Spring Templestay in Korea


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The Buddha’s teachings may be compared to a fragrance. They are not visible to the naked eye but are
nonetheless beautiful and fragrant. The same is true of the fragrance of plum blossoms. Their mystical
and unique fragrance is unsurpassed, sometimes referred to as “amhyang” or “secret fragrance.” Neither
too strong nor too subtle, its fragrance permeates the temple compound in spring, and after a spring
rain, the fragrance of the plum blossoms grows stronger. The beautiful fragrance of the plum blossoms
permeates us like the teachings of the Buddha.

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You can book templestays in Korea at http://kozaza.com

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Spring Templestay in Korea

  1. 1. Volume 2, Number 1 © Ha Ji-gwon FEATURE STORIES Buddhist Temples of Korea 04 12 Lotus lanterns reflected on the water A Spring Journey to Korea’s “Three Jewel Temples” Memories of Ven. Beopjeong, Korea’s Great Practitioner CULTURAL SCENES OF KOREA 02 16 Published by Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism 71 Gyeonji-dong (56 Woojeongkuk-ro), Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-170, South Korea Tel: +82-2-2031-2000 E-mail: support@templestay.com Planning & Design by Bulkwang Publishing 46-21 Soosong-dong (45-13 Woojeongkuk-ro), Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-140, South Korea Tel:+82-2-420-3200 Translated by Golden Lotus Translation and Interpretation Center Tel:+82-2-6329-0202 The Templestay magazine app can be downloaded onto iphones and ipads as well as android-based smart phones and tablet PCs. A Templestay application is downloadable from app stores and android markets. Copyright © 2013 Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism. All rights reserved. Registration No. 010110-08-2013-055 One Spring Day Boudoir Culture of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty: Meticulous Stitching of the Bojagi 42 Photo Essay Heritage of Korea Journeys A Spring Journey along the Seomjin-gang River TEMPLESTAY AND BEYOND 22 In Search of Freedom and Equanimity: Jikji-sa Templestay 30 Consuming the Essence of Spring 34 48 Templestay Temple Food Temple Diary Beautiful Memories of a Yongjoo-sa Templestay Templestay Q&A Information to Enhance Your Templestay Experience
  2. 2. Photo Essay One Spring Day 2
  3. 3. 3 The Buddha’s teachings may be compared to a fragrance. They are not visible to the naked eye but are nonetheless beautiful and fragrant. The same is true of the fragrance of plum blossoms. Their mystical and unique fragrance is unsurpassed, sometimes referred to as “amhyang” or “secret fragrance.” Neither too strong nor too subtle, its fragrance permeates the temple compound in spring, and after a spring rain, the fragrance of the plum blossoms grows stronger. The beautiful fragrance of the plum blossoms permeates us like the teachings of the Buddha. — Text and photo by Yu Dong-yeong
  4. 4. Feature Stories 1 A Spring Journey to Korea’s “Three Jewel Temples” Of numerous temples in Korea, Tongdo-sa, Haein-sa and Songgwang-sa, known collectively as the “three jewel temples,” would be best visited on a fine spring day. Buddhism cherishes what they refer to as “the three jewels,” namely the Buddha Jewel, the Dharma Jewel and the Sangha Jewel; these refer to the Buddha, the teachings of the Buddha and the monastic and lay Sangha respectively. As the three jewel temples pass on the heritage of Buddhism’s three jewels, they can be said to be the three primary temples of Korea. — Article by Sim In-bo | Photos by Ha Ji-gwon A spring journey is savored best at a slow pace. For a lazy spring trip that allows one to wander languidly for a while, occasionally stopping to rest, no place is better than a mountain temple, especially the temples of Tongdo-sa, (the Buddha jewel), Haein-sa (the Dharma jewel), and Songgwang-sa (the Sangha jewel). Their names alone arouse a flutter of anticipation! I am not recommending these temples for a spring journey just because of their fame. Throughout their millennial history, these mountain temples have accumulated not only peace and tranquility, but also numerous icons of Buddhist cultural heritage. Furthermore, as they are nestled deep in the mountains, the paths leading to them are ideal for a leisurely stroll. 4
  5. 5. 5 Among the various offerings to the Buddha, such as lanterns, the reading of sutras, the singing of Buddhist hymns and flower offerings, flower offerings are said to be the best. That’s why temples try to plant a variety of flowering plants.
  6. 6. 6 1 2 1. Tongdo-sa is the Buddha jewel temple, the foremost of Korea’s three jewel temples. 2. The Diamond Precepts Altar at Tongdo-sa wherein the Buddha’s relics are enshrined Tongdo-sa Templestay Telephone +82-55-384-7085 Website http://www.tongdosa.or.kr
  7. 7. 7 A Visual Spectacle of Flowers at the Buddha Jewel Temple of Tongdo-sa Enshrining the Buddha as a jewel, Tongdo-sa is of Buddhist hymns and flower offerings, flower the Buddha jewel temple. Of course there are no offerings are said to be the best. That’s why temples that have not enshrined the Buddha, so the temples try to plant a variety of flowering plants. title “Buddha jewel temple” must mean something Tongdo-sa is no exception, and in springtime a special. However, in the Main Buddha Hall of spectacle of flowers can be seen here and there in Tongdo-sa, there aren’t any Buddhas. The place the temple compound. Of all the spring flowers, where Buddhas would normally be enshrined is the red plum blossoms (hongmae) in front of the empty, and only a long horizontal window is seen. Ancestral Hall (Yeonggak) and Paradise Hall (Geungnak-jeon) boast a sensuous and enchanting About 1,400 years ago, an eminent monk of the Silla era named Ven. Jajang went to China to beauty. When the red plum blossoms open, study. When he came back, he brought the relics radiating their hypnotic attraction, people flock and the robe of the Buddha. In his search for the from all over Korea to experience this wonder. For best place to enshrine these two treasures, equal these people, viewing the flowers momentarily in status to the Buddha himself, he ended up on takes precedence over veneration of the Buddha. Mt. Chukseo-san in present-day Yangsan. To his surprise, the mountain bore a close resemblance shouldn’t be missed is found on the flower-pattern to India’s Vulture Peak where the Buddha taught lattice doors of the Main Buddha Hall. On the the Lotus Sutra. Ven. Jajang established a temple eastern doors of the Main Buddha Hall are carved there and then built the Diamond Precepts Altar chrysanthemums, lotus flowers and peonies. (Geumgang-gyedan) in which he enshrined the The doors are a masterpiece of craftsmanship. relics and the robe. Through the window in the Not only on the doors but also around the Main Main Buddha Hall, the Diamond Precepts Altar is Buddha Hall floral designs are abundant. Lotuses visible. Because relics of the Buddha himself are are carved into the side of the staircase, as well enshrined there, there was no need to enshrine a as on the front wall of the terrace. It is as though Buddha statue. That’s why no statue of Buddha a shower of flower petals is falling upon a house can be found in Tongdo-sa’s Main Buddha Hall. in a flower garden. When the Buddha taught on The name of the mountain was soon changed to Vulture Peak, holding a lotus flower in his hand, Mt. Yeongchuk-san meaning “Vulture Peak.” legend says that flowers fell from the heavens. In spring, Tongdo-sa’s Main Buddha Hall is Among the various offerings to the Buddha, such as lanterns, the reading of sutras, the singing Another kind of flower at Tongdo-sa that reminiscent of that scene.
