Last weekend, I went on a temple stay to Haeinsa, one of the most famous Buddhist temples in South Korea. It’s located in Gyeongsang province (about a 4 hour bus ride from Seoul). I met my friends Naomi and Theresa at the bus station early Saturday morning, and we arrived at the temple a little after 4:00pm. We changed into the temple stay clothes (really comfortable!) and began the stay.
The temple stay was in English and German; the monk spoke English, and we were with a group of middle-aged people who spoke German. It was fun because whatever the Korean woman translated into German, Naomi could translate into English for us! The first day, we talked about how to act around the temple (how to greet the monks, etc), we ate dinner, and got acclimated. We went to sleep at 9:00pm, and woke up at 3:00am!
Sunday morning, we watched the monks beat drums, had a meeting with our group, did 108 bows, and meditated. After that, we had an hour break, ate breakfast and had a tour of the temple. The pictures are from that tour. At the end of the tour, we were lucky to see the Tripitaka Koreana, which will be closed to the public beginning next year in order to preserve it. The monk said the mixture of cold air from the top of the mountain and warm air from the base make it an environment which insects don’t like, so it helps in preservation. One of the men in the group said it was moved to a high-tech preservation lab, and it actually did worse and was moved back to Haeinsa!