Week 28: Living the life of a monk.
Naju Travel Blog› entry 29 of 33 › view all entries
This weekend we participated in a templestay at Bulhoesa Temple in Naju. The trip was arranged by the GIC. Saturday afternoon everyone met at the U-Square Bus Terminal. Justin and I were pleasantly surprised that we knew three people going on the trip. We thought this GIC event would by like our trip to Namwon in which we were basically the only foreigners. We were very glad that Bobby and Meena decided to go and Skye, a fellow American we had met in our first Korean class was going too.
Our Templestay Itinerary consisted of the following:
4pm-Arrive at Bulhoesa Temple in Naju, registration, tour of the temple grounds
5pm-Learn the proper eating etiquette for the dinner ceremony (Take only as much food as you can eat because you have to eat EVERYTHING, no talking, proper placement of bowls, etc.
6pm-Chanting in the main prayer hall led by the Chief Monk (It was a wonderful experience but the bows were hard to keep up with)
7pm-Group Introductions and Discussion of Buddhist principles
4am- Rise and Shine!
4:30- Chanting in the main prayer hall
5am- 108 bows before Buddha (What a workout! Most of us were panting and sweating by bow number 32!)
7am- Optional hike down the road or relaxation (Justin and I were out cold on the floor of the sleeping hall-we were exhausted!)
8am- Meditation (aka Involuntary Nap #2- The point of the meditation was to reflect on what happiness is as well as attempting to forgive someone we dislike- unfortunately every time I tried to meditate I fell asleep.
9am- Traditional Tea Ceremony. One of the monks served us 5 different kinds of tea, all made at the temple. One of the green teas he served us is sold for 300 dollars a bag. Part of the experience was to use all 5 senses while enjoying the tea. Another challenge was to taste bitter, sweet, salty and sour flavors in the tea. That part was a little difficult.
10am- Packing up our stuff, putting away bedding
11am- Hike around the temple grounds to see that naturally growing green tea.
12pm- Lunch (Thankfully it was just in the cafeteria- it wasn't a big ceremony like dinner was)
1pm- Buying Souvenirs from the temple shop, taking final pictures of the temple and departing for Gwangju.
Overall it was an awesome experience and I recommend doing a templestay for anyone who gets a chance :)