Thursday, August 09, 2007

Korea Trip Part 2-Hwa Gye Sa

Welcome to Hwa Gye Sa! This is the first temple I stayed at. It is actually a whole complex but I spent almost all of my time in the main building.

The ground floor is offices and a huge cafeteria as well as the toilet and the shower facilities. The second floor is classrooms, monks rooms and guest rooms. The third floor is the Buddha Hall and the top floor had the meditation hall where I spent most of my time.

Other buildings in the complex are offices, formal dining halls, and various buildings dedicated to different sutras or bodhisattvas.

One of my favorites was this building housing the big bell and drum as well as a smaller bell (by smaller, I mean less than 5 feet high) and various other noise makers. These got played at different times during the day especially before chanting and were extremely cool!

Here's a close up of the big bell. It is about 7 feet high and is played by swinging the log suspended to the right of it. You might be able to see it through the fence.

Here's the drum on the upper level. It too is really huge, like as tall as me. It was great fun to hear them every morning and night!

One of the other cool things about the temple was the details everywhere. Here's a little lion statue who guarded the stairs on the way from one level to the next.

I also loved these fish bells. They hung from every corner of every level of the temple and made a wonderful sound when the wind blew.
I didn't get to take too many pictures in the Buddha Hall and the Meditation Hall because they were in almost constant use. Here is a very bad picture of the altar in the Buddha Hall. If you look in between the big Buddhas, you can see a bunch of dots. Each of those is a small Buddha statue about 5" high. There were a gazillion of them!

Here is an equally bad picture of the Meditation Hall. It is practically austere compared to the Buddha Hall. My seat was at the far end and I got to look out the window that you can see at the end there. This was actually a very breezy nice room being up as high as it was and full of windows. I really enjoyed sitting here.

I was always amazed by the art everywhere. It felt like almost every surface was covered with paintings. Here are a couple of painting from hallways. The second one is in the hallway on the way to the store room!

This is my bedroom for my stay. Wonder of wonders, I got a single for the entire time I was there. That almost never happens on a long retreat. You always have to share.

There was only one minor disadvantage. It was on the top floor next to the Meditation Hall. Where was the bathroom? Ground floor. So imagine me facing this trip at least once a night. I made sure to hold the railing all the way down!

Here we go:

Made it to the Buddha Hall! (Notice the shoe rack).

Okay, made it to the second floor.

And we're here!And once I'd taken care of business, of course, there was the climb back up.

Lucy say, "Enh..." (Well, Lucy say a couple other things but this is a family show.)

Tomorrow, the seriously cool people I met at Hwa Gye Sa!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That all looks so amazing, it almost seems strange that you had to come home. But I'm so glad you did. :)