Sunday, August 14, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Daejeon: Songnisan: Beopjusa Temple Stay

Among all the places listed in the Temple Stay in the southern part of Korean peninsula, it was Beopjusa Temple that fit my schedule for an English guided program.  (If you are planning to do this activity, try to check first the easier option in Busan and which is known for being on the seaside and having English guide, it is Beomeosa Temple.)




From Daejeon station, take Bus 201 or 501 heading to Daejeon Bus Terminal(Daejeon Terminal Complex).  Don't get confused on other terminals.  





Go to Ticket Counter #9, for buses heading to Songnisan terminal (Songnisan mountain), spelled as Sokrisan on the ticket  below worth 7900krw (335pph, 2016).


Take the early 10am bus from Daejeon Terminal Complex – Songisan terminal, travel will be roughly 90-120 minutes with stops in Okcheon, Boeun and final stop at Songisan terminal.  This will give you enough time for personal lunch, rest and walk to the mountains in time for the 2pm check-in time at the hanok grounds.


Head to Gate 10, for Platform 34 heading to Songnisan.







Take your lunch on the restaurants along your walk to the mountain (remember that the food will next be serve in the temple by 5pm, so have some biscuits and small bottled water with you. It will be a long walk in the mountains so bring small amount of water along the way).

Prepare for no English village, all the signs in town center is just in local language.


This is just so cool, they have this spot in town plaza. 


I never knew I was heading to a national park until I saw this sign. 


The trail will be 20-30 minutes walk from terminal to the hanok grounds.


Upon your arrival on the hanok grounds, you’ll sign the reservation and complete the payment transaction.  You’ll watch a video for the temple etiquette: 
  • Proper half bow (hapjang) and full bow 
  • When to bow 
  • Do not walk around at night due to wild boars in the temple grounds 
  • Refrain from hiking after 4pm (you can do solo hike by 7am or after breakfast) 
  • Actions in the morning (brush your teeth and wash your face in proper place only)




Next, the temple uniform will be provided together with the keys to your room.  It was decent stay indeed.  I never knew I’ll have my private room, but I even had a decent private bathroom.  The hanok rooms are interconnected, so try not to disturb others.  I was thinking the reason a private room was given to me is because there is a large group of participants coming from Taipei, thus they already got the sharing-type of rooms.  (From my previous readings on other blogs, there are other temples which has sharing bathrooms or not so decent toilets, so be careful in choosing one.)

Next, I was debrief on the reminders:



  • When removing the shoes, Always properly set the shoes on the shoes rest.  (What I did at night, is to keep my shoes inside the room, because there might be insects getting inside the shoes.  Plus, I don't know if wild boars are hunting our shoes on.)
  • Since we are in the mountains, always close the room doors and be lights off earlier than possible, so bugs will not visit your room.
  • There was also a warning inside the room, to stay inside the rooms at late night due to wild boars being seen at night. 
  • How and when to greet the monks.
  • Run through the copy of the schedule.
  • A copy of English meaning/version of the evening and morning chants was given to be read out inside the room.  The Romanized version is available on the  main temple.




Schedule

July 8 (Friday)
05:30pm Dinner [See you in front of the office @ 5:20pm]
06:30pm Evening chanting service
07:00pm Walking to water reservior

July 9 (Saturday)

03:00am Wake-up
03:20am Early morning chanting service
04:10am 108 prostrations
06:00am Breakfast
07:00am Walking in the forest (by yourself, alone)
09:30am Tea ceeremony with the monk
11:20am Lunch time
12:00nn Check-out

Next, will be a free time for you to roam around the temple grounds.




You can get inside the small museum of hundreds of small buddhas at the foot of this golden structure.


There are 4 instruments the monks used every chanting service - the drum,  the bell, the wooden fish and the gong.
















Other halls in the temple grounds:


The main hall, where we did our evening and morning chants.


In the evening, you’ll have dinner, drum ceremony, evening chants and walk to the stream or water dam.  This will also be the photo opportunity with the monk.







After which, let’s call it a day! Sleep early to attend the 3:20am morning ceremony at the main Dharma hall.




Next morning, wake-up by 3am to freshen-up.  Setup the torch function of your phone as you walk with the group to the dharma hall.  Then, proceed to the conference hall to do the 108 prostrations.  You’ll be following a video explaining by each full bow (108) that you’ll be doing.
taken at 3:20 in front of the office


I like the fog appearance at 6am in the temple grounds
Next, you’ll bee guided on how to meditate (for about 10-15mins activity).  Then, you’ll be gathering again for the breakfast.



Next, is your free time to roam around the temple and the forest.  I was scared at first, but then there are other locals hiking so I’m just followed them.    I was not able to make it on the next temple as it seems too steep and far for me and I may not make it on the next activity.  So I just headed to the falls area and return to Beopjusa temple.






I slept to have some rest before taking a bath.  Then, headed for the tea ceremony and discussion with the monk.  Next, we had our lunch and finally checked out.



I was trying to catch the bus back to Daejeon , I did make it for 12:55pm.  For those going to Seoul, it is doable to catch 12:20 ride (if you leave by 11:30).  But the problem is make sure to have a hangul version of "Seoul" term be with you. There is no ticket counter, only ticketing machine without English langugae.  I was assisted by one of the ajhumma in the station.  Then, asked an unnie who speaks in English to validate my ticket. 








Due to personal concerns, I decided not to include thoughts, self-impact and reflection during the chanting, prostrations (the action of lying stretched out on the ground), meditation and being one with nature. It will be also for you to find out. Thanks to Yolanda of Netherlands, Christian of Germany, Sunim (s'-neem or soo-neem for monk/ nun) and Judy with other volunteers for making my temple stay a meaningful one.


I just hoped that there will be other activities like lotus flower making or archery or other temple activities on this place.

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