  8. 8. 8 Millennial Wisdom of the Dharma Jewel Temple of Haein-sa When one thinks of Haein-sa, one always Koreana is a Korean national treasure and so are thinks of the printing woodblocks of the Korean the repository buildings of the Panjeon. One can Buddhist canon, the Tripitaka Koreana. People say that here resides one Korean national treasure of the Goryeo era collected all the teachings of within another. Both are designated as UNESCO the Buddha available at the time and carved them World heritages. onto the 81,258 printing woodblocks, a total of 52 million carved Chinese characters. If these are beautiful. Each of the four buildings reveals a woodblocks were stacked one on top of the other, simple grace without any superfluous decoration. their height would reach 3,200m, and if they were These treasure storehouses are the oldest laid side by side horizontally, their length would buildings at Haein-sa. To maintain continuous air extend 60km. This world class heritage has been circulation, the windows of these buildings are preserved and passed down for over a thousand of different sizes to take advantage of the winds years. Thus we can truly say that Haein-sa is the coming down from Mt. Gaya-san and the winds Tripitaka Koreana and the Tripitaka Koreana is rising from Hongnyudong Valley. The arch-shaped Haein-sa. Therefore, Haein-sa rightfully claims Janggyeong-mun Gate, located at the entrance to the title of Dharma jewel temple. the Panjeon, casts mystical lotus-shaped shadows The Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks were twice a year, at the summer and winter solstices. created as a spiritual defense against the Mongol The Panjeon is surrounded by traditional Korean- invasion, the royal court and the people uniting as style walls called kkotdam, made of layered tile one to produce them. Each craftsman maintained and clay on which flowers are engraved. The walls utmost sincerity by carving a character and are just one more of Haein-sa’s artful allurements. Aside from their fame, the Panjeon buildings then offering a prostration to the Buddha before engraving the next character. Upon finishing each woodblock, they engraved their names at the end. Such sincerity was also maintained in constructing the repositories of the woodblocks. These repositories are called “Janggyeong Panjeon” or “Panjeon” for short, and are located behind Haein-sa’s Hall of Great Tranquility and Light (Daejeokgwang-jeon). The Tripitaka Haein-sa Templestay Telephone +82-55-934-3110 Website http://www.haeinsa.or.kr
  9. 9. 9 1 2 1. The repositories of the Tripitaka Koreana, the “Janggyeong Panjeon,” are designated as a UNESCO World heritage. 2. A printing woodblock on which the Buddha’s teachings are engraved
  10. 10. 10 1 2 1. Neungheo-gyo Bridge is often said to be the most beautiful sight at Songgwang-sa. 2. Befitting its title of the Sangha jewel temple of Korea, Songgwang-sa has produced 16 national preceptors.
  11. 11. 11 Philosophy of Non-possession at the Sangha Jewel Temple of Songgwang-sa As the “mountain temple of non-possession,” philosophy of non-possession, lived a life of purity Songgwang-sa is better known for what is not at Buril-am, one of the hermitages of Songgwang- there rather than what is there. At Songgwang- sa. After death, his ashes were scattered under the sa there are neither stone pagodas nor any stone silver magnolia tree at Buril-am. lanterns. There are also no wind chimes, normally found at any Buddhist temple. This is due to the I looked for spring all day but it was nowhere concern that even their soft melodious sounds may to be found disturb the practice of the monks. Having wandered all over the mountain till my straw shoes wore off One legend of three coins attests to Songgwang-sa’s being the mountain temple I finally came back home dragging my of non-possession. Under the lower arch of exhausted body Neungheo-gyo Bridge, said to be the most Then, I found plum trees blossomed in my beautiful sight at Songgwang-sa, a protruding own courtyard dragon’s head holds three coins. A long time ago, a monk constructed the bridge with donated funds. This is a Seon (Zen) poem written on the wall When the bridge was completed, three coins were around Songgwang-sa’s Bell and Drum Pavilion. left, which the monk then hung from the dragon’s Whenever one has the sudden thought that one head. The point of the story is that the monks of may still be living life wandering too hastily Songgwang-sa wouldn’t even take three coins for on mountain slopes, perhaps one should go to their own personal use. Songgwang-sa. What is the relationship between being the Sangha jewel temple and non-possession? In Buddhist practice, emptying oneself of all preconceptions and delusions comes first. Perhaps the first step on any spiritual path should be to cast aside all of one’s spiritual afflictions and greed. Through this practice of emptying oneself again and again, Songgwang-sa has produced 16 national preceptors. Among the eminent monks of modern times, Ven. Beopjeong, known for his Songgwang-sa Templestay Telephone +82-61-755-0107 Website http://www.songgwangsa.org
  12. 12. Feature Stories 2 “When you have nothing, you can have the whole world.” Memories of Ven. Beopjeong, Korea’s Great Practitioner — Article by Jeong Chan-ju, Novelist | Illustration by Yoo Hwan-young 12
  13. 13. 13 Not to Compare with Nor to Be like Others The Ven. Beopjeong I Knew — — Ven. Beopjeong was born in Haenam, South I became his lay disciple when he was residing Jeolla Province in 1932 and attended secondary at Buril-am, that period often referred to as “Ven. school and college in Mokpo. While he was in Beopjeong’s golden era.” One spring day I went college, the Korean War broke out. That tragic down to Buril-am and stayed overnight. He gave war, in which Koreans fought and killed other me a Dharma name, “Muyeom” (untainted). He Koreans, devastated him. After agonizing at great was trying to tell me to live in the world but not to length about violence and the innate goodness be tainted by it. of human beings, he took another path; he became a Buddhist monk. Serving Ven. Hyobong there even now, the wind chime hanging in the as an attendant, he practiced diligently. Ven. lower hut. Once I went to Buril-am to see Ven. Beopjeong’s philosophy of non-possession began Beopjeong. He told me the wind chime rang too to germinate as he observed the way his humble loudly the night before because of a typhoon and teacher lived. He expounded on this concept that he had to climb a ladder in a fierce rainstorm of non-possession, writing: “You should be to take it down. When I came back to Seoul, I satisfied with just one; having two is too much.” went to a workshop in Insa-dong and asked them Later he published a collection of essays titled to make a special wind chime that wouldn’t move Non-possession (“Musoyu”), which became a easily even in a typhoon. It was Ven. Beopjeong’s bestseller. Many people who had previously motto to never put off or avoid problems but to been imprisoned in their own prison of greed and face them here and now. materialism, were exuberant, as if they had found a way out. His book was loved by masses of upon in daily life. Once a visitor told him, “You people, regardless of their religious affiliation. look exactly the same as when I saw you on TV. Where is your hometown?” He answered, “Ha-ha! To quote another teaching of Ven. Beopjeong, Buril-am has evidence of my presence Ven. Beopjeong found objects to meditate “Be yourself.” He always reiterated not to Now you see the real me; now you can believe. compare oneself with others. Don’t try to become My hometown… I wonder where I was I born.” like others. Just grow into yourself. In other words, plum trees should bear plums and rose A photographer once took color pictures of the bushes should bear roses. beautiful scenery surrounding Buril-am during all Ven. Beopjeong had a great sense of humor.
