A few weekends ago, we participated in a Temple Stay program at Tongdosa Temple, situated on the gorgeous foothills of Yeongchuksan Mountain in the city of Yangsan. We were joined by embassy officials and their family members from all over the world! As it was our last Temple Stay program for the year, it was a particularly memorable experience with many impressive sights. Let’s look back upon the program together through these snapshots.
Tea sets and traditional tea snacks were neatly laid out for us to take part in this special tea ceremony workshop. The instructor showed us how to prepare the tea, step by step, as we followed along. During the ceremony, we also had the opportunity to have all our questions answered about how much tea to drink daily, the best time to drink tea, and so much more.
In the evening, we watched a Sansa concert, a special live performance on the temple grounds. From traditional Korean music to ensembles to jazz, it was a two-hour long concert performed by a variety of incredibly talented musicians. Watching these artists perform with the beautiful backdrop of the temple felt like a once in a lifetime experience!
After the Sansa concert, the Tongdosa Temple staff surprised us with a campfire! We all gathered around the fire and enjoyed the delicious snacks they had prepared for us. It was the perfect way to end a great first day.
The second day began at the break of dawn with a slow and peaceful guided walk around the Geumgang Stairway (Diamond Stairway). It is one of Tongdosa Temple’s cultural properties and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018. It was installed to enshrine the genuine sarira of the Buddha that symbolizes Dharmakaya, or Dharma-body. If you plan to visit Tongdosa Temple, be sure to check the available dates and times to see the Geumgang Stairway for yourself!
Following the meditative walk was a wonderful opportunity to meet and converse with Jongjeong Yeha, a supreme monk who received the highest honor given by traditional Korean Buddhism’s Jogye Order, as well as Tongdosa Temple’s chief monk. The conversations with Jongjeong Yeha and the kindness he showed in preparing handmade souvenirs for each of us made the visit even more memorable.
All our tours this year to Korea’s Sansa (mountain temples) have come to an end. We are excited for your interest and anticipation for next year’s theme! To everyone currently residing in Korea or to anyone planning to visit soon, we highly recommend you take part in the Temple Stay programs too! Thank you very much!