So, the big quiet comfy car that collected me from the airport after the Finnair debacle (from a 9 hour flight to 19 and change, thanks! no voucher for food, not even an I’m sorry…) was really nice. I fell asleep. That is something to be said, either from exhaustion or for faith in the man driving me to the hotel, or c) all of the above. I get to my room and look out my window and what do I see, besides a lovely view of Seoul?
A temple. I do not know this is a temple – but ask Hana who confirms that it is in fact a temple and it is right across the street – such delight! It is Bong Eun Sa temple, founded in 794. It survived the temple reduction program of 1406 (governments!) to become the nations leading temple by 1550. Much of it was destroyed by fire in 1930′s and underwent extensive renovations. (Very helpful brochure too.) The Jinyeo Gate is the welcome point – with huge doors and the statues of the four divas – the Heavenly Kings. Jinyeo “refers to an object as it truly is,” so in entering you are seeking the unchanging truth.
Bupwangroo was rebuilt in 1997 to add extra praying space. When I arrived to visit as a late lunch hour gift to myself, a service was just beginning, which meant I could not go in to many of the temples directly. And as I was on my way out, I paused outside Bupwangroo because I heard the gong…and then the peaceful om of the gathered monks chanting.
Daewooong is the large central temple – its name meaning Big Hero and also Buddha. The three Buddhas you see in the pictures represent Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha and Bhaisagya Buddha.
The big statue or Mieukdaebul is from 1996 and is the largest Buddha statue in Korea at 23m. The brochure says 10,000 followers participated for 10 years to built it.
My favorite building is the Joongroo – with the big drum (Bugpo, Darma Drum) is for saving humans on earth and bell – the Bumjong beats for the living in hell. The Woonpan (no picture) beats for the animals and living beings in the air. And Mokeo – the wooden fish like thing (stare for a while, it will look like a fish) handles the water creatures.
The panjeon derives from wooden blocks of the Buddhist sutras that were used to print on paper (as I said, it is a VERY helpful brochure) considered one of the three treasures of Buddha (the blocks, not the brochure) The Panjeon was built in 1855 and houses Kim Jeong-Hee’s last calligraphy, along with the 3,438 wooden block books it holds.
I think I am making up for all the times growing up as a kid, when the teacher asked us to write what we did on our summer vacation and I had nothing to say. Although I am wondering what the religious thing going on is. Watching prayers and observing worship again I am forced to wonder if God is not giving me a hint…
I am praying for successful meetings with the banks I am here to see…amnog other things. The sound of the monks is reminding me, maybe it should be more than that. -c-