  14. 14. 14 the four seasons and published them in a book. Without the firm determination to sever in Giving the book to one of his female devotees, the half all thoughts whenever they occur, it will venerable added, “Be sure to lock the door tight be absolutely impossible to leave. before you read this book. You must read it alone W hat is a city like? It is a suffocating in secret.” His words suggested he was giving space wherein asphalt, paving blocks, her some lewd magazine, which made all sitting high-rise buildings competing for height, around him laugh heartily. automobiles, exhaust gases, corrupt politicians, crime and all kinds of trash are When Ven. Beopjeong’s fame kept increasing, he had to leave Buril-am, often frequented by jumbled together. How can this kind of space visitors, and moved to a hut deep in the mountains sprout dreams about the future, about renewal of Gangwon-do Province. Concerned about his and about life? health I tried to give him a cell phone, but he refused, saying, “I am moving into the mountains While the venerable stayed at his hut in Gangwon- for the sake of my practice. I ask you not to visit do, he established Gilsang-sa Temple, thanks to me.” However, I later had the pleasure of having the generous donation of a benefactor, Ms. Kim him at my place, which gives me some comfort Yeong-han. He established the temple in order now. Once the venerable called to inform that he to conduct the “Clean and Fragrant Movement” would visit my mountain residence. Later he wrote on a larger scale. Two years before the venerable about the visit in the monthly magazine Saemteo. established Gilsang-sa, he called me one day to a certain temple. Upon arrival I found the venerable, On my way down to the southern region, Ms. Kim Yeong-han and 3 or 4 suited men having I visited a friend who had left the city to a conversation. Ms. Kim Yeong-han stated that be close to the earth in the countryside. she would donate on the condition that an audit I sympathized with his intention and system be maintained through which the temple determination to live alone in the country and operation could be tracked. Ven. Beopjeong stood away from the city, a hub of consumption up right away, saying, “There are many eminent and emaciation. As a writer he wanted to monks in Korea. Why don’t you find one of them begin anew in a different land. So he built a and donate?” In the end, Ms. Kim Yeong-han house, planted trees, dug a pond, cultivated came back to this unkind monk and donated her vegetables and wrote as well. I could see that wealth without any conditions. he was living a very healthy life. Many people grow tired of city life but cannot readily leave the city because each of them has their own excuses. If you ponder on all the different possible circumstances, you can never leave.
  15. 15. 15 To Act is harder than to Know — There is one touching episode from his last days confined in bed. Perhaps it was a natural thing for a Buddhist monk to do, but the venerable offered morning and evening Buddhist ceremonies alone on his sickbed, even when he had only a few days to live. There is a proverb that says, “To act is To quote another teaching of Ven. Beopjeong, “Be harder than to know,” but Ven. Beopjeong showed yourself.” He always the way of a true practitioner who doesn’t stop reiterated not to compare practice until his last day. Ven. Beopjeong passed away in March 2010. He left no assets, and the oneself with others. accrued hospital bills were taken care of by a Don’t try to become like businessman who had greatly respected him. others. Just grow into My novel Soseol Musoyu (“A Novel of Non- Possession”) must have found its way to America and been read by someone. The reader sent me a yourself. In other words, plum trees should bear note that even now lingers in my mind: “I think plums and rose bushes Ven. Beopjeong is as great as the Dalai Lama.” should bear roses. The note reminds me of the proverb, “The beacon does not shine on the foot of its base.” Only then did it sink into my mind that a great practitioner had come to us and then left. I realized then how happy was the time I spent with him.
  16. 16. Heritage of Korea Boudoir Culture of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty Meticulous Stitching of the Bojagi Bojagi is a cloth used to wrap bundles. It is made by sewing together scraps left over from making clothes or blankets. As a kind of boudoir culture of the Joseon Dynasty, a bojagi was used to wrap and carry things or to put them in storage. The seam lines created by sewing small scraps of fabric together, the resultant division of space and the combination of colors produce a unique textile art. Bojagi embodies the sophisticated design sense of the Korean women of long ago. — Article by Cheon Su-rim | Photos by Lee Seung-mu 16
  17. 17. 17 Handwoven Cotton — Simplicity and refinement are alive here. This rare fabric was found at an antique shop in Gyeongju. It was then dyed crimson and black by the artist using natural methods. Handwoven cotton, called “mumyeong,” is produced through long hours of labor beginning, from scutching, to spinning, to weaving. This fabric is fast disappearing from Korea.
  18. 18. 18 Ramie — This jogakbo or “patchwork wrapping cloth” with lotus motif was completed by first drawing the basic design on ramie fabric and then by cutting and dying each piece of the design components one by one using natural methods. The expression “delicate as gossamer wings” describes perfectly ramie fabric. Its translucence is a characteristic found only in Korean bojagi, unlike the quilts or wrapping cloths of other countries.
  19. 19. 19 Andongpo Hemp — As Andongpo hemp is often called the “windinviting cloth,” this bojagi makes the most of the natural texture of the fabric. Dyes were intentionally not applied to preserve its simple, original color. As the bojagi isn’t lined, sunlight can shine through it. Andongpo’s texture can vary from soft to coarse, depending on the weaver. Because of this variation, when scraps of it are sewn together to produce a patchwork wrapping cloth, the different textures and shades create a natural harmony. As a specialty of the Andong area in North Gyeongsang Province, Andongpo was regarded as so precious during the Joseon Dynasty that it was only offered to the king.
