Saturday, February 14, 2009

The peaceful grounds of the Donghwasa Temple

As I continue my exploration of Donghwasa Temple, I finally observed my first priest walking along the Temple living area while the tourists are invading this quiet and serene place. They seemed to be in hiding while the afternoon was filled with the curiosity seekers (such as myself) were there to appreciate the scenes. The support of this temple comes largely through tourism. I have to admit, that I did feel a sense of incredible peace while walking these grounds. I had to laugh when my friend, Monica asked me if I believed in 'myths'. It was her choice of words for the term of 'religion' that I found telling. I couldn't help but laugh, because really religion is to me a series of mythologies that different cultures embrace to keep their societies in tact, that provide a sense of order.
Yet, this is not like a lot of churches, this is a living breathing society that shuts out the rest of the world...though through need, they have opened their doors to allow the intrusion of tourism on their grounds.
I found the living quarters had special significance, where some were based on status (which is highly regarded), others were dedicated for special purposes or needs. One set of quarters where dedicated for women who were seeking to enhance their fertility. Others, for other maladies or conditions to seek remedies for through prayer and meditation.

Yet, the schedule of a temple stay is not for those who just simply want to find a place to sleep and wander around. The day starts at 3am, with of course prayer and meditation with the priests. However, if you are not into the religious aspect, it is still just a nice place to come and simply be an observer of their culture.

After all, when you are in a city with the population in the millions...it is just nice to escape from the madness at times.




4 comments:

Mark Eaton said...

Interesting stories and some great photography here. I look forward to reading more.

Marilyn said...

Thank you Mark...I have many...many more...stay tuned!

Frank said...

You said, "I couldn't help but laugh, because really religion is to me a series of mythologies that different cultures embrace to keep their societies in tact, that provide a sense of order."

Though I am religious in my own way, I like that.

I have said to some friends of mine, my religion is for now. The rest will take care of itself.

I suspect that you might enjoy the works of Emile Durkheim, particularly his work on the sociology of religion. He was a Frenchman, but given how he wrote, he might as well have been German. He makes Max Weber look like light reading, but he's worth the effort.

Marilyn said...

Emile Durkheim...hmm...I would have thought closer to Russian...but German...Von Clauswitz...but then the instructions of the art of war...but another interesting read is anything written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German.

There is little difference between war and religion...they are both cults.

Not so much that I ascribe to a set belief system...but did admire his willingness to speak out against Nazi Germany though he could have remained in America during WWII. He of course died.

I used to think it was noble to die for one's beliefs...but today it has become the extreme. The polarization of beliefs to assert them over another group of peoples is just about domination. "I'm right...you are wrong."

Intolerance. Well, there is a lot of intolerance among all religions. One way, one truth, one path...they ALL say they are the one. I say religion has missed the boat...totally.