Best temple stays in korea. We are here at the Bongeunsa Temple. I hope I pronounced that right. It’s a twelve hundred year old temple in the middle of modern Seoul. It’s a Buddhist Temple Once a week they open up to the public to give insight into zen Buddhist lifestyle. We’ll be doing a temple stay, getting a guided tour of the temple complex, and learning more about what it’s like to be a Buddhist monk. Let’s go. Let’s do it. From the right we start the Bongeunsa And “Bong” means respect “Eun” symbolizes the benevolence and last letter “Sa” means temple. So this is the temple to show the respect for the king who contributed to (??) for this Buddhism. One of the things I’ve always been curious about with Buddhist philosophy is the symbolism of the dragon because in the west, dragons have always kind of had a negative connotations….like dragons are kind of the destroyers and they symbolize evil.
Buddhist philosophy, it’s actually the exact opposite that dragons are symbols
of good luck. Korea has been historically a Buddhist country. Buddhism came
from originally from India and then through China and Japan to here in Korea. There’re
two main forms of Buddhism, and this is the one that is similar to that
practice in China and Japan. I would consider myself a lazy Buddhist. I agree
with much of the principles of Buddhism, but not an active practicer. It will
be cool to go in here and see this really older form of Korean culture. Many
people in Korea today are Christians. This is kind of an older slice of Korea. When
Buddhist monks pass away, their bodies are put onto a funeral pyre and burned;
the ashes are collected, and then they’re put into a big, giant, intricate urn.
Right as you’re coming into the temple complex, you’re passing the cemetery of important Buddhist monks. You can already feel the serenity. We just saw the story of the Buddha, which is painted on one of the walls down there. Essentially, he was a prince in northern India or southern Nepal. He was living in a palace and one day went outside and saw, basically, suffering, poverty, death. He was going to be the king; he was a prince, but he escaped the palace and went out to meditate under a tree, and during his meditation he came up with three noble truths: First, that life is suffering; and the second that there’s no such thing as a self; and third that everything is impermanent..
that this too shall pass; the good and the bad
are all impermanent. This seems pretty permanent, 1200 years right here in the
spot surrounded by the skyscrapers of Gangnam, the business part of town. This
little, peaceful, tranquil slice of Buddhist culture remains. We’ve just had a
tour of the monastery and the temple, and now we are going to learn about the
tea ceremony . It’s very interesting. It’ll be cool to see how the tea is
served. That was very cool. It was beautiful how the tea ceremony is just like
infused with spirituality and meditation. It’s just the way that they did each
single thing was the practice of mindfulness. It just goes to show how you do anything,
is how you do everything.
you can make pouring a cup of tea last five minutes and have many slow deliberate
movements, it just slows everything down. It’s very different to ordering a
mocha Frappuccino chai latte thing at Starbucks. Arts and crafts time. We’re
now going to make a lotus flower, which is the symbol of Buddhism enlightenment
because even though it grows in dirty water, it is still beautiful. It’s been
awhile since arts and crafts class, and I’m having a little bit of difficulty. But
I think my lotus flower is going to come together nicely. It’s kind of like
Korean origami. But it’s nice.
like it. It’s very relaxing. Arts and crafts is over, and we’re moving to the
meditation room where there is a monk waiting for us to give us a guided
meditation. My name is San Sung We are in Temple Bongeunsa This temple is established
in the eight century. More than 1,500 years ago, it was founded. In this
monastery, about 20 monks are living together. Buddhism has gone through a lot
of changes, and still we have survived in modern society, and it’s functioning.
sun is setting, and our day here at this 1200 year old Buddhist monastery in
the middle of the city is drawing to an end, and honestly, it’s a great way to just
slow things down and take a moment to really breath Seoul in. One of the first
observations we made here was that there was a split: this urban, modern,
traditional, rural vibe. It’s something where a temple like this can exist side
by side with these big skyscrapers. At first when we came here, we thought how
can this be? One of the monks said that whether you live in the mountains or
the city, it doesn’t matter. You can still find peace; you can still find
enlightenment. It’s really not that odd that it exists here.
It’s kind of just part of Seoul. And that
dichotomy is really what makes the city what it is. I don’t think we found
enlightenment with our thirty minutes meditation, but it’s better than nothing
and one step further along the journey. Than you guys for watching. If you
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are almost done here with our time here in Seoul, but stay tuned for more