  20. 20. 20 Handwoven Silk — A jogakbo made from remnants of silk left over after making a hanbok, a traditional Korean outfit. It is a 40-year-old vintage cloth no longer produced in Korea. Its subdued white and ivory colors are naturally balanced with red and blue. Myeongju is silk handwoven from silk thread and originally referred to silk fabric produced in Ming China. Interview Korea’s Jogakbo Artist, Kim Myeong-suk She Never Throws Scraps Away “Bojagi is proof that nothing should ever be carelessly thrown away as it is made by cutting and assembling scraps of fabric left over after sewing clothes and blankets.” So says jogakbo artist Kim Myeong-suk, who occupies a distinctive place among Korean bojagi artists. Sometimes using rare 100-year-old cloth for her jogakbo, she finds her vintage fabrics in antique shops or in shops that make hanbok, usually located in traditional markets. Now beginning her 15th year as a jogakbo artist, her creations have been shown at such places as: SOMUSHI Gallery in Gyoto, Japan; Galerie 89 in Paris, France: Korea’s Superior Handicraft Exhibition in Europe; and at the Mae-am Tea Culture Museum in Hadong, Korea. Bojagi is often referred to as “bo” in Korea, and people of the Joseon Dynasty often called it “bok (lit. blessings),” close to “bo” in pronunciation. Because bojagi is made from leftover scraps of cloth, it is a classic example of recycling.
  21. 21. 21 Oksa — Natural dyes like indigo stand out in this bojagi. The colorful feast of blue, red, orange, and yellow are reminiscent of a spring garden in full bloom. “Oksa” refers to the silk fabric woven from the thread spun from special cocoons that hold more than one silkworm. Oksa has a coarser texture than regular silk as both thick and thin threads randomly alternate when weaving it. Disliked as clothing material in the past, Oksa is now gaining favor because people are beginning to appreciate its coarse texture.
  22. 22. 22 Ivetthe and Alanna undoubtedly took away many unforgettable memories of their encounter with Korean culture at Jikji-sa’s Templestay.
  23. 23. 23 Templestay In Search of Freedom and Equanimity Jikji-sa Templestay On a clear spring day, Ivetthe Colio and Alanna Robinson visited the peaceful temple of Jikji-sa to learn more about Korean culture and Buddhism. The Templestay program also gave them time to relax. Saying that just breathing pure air and seeing the beautiful scenery had given them some sense of healing, they let go of the fatigue accumulated from their daily lives and filled themselves with relaxation and peace. — Article by Lim Su-yeong | Photos by Lee Seung-mu After enduring a harsh winter, the trees and flowers strove to put forth new buds. In the early spring, Jikji-sa was quiet and peaceful. The yellow Cornelian cherries, said to have blossomed a few days before, heralded the arrival of spring, imbuing the mountain temple with the fragrance of spring. Nestled in the folds of Mt. Hwangak-san, the historic temple of Jikji-sa is said to have been established by Preceptor Ado in the 2nd year of King Nulji’s reign, the 19th king of the Silla Kingdom (418 CE). After Great Master Samyeong resided at Jikjisa, its fame increased. Ivetthe had never been to a temple during her stay in Korea, but Alanna had been to Bulguk-sa. With a touch of excitement on their faces, both of them arrived at Jikji-sa. Passing through the One Pillar Gate (Ilju-mun), the temple entrance that separates the secular world from the Buddha’s world, they walked toward the Great Sun Gate
  24. 24. 24 (Daeyang-mun). Just as the morning sun chases Medicine Buddha were enshrined on either side away the darkness, the Great Sun Gate is said of Sakyamuni, a few people were performing the to extinguish the afflictions of ignorance with “108 prostrations.” Prostration practice embodies wisdom. The two bubbly 20-somethings passed the spirit of lowering oneself and serving all other through the Great Sun Gate and the Diamond Gate beings with love and compassion. The practice (Geumgang-mun) on which was painted Vajrapani, not only helps with spiritual cultivation, but also protector of the temple. They then passed through enhances one’s body by clearing the head and the Gate of Heavenly Kings (Cheonwang- warming the lower abdomen. mun) and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Years (Manse-ru), finally arriving at the temple’s inner Hall, Ivetthe and Alanna performed the Buddhist compound. practice of “circumambulating the pagoda,” in this After looking around the Main Buddha case, the three-story stone pagoda in front of the Main Buddha Hall. Putting their palms together in Lowering Oneself and Loving All Life front of their chest, they slowly walked around the — pagoda. Upon finishing, Alanna said, “I walked Ivetthe and Alanna participated in Jikji-sa’s slowly counter-clockwise, one step at a time, Templestay program along with ten Koreans. As with joined palms. The venerable monk said to neither of them had a good command of Korean, concentrate my mind during circumambulation they were provided with a translator. After, and to pray whatever I wanted to pray or to have changing into simple but comfortable temple peace of mind. So I tried to remove the jumbled uniforms, participants attended the opening thoughts within my head. At first it was difficult ceremony and then were taught temple etiquette. to concentrate. However, the more I walked around the pagoda, the more I felt calm. It was a Smiling shyly, Ivetthe said, “I cannot speak Korean very well and I lack a basic knowledge wonderful experience.” of Buddhism and temples. So even with the translator’s help, I had a hard time understanding “I learned that I should greet people I meet in the instructions. Also, since I am not used to the temple compound with joined palms. The sitting cross-legged, my lower back began to ache. posture of joining palms is called “hapjang” in However, when I collected my mind and sat still, Korea and is said to resemble the flower bud of I began to feel at ease and had the sensation of a lotus. Hapjang embodies the ideal singular healing.” focus of mind and the oneness of self and others. This mindset also respects and cherishes others Bathed in the daylight of spring, Ivetthe Ivetthe also shared what she felt, saying, and Alanna looked around the Jikji-sa temple as oneself. Though I don’t know much about compound. In the temple’s Main Buddha Hall Buddhism, I found out that Buddhism regards all (Dae-ung-jeon), where statues of Amitabha and people as precious beings.”
  25. 25. 25 Interview with Ven. Yeo-un A Time to Clear Your Mind and Empty Your Head For foreigners, a Templestay experience is definitely an unusual experience: getting up at 3 a.m. to offer a Buddhist ceremony, having monastic meals, doing meditation or prostration practice, making lotus lanterns and watching the sounding of the four Dharma instruments. All these may seem unfamiliar but are nonetheless interesting experiences. It is good to stay in a temple for a couple of days and learn the profound teachings of the Buddha. However, I urge all participants to shed any sense of burden about experiencing something new and unfamiliar. All should take time to reflect upon themselves, something they forget to do while living hurried lives. Just resting in the good mountain environment alone can help them to empty their heads and regain their presence of mind. If you can do this, you will find the Templestay experience more than worthy of your time. 1 2 3 1. Ivetthe and Alanna are engrossed in putting another stone on top of the “stacked-stone pagodas.” 2. Praying while circumambulating the three-story stone pagoda 3. Calming their minds during meditation Ivetthe Colio is an American who has been in Korea for six months. She teaches English at a middle school in Gyeongsan. She participated in this Templestay mostly out of curiosity because she had never been to a Korean temple. Alanna Robinson is a Canadian who teaches English at an elementary school in Gyeongsan. She participated in this Templestay to experience Korean culture and Buddhism.
