Berall was ordained a monk and given his Buddhist name in 1983. (Mu Ryang means “infinite”; Sunim is the traditional Korean Buddhist title for monks). It was during this time that he became inspired to build a Korean temple in the mountains of California.
After raising $100,000, he bought some land near Tehachapi, hired a draftsman and designed the first temple building.
Buddha Hall was designed by a team of craftsmen from Korea.
The temple is off the electrical power grid – electricity is generated on site by the power of sun and wind.
Well water is reused for irrigation of native plants and trees; therefore, care is taken to not use toxic chemicals, soaps, or detergents.
He hoped the center could function as a bridge between Korean Buddhists and the growing number of American converts.
As an American Buddhist who built a Korean-style temple, he hoped to erase the ethnic and racial barriers that had divided Buddhists.
After exiting the temple and putting my shoes back on, I finally ran into the nun who I had talked to on the phone a few days earlier.
She was extremely nice and didn’t seem to have a problem with me being inside the temple by myself or snapping photos of its exterior. I let her know how much I appreciated her allowing me to stop by and complemented her on how beautiful the space was. After giving up an offering, she invited me to ring the gong and I was on my way.
To reach the center, take Highway 58 east, exit at the Sand Canyon Road/Monolith exit, turn right at the stop sign, then make an immediate left onto Tehachapi Boulevard; go 100 yards to Sand Canyon Road and turn right. Go up Sand Canyon Road 2.5 miles. Turn right onto the dirt road and follow the signs to Mountain Spirit Center (Tae Go Sah temple).
Questions about various retreats, events or volunteer opportunities should be addressed to monk Hyon Mun Sunyim at 661-822-7776.