Buddha's birthday

A Cinemagraph Tour of Buddha’s Birthday in Korea

Lanterns Blowing in the Wind from Jason Teale on Vimeo.

If you haven’t noticed recently I have been putting a lot of time and effort into cinemagraphs, which are pictures that have a small area that moves. Many people think that these images remind them of the newspapers in Harry Potter. I personally think that they are a great wait to really draw a person into the frame. Cinemagraphs can be either in-your-face, where you can see right away what is moving or more subtle where just a tiny part is moving. I feel each has their place and I really try hard to find that point of interest.


Happy 2,578th Birthday Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a Buddha)

Buddha’s Birthday was celebrated all over East Asia yesterday. Held on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month, Buddhists attended their local temples for free vegetarian meals, sermons and to view fiery hand crafted lanterns.

The big guy has showed up quite a bit in my travels around the Far East. He’s appeared in temples, in picture, on rocks, on mountains, and a whole host of tourist crap. His eyes are usually shut and he looks like he might be sleeping; he seems like a pretty chilled out dude to be honest.

I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not a Buddhist (nor am I much of anything really), though I do like a few of his ideas and have learnt a little about the guy.


Buddha’s Birthday 2015

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One of my favorite times of the year in South Korea is during the Buddha’s Birthday celebrations. It is a time where you get to see people celebrating something that is not commercialized or tacky. Everything is decorated with a sort of quiet charm and for the most part everything is sort of quiet.

Over the past few weeks I have visited several temples in the area to get footage for an upcoming cinemagraph video project. I must admit that I really did enjoy getting out and shooting at these great temples. I learned a lot from these past few week and I hope that you can get something out of what I learned as well.


Haedong Younggunsa Temple 2014

This is the shot that hundreds of photographers shot during buddha's birthday

This is the shot that hundreds of photographers shot during buddha’s birthday

In the last Buddha’s birthday spot that I went to this year, I bring you Haedong Younggunsa! One of my favourite temples and a beauty of a temple to shoot at during this decorative time. The sad part is that you will be fighting for “the spot” with a few hundred other photographers.


Buddha’s Birthday at 반야사

 

The nearest Buddhist temple to our place is just across the road. In fact I pass it every time I go to work. It’s small and hidden up a small hill behind ample tree cover. In fact you’d miss it completely if it were for the multicoloured lanterns which line the street from early April, lanterns which are of course in anticipation of today, Buddha’s Birthday.


Beomosa Temple

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As you probably know, I now work at Busan University of Foreign Studies which sits right next to Beomosa Temple. I visited there a few weeks ago when the cherry blossoms were blooming. I returned there last night to check on the lanterns for Buddha’s birthday and was really impressed.

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Samgwangsa

If you’re in Busan in the weeks leading up to Buddha’s birthday, Samgwangsa is a must see. The Seomyeon temple, while beautiful in its own right, becomes amazing during this time of year, when it is decorated with over 10,000 lanterns to celebrate.  Not only did Ric and I have an awesome time wandering through the temple and taking photos, we also got to climb out a window (!) onto the temple’s roof to photograph the vista with like 50 other folks who were visiting on the day we were there.  As we climbed out onto the narrow roofway and began to take in the sight that lay before us, a photographer looked over and said, “Welcome to the Temple.”

Welcome, indeed. 


Junggwangsa Temple 2014


Lotus Lantern Festival

This weekend is a four-day holiday here in Busan, which is super-rare in Korea because Koreans tend not to take vacations that often.  As I was telling my sister this morning, this is the first day we’ve had off work since Lunar New Year in late January.  Koreans will be celebrating both Children’s Day and Buddha’s Birthday this week, so the city is full of traditional lotus lantern decorations.  

A couple weekends ago, we went to the Lotus Lantern Festival at Yongdusan Park (near Busan Tower, Nampo subway stop, exit 1).  While by no means as massive as Jinju’s yearly lanter festival (which I am just now realizing I have never posted about–I will remedy this posthaste), this is a nice way to spend an evening.  Ric and I had a fabulous dinner at Arun Thai then walked off all that yummy pad thai checking out the lanterns and folk crafts in the park. 


Samgwangsa Temple in Busan


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