  26. 26. 26 Jikji-sa Templestay Schedule Day 1 Registration and provision of temple uniforms 14:30 Temple etiquette 15:00 Dinner / Watch the sounding of the Dharma instruments 17:00 Evening Buddhist ceremony 18:00 Watch a video (The Miracle of 0.2 Pyeong) 19:00 Conversation over tea 20:00 Bedtime 20:30
  27. 27. 27 Templestay, a Journey into Myself — The two women directed their steps toward the Vairocana Hall (Biro-jeon), also called the “One-thousand Buddha Hall” (Cheonbul-jeon) because 1,000 Buddha statues are enshrined there. The flower-pattern lattice doors on which chestnut brown, ochre and yellow-green flowers were intricately carved, drew their eyes. Inside the Vairocana Hall, hundreds of lotus lanterns hung from the ceiling, and underneath them, 1,000 jade Buddha statues were enshrined. Upon close examination of the statues, there is one Buddha statue standing upright in the center of them. Legend says that if you make eye contact with this Buddha statue after entering the Vairocana Hall, you will conceive a child. Praising the beauty of Jikji-sa, Ivetthe said, “Jikji-sa is a truly beautiful temple. I can imagine how magnificent it will become in the summer when the trees and plants grow lush 1 leaves and in the fall when the leaves turn into colorful autumn 2 foliage. When I breathe the pure air here and see this gorgeous scenery, I can feel what peace is like.” 1. In temple compounds it is customary to greet people with joined palms. Called “hapjang,” joining palms symbolizes collecting scattered thoughts into one and also that you and I are one. 2. Beautiful flowers carved on the doors of Cheonbul-jeon Hall For dinner they had rice, a few simple side dishes and fragrant mugwort soup (ssukguk). They put only as much as they could eat into their bowls and washed their dishes afterward. Then, the participants directed their footsteps to the temple’s Bell Pavilion. After listening to an explanation about the four Dharma instruments, the temple bell, cloud-shaped gong, Day 2 Wake up 03:00 Seon meditation / Morning Buddhist ceremony 03:30 Walking meditation in the forest 05:00 Breakfast (Baru gongyang) 06:00 Communal work 07:00 Pilgrimage to Myeongjeok-am 08:30 Introduction to Jikji-sa 09:30 Write reviews and impressions 10:30 Tidy up 11:00 Lunch 11:30
  28. 28. 28 1 2 1. Sharing conversation over tea with Ven. Yeo-un 2. The Main Buddha Hall and the two three-story stone pagodas at Jikji-sa
  29. 29. 29 wooden fish and Dharma drum, each of the participants had a turn to sound the temple bell. As the bell’s sound permeated the temple compound, it relaxed the participants’ bodies and minds. Ven. Yeo-un, the guiding teacher of the Templestay, prepared a special tea ceremony for the two foreign participants who didn’t understand Korean well. Unlike Ivetthe, who had never experienced a tea ceremony, Alanna, had attended a tea ceremony in Japan. She followed Ven. Yeo-un’s directions well, gently holding the teacup of fragrant lotus tea with her right hand while supporting the teacup from below with her left hand. Sipping the tea, Ivetthe said, “I usually drank coffee in What to See and Eat around Jikji-sa Gimcheon International Ceramics Museum — This museum features beautiful pottery from around the world following its developmental timeline from earthenware, to pottery and to porcelain. To help with viewers’ understanding, the museum is equipped with a video room that shows videos on the pottery making process. Tel. 054-430-6086 America, but I began to drink green tea more often in Korea. This lotus tea has a deeper aroma and taste than green tea. It’s really good!” The time these two spent at Jikji-sa was filled with strange experiences. They drank tea with clumsy hands, wore temple uniforms for the first time, learned how to join their palms in hapjang, practiced Seon meditation and experienced monastic meals. They were hesitant and awkward at first, not knowing what to do and sometimes giggled at themselves. Still they were able to escape the stress that had weighed them down and were Baeksu Literature Museum — This museum was established to commemorate the life and achievements of the poet Baeksu Jeong Wan-yeong and to provide working spaces for Korea’s literary talent. Here one can see various photographs that give a glimpse into the life of the late poet. His actual writing study has also been recreated here. Visitors can also make rubbings of his poems from woodblocks to keep as a souvenir. Tel. 054-436-6834 able to regain an inner calm. They experienced peace of mind and felt liberated through their “encounter with the self within.” Perhaps that’s why a Templestay is often called “a journey into myself.” Though it was a rather short time, Ivetthe and Alanna undoubtedly took away many unforgettable memories of their encounter with Korean culture at Jikji-sa’s Templestay. Jikji-sa Templestay Telephone +82-54-429-1716 Website http://Jikjisa.or.kr A Mouthful of the Essence of Spring, Sanchae Bibimbap — In front of Jikji-sa, visitors can find more than 30 restaurants specializing in sanchae bibimbap (rice topped with mountain greens). When you mix the rice and such healthy greens as chwi-namul (edible wild aster), gosari (bracken fern stems), mung bean sprouts and bellflower root together with gochujang (red pepper paste) and sesame oil, a spoonful will fill your mouth with the essence of spring. Side dishes also consist of rare mountain delicacies such as: seasoned cham-namul (Pimpinella brachycarpa), acorn jelly, grilled deodeok (Codonopsis lanceolata) and dureup (edible shoots of fatsia).
  30. 30. Temple Food Consuming the Essence of Spring Packed with nutrients like vitamins, calcium and minerals, spring herbs readily relieve spring fatigue often experienced by many people. Just one bite fills the mouth with the sweet and bitter taste of spring. Why not infuse your body with the healthy energy of spring by preparing a variety of spring herbs? — The cooking and food styling of Ven. Seonggong from Daeseong-am Hermitage of Beomeo-sa Temple Article by Kim Gyeong-mi | Photos by Choe Bae-mun Spring Herbs Stimulate the Palate — When the gentle light of spring washes over us, we naturally seek out light, refreshing foods to satisfy our appetite. The venerable bhikkhuni Seonggong believes that nothing can beat spring herbs as health-enhancing food. She often spends her spring days wandering Korea’s mountains and fields to collect herbs. After becoming a Buddhist nun at Beomeo-sa at the tender age of nineteen, she learned how to prepare temple food while cooking for older monastics and her teachers. She then began to practice meditation at a Seon center. She is now in charge of preparing food for the Buddhist nuns, and sometimes monks, who come to Daeseong-am to further their practice. She says of her work: 30
  31. 31. 31 Ingredients 2 cups rice (for two people) A few ginger plant branches 30 grams of fresh ginger plant sprouts Directions 1. Soak uncooked rice in water for 30 minutes and drain. 2. Cut ginger plant branches and boil them in water about an hour. 3. Put soaked rice in a stone pot and add 1 liter of the broth from step 2. 4. Put ginger plant sprouts on top and cook until the rice is tender. 5. Enjoy the rice with seasoned soy sauce. Rice Filled with the Taste of Spring Stone-pot Rice with Ginger Plant Sprouts With its ability to blend with any food ingredients, rice can transform itself in numerous ways. Cooked with various seasonal ingredients like beans, adzuki beans, sorghum, corn, mushrooms and the leafy herb “gondre” (cirsium setidens), rice becomes a delicacy full of flavor and nutrition. In the early spring it is pleasing to make a special delicacy by cooking rice with new ginger plant sprouts and the broth produced by boiling ginger plant stems in water.
