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Buddhism

seokbulsa, stone buddha temple

there are more temples here in busan than i could ever muster enough interest to visit in my year-long stint here. most people just hit the big ones, yonggungsa and beomeosa and rave about the particular beauty of the beach temple. any visit to either of these places, you can expect to see a lot of other people, hear a lot of chanting and smell a lot of incense. they’re immersive cultural experiences, to be sure, but lonely planet had it right when they named seokbulsa, the stone buddha temple, as their #1 place to visit in busan. yesterday, i hiked with a few friends from school up a mountain in oncheonjang to see it for ourselves.


Buddha's Birthday 석가탄신일 in Pictures

Leave and get on the train. Know that where you are going is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Seoul.

Buddha's Birthday at Jogyesa Temple: Video

Visited the Jogyesa Temple last Tuesday, during the Buddha's birthday celebrations. Again, before I show the picture story I am going to share the video story...


my new hero, Sohn Hong-shik

Mr Sohn has donated blood 600 times.

At first the math seemed hinky to me.  Further reading informed me:

In the early years, Sohn donated blood only once every two months, the shortest interval required between donations under law at the time in consideration of a donor’s health.

But advances in medical technology made it possible to draw only key elements of blood, such as platelet and plasma, from donors while putting much less stress on their bodies. Unlike whole blood donations, only two weeks is required between platelet or plasma donations.


I want to agree with this guy, but…

Roar Sheppard (poor guy, his parents doomed him from the start) is a “New Humanity Culture leader” and director of the Overseas Seon Culture Life Museum.

In an article for the Korea Times, he writes about the earthquake in Japan and links it to other recent natural disasters.  Then:

I wanted to ask nature, what is the reason for abnormal conditions of the Earth to appear all of a sudden? This was the answer I received.

How can we say all of these are separate phenomena? The one organism, the Earth is showing the signs here and there. Human death and shortage of grains ― these are only the result. Take a look at the fundamentals that are giving rise to these.


Destination: Beomeosa (Busan)

The largest Buddhist temple in Busan, Beomeosa feels both homey and solemn, if such a thing is possible. Enter through the storied gates and become aware of the temple’s 1,300 year history.


Busan by Night | A Travel Photo Essay

Photos by Ju-seok Oh. Words by Peter DeMarco.

See Korea’s most “dynamic” city at her best – when the sun goes down.


Life in South Korea: Being Vegetarian

People were always surprised to find out that I am Vegetarian. They thought it must be so difficult to be in Korea. I have been Vegetarian for almost twenty years, so I am used to having less dining options. There are some great vegetarian options in Korea.

This Thursday first new video!

Cheers,

Jeff


Destination: Jangneung and Bodeoksa (Yeongwol-gun, Gangwon-do)

Above - built in 1973, this pavilion celebrates Park Chung-won - the magistrate of Yeongwol county in 1541 who had a vision to rebuild the tomb and hold memorial services. Just like the other Joseon Dynasty tombs in Korea, this site is a UNESCO World Heritage.My friend Rob (AKA the K-blogger Roboseyo) and I had the opportunity to trek a couple hours east to Gangwon-do. Although the destinations



Destination: Sambul-am / Mangwolsa (Namsan, Gyeongju)



Author's note: A huge thanks and shout-out to Sherwin over at www.gyeongjublog.com for showing the Lady in Red and I around during our visit.

Destination: Manbulsa (Yeongcheon city, Gyeongsangbuk-do)



Author's note: A hat tip to Sherwin at gyeongjublog.com for writing about this temple first.

After the Beach, the Temple

In the Rough Guide to Korea, my guru Norbert calls Yakcheonsa one of Jeju’s most magical experiences.  The best time to arrive, he writes, is 7 pm on a summer evening, when “worshipping locals chant under the interior glow with their backs to the sunset.”

So I hiked a staircase at the end of Jungmun Beach, grabbed a cab from the Hyatt hotel, and missioned to the temple, which was built in the 1990′s and, according to Norbert, is considered one of the most impressive in the country, despite its less-than-historical 20th-century roots.

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In a smaller sunlit hall to the left, these guys sat perched…

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Tiny Monks, Big Temple

If any monks still live at the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple–an ancient and sprawling holy site on Busan’s Northeast coast–they kept a low profile on the hot Saturday afternoon I visited.  I don’t blame them–a few hundred camera-toting tourists descending on the grounds doesn’t spring to mind as ideal company for a meditative moment.

But I did spot these guys taking refuge… 

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They appear to be engaged in a study session of sorts.  I guess if you’re going to devote your life to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, learning the ropes on a shelf built into a rock wall beneath a massive metal dragon is the way to do it.

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Destination: Lotus Lantern Festival (2010) - part 2



As promised, the Lotus Lantern Festival Parade - part one of the festival is here if you missed it. The Lady in Red and I found some seats on an underground market entrance; unless you're in the front row you'll need to be above the standing crowd.



Destination: Seokguram Grotto (Gyeongju)


Destination: Bulguksa temple (Gyeongju)


Author's note: A version of this story has been published on 10 Magazine's website.

Destination: Pagyesa (Daegu)



As part of Palgongsan Provincial Park, Pagyesa is one of many destinations spread out across the mountain. First built in 804 by a priest named Simji (not Simba, you Lion King obsessed reader), it was renovated in 1605 by priest Gyegwan and 1695 by priest Hyeoneung. With several Daegu Tangible Cultural Properties, 17 buildings and a lot of karma, it's worth the uphill trek to reach. Just don't bring a backpack full of stuff with you - even after the bus reaches the parking lot it's a hike of 1.1 kilometers. Uphill.

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