Sunday, August 28, 2011

Obligatory Korean Tourist Spot #3: Bongeunsa

On Saturday, my friend Breda and I, and her friend Bo Seul, went to Bongeunsa temple. It's kind of deep in the heart of Seoul, right across the street from COEX (of the aquarium fame). Despite being in the middle of one the loudest, busiest, most crowded cities in the world, Bongeunsa still retains a very quiet and isolated atmosphere. I'm pretty sure there's some kind of force field (powered by super secret Buddhist voodoo?) keeping out all of the sound and chaos of the city around it.

This is part of a display in the main courtyard of the temple. The white flowers are left in memory of people who have died. The other plants are left with wishes. On the other side, you can light an incense stick and leave it burning there as a wish. I guess the idea is that the smoke or the scent carries your wish up to heaven?

Pretty sure this is related to some expression about enlightenment and the tail of a tiger or some such. Too lazy to look it up.

While we were there, they started the call to evening prayers.

After a couple hours of traipsing about the temple grounds, we sat here for a rest and a bit of zen.

And we ended the visit with spring water from a fountain.

We wandered around the long way to find it. Even though all the signs at Samsung Station point you towards exit 6 for Bongeunsa, it's probably easier just to walk all the way through COEX. Bongeunsa is right across the street. And best of all, it's free to visit. All in all, a great way to spend a free afternoon!

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