Buddhism

Let’s Not Have Shaman Rituals In The Forest!

The sign reads:
무속행위금지
산림내 무속행위를 하지 맙시다
(무속행위는 100만원이하 과태료 처분)

Shaman Rituals Prohibited
Let’s Not Have Shaman Rituals In The Forest
(Fine For Shaman Rituals Less Than $1000)

It’s a sad and a wonderful thing, at the same time, for a modern nation to have this kind of problem—of people dancing around too much in the forest. Google images tells me that a Moo-soke-haeng-wee, or Shaman Ritual, looks like this—


The search for Seokbulsa…

 

Since arriving in Korea and setting my feet on its mountainous land I have always been aware of Seokbulsa (석불사) temple. It is often alluded to in expat blogs and is high on the Lonely Planet’s guide of things to see in Korea. After moving to Busan in June last year it had become an even greater priority on my list of things to do and due to various excuses taken me fully nine months to find the time and opportunity to discover it. For months I have had the detailed directions to find this hidden Buddhist Temple anonymously catching dust on the roof of my fridge, sheepishly desiring my attention amongst forgotten bills and half-finished books.


A day at the temple

new traditions

Let's hop on a boat and head into town stopping at ancient temples along the way, with a colorful group of new friends and watch the spectacular fireworks over the Bangkok skylne from the best seat in the city. Sounds like a NYE that will not soon be forgotten.

Humanizing Buddhist Monks

Dongguk University must be one of the few academic institutions on Earth where you can see significant portions of the student body wearing either miniskirts or the thick gray robes of Korean Buddhist monks, but now that everyone’s on vacation the campus is dead and all but a few stragglers have scurried away into their alcoves throughout the rest of the half-peninsula. I was working in the library today for two very short, very precious hours on the best part of my book, perhaps, indeed, the only good part at all, which deals with describing the riches-to-rags-to-middle-class journey of my wife’s family, when a nearby monk got a call on her cellphone. At once the silent study room exploded with the chants of Korean Buddhism, as well as that telltale sign of ancient far eastern spirituality—the moktak, or wooden fish.


Yongmunsa: Pt. 2 Gigantic Gingko Tree

Behold! A very gigantic gingko tree, which the Yongmunsa temple is famous for and said to be around 1,000 years old reaching about 130 feet tall.

Religion for Atheists

The Herald hosts an interview with Alain de Botton, who has recently authored a book, Religion for Atheists. With the understanding that my views are based solely on this interview and that I have not seen the book, I am at a loss for who he thinks his book is for.

Some excerpts:

“(My family thought) if you are intelligent, you believe in science. … And with respect to my parents, I nevertheless moved away from that position. And even though I am still an atheist, I am now much more sympathetic to many of the lessons and traditions of religion.”

The newly released Korean edition, published five months ahead of the English edition, is de Botton’s philosophical account on how “people who don’t believe in supernaturals” can also benefit and learn from religious teachings and practices.


Sincerely Yours, Korea

A Temple By the Sea – Haedong Yonggungsa (guest post)

CISK note: this guest post comes to you courtesy of T Paul Buzan, who has a lot more stories and pictures available at koreaconnection.net.

Life in Korea is a high-octane rush of work and play, late nights and early mornings, and routine adventure. It’s exciting – and frequently exhausting. No wonder caffeine is a staple of most diets here.

But there’s only so much coffee and green tea a person can drink. At some point you have to slow down, breathe, and take a few minutes to just chill out and recharge. Where to go?

One of the most peaceful experiences you can have in Korea is visiting a Buddhist temple. Imagine: Beautiful, natural scenery; the air sweet with the smell of incense; the rhythmic chanting of monks. It’s the perfect antidote to a hectic weekend in Seoul.

Ready to plan a relaxing trip? Read on to learn about one of the more unique temples Korea has to offer.


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.


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