Saturday, October 1, 2011

Woljeongsa Templestay (Odaesan)

Templestay is becoming more and more popular with temples throughout Korea opening up for visitors (foreigners are big marketing targets) to spend some time "staying" in the temples and learning about Buddhism. What an interesting concept for prosyletizing, although I rather think that proselytizing isn't the preferred term used by Buddhists. Anyway, the following information has been lifted from a pamphlet directed at me, the foreigner, to get me to participate in the activities designated for foreigners ... Interesting, and I thought templestay was just an overnight motel with possibilities of participating in marginal activities, not organized programs! Templestay is a moderate form of Buddhistic lifestyle enactment.

Sitting Meditation

Sleeping in the temples isn't meanst to be a passive affair, but rather one of induction or at least introduction. Sitting Meditation is one of the Buddhist practices introduced early on during the stay. Korean practices Seon Buddhism principally, and Buddhists believe that "liberation" is acquired through Seon meditation, which is for calming the mind through focus on one thing. Posture and breathing methods are taught to facilitate deeper meditation.

108 Prostrations

108 prostrations is practiced after the early morning service with the hope of achieving one's dream with the help of Buddha's blissful energy. Making repentance while bowing the 108 prostrations turns negative thinking into positive energy. [The meaning of 108 is unclear to me.]

Tea Drinking Ceremony

Drink tea with Buddhist monks and talk about dreams and life -- how did you live, your current life experiences, your life in the future. This is a time to taste a bit of hope and have confidence in your life.

Balwoo Gongyang

All people share the same food to encourage community spirit and harmony. This is to promote equality among everyone. Eating without sound teaches the pious mind.

108 Bead Threading

One bead, one bow. The purpose is to bead whole-heartedly and to reflect on the "I", while making a wish to live proudly and dynamically in order to fulfil one's dream.

Pray Service

Pray service is to pay homage to Buddha and to reflect on one's practice. While praying, reflect on Buddha's life and make resolutions to practice hard in front of Buddha. [This seems to suggest that unlike Christians who pray to a God, Buddhists pay homage to but do not pray to Buddha because each person, if he/she strives enough, can achieve Buddha status. Quite different in purpose although the practice seems to be the same.]

Communal Work Period (Ul-ryeok)

A long time ago, one master said, "A day without work is a day without eating." People in the community must work together, and the enactment of the community work is a function of Seon Meditation.

Walking Fir Tree Forest

Exercise is needed for purifying the mind, and the Woljeongsa Temple practices their walking medition with hands clasped in front while among the heavenly scented fir trees, the natural foliage of Odaesan.

Five Small Temple: A Place of Pilgrimage

Because Odaesan is famed for five mountain peaks and five sacred temples, pilgrimages to Odaesan naturally include the physical pilgramage to each of the temples for different sacred experiences -- temple trekking is in the five directions: north, south, middle, east and west.

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