicate with one another, and that people can live abundant life even though they don’t compete in extreme tension, people can live a happy life enjoying benefits and blessing from nature even though they don’t indulge in shopping for brand-new products and people can live a life where they can enjoy the delight from growth of their consciousness while meditating on themselves in the middle of Heaven and the Universe. In doing so, they try to inspire the mind that “I also want to live like them in the community.” from people in the world.
They want to pass on hope, inspiration and vision to so many ordinary people who don’t recognize what is wrong in their lives even though they are living a “common life without specific delight or sorrow” and work in the state of battle all day long to sustain such conditions. People who had such impression would feel like living a different way of life they have had up until then. They will finally realize that there has been something wrong in their lives. They will develop their hope to live like the model. In the end, they might join the community or they will try to build their own community. Eco-community activists believe that like a butterfly in the Butterfly Effect, hope from a small community can change the world.
The Direction and Vision of the Seonae Villages
Here follow the direction and vision which the Seonae Villages pursue:
1. It is an ecological community. We are planning to solve the issues about managing one’s lifestyle based on ecological principles. For this, firstly we grow crops organically. Secondly, we build our houses eco-friendly way (such as eco-toilets and natural housing materials). Thirdly, we use alternative energy sources (such as sun rays and geothermal power). Fourth, we save and recycle the natural resources of the Earth (such as using rain water and recycling sewage)
2. It is a community of love. We are trying to live with love as our fundamental value by loving one’s self, nature, the world, Heaven and the Universe. In order for this, we are practicing the 11 Health Guidelines and 18 items of the precepts.
3. It is a community of spirituality. We are trying to live a life where we join in with evolution, which is the purpose of the creation of the Universe and human beings (the life that accords with the direction the Universe pursues). Recently, human beings spend so much energy and time on doing too many things in the complicated world, that they can’t pay attention to growing and enriching their spirituality. We don’t know why we were born, what we have to learn through experience on the Earth and what kind of life we should live. To attain this we do deep breathing training with universe energy as a daily routine.
4. In the time of emergency, Seonae Village will play the role of being the Green Base of the Earth. In preparation for the impending Peak Oil (oil depletion) and food crisis, which we don’t know when will visit us, we are trying to establish the system for a long-term food supply. To attain this, we are preparing for sharing how to preserve and store food for a long time to the world.
Besides these, it is a community which has the Seon culture contents with which to realize an art culture which is close to the human original nature, which contains the waves which can console and energize people’s mind. Also it is the community of alternative education and medicine. The Seonae Villages try to be a model that can be assumed by anyone as an adoptable form of life. We suggest a model of life in which humans can become one with nature, attain self-sufficiency in terms of food and power, have education that nurtures spiritualty and ultimately accomplish a beautiful completion by realizing life and death are consequently one. It will become the alternative space where the language of human original nature, which can’t be understood in material civilization, is realized and we can make a breakthrough from the current situation of the Earth. The Seonae Villages will be on the frontline to share hope and will receive the new generation.