Well my exciting Magoksa Temple Stay Festival turned out to be somewhat iffy. It seemed as though things were really poorly planned, especially since my tour group showed up with 2 buses instead of the 1 that they apparently said they were bringing. They were also an hour and a half late, so I sat around with this guy outside the traditional Buddhist Center just chatting for a while. He had decent English, which was nice.
After my group finally arrived, we registered in an enormously complicated (yet it shouldn’t have been) process, and then went to eat lunch, which was delicious. Then we headed off to the temple, where the monks were doing a drumming competition. That was pretty fantastic. The monks were dressed in gorgeous clothes and just flew these sticks across this enormous drum, making beautiful, flowing–deep–sounds like the ocean. I loved it.
This guy won the competition and was asked to do an encore. He was great–got me moving, though nobody else was dancing. There were a few ladies next to me that had cute little “go go!” signs for their temple. They didn’t win, but their spirit was adorable.
After the competition, there was a demonstration of how to make a relief pressing of some of the beautiful bronze work done on the bell. (You can see it in the back on the right of the photo.) There were news cameras everywhere–documenting the interested foreigners and templestay activities–and then they got just about everybody to help make this relief. He used water and a brush to slap wet paper over the carving, and when it was finished, it should stand up alone.
I helped! Anyway it was pretty neat but I got bored after a little while, and wandered over to the other festivities, like making pancakes and other things. As a group, we went on a hike up to the crest of a mountain to see a place where people were buried–apparently because if you buried your parents there, your children would become kings and queens. I had a fascinating talk with a student from Mexico, getting all into the topics of religion and that. Felt great to dust the cobwebs off of that part of my brain.
Then we had some weird things happen… after dinner we had a show, which I was expecting to be monk martial arts and all that, but as it turned out it was only one performance of monk martial arts, and a lot of other performances. There was an amazing taekwondo demonstration crew, and a group who played seriously loud and raucous traditional music. Then it turned into this weird talent show…. and it was really boring, and frustrating, because the announcer wouldn’t let the interpreter speak. Fail.
Anyway the next day was full of nice stuff… we had a meditation practice and a talk with an English speaking monk, who actually lives close to me. He was from either the USA or Canada… not sure. Then there was a Lithuanian monk who was also really cool. It’s nice to see foreigners integrated into the society here.
After lunch, the Seoul group took off, and I just wandered around the temple complex for a while. I was having a real… frustrated with Korea day. I didn’t blog about this for a long time because I was really excited for it, and it got really… frustrating. That was just a real bummer.
People told me that Month Seven is really difficult because you just get tired of all the crap that you brushed off for the previous six months. And I totally agree. They say it was the hardest… I don’t really agree with that, because I thought Month Three was much harder, but I am definitely just TIRED of this crap.
But I had a really excellent lunch with some people I know are going to be good friends, so I am looking forward to continuing those relationships. And I’m still drawing my story… one little piece at a time.