  32. 32. 32 I always think of how to make delicious food for the nuns who visit Daeseong-am. Even the same foods will have a different taste and texture depending on how it is cooked, butterbur, for example. In spring the tender butterbur leaves are great for making “ssambap” (rice wrapped in greens), while in summer, its stalks make a flavorful side dish. Butterbur stalks can be boiled and peeled, then fried with powdered perilla seed. Ven. Seonggong tries to invent new dishes by using different cooking methods to prepare herbs and vegetables. Some techniques are: “muchim” (to mix with seasonings); “jorim” (to simmer in various sauces); “bokkeum” (to sautée with seasonings); and “jjim” (to steam or make casserole). Eating Foods in Season Revives Our Energy — In spring it is easy to find healthy foods because they are abundant. Ven. Seonggong says that eating foods in season restores our vitality and that temple food is food adapted from nature and close to nature. Sharing her joy in making temple food, she says: If the nuns residing and practicing here at Daeseong-am can maintain their health with the seasonal ingredients I use, that alone will make me happy. I will live my life in service making healthy food for monks and nuns. I will live today as I did yesterday, and I will live tomorrow as I lived today. Saying that making delicious and healthy food for others is the Buddhist practice that gives her the greatest joy, Ven. Seonggong walked toward the temple kitchen holding a basket full of spring herbs. Her demeanor radiated warmth toward all human beings.
  33. 33. 33 Ingredients 10 leaves each of dogtooth violet and butterbur. 400 grams steamed rice Ssamjang (2 tablespoons of doenjang, 1/2 minced green pepper, 1 tablespoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon perilla oil, 3 shitake mushrooms and 2 pieces of kelp) Directions 1. Wash and cook the rice. 2. To remove toxins from the dogtooth violet leaves, soak them in water for a day after boiling. 3. Parboil butterbur leaves and soak them in water for two hours. 4. Make bite-size morsels of rice by squeezing them in your hand. 5. Put the rice morsels on the leaves of dogtooth violet and butterbur and wrap them in neat shapes. 6. Serve with ssamjang. How to Make Ssamjang 1. Make broth by soaking the shitake mushrooms and kelp in water. 2. Put doenjang into the broth from step 1 and mix in minced green pepper. 3. Mix in red chili powder and perilla oil. Bite-Size Morsels of Wrapped Rice Delight the Palate Dogtooth Violet and Butterbur Leaves Flowering in the alpine regions in early spring, dogtooth violets not only produce beautiful flowers, but their leaves are a great food ingredient. When blanched, their tender leaves are great to wrap around rice. As a plant naturally found in mountains and fields, butterbur also revives one’s appetite in spring with its slightly bitter taste and unique aroma. Their small and tender leaves are also good for wrapping rice. Or they can be parboiled to make a vegetable side dish.
  34. 34. Temple Diary Beautiful Memories of a Yongjoo-sa Templestay On one drizzly spring day, I traveled to Yongjoo-sa Temple to participate in their two-day Templestay program, along with Kate Kirkpatrick from Ireland and Kate Miller from Canada. I wanted to introduce them to a one-of-a-kind Korean cultural experience. It was a very special experience for all of us that we will always cherish. — Article by Lee Hyo-min | Photos by Choe Bae-mun Traditional Korean Buddhist temples, usually located high in the mountains, couldn’t look more fabulous, but they have one drawback; they’re hard to get to. One might think that if they were nearer and easier to get to, one would visit them right away. For those who fantasize about such a temple, I’d like to recommend Yongjoo-sa, located in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do Province, on the outskirts of Seoul. Yongjoo-sa was restored by the 22nd Joseon King, Jeongjo, when his Buddhist faith united with his filial piety for his late father, the Crown Prince Sado. With its theme of “filial piety,” a Yongjoo-sa Templestay will provide not only cultural experiences transcending your religious affiliations but, also a peaceful time for healing by enticing you to study history and reflect on your own past. 34
  35. 35. 35 In deep communion with nature on the forest path. Stilling our breath, we listened to the sounds of nature.
  36. 36. 36 Leave Nothing in Your Bowls at Baru Gongyang — The rain, which began in the early morning, showed no sign of letting up. About two hours compound earlier than usual. The evening meal after we left Seoul, the three of us arrived at was served in the style of a formal monastic Yongjoo-sa’s Filial Piety Cultural Institute where meal called baru gongyang, which embodies blooming umbrella flowers (Syneilesis palmate) the spirit of equanimity, harmony and ecology. greeted us in profusion. In addition to us, the Participants take only as much as they can eat into Templestay participants included 25 foreign their four bowls and they must eat everything, students from Ajou University’s International leaving nothing. I had seen baru gongyang on Graduate School and members of a student club television before, but this was my first time to try named “Nubi-ajou,” a group of Ajou University it firsthand. Holding a bowl in my hand, I tried to undergraduates who gathered to do whatever eat quietly, which naturally made me concentrate they can to help with the foreign students’ stay in on myself. Kate Miller surprised me by saying, Korea. “I was impressed by the Venerable when he said that even the water we use to rinse the inside of Changing into temple uniforms, we first The rain brought darkness to the temple learned basic temple etiquette, then introduced the bowls after eating is considered a part of the ourselves and exchanged quick nods of meal.” acknowledgment. Then we took a tour of the temple. It would have been better if it had not been Placing a paper cup upside down, we glued 14 raining, but to walk around the temple compound brightly-colored paper petals and 5 green sepals protected by umbrellas had its own charm. While on the cup one by one. We finished our lanterns, touring the Gate of Four Heavenly Kings, the Red infusing them with our aspirations for the year. Gate commemorating filial piety, the Sammun Gate, the five-story stone pagoda, Cheonbo-ru Pavilion and the Main Buddha Hall, I reflected on the sorrowful piety of King Jeongjo who felt sorry for his late father who had never been crowned king, despite being the crown prince. After dinner, we made small lotus lanterns.
