Seoul, South Korea for A Day at Jogyesa Temple

During my trip to Korea, we booked an arrangement with Templestay that involved a day at Jogyesa, a Buddhist temple located in the busy tourist area of downtown Seoul called Insadong. The atmosphere was unusual from the get-go – on the day we went there, a union leader who sought refuge from the police hid in the temple, where the local authorities couldn’t get to him. Anyway, we met up with a girl who worked there as a guide who first showed us all the individual parts of the temple complex – the prayer room, the giant ornamented bell and other instruments, the wonderful age-old tree in its courtyard and the monks’ residence. We then went inside, where we were greeted by a monk who first told us about the very basics of Buddhist beliefs. She then proceeded to teach us a little bit about prayers and praying positions. We then had a tea ceremony, where we could learn all about the concept of mindfulness and living in the present moment. Finally, as the last part of our temple stay, we were to make a colorful mandala using various pigments and our bare fingers. Once it was completed, we brushed it all off – I guess as a means to learn that all things must pass. For everyone who is into learning something new and different, I would definitely recommend a short temple stay while in Korea.

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