As a group we all had different thoughts about what the temple stay was going to be like or what it was going to be about. I don’t think it came near anyone’s expectations other than to exceed them. We were prepped for “roughing it,” but I guess in South Korea when they say “roughing it,” they mean heated floors and WiFi. Our stay at the temple in Geumsansa Temple in Gimje brought great experiences to everyone, whether it was new or first teachings of Buddhism, meditation, or the art of making daily changes to simply show yourself some love.
The first thing we all fell in love with were the pants. When we were told we were going to have a uniform for our three days at the temple, some of us got a little nervous but the pants might have been the reason the we enjoyed the stay so much. There were many discussions about stealing them, but the number of soon to be felons were getting too high and we feared they might notice so many pants missing so we abandoned that mission.
The first day we were shown all beautiful temples. Some even dated back to 400 years ago. We practiced sitting meditation and bowing in anticipation of our 5 am ceremony and were fed exceptionally well for what we were told was going to be “light.” We took a hike up a steep hill and that earned us some more rest time. We made 108 prayer beads and then used them in our 108 prostrations. Later, we did ink wood prints to take home while also bonding with one another and taking in the view of the temples surrounding us.