Last weekend was a good time to be Buddhist.
We took the train to the very edge of Seoul (meaning fresh air and nature!) and meandered our way up to the temple we'd be staying at.
This was one of those things I had on my 'to-do' list in Korea from the very beginning, but I didn't really know what to expect. After I heard we'd have a 4 am wake-up call the following morning, my enthusiasm dwindled.
Still, we ventured forward. It was a small group at the temple stay-not more than 20 people- and we were the only foreigners. This was neat, but also difficult at times. There were a couple lectures that the monks gave and we were without a real translator. Meaning we we not as well-behaved as we should have been. Oops.
We found our chi. We were zen.
We did make friends with a couple girls who spoke English. They fell in love with our boy Mike.
And the 4 am wake up call wasn't as horrible (or maybe it was) as it sounded. We got up and almost immediately went to the temple to do some chanting and then some 108 prostration bows. It was interesting and a little sweaty (seriously, the mat on which i was bowing had a mad puddle of sweat where my forehead would hit every time i went down...embarrassing) but overall it was a really interesting experience.
The temple stay wouldn't be complete, however, without one man: the Apple Man.
For part of the day we had gone up to do some taekwondo moves with a couple ninja monks. It was actually really fun, but this guy had decided to be a little more involved with foreigners. Making sure our stances were correct and what not. For one exercise we had to kick a paddle thing that this guy was holding, and every time one of us would go to kick it, he would move it out of the way and we'd just look like idiots.
But when we were leaving the mountain from which we were being ninjas, this guy smiled at me and gave me an apple.
From that point on, the Korean girls we made friends with would talk about apple man at every given moment. Every time we saw him they would run to me and tell me that apple man is coming. And then they went and got him right when we were leaving the temple so we could pose for this picture. Thanks girls.
Andddd that's my temple stay experience. It wasn't as...inspirational as I was intending, but it was for sure a good time.
Minus having to sit in the lotus position while we meditated. Ugh.