  37. 37. 37 Interview with Ven. Daehyeon Humility Learned from Prostrating Oneself Engenders True Happiness As a formal monastic meal, baru gongyang stipulates that one should take only as much food as one can eat and eat all of it, leaving the bowl clean. In prostrating ourselves, our knees, elbows and forehead touch the earth. We can learn from this that we cannot raise others without lowering ourselves first. Only when we shed our arrogance and repent of our folly, can respect well up in our hearts. Human beings are part of nature. When we open our six sense organs properly and use them well, we can feel joy, peace and happiness on another dimension. Try minimizing the noise you make when you walk or eat and concentrate on your inner self and on nature. You will feel fulfillment and liberation. Diligently making lotus lanterns by gluing petals one by one on a paper cup Choe Seong-gyu, a Volunteer Interpreter Yongjoo-sa has opened its doors wide to foreigners. They can participate not only in regular Templestay programs held on weekends, but foreigners can also apply for a Templestay program as a group at a time convenient for them. Because many devotees of Yongjoo-sa donate their talents, foreigners can receive quality interpretation service at any time. Sometimes even I find Buddhist terms difficult, but when I pay attention to the Venerable’s remarks and translate them, I find myself to be the first one being touched by these remarks. That’s why I work as a volunteer interpreter as often as possible.
  38. 38. 38 108 Prostrations Boost Your Confidence — At 3 a.m., the temple was resolute and solemn. Walking toward Cheonbo-ru, where the morning Buddhist ceremony would be held, participants walked in silent and prudent steps so as not to disturb the darkness. After the ceremony, they recited the Parental Benevolence Sutra, a Buddhist sutra that explains the greatness and depth of parental kindness and expounds on how we should repay it. Then, participants sat in two rows facing each other and offered 108 prostrations to the person sitting across from them. Kate Kirkpatrick shared her feelings, saying, “At first, I was not comfortable doing the 108 prostrations. But upon finishing, I realized it was not that difficult at all. While doing my prostrations, I took the essence of the Parental Benevolence Sutra to my heart and prayed for my family.” Her remarks reminded me of my own mother who must have offered 108 prostrations many times to pray for me so that I could successfully enter a university or get a job. I was Lee Hyo-min (Center of photo) “The three of us are different in appearance and nationality, but we marvel at how similar we are in many respects, including age, hobbies and thoughts. I want to live a more exciting and passionate life in 2013. I had a very special experience at the Yongjoo-sa Templestay, along with my cherished friends who all gave me great support. It will remain a good memory in my heart.” Kate Kirkpatrick (Right of photo) “Templestay was a unique experience. I’ve never slept on the floor using a mattress and a blanket. Though it felt hard, I was comfortable. Especially the 108 prostrations, conducted following prerecorded English instructions, were finished much sooner than I expected, which surprised me.” choked with emotion for a moment. After breakfast, we went for a walk up Mt. Hwa-san, located behind Yongjoo-sa. Due to the rain from the day before, the moist earth felt soft under my feet. Walking the forest path in silence, I breathed in the clean air, listened to the birds chirping from afar, and felt the soft breeze caress my face. In deep communion with nature, I felt cleansed both in body and mind. Kate Miller (Left of photo) “Baru gongyang, the 108 prostrations and our conversation with the monk over tea were impressive programs for me. Amongst all, the venerable monk seemed to have a philosophy and insight that could instantly solve various daily problems, big or small. The conversation we shared today over tea will remain with me for a long time.”
  39. 39. 39 Walking toward Cheonbo-ru, where the morning Buddhist ceremony would be held, participants walked in silent and prudent steps so as not to disturb the darkness.
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  41. 41. 41 Conversation with Ven. Jeongho over Tea — When our walking meditation through the forest was over, a conversation over tea with Ven. Jeongho, the abbot of Yongjoo-sa, awaited us. We first learned how to drink the fragrant tea properly. According to the Venerables’s instructions, we should support the bottom of the teacup with the left hand, hold the teacup with the right hand, and drink the tea in three sips. Kate Miller shared her impressions, saying, “The Venerable said that we get attached to the constantly changing environment and this arouses suffering. And if we haven’t let go of the attachment, we don’t’ have true love. His remarks resonate in my heart.” I was a bit worried whether she was able to follow the programs well, even with the help of an interpreter. After all, the content was not easy, even for Koreans. She alleviated my worries with a bright smile and a nod. I was amazed at how philosophy and ideas could be exchanged between different nationalities and in spite of language barriers through a conversation over tea. My little cultural adventure with my two foreign friends 1 2 3 was almost over. It must have been not easy for them to sleep on the floor instead of a bed, or to have to eat every morsel of food, leaving nothing. However, my two Kates enjoyed the whole experience with bright smiles. Thanks to them I was also able to have a new Templestay experience and experienced much happiness in helping them. 1. Reciting the Parental Benevolence Sutra, participants reflect on respect and gratitude for one’s parents. 2. 3. Conversation over tea with Ven.Jeongho. Yongjoo-sa Templestay Telephone +82-31-235-6886 Website http://yongjoosa.or.kr
  42. 42. 42 The Light of Spring Flows along the River on a Flowery Breeze A Spring Journey along the Seomjin-gang River
  43. 43. 43 Journeys Spring lasts awhile along the Seomjin-gang River. After some idle delay, spring finally arrives at Maehwa Maeul (Flowering Plum Village) in Gwangyang; and the flowers around Gurye and Hadong explode with color. Over the low stone walls of country houses, Cornelian cherries blossom and fade. Along the upper slopes toward the temples, a gust of wind sets off a shower of cherry blossom petals. Tempted by this flowery breeze, I embark on a spring journey along the Seomjin-gang. — Article by Lee Gang, Travel Columnist | Photos by Ha Ji-gwon
  44. 44. 44 Decorated with spring flowers, the Seomjin-gang looks both coy and dazzling. The turquoise green water of the river, the silver sands, the blue sky and the flowering tree-lined roads manifest perfect harmony, a beautiful depiction of spring. My spring journey along the Seomjin-gang begins at Maehwa Maeul in Gwangyang, winds through Cornelian Cherry Village at Gurye, and ends at the 4km cherry blossom road leading to Ssanggyesa Temple in Hadong. The first light of spring shines down on Seomjin Maeul, one of the major villages on the Seomjingang, famous for its flowers. The opening of the plum blossoms here, home to one of the most beautiful plum blossom groves in Korea, heralds the arrival of spring. Walking along the river near Provincial Route 861, a small village nestled in the foothills of the mountains comes into view, enveloped by a pinkish-white plum blossom grove, like a misty veil. The scenery exudes all the quaint beauty of an old-fashioned country landscape. The Simple Beauty of Korea’s Countryside — At the mouth of the Seomjin-gang, about the time the red plum blossoms open their buds, spring advances onward toward Gurye. In the foothills of Mt. Jiri-san, Cornelian cherries open their tiny petals, as small as chicks’ toenails, in the wake of a spring breeze. The most gorgeous scenery is found here at the Cornelian Cherry Village located in Wian-ri, Sandong-myeon, Gurye-gun in South Jeolla Province. On entering the village, I find tens of thousands of Cornelian cherry trees, from dozens to hundreds of years old, their dazzling yellow flowers blooming along the stone wall-lined roads. Moving along, following the flowery breeze, I arrive in Hadong. Walking down National Route 19 that runs along the river, I am enchanted by the spring scenery, infused with life by the river. The blue water of the Seomjin-gang and its silver sandy beach create a tableau through which a raft drifts lazily
