Thursday, October 1, 2009

Haeinsa Temple

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T. S. Eliot

Saturday Jesse and I set out on what would be our longest trip on our motorbike so far. It was a last minute, spur of the moment sort of trip, with no exact destination and only a desire to explore the unexplored. We chose the tentative destination of Haeinsa Temple, I say tentative because we didn't know just how far it was or if we could make it on our bike. Bright and early, with a few apples in our pockets and some fuel money, we set out. God blessed us with good roads and safe passage. After four hours of riding we found ourselves among the magnificent mountains of Hapcheon.

We were struck with just how beautiful this small park was and stopped to take a few photographs.

Many of the rocks in this stream had verses carved into them.

These days they change the prayer light bulbs instead of the prayer candles I guess.
This is a borrowed picture from Google, that shows the layout of the Temple.
Grand entrance ways with the colors changing was great.

A quite Monk in meditation.

Rennovation/construction taking place was fun to watch.
Despite the hysteria that H1N1 has caused among the Koreans (nearly all of them canceled their summer vacation plans this year) they still share and drink out of the same water dippers.

The smallest pair of converse tennis shoes we have come across.
This was the first time for us to observe a ceremony led by a Monk and it was very interesting.
Haeinsa Temple is famous for the Tripitaka Koreana, the world's oldest intact version of the Buddhist canon in Chinese script, with no known errors or errata. It is a collection of 81,258 wooden printed blocks with a total of 52,382,960 characters which are organized in over 1496 titles and 6568 volumes. The blocks date back to the 13th century. The following two pictures are also borrowed as we were not allowed to take photographs in the area.

There were many school groups about. All the students diligently took notes.

We made it back safely to our island, with no more harm than two very sore bums. It turned out to be a wonderful trip and at the end of the day we were very glad we had gone.


Jeff said...

I guess you can call them Dharma Bums. At least you didn't get the bum's rush at the temple. I don't think that picture is of a quiet monk in meditation. I think it's a passerby resting a bum knee, which is kind of a bummer, since the place looks hilly. He's probably wondering how he might bum a ride home on that red motorcycle. Nice journey. I shall go home and have a celebratory cup of tea.

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