Video: Buddhist Monks at Donghwasa

While I was at Donghwasa, I took some video on my digital camera.  It’s not the best quality, but I wanted to record some of the unique moments and capture the gorgeous temple grounds.

It’s one of my first forays into recording.  Hopefully you enjoy.

In case you missed my post about Donghwasa Temple, you can find it here.

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Donghwasa Temple

Today Andy and I visited Palgongsan (Palgong Mountain) on the northern border of Daegu.  Palgongsan is home to nature parks, popular hiking trails, and many cultural sites.  This post has many pictures – you can click each photo to make it larger.

After trying (and failing) to find the cable car to the peak, we walked to nearby Donghwasa. Donghwasa is an ancient Buddhist temple that is still in use today.  The first temple was built on the site in 493, but since then many new buildings have been constructed.  Most of the current buildings seem to be from the 1700s or later.

Here’s a map of what you can visit.  Admission is 2,500 won.  English (and other language) maps/brochures are available for free at the information center.

We arrived fairly late in the day, and were worried many things would close (not sure if they do…), so we didn’t see everything.  There are halls all over the property, but many were closed off because monks were worshiping inside.

Not being able to know what everything was for didn’t detract from the buildings’ beauty at all.   It’s incredible to realize that some of these buildings are almost 300 years old.  They are extremely well-preserved and the colors are absolutely vibrant.
Seolbeopjeon Hall

Daeungjeon Main Worshiping Hall
Donghwasa may have an ancient history, but it is constantly evolving with new additions.  One of the most breathtaking is its massive Buddha statue.  Lanterns lined the path to the statue.
 The Tongil-daebul (Great Reunification) Buddha statue was erected in 1992, and at 33 meters tall, it is one of the largest stone Buddhas in the world.  Tongil-daebul was created to save the wishes of devotees for the reunification of the two Koreas.  Inside the statue are two relics of the actual Buddha’s cremated remains, as given by the government of Burma (Myanmar).
Tongil-daebul (Great Reunification) Buddha
The temple grounds were incredibly peaceful, and I felt privileged to be able to visit.  Many practicing Buddhists were worshiping in front of the statue, and monks were worshiping and meditating in the halls.  There was so much detail in every stone carving… I wish I could capture it all in a blog post, but it’d be impossible.  It absolutely needs a visit.  I wish I knew more about the Buddhist religion, because I constantly saw things I did not understand and would love to learn more about.
After visiting the Buddha, we walked back to the main halls.  Several monks gathered in a pavilion and began to beat a tremendous drum.  They lined up and seamlessly took turns, never breaking rhythm.  After this concluded, an equally tremendous bell began to chime, and the monks began to beat this hanging wooden fish and metal plate.  It was amazing, but sadly I have no idea what it symbolizes or why they do it.
Buddhist monks beating a drum

My visit to Donghwasa has inspired me to learn more about the Buddhist religion and traditions.  Since we did not have time to visit all of the temple grounds, I hope to make a second visit.  Maybe next time I’ll be able to understand it all better.  Donghwasa also offers temple stays for the interested.

Edit: I have added a video of the drumming on another post.  To see the monks in action, check it out here.

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