Alongside representatives and officials from twelve different international organizations, we headed to the city of Gyeongju for a one-night, two-day Temple Stay at Bulguksa Temple. Located on the slopes of Mount Toham, Bulguksa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds numerous century-old treasures of the Silla Dynasty.
Bulguksa’s Temple Stay Hall was located a stone’s throw away from the temple itself, enshrouded in the beauty of Korea’s countryside during autumn. It boasted the most comfortable environment of all Temple Stay accommodations. Here, we learned about temple etiquette and had a chance to introduce ourselves to the other participants.
Under the guidance of the Buddhist monk, we moved into meditation and completed 108 prostrations. Though the temple is usually bustling with visitors during the day, it was quiet at dawn and late in the evening, so we were able to meditate without any disturbance or noise. The prostrations gave us the opportunity to learn various meditation postures, to look inward for self-reflection, and to listen to our inner voice.
Afterwards, the temple staff guided us to the wall of Gwaneumjeon Hall, the most scenic spot at Bulguksa. The harmony of the temple roof and the beautiful clear blue skies that stretched above it created a masterpiece! It was so gorgeous that we could not take our eyes off the scenery.
On the morning of the second day, we visited Seokguram Grotto, located in the mountains about four kilometers from the temple. It is home to some of the most important Buddhist sculptures in the world, including a monumental granite statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha looking at the sea. The grotto and the temple form a religious architectural complex of exceptional significance. Photography and video recording is strictly prohibited here, so visiting and experiencing it for yourself is highly recommended!
After completing the Temple Stay program, we visited Daereungwon Tomb Complex, an ancient burial site in Gyeongju. The highlight of this visit was going inside the Cheonmachong Tomb(Heavenly Horse Tomb), where some 11,500 artifacts were excavated. Once inside, we were able to get a closer look at the interior of the tomb, as well as some of the restored relics.
If you would like to learn more about our FamTour to Bulguksa, check out the video on koreanet!