May, 2011

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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Cherry blossom at Haeinsa
in full bloom

Visiting Haeinsa Temple in Korea

How are you, friends?
My husband and I visited Korea in April. We were invited to come and see cherry blossoms there. Mr. Park YongHae and his wife Mrs. Kim HyunSook are very thoughtful, and they offered this journey to relieve our mind after the disaster of the Tsunami of March 11. We are far from the Tohoku District, but the whole Japan was so shocked and our minds were also down.
We decided to accept this offer, and went. Our destination was Haeinsa Temple, one of the UNESCO's World Heritage.
Please join our prayer at Haeinsa Temple.

     The first gate of Haeinsa.
From the left
Mrs.Lim HeeUk, Mrs. Kim HyunSook, Mr. Park YongHae, Reverend Haewol (number 2 of this temple), and me.
My husband takes pictures, so you don't see him.
There are many gates like this.
Many people come here to pray.
Trees are huge. Maybe one thousand year old tree.
In each yard we see a pagoda.
Many small temples are there, and each attracts its own believers.
This sign forbids people to enter this gate, through which we were ushered in to meet the highest reverend of this temple. I did not dare to take a picture after this gate.
Small flowers at the backyard are bowing in prayer.
A young monk was exercising running and shouting.

Pagoda before the main temple.
Chimney for ondol (Korean style floor heater) and pots of Miso paste and soy sauce.
Huge drum is beaten at 6 o'clock in the evening.
It lasts more than twenty minutes.
At three o'clock before dawn, all the priests gather in the Main Temple and chanted the sutra together. I joined in the prayer.
Breakfast is at 6 o'clock.
Simple, basic breakfast .Rice, miso soup, Kimchee pickles, and boiled beans.
Day broke, and I found some people praying, walking along the course made with the strings and lanterns.
Morning sun shone the roofs of the temples.
This flower is too bowing.
The building where we stayed overnight.
Outside was very cold, but inside, ondol heated us too hot and kept us sleepless.
We were invited by Rev. Haewol to the morning tea in his room. We were so honored.
The world heritage
The Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks

The library of the temple.
We could get in and saw a huge amount of books of Buddhism of the world.
Monks were hurrying to somewhere unknown. There must be a kind of ritual, because they were in uniform. How I wished I could follow them.

Leaving the main temple of Haeinsa, we rode up a narrow, steep pass to one of the side temples, Pennyonam..

This is where Reverend Taewon lived and led the philosophy of not only Korea but also the whole Asia. He died 18 years ago. The famous sermon people long remember starts like this:
"A mountain is a mountain, and the water is water."

We heard a laughing voice of a woman though we didn't see anybody. Some people must be taking care of this sacred place.

 How did you like this temple tour?
After this we went further to pray more. Three days' tour was too short, but we returned with a hope in our heart.
Cherry blossoms were beautiful, and the Buddhas were so serene in Korea.

I hope you can visit this page again next month. Best wishes to you.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi
Proprietress of

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