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  46. 46. 46 An Overnight Stay at a Mountain Temple: Ssanggye-sa Templestay — As an experiential program favored by visitors and tourists in Korea, a Templestay provides one the opportunity to stay in a traditional Korean temple and renew one’s self. Ssanggye-sa operates two types of Templestay programs, one for rest and another to provide a cultural experience. Participants can experience the daily life and practice of monks by attending a predawn Buddhist ceremony, practicing Seon (Zen) meditation and experiencing baru gongyang (traditional monastic meals). The programs encourage inner tranquility and revive a participant’s life force. Cheongmaesil Farm at Gwangyang — Cheongmaesil Farm, located in Gwangyang, is also a must-see. It is renowned for its green plums, called “maesil” (Prunus mume), fruits which develop after the plum blossoms fall. More than 2,000 mega-size earthen pots fill the farm’s yard. This scene alone is enough to open and broaden the heart of any visitor. Visitors can experience many things firsthand here, including the preservation of maesil in sugar. With its famous slogan, “We have everything you need and nothing you don’t need,” Hwagae Jangteo is a marketplace frequented by people from both Hadong in Gyeongsang-do Province and Gurye in Jeolla-do Province. Here, market day is held every five days, on dates ending with a “1” or a “6” (1, 6, 11, 16, etc.). While you are in Hadong, do not miss Toji-maeul, located in Pyeongsa-ri, Agyangmyeon. As the setting for the epic Korean novel Toji, it offers a glimpse of a traditional Korean farming village and the culture of times past. Jaecheop-guk Soup from the Seomjin-gang River — At Gurye, enrich your dining experience by having sanchae (mountain greens) picked from Mt. Jiri-san and chamge maeuntang (spicy stew cooked with Chinese mitten crabs). Some noted restaurants serving the latter are: Dongbaek Sikdang (055-883-2439), Jirisan Hoegwan (061-782-3124) and Jeonwon Garden (061-782-4733). At Hadong you must try the jaecheop-guk first. On National Route 19 are many restaurants that specialize in this. The refreshing taste of its clear broth is known to relieve hangovers. Here are some suggested restaurants: Haong Chon (055-883-8261), Geumyang Garden (055-884-1580), Buheung Jaecheop Sikdang (055-884-3903) and Seom Maeul (055-882-3580).
  47. 47. 47 by. The mountains and the river blend together, blossom petals. intertwined with people’s lives, to create a picturesque beauty. leading to Ssanggye-sa. One thing I can’t miss in Hadong is the fragrance of wild tea. Walking The local people call the Seomjin-gang Tea houses dot the “cherry blossom road” “the River of Mothers.” That is because of the up the road, I see wild tea trees growing in the industrious local women who gather at the river crevices between the rocks, their aroma teasing when the waters recede to collect jaecheop my nostrils. Ssanggye-sa, a 1,200-year-old (Corbicula fluminea), a kind of freshwater clam. temple, was the first temple in Korea to grow They dig them out by raking the riverbed with a tea, as the Hwagae Valley on Mt. Jiri-san had “geo-raeng-i,” a Korean tool resembling a rake. a suitable environment to grow tea. Quenching The way these women work hard all day, standing my thirst with a cup of refreshing tea, I leisurely waist-deep in the river, reveals the life of river walk around Ssanggye-sa. The temple operates people as it is. The river gives its all, and the a Templestay program that gives participants the people commune with it at the riverside, thankful opportunity to experience monastic daily life and for its bounty. Buddhist practice. A Templestay might be the ideal conclusion to one’s journey; it dissipates the fatigue from travel and provides a Korean cultural Toward the Four Kilometer Cherry Blossom experience. Road, Permeated with the Aroma of Tea — colored hair ribbon, spring on the Seomjin-gang Like a shy maiden loosening her multi- Leaving National Route 19, I direct my steps is alive with color. My spring journey to Seomjin- toward Ssanggye-sa Temple. At the temple gang has given me the chance to enjoy the perfect entrance, where the main river and Hwagae- harmony of flowers, mountains and the river, cheon Stream meet, there is the Hwagae Jangteo and to spend one night at a mountain temple marketplace. The 4km road from Hwagae Jangteo permeated with the mystical aroma of tea. to Ssanggye-sa is bordered on both sides with The journey has filled my body and mind with cherry trees in full bloom. Praised as the “most the energy of spring; the life force courses beautiful road in Korea,” the road is lined with through me. over 1,200 cherry trees ranging in age from 50-70 years. Frequently featured in dramas and movies, the road is also called the “wedding road,” as local legend says that if a couple walks the road under a shower of petals, they will live happily ever after. That’s why numerous lovers frequent this road in the spring when the air is filled with falling cherry Ssanggye-sa Templestay Telephone +82-55-883-1901 Website http://ssanggyesa.net
  48. 48. Templestay Q&A Information to Enhance Your Templestay Experience Monastic culture can often be puzzling, but once you are acquainted with it, you will feel more at home. Here are some basic facts that will improve your Templestay experience. Q. What should I bring to a Templestay? A. Most temples provide comfortable uniforms for the Templestay participants. Bring your toiletries, a towel and socks. As most temples are located in the mountains, you’d better wear comfortable sneakers or hiking boots. In the early morning, the mountain air can be chilly. Bring an extra jacket and scarf to keep warm. Q. What’s the difference between a Templestay for rest and a Templestay for cultural experience? A. “Templestay for cultural experience” refers to a set program prepared by each temple. The contents of this program can vary by season, as well as the characteristics and location of each temple. Some regional programs include natural dyeing techniques, making temple food, lectures and meditation practice. A “Templestay for rest” is a freestyle program in which participants just observe the Buddhist ceremonies and meal times and use the rest of their time as they wish. This is the most popular program and often attended by people experiencing stress. Q. I have a different faith. Should I attend the Buddhist ceremonies? A. A Templestay is open to all, not as a religious experience but as an experience in traditional Korean culture. These days, “Templestay programs for people of differing religions” are often held, hopefully to promote inter-religious understanding. If you feel uncomfortable about performing prostrations on religious grounds, you may remain seated quietly during ceremonies. Q. What are the shower and restroom facilities like? A. Temples designated as national Templestay operators have flush toilets and showers. Newly constructed Templestay buildings provide cleaner and better amenities than some commercial accommodations. 48