Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Golgulsa Temple Stay

As part of our trip to Seoul, we spent a couple of days in a coastal town named Gyeong-Ju. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, as it included not only seeing wonderful temples from the Silla dynasty, but also a temple stay at a Buddhist temple, Golgulsa. 

I had read about similar experiences, but never dreamt that I would get to experience something like this myself. The temple was so beautiful, and I felt such reverence for the place, that I did not take a single photo the entire time we were there. We were in bed by 10 pm, and awoken at 4 in the morning to walk up an incredibly steep hill for morning chants, followed by walking meditation and a timed breakfast ceremony. A few of us made the treacherous trek up the rocky steps of the mountain to see the Buddha carved into the mountain from the 5th century. 

Fortunately, one of our tour guides, Semi, was photographing the whole time! Thanks so much to Semi for sharing the photos with all of us, they are a treasure. 

Receiving our first instructions on the temple-stay experience!

Walking to dinner in our new temple-stay togs.

 Mary, Kunyoung, and I were very pleased about something.

 In line for our first meal experience.

 Kunyoung and Victoria choosing their food for dinner (although the food for breakfast was very similar). We learned a lot about choosing appropriate portions because it was a disgrace to waste any food.

Victoria with one of the cutest puppies of all time.

Our introduction to our Seonmudo training.

I love Katherine's face here.

 Right before the beginning of our evening chants and Seonmudo.... we really had no idea what was in store!

The way to the 5th century Buddha.

The view of the Buddha after the nerve-wracking climb had paid off! Photo by Victoria Marcetti.

The temple-stay was one of my absolute favorite experiences during our trip to South Korea. Sitting underneath that Buddha and feeling as though I was at the edge of the world... it was an experience I will never forget. 

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