All the English teachers in my small town were taken on a workshop recently, hosted by our local department of Education. Most education departments organise for their teachers to attend workshops, some of which are more team building, while others are planned around lectures and seminars. For this one we were taken to Naesosa Temple to experience a traditional Korean Temple Stay.
Temple Stays are a way for ordinary people to experience the life of the Korean Buddhist Monks, with 4am wakeup calls for worship and meditation as well as arts and craft activities.
We did a lot of activities during our 2 day 1 night program. We made lotus lanterns, painted traditional Korean Buddhist temple designs on wood, rung the bell to call monks to worship, participated in a tea ceremony as well as a traditional Buddhist monk eating ceremony. I found the eating ceremony to be the most fascinating. During the meal, we had to sit in front of our bowls and wait to be called upon to complete a particular role during the ceremony (dish out water or rice). Each bowl had to be placed in order, chopsticks and spoon were only to be placed on top of the top right bowl, and once e had eaten, we were instructed to clean each bowl 2 times using water that was ceremoniously poured at the start. We used a piece if radish to clean the bowls in order, three times, and then had to drink the water used to clean the bowls. Our Monk leader told us that people these days are so wasteful, and so drinking the water used to wash the bow reduces waste and creates more of an awareness for food wastage...it was a rathe interesting experience to say the least.
As Christians, Farmboy and I were a little hesitant before the trip, and although the local monks wern't too happy with us not wanting to participate in the 108 bows to Buddha, we were able to just wait outside until everyone else was done. I had a really great time and enjoyed the experiences. If you are interested in a temple stay (and are prepared for the traditional Korean sleeping style and vegetable diet eaten by the Monks) then I would really recommend a temple stay. Naesosa is situated in Jeolloboko, near the Byeonsan National Park.
For more information about Naesosa and the programs they offer, click here.
243, Naesosa-ro, Jinseo-myeon, Buan-gun, Jeollabuk-do
전라북도 부안군 진서면 내소사로 243