BEOMEOSA TEMPLE STAY!!!!!!
We attended the temple stay to end our exchange study trip at Pusan National University. Actually the duration of the temple stay is only 22 hours, though it felt longer 😛 We totally had no idea what was installed for us!! haha (:
We learn the proper way of bowing for Korean Buddhism and how to great the other monks, as well as people, in the temple. During our opening ceremony, Osong Si-nim and Jungmyun Si-nim read out the first line of each of the FIVE PRECEPTS, which be observed in order to lead a happy life. We had to say the rest of the lines while we all bow 3 times.
After the opening ceremony and the temple manners, we headed to the river for our first meditation. it was hard to find a proper rock to sit on as we had to sit on it for 10 mins. The river water was calming but it was hard for me to focus >.< Though I had no more exams, I just seem to have endless thoughts and worries 😛 At the end of our meditation, we had watermelon!! OMG it has been so long since we had watermelon. In Singapore, we have watermelon 365 days since it was summer all year round. The foreigners and Koreans were surprised and kept saying that have watermelon is so good!! haha (:
Jungmyun Si-nim brought the foreigners on a Temple tour to introduce Beomeosa to us. He explained each of the buildings and what stand for. My first proper tour of a temple where I got to understand each feature of the temple properly, especially since the translator could speak fluent English. I guess it is because temple stay was first created in 2002, thanks to World Cup in South Korea, so as to intro a part of Korea and accommodate the influx of foreigners.
The dinner was like dorm style, but surprisingly it tasted better 😛 We were afraid that we had to eat using the four bowls, which included a step — using the radish slide to clean all the bowls after you have finished your food and eat the radish slide. Thank you they made it easier for us (:
After dinner, we went up to the drums to observing the drum ceremony which was used as a signal for the monks to gather and start the praying service. Some of the participants from the temple stay program joined the monks in the main prayer hall to pray. Jungmyun Si-nim was one of the monks to do the drumming and he drums really well. His psychomotor skills is really up there, as both hands are drumming at different beats!
We were supposed to see the full moon but it was too cloudy so we could not see the moon. However we still meditate by lying down and observing the night sky (: We also did a drawing to remind us that we are the buddha and we need to find it inside us.
The view at 5am in the morning is really pretty! However this would probably be the rare occasion where I wake up so early in the morning 😛 But because Beomeosa temple is facing the East the photos will be dark, so I had to use light colour effect to take a picture of the temple and the view from the temple. I was walking around the temple waiting for Osong Si-nim, when I noticed people are already in the main prayer hall praying!
After our breakfast and morning mediation, we hike up about 500m to the smaller temple on the Geumjeong mountain. It was such a hike for me in the morning. This is shorter than the usually hike for temple stay, which is hiking to the tip of Geumjeong mountain and it takes 2.5 hours. Thank God ^^
When we reached the top, Jungmyun Si-nim explained to us about the rooster-looking stone that is facing the East towards the Sunrise. He also mentioned able the rooster observing the invasion of the Japanese into South Korea in 1500s. The monk who helped to create Beomeosa temple was looking for a smaller temple when they heard the rooster’s croak in the morning calling the monks to begin their morning prayer. They discovered the small area on the mountain and created that as part of the Beomeosa temple, called hermit temple (something along that line).
After we came back, we were resting for about half an hour and the girls start attacking our hair. They braided both Weiqi and my hair, but since Weiqi fell asleep half way both attached my hair and my handphone >.< However I must admit that their artistic skills are quite good (Y)
The last activity of the temple stay was threading 108 prayer beads. The best part … we need to bow each time we thread one bead. 108 BOWS!!!!! Surprisingly my knee didn’t make the crack sound as I thought it would. I ran out of wishes after my 6th bead, so I kept repeating my wishes. Towards the end, I kept praying for it to end because it was tiring to keep bowing 😛 At the end it was all worth it (:
To end the temple stay, they served us Omija tea (5 flavour tea) with ddok. Omija tea is so refreshing, no wonder Weiqi keep recommending it to us but we have a hard time finding at the streets >.< Even though the ddok had a lot of nuts, it was still very deliciously and I finished the whole thing as I was really hungry after all the hiking and bowing.
We took photos with everyone, especially the Si-nims, before heading back to PNU. Weiqi kept singing songs as she was kind of deprived of singing during the temple stay. When we arrived back at PNU, Wei Fang insisted on eating Omurice as it was our last week at PNU le. It was a reward after our 2d1n of temple stay (:
I would recommend temple stay to the others, but of course would need to detail some stuff that they have to expect when really going for it. It is worth it for one visit. I don’t think I will go for a second stay though 😛 hahaha hehehe ^^