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  1. A few years ago, when my niece was teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, I decided to go visit her in Korea. She asked me if I would like to spend a couple of days at the monastery of the Grand Zen Master, the Golgul Temple, in Gyangju (South Korea). I jumped at the opportunity but her e-mail request was rejected with the simple statement that the Temple did not accept tourists. When I followed up with a description of my background, however, we got an immediate welcome e-mail to which we responded in the affirmative. Since my visit was at the time of the Korean New Year, the students were given time off for the holidays. At the monastery during our visit, there were subsequently a number of young children whose ages seemed to range from about 8 or 9 to the teens and older. We hung out with one monk in particular whose English was excellent and who was explaining in detail some of the activities at the Temple. One experience that I have never forgotten was watching these young kids being instructed in self-therapy using mindfulness meditative techniques which were very consistent with one of the prevailing therapies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in the United States therapeutic community. (CBT is actually based somewhat on Buddhist mindfulness techniques.) Having a clinical social work background myself (in addition to my primary corporate career), I was able to discuss what I saw with therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. All were duly impressed with what these youngsters were doing and, when I mentioned this on another thread, it was suggested that this be written up in more detail in a separate thread. That is what I am doing now. Using the ABC terminology of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, this is what I observed. The youngsters would identify an Activating Event (A) in their lives that had an unsatisfactory Emotional Consequence (C) which had clearly created unwanted difficulties for them either with family, teachers, friends, or others. They would then go into meditation to discover the Underlying Belief (B) that had triggered the sequence of actions in the aftermath of the Activating Event. They were uncannily insightful in identifying the thought behind the action as well as the thought behind that thought and so on. They were equally insightful in how to adjust the Underlying Belief (B) to ensure a healthier, more satisfactory Emotional Consequence (C). Monks would assist them in their endeavors but NOT as therapists. The monks were available as sounding boards and counselors whenever the youngsters encountered obstacles that they were having difficulty overcoming. In listening to the youngsters discuss their findings with the monk, who was translating into English for me, I was really impressed with their insights into the thought processes that were translating into problematic actions as well as their insights into how to address the situation. Since I only sat in on a few of the consultations (probably with the more accomplished youngsters), I could not assess overall results but what I saw from the kids, especially the ones under 10 years old was truly remarkable by western therapeutic standards. Being connected to the therapeutic community in NYC, it was very reassuring to hear very positive comments about this eastern venture into what is essentially self-therapy training for youngsters at a very early age. On another note, the group meditations at the monastery followed a more traditional pattern. We awoke at 4 AM to the sound of a stick tapping near our sleeping quarters. If that did not wake us up, a LOUD GONG could be heard at about 4:10 AM that would wake anyone up. By 4:30 AM, everyone assembled at the Great Meditation Hall. Promptly at 4:30 AM, kirtan started and lasted for approximately 30 minutes. (Even though the language was Korean, it was easy to pick up the short mantra-like phrase that was used. In this manner, within 30 minutes, one's thoughts were reduced to one so that the one remaining mantra-thought could be more easily eliminated in order to enter the silence.) At 5 AM, the hall suddenly went into complete silence, as expected, for 30 minutes. At 5:30 AM, we all followed the monks up a short incline as we walked around in a circle until the head monk dispatched one monk to initiate the walking meditation through the wooded mountain area. About 10 feet later, he dispatched another monk who followed. One after another, he dispatched monks and disciples and the pattern became obvious. Follow the leader in sequence and in silence as we walked through nature in the outside world. One did not have to think about where to walk or what path to follow. In silence and without thoughts, one just followed the person immediately ahead of us. At 6 AM, the walking meditation ended at the dining area where we got on line and helped ourselves to a vegetarian breakfast. We ate in silence but could go back for more as needed. That was the morning routine and the silence was awesome for starting the day. That's probably enough to start this thread. I hope that some of this is helpful in some way to whomever may read this post.