Sightseeing Saturday: Guinsa Temple, South Korea

The theme of Sightseeing Saturday is to highlight a place I’ve always wanted to go in an artistic fictional fashion. The places highlighted in these posts will not have been traveled at the time of the post, but will be linked to the future posts when I’ve stepped foot in these destinations. I will not guarantee that they will come out each Saturday, but I will try my best. The fiction within the post will reflect the mood of my day. I hope you enjoy. 


Gratitude. Reflection. Tranquility.

The first words that had come to mind when the time had finally came for me to participate in my Temple Stay.

After going through the online course to acquire my TEFL Certificate I had chosen South Korea over China. I don’t know exactly what it was that had driven my decision elsewhere but I figured if I had followed my mind’s eye to the other side of the world, then I might as well follow my heart where it takes me. Besides, intuition was rarely ever wrong, and I didn’t doubt that it would be now.

South Korea was a phoenix country that flew under many radars, growing from the ranks of a third world country to one of the most technologically advanced by investing in studies such as aerospace research, robotics, biotechnology and cyber security. That was very appealing to me. I had felt an affinity for this country as I too study technological advances with my hobby in cyber security, growing skill set in web development, and overall interest in the profound nature of the internet.

Then there was this.

Guinsa Temple Entrance Gate

Guinsa Temple Entrance Gate

Aw and amazement was slowly overwhelming me, and although we were in the thick of a cold winter I could feel an all encompassing heat rise from my toes, through my thighs, abdomen and rush up my neck then down to my digits. If it weren’t for the guide urging us on because she too wanted to get out of the cold, I wouldn’t have been able to believe that I was actually here.

Only pictures were allowed outside of the temple, a part of the temple etiquette me and my small group of three others had to learn before coming. I was surprised that there wasn’t an american coming to the temple stay in my group, and felt even more engaged with the moment, since there wasn’t anyone else around that I could immediately reflect on the occasion with. The guide of course spoke both languages of Korean and English but that didn’t count.

We broke the threshold and walked into an open courtyard. Unlike my times walking off into the woods back in the United States, where it was that slow progression of increased silence and decreased road noise until only you had heard the gentle whispers of mother nature, that whisper held a constant in this place. The energy felt so rich… so peaceful.

Off to the left, before I was rushed off into the temple I snapped a picture of a row of monks performing some sort of meditation I was eager to be a part of.

Chamseon: Zen Meditation; jwaseon (seated meditation). The other form of Chamseon is haengseon (walking meditation)

Chamseon: Zen Meditation;
jwaseon (seated meditation)
The other form of Chamseon is haengseon (walking meditation)

The guide had told me that we would get a chance to participate, but that it was time for tea. That’s why the guide was rushing me so much, and probably because darkness was falling as well.I enjoyed every bit of it, but everything happened so fast that my mind could hardly keep up.

Dado: Tea Ceremony

Dado: Tea Ceremony

I was restless that night and my mind was running miles a minute imagining what the remainder of my stay at the temple would be like. Just as I had fell asleep the dead silence of the night was broken by an echoing gong that seemed to stretch for thousands of miles. I could faintly here the beating of startled wings  in the distance and the fluttering of hearts from the other visitors that lay beside me.

Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

It was time to begin the day. I probably won’t get any more time to write in my journal while participating in the activities… so dear journal, I’ll see you again when we’re released to our sleeping area at the break of dusk.

It was magical, when we ran to the door to look out of the balcony, Buddha had blessed us with a gentle snowfall.

Snowfall in the Sobaek Mountain.

Snowfall in the Sobaek Mountain.


Credits

www.kimstravel.com — For the tea picture
Visit Korea — For the main activities of Temple Stay, locations to choose from and other information.
International TEFL Academy — Where I will be taking online courses to get my TESOL Certificate for an overview of South Korea as a country to teach in through the eyes of a soon to be teacher.
Wikipedia — Of course, for additional information on the country

P.S.

Still a work in progress, but I will do my best at giving these posts more time. I always want to go into as much detail as I can with my fiction, but due to time restraints, and these past couple of weeks having to work on Sunday, I had to cut them short so I can rest up for my reality 😦

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