September 10, 2010

Temple Stay

*A temple stay is a two day trip were you experience a 'monks way of living.' You are expected to dress, act and pray like a monk. You much do what they do in their normal day.

This weekend, David and I went on a 'Temple Stay'. This special two day trip was at Geumsansa Temple, which is in Jeollabuk-do provience. This temple is apparently one of the most famous temples in Korea.

When we arrived at the temple on Saturday afternoon we got allocated our rooms. (David and I had to stay in separate dorms of course!) We got given our funky monk monastic wear. After a short orientation with the monks we explored the grounds of the temple. The whole place was extremely beautiful, even in the rain.

For our first activity we made a lotus lantern. After this the 'main' monk told us how to greet people and walk gracefully. He generally showed us the good manner all monk should have. 

At 6pm we went to dinner. All of the group had to walk in two lines in silence to the cafeteria. Whilst eating our food we had to maintain our silence. After dinner we took part in Yebul chanting. Then the monk showed us how to bow to Buddha correctly! 

After this everybody took part in Zen meditation and silent asceticism.

Lights out where at 10pm. At around 3am - 3.30 in the morning everybody woke up and took part in more Yebul chanting.

In the early morning we had free time. David and I explored the grounds for a few hours and then I had a shower before going to Balwoo Gongyang. After breakfast we walked through the forest and seen a love tree and had a group chanting session. David hugged the main monk!

After this we went back to the temple and made our own Buddha beads. This was challenging because we had to perform a Yebul bow 108 times!
Next we had a closing ceremony and then ate lunch together, again in silence. After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back to Seoul.

What an enlightened experience!