Monday, August 22, 2011

Myogaksa Templestay Program Report

The Myogaksa Templestay Program was pretty amazing, and also challenging in a variety of ways. I liked the warmth, simplicity and humor of the nuns and Zen Master. This really surprised me; Nothing at all like the stern seriousness of Christianity and Judaism! And I responded to many (though certainly not all) of the tenants as explained to us by the wonderful nun Yu-Yu (sp?), who used examples from Kung Fu Panda and The Lord or the Rings to illustrate many of the principles she described. It was also nice to meet so many English speakers who had been living in Korea for months or even years--mostly in the office of English teachers--and swap observations.

Also, when I met the Zen Master--who observed our pathetic attempt to meditate for 40 minutes at 5 AM--I realized something that probably all Star Wars fans already knew: Yoda is a Zen Master! I guess I'm the last one to figure that one out.

Our sleeping quarters, converted with blankets and feather beds.

A shrine to the many, many countless Buddhas.


The Templestay visitors. Mostly English teachers, of which
there is a veritable industry here in Korea, as I learned,
supporting new graduates attempting to pay off loans.

The bell we rang at dawn and evening.

Up the hill to the park for our early morning walk!

Many of the parks here have lots of excellent gym equipment.
They are always in use, usually by older folks.
Also lots of older folks hiking in the parks.

Our nun explaining a walking meditation.

These pillars contain relics of former Buddhas.
 A piece of the body is removed before cremation and preserved in these monuments.
Breakfast! That white mush was an amazingly ambrosial potato salad
with apple and vegetables. Delicious.

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