By Roni Rosen
Last weekend, I was fortunate to attend a one-of-a-kind retreat at the Geumsansa Temple. On the first day of my visit, I was able to view traditional Korean theater, listen to musicians, eat temple food, interact with monks, and then see the Suryu and Geumsan churches! On the second day, I got to perform the 108 bows, participate in a variety of crafts (including pottery, enameling, and woodwork! ), and finally bike to the Jipganso historical site. I had a terrific time and learned a lot throughout my weekend stay!
My friend and I had a traditional-style room that was quite comfortable thanks to the heated floor! After orientation, we all received gift bags with snacks:)
After settling in, we went on a tour through the Suryu and Geumsan churches! We got to meet the pastors and learn about the history of each church.
Later in the day, we saw a funny theater performance and some extremely talented musicians! The temple staff gave everyone lotus flowers and we all got to meet the monk representing the temple stay.
Throughout the weekend, there was one room at the temple that provided coffee and tea! It was nice to go there in the morning or evening and relax with others 🙂 Since it is getting colder in Korea, the hot tea was perfect! In the morning we all had breakfast together in the dining hall before heading to the Mireukjeon (tallest column in the temple with the largest indoor standing Buddha).
We meditated and did 108 bows while threading a necklace in the Mireukjeon! After the bows were completed, the wonderful monk finished our necklaces and we made a wish! The Buddha sculptures inside were beautiful, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures T.T The bows were challenging, but they quickly became my favorite part of the trip! The leg soreness that came after the bows were completely worth it.
After getting a tour of the temple we headed out to do some crafts and eat lunch together! The crafts were very fun and helped everyone bond with one another 🙂
Then we had a leisurely bike ride to Jipganso! The bike ride was very enjoyable and beautiful, especially with the autumn foliage.
Finally, we arrived at the Jipganso historical site!! Here we learned all about traditional weaving and even got a hot sweet potato to snack on! It was so good.
We came back home after saying our goodbyes to everyone! During these two days, I learned a lot about Korean history and culture. Staying at the temple was a new and exciting experience, and the staff was exceptionally friendly! It was a fantastic visit; not only did I return with some excellent friends and memories, but also with a bunch of souvenirs.