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Templestay – May 26

May 28, 2012

Out the door from Il Kim’s by 6:15 am to catch the metro; then train to the Jikjisa Temple, halfway between Seoul and Busan  in the south of South Korea.  I had read about the Templestay Program ( in the Ottawa Citizen and thought Trevor and I should do this when we are in South Korea and we did it!!  It was an incredible experience, living as a monk for 24 hours! It was hard work and I thought I would never survive  the 108 bowing tradition! Buddha almost did me in! Haha!  I thought as I was doing them – this is almost as hard as the Great Wall climb!!

The 108 signifies:

  • we have 6 senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, consciousness
  • multiply that by 3 recognition faculties; good(pleasure); bad(painful); no good/ no bad( equal)
  •  multiply that by 2 levels of consciousness; desire, no desire
  •  multiply that by 3 kinds of life; past, present, and future

…And you come up with 108 reasons to be thankful and bow daily and these bows mean right down on your hands and knees with head; hands; knees on the floor and back up again quickly!!

The temple itself was beautiful; nestled in the peaceful foothills of Mt. Hwangak; said to be founded in 418. We trekked a long way up this mountain  to another beautiful temple and all following single file with our hands folded in front of us in our monk style garb; it was a pretty moving experience at the time. It was along day full of chores and rituals and we did not get to bed until 11:00 pm/dorm style on the hard wooden floor; knowing that the morning wake-up call and the monk’s day/our day, would begin at 3 am the next morning! Trevor and I were the only foreigners amongst the 100 attendees of this weekend session and the other difficult part was that the whole program was in Korean! I really liked the master monk; he had such a nice way of engaging with everyone and still showing his authority.  No electronic devices were allowed so it was all very basic and that was good! It was nice to see families there and the 20 kids who participated in all of the long; tedious rituals were so good! I am writing this report on the 28th and cannot upload any pictures form the day as I am using the CS’s computer as he does not have wifi for my little Netbook. Although I have no photos form the Templestay Program they took pictures and we can see them on their website and upload any we wish. Trevor says I need to note in this blog that it is probably the first time in my life I passed up free food as we were able to skip out on the last meal ( Sunday noon) as the official program was over..honestly I just could not do it!! There are many reasons I would not want to be a monk and for sure the food they are sustained by  is one of them for sure! We found a McDonald’s in Gimcheon where we needed to catch the train and it tasted really good!!!


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One Comment
  1. gary sadler permalink

    You passed up free food? thats definetely a moment you need to get a picture of……so rare!!! Trip sounds fun.

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