Friday, March 20, 2009

Temple Hunting

This is a very interesting part of Korea which we were looking foreword to seeing. When Japan occupied Korea in the past they demolished much of its historical and cultural landmarks. We have therefore discovered that many of the temples and historic areas are actually recreations of what once was. These temples are here in the Gohyeon area and are small compared to others in Korea or even China.Buddhism was once the predominant religion in Korea but now accounts for only 23.2% of the population with the remainder being Christan (26.3%), Confusionism or other (1.3%), and 49.3% claiming no religious affiliation. (CIA World Factbook)

Granite dragons guard the area, and pools and fountains appear to be seasonal.

The eves of the buildings are very colorful. They have many intricately carved and painted creatures.

At the entrance, one removes shoes before entering. The interior of the temples are lowly lit and very quiet. The monks keep incense burning at all times. There are many candles and many Buddha statues. Fresh flowers and fresh fruit are brought to the alter throughout the week.

There are pallets and pallets of roof tiles nearby. From what we have read, one can buy a roof tile for 10,000 Won ( about $6.50) and have a message, note, or prayer written in permanent pen on the underside. When the next remodeling or construction takes place the tiles are used on the temples.


Jeff said...

I like the granite dragons. "At the entrance, one removes shoes before entering." Does one remove one's own shoes or someone else's? How do Koreans feel about the latter? Chelsie might get away with it. But if Jesse tried to take off my shoes at a temple, I'm not sure what my reaction would be. I might have to say something like "Even children of the same mother look different." Not that it would stop him.

Jeff said...

I meant to say, too, that I like the Leaning Stupa of Gohyeon.

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