I spent last weekend at Geumsansa Buddhist Temple in Jeollabuk(do) Province. -do in Korean means province or island. It was approximately 3 1/2 hours by bus from Seoul. The Geumsansa Temple is located in the mountains and the scenery was breathtaking. The calm and relaxing atmosphere made for a truly great retreat from city life. Geumsansa was founded during King Beop's reign during the Baekje Dynasty in AD 599.
After changing into our fabulous monastic clothing, our first task was making a lotus lantern. Let's all remember that Korea is extremely hot and humid during this time and obviously air conditioning is non-existent in a Temple. Do you like my beautiful lantern?
We hung our lanterns up in the building that was used as our "classroom." Mine is on the right. There is a Buddhist saying that says, "Please attain Buddhism in your next lifetime by lighting a lantern in this life.''
This is a photo of our "classroom" where we spent a lot of time learning about temple life.
This was the way to our sleeping quarters...
This is where the women slept.
This is where we slept. The mosquitoes were a bit atrocious.
We crossed this beautiful bridge each time we went back to our sleeping quarters.
Walking up to our sleeping quarters...I always love bamboo.
A beautiful, serene environment.
At dawn and sundown, these bells are rung by the monks. We rang them at sundown and the whole process has a lot of meaning. To sum things up as best as I can, the bells are rung to put to sleep and wake up the animals and all that is part of nature. It's kind of like an alarm clock to alert nature that the work for the day is either finished or is just beginning. Directly after ringing the bells, we headed into the Main Buddha Hall for a ceremony.
This is the monk that ran the temple stay and our translator.
Looks like the translator is puzzled...
This is the Main Buddha Hall which represents the Buddha of Today. I took some photos inside but they really didn't turn out...which I am so upset about. I couldn't get the photos I wanted during this trip and my frustration is going to bring me to the electronics market tomorrow.
The ceremony was beautiful. We just followed along with the monks while they chanted. We had learned the proper way of bowing before we went to the ceremony.
We also got up at dawn...3 AM...when the bell ringing begun once again to wake all of nature. After the bell ringing we went into the Main Buddha Hall for another ceremony. It was calm and peaceful in the morning...but definitely a bit early. We went to bed at 10 p.m. and I had a hard time sleeping since I usually go to bed much later. 3 AM came very fast!
After the ceremony, we met back in the classroom for some traditional tea and fruit. These two monks were absolutely amazing!! During this time we were able to ask questions about Buddhism or a monk's life in the temple. It was nice to have both a male and female perspective. They had never met so many foreigners in their life. I am so happy to have met them for the brief time that I did...they were truly remarkable.
We also took a walk in the Temple's forest to see the "Love Tree."