예불이란 불자들이 불·보살님께 예경(禮敬)드리는 의식을 말하며, 불법승(佛法僧) 삼보(三寶)님께 예경을 드리는 것으로써, 믿음의 문을 여는 출발점이라 할 것입니다.

날마다 조석으로 반복되는 의식으로 모든 사찰에서 행해지고 있습니다. 이러한 예불에는 예불을 드릴 때나 불공을 올릴 때 사용하는 예배의식의 글인 예불문이 있으며, 예불문 속에는 불(佛) /법(法) /승(僧) 삼보께 예배 드리는 내용이 담겨 있습니다. 예불문은 비록 짧은 글이지만 예불문 안에는 불교에 대한 지식, 신심, 신앙의 기본 체계가 모두 담겨 있습니다.

따라서 우리가 예불에 참여할 때도 예불문의 간절한 내용을 음미하면서 참여한다면 짧은 예불시간이지만 부처님의 말씀을 깊이 새길 수 있는 기회가 될 것입니다.

Hapjang (see photo 1,2)

A hapjang (often accompanied by a bow -- see below) is the greeting that one should offer to monks, as well as the hand posture that one assumes during services and in paying respect to a Buddhist icon, pagoda, etc. The hands are held almost vertically (but not so much that it is impossible to keep the elbows close to the body) with palms pressed together and fingers straight, parallel, and even. The hand position is not too different from that usually associated with prayer in the West, and perhaps more to the point it is still the greeting used generally in parts of South and Southeast Asia. A proper and an improper hapjang are illustrated here.

Ch'asu and hapjang both symbolize the Truth that encompasses the individual and unifies all beings. Both may be performed either standing or sitting. In the case of ch'asu, when seated, the hands are placed in the lap. It is also possible and quite proper to move directly from one to the other.

The hapjang is the hand posture most often adopted during Buddhist ceremonies, but even here the ch'asu may be adopted at certain points.

Ch'asu (see photo 3,4)

Ch'asu describes the respectful hand posture that one should assume when standing before a monk. The hands are held naturally but respectfully in front of the body, with fingers relatively relaxed but not bunched. The fingers of one hand (usually the right) partially cover and grasp the fingers of the other hand. However, which hand grasps which is not overly important, and one may have either hand on top without fear of giving offense. See the accompanying picture.