The Awakening

October 30, 2007

Author: Victoria Cheng

Source: The Buddhist Channel,5285,0,0,1,0

SOMERVILLE, MA (USA) -- Sitting in a dusty house on Hill Street in the deep winter months of 2003, surrounded by rubble and collapsing ceiling panels, the Rev. Youngju Kim wondered whether she would ever fulfill the task that had been entrusted to her: to establish a Buddhist temple in the Boston area that would provide a sanctuary of peace and reflection to all.

Ordained as a minister in Won-Buddhism, a form of Buddhism that originated in Korea in the early 20th century, Kim arrived in the United States in 1996 and moved to Boston in 2001. She spent more than a year searching for the perfect location for her temple and the next two years fixing up the house in Teele Square that she chose.

"I lived as a laborer," she said, laughing as she recalled the months spent painting walls, fitting doors, installing cabinets, reviving hardwood floors, and sweeping out a rectangular area in which to sleep at night.