Mogoksa Temple Stay

I am feeling compelled to write about my last temple stay experience because it was unenjoyable. And well, since I like to use my blog as my sounding board (like so many others) I am gonna spew all about it.

See…my first temple stay experience was a lovely one. My friends and I ended up going to the Lotus Lantern Temple near Incheon. I strongly recommend it. It was Jasmine, Tessa, Hang-ah, and me. Jasmine’s friends Anne and Lindsay were visiting from Canada and came, too. So…it was 5 of us. 5 of us in a lovely temple setting. It was very relaxed. There was another group of 25 people who were supposed to attend the same weekend as us but they cancelled at the last minute! So, the girls and I had the whole place to ourselves. It was awesome. ^^

We ate decent food. We didn’t really have to do to 108 bows if we didn’t want to. LOL. In other words, it was the weak man’s Temple Stay program. Or rather…Temple Stay for the tourist who doesn’t want the true experience. Perfect for me. 😀

That kimbap has HAM in it!! 😀  hahaha

We had a fun, relaxing time and the grounds were breathtaking!~!~

But uhhhh….this temple stay….was…uhhh….different.

It was very regimented and very much the “real deal.” I just wanted to get away to nature and see some beautiful flowers. Well, the next time I have the urge to get away and into nature…I’ll take my own bus headed for a countryside and do my own thing. Sheesh! There were hardly any blooming flowers anyway. It was still cold. I thought, it’s south of Seoul…south of Suwon…it’ll be greeaaat. It was cold. I thankfully had taken a long underwear top and had an extra shirt and pullover in addition to my sweater jacket and so I wore all of those items on my body the whole time I was there. Wearing that many layers made me feel suffocated. My breathing was restricted and I think I experienced an allergic reaction to some of the weeds we were eating…

*The weeds are not really pictured here…I didn’t take any after dinner from the previous night. But that red thing is a sort of root.*

Anyway, we hiked a lot which was semi-enjoyable but since I couldn’t breathe well it wasn’t that enjoyable.

If there had been more flowers…I think it would have been more rewarding. I would have thought: “Like…ok!  I am seeing all of these beautiful flowers! Weekend well spent!”  But alas, there were few flowers blooming. 😦

Here were some….and…

These were almost blooming.

But nothing spectacularly stunning.

So, I guess I’m done talking about the temple stay. I’d recommend it for anyone who **really** wants to experience what a monk here in Korea does, eats, etc. It was a very real experience as far as all that goes. But, I just wanted nature. I thought I could do my own thing but since I went with a big group we were kept very tight and nobody really veered from the schedule they put us on.

It was definitely a humbling experience. We walked everywhere in one, long, single-file line with our left hand cupping our right hand. And we were encouraged to be silent for most of our time there. I was very grateful once I’d left the temple and was able to do what I wanted, walk how I wanted, eat what I wanted. Oh, how spoiled I am… 🙂 The experience did bring a lot to my attention: how much excess I have in my life…how much waste I produce (with my unnecessary words <gab, gab, gab!>, with trash, wasted food…). But I think it’ll take a lot more than one weekend away to change any sorts of habits or lifestyle practices I have.

Overall, it was a fine experience and I met some nice people. But, it also helped me realize that I need to use my sensical thinking skills more (so quick to disappear when living in Korea…) Just because I wanted to be in nature did not mean it would be a wise decision to sign up for a temple stay experience. *der*!  I am quite capable of navigating this country on my own and finding a nice country-side pension to stay in for a weekend.

But then I would have missed out on this!  haha. Eh~~ once you’ve seen a pagoda, you’ve seen ’em all. ^^

Here’s a good quote  that reflects the general mindset of the monks at Magoksa Temple:      🙂

“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”  ~Edwin Way Teale


April 23, 2010. Uncategorized.


  1. Osea replied:

    Came down to say good night to my computer and found a surprise–your temple blog. Your life is so interesting, Celeste–I wish I could get you and son Osea to share some travel experiences sometime.

    Of course, I want you in person HERE before too long.

    Great blog–keep them coming.

  2. Sher replied:

    I *love the picture of you and the few other people. Look at your shoes and the pants [[laughing super duper HARD]]
    Oh wow..that was a great one. I guess I skimmed over (or totally skipped) this one.
    I think I got the link too late. I’ll have to look at your blog all over again one day.
    Glad you had a “humbling experience” baby cakes.

  3. Richard Tulloch replied:

    Nice post and excellent photos. I also found my temple stay hard work – but perhaps even more interesting because of that – and the suffering gives you a good story to tell afterwards!

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