Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lantern Festival and Temple Stay


Robot during the day

Wet rat alert!!!

Each lantern is dedicated to a families ancestors, for 10,000 Won

Oh Liberty...

Lanterns from around the world

This flag is made from

The poor lantern that has to be the garbage can:(

View from atop the lookout at the temple

Festival at night

The year of the rat

Fire breathing dragon lantern!


Jackpot turtle

More turtles....they never stop coming!

Mmmm..wouldn't it be cool to sled down one of these hills;)

Mike talking to Gabriel


King Munmus' Tomb...not very exciting

Who doesn't hang their squid to dry?

Fall fashion for Golgul-sa

What do I do with these crazy tiny pieces of technology?!?!?

That was tiring

A new blue setting I found on my camera!

Riding up in the pickup truck:)

Last Friday I started on a jaunt down to the Lantern Festival to take some photos.  I had my camera and Mike's which was good because my camera was out of batteries.  It was so beautiful all lit up and not nearly as crowded as the first Friday night.  I just sauntered about taking photos of lanterns breathing fire and as many turtles as I could.  

Saturday morning we headed to 경주 (Gyeongju) for our temple stay at 골굴사 (Golgulsa).  It was about 3 hours by bus and then 30 min by taxi, so we headed out early afternoon to try and get there by 4pm.  Our friends Shawn and Stacey had headed out earlier in the day to try and get some site seeing in so they met us at the bus terminal when we arrived.  The taxi dropped us off at the bottom of a very steep hill that we started walking up.  A man in a pickup truck spotted us and somehow knew we were there for the temple stay and gave us a ride in the back of his truck!  We checked in, put our stuff in the rooms and wondered about a bit before dinner.  At dinner the men sit on one side of the room the women on the other and the monks in a curtained off part of the room.  You have to finish everything you put on your tray otherwise I think you have to do some bows, that was hard for me and Mike because our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, but we finished all the food.  After dinner we had some more free time and then we had to go to 슨무도 (Sunmudo) training.  Sunmudo is a martial art form that is practiced by the monks at this temple, it is the head training center, they have gyms in some other cities around Korea.  At the training we were introduced to a french man named Gabriel who has been there for a year studying and training.  We learned some great stretching moves but didn't do too much kicking because we were all beginners.  After training everyone sits in a big circle around the room and meditates.  Meditating is really hard.  After training was pretty much bedtime because you have to be up at 4AM to be at 4:30AM chanting and meditating, the lights have to be out by 10PM.  They wake you up in the morning with an alarm that is just them hitting a wooden block.  It was cold in the morning, when we arrived at the room there were two dogs sitting in the back of the room on pillows ready to meditate with us.  One of the dogs is the head monk's and we were told she is 18 years old and still quite active.  After chanting and meditating we did some group stretching which is a nice way to start the day.  We had a little while after that before breakfast.  Breakfast is a special ceremony, everyone gets to sit in one room, foreigners on one side Koreans on the other, the monks, 5 of them, in the front of the room with the head on the biggest pillow in the center.  You receive 4 bowls, 1 napkin, 1 placemat and chopsticks and a spoon.  You have to lay everything out in a certain order and place.  One bowl is strictly for water to clean out your other bowls after the meal.  First, you receive the water, then rice and soup, then a tray of side dishes are put in front of you that you can choose from, again you have to finish all of your food.  You set aside one piece of sturdy kimchi to clean your bowls with after the meal.  The monks eat super fast, they finish in about 6-7 minutes so you have to be finished as well, warning warning don't take too much food.  After the food is gone you scrape the bowls with your piece of kimchi then rinse them out with the water.  Then they give you more water to rinse with and then they collect that water and it's supposed to represent the dirtiness of your mind, if it's too dirty you have to rinse again or something.  After breakfast we hiked around the area and chilled out then had a tea ceremony with one of the monks.  We went on an outing to a couple of different sites after that, the underground tomb of king Munmus, Girim-sa (temple) and Gamunsage pagoda site.  

1 comment:

Mamio Andretti said...

ah grasshoppers, are you now enlightened?