and this is my mom’s final version with a definite Nepali twist to it.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
The Bongeun Temple was founded in 794, though most of the buildings have been renovated and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It remains one of Korea’s most traditional Buddhist temples. To reach Bongeunsa you can either take subway line no. 2 upto Samsung station (gate 6), or subway line no.7 to Chungdam station (gate 2).
Thursday temple life program for foreigners is held every Thursday from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m. There is also a temple stay program for which you need to make a reservation. For more information kindly visit the official temple website at www.bongeunsa.org and on more information on temple stay Korea-wide you can visit this website at http://eng.templestay.com/.
This is Jinyeomoon (Jinyeo Gate- 진여문) and it represents eternal reality. As one enters this gate one is seeking the unchanging truth. Inside the gate you can find the statues of four devas, Sacheonwang ( 사천왕), or four heavenly kings, who represent protectors of the Buddhist lands, Dharma and its followers.This is the Haesoogwaneumsang (해수관음상) statue. It represents the Korean traditional Bodhisattva of Compassion. The lotus flower and the pond depict harmony with nature. Bupwangroo (법왕루). It houses 3.300 private small statues of the Boddhisattva of Compassion.
This intricate mural on the ceiling of Bupwangroo, as well as the many elaborate paintings found on the walls and ceilings of the temples represent stories of the Buddhist faith, including the story of the origin of the Bongeun temple.This is in front of Daewoongjeon (대웅전), or the main temple. It is the most important temple of the Bongeunsa and the center of all religious activities.
I had a tough time catching up with the others and felt dwarfed by the stone steps. People praying at the main temple.Jijangjeon (지장전) rebuilt after it was burnt down in the spring of 2002. It was built for Bodhisattva Jijang (지장) who had sworn to save all mankind from pain and hardship by becoming medicinal herbs.Inside of Jijangjeon (지장전), a priest was about ready to start their daily prayers. Yeongsanjeon (영산전) is located at a height with a magnificent view and aesthetic ambience. The name translates into ‘Eagle Peak Mountain’ and symbolizes a connection with Buddha’s disciples in India.The temple houses a statue of Buddha at the centre flanked on the sides by statues of his disciples Gaseopjonja and Ananjonja.These strings of purses were hung outside Bookgeukbojeon (북극보전). The Mountain Spirit, Big Dipper and the Hermit sage (Naban recluse) are enshrined inside the building.Statue of Mireukdaebul (미륵대불), or Maitreya- the Buddha of the future. Standing at a height of 23 meters this is the tallest statue of Buddha in Korea. Buddha was born Siddhārtha Gautama around c. 563 BCE in Lumbini, presently in Nepal. He attained enlightenment after meditating under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. He passed away at the age of 80 in present day Kushinagar, India. The statue of Maitreya symbolizes hope for Maitreya,or Buddha of the future, to arrive and salvage mankind. Me and my friends thought we would also try to meditate along with the others but I tell ya it was way too hot to meditate outside. Hats off to people who withstood the heat to meditate. Jonggak (종각) Literally means a bell pavilion.JBowoodang (보우당) building was constructed after the October 2000 ASEM (Asia- Europe Meeting) summit meeting. Free medical check ups and free lunch for the homeless and foreign workers are provided here on Sundays.
It was a hot summer day and by the end of the temple tour I was quite exhausted and ready to go home and rest.
Monday, August 17, 2009
On August 16th 2009 SONSIK (Society of Nepali Students in Korea) had organized a cultural program in Seoul National University. The main sponsors of the program were the Seoul Global Centre and Hi Seoul. For more information about these organizations please visit these websites : http://global.seoul.go.kr/ and http://english.seoul.go.kr/. You can also find a lot of useful information about Seoul city in these websites. Anyway, back to the program. The program kicked off with a Nepali welcome song by the Nepali cultural troupe in South Korea NKCF (Nepal-Korea Cultural Forum) www.nkcf.or.kr.
The MCs for the evening were Ms. Jung Yeon Lee of South Korea and Mr. Prakash Dhamala of Nepal. Mr. Dhamala is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Health in Seoul National University and Ms. Lee is doing her Bachelors degree in business administration in Donguk University. They did a splendid job of hosting the program. This dance represents the mythical story of how Kathmandu valley was created by Manjushree. According to one of the legends, Kathmandu valley was a lake surrounded by hills during the Pleistocene era. It is believed that Bodhisattva Manjushree, a divine saint from China, had come here for pilgrimage and saw a huge lotus emanating bright light at the centre of the lake Nagarad. It represented Swayambhu, a manifestation of the Adhi Buddha, the primordial Buddha. So he cut a deep gorge allowing the water to drain from the lake because he wanted to observe and worship the lotus.The base of the lake became the present Kathmandu valley and the gorge is called Chobhar gorge now.This dance represents the Gurung community of Nepal. The Gurungs traditionally inhabited the Central and Western hilly regions of Nepal. The gentleman playing the traditional Nepali flute ‘Murali’ is Amrit Poudel. He is currently a PhD scholar in Pharmacy in Seoul National University. This dance is from the Tamang community of Nepal who originally inhabited the North central hilly regions of Nepal. This lady is Punamaya Maharjan (Suwal), a PhD scholar of Plant Biochemistry at Seoul National University. She is doing a Newari dance. The Newars are believed to be the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley. The two ladies above did a dance representing the Magar community of Nepal whose homeland extends from the western and southern edges of the Dhaulagiri section of the high Himalayas range south to the Mahabharat foothill range and eastward into the Gandaki. This dance represents a popular modern folk song in Nepal ‘aadhi khola urlera ayo’. The lyrics talk of the rush of water in a river and how the woman is compelled to come to meet her love because he beckoned her. Watch the original version of the song below.
There were people from all over the world in the audience. Including a lot of kids as well. This is Olivia from Poland. She won a prize in the quiz by correctly answering that the height of Mt. Everest is 8848 meters.Even my teachers from the daycare came to watch the program and I was so thrilled to see them. (명지 어린이집 원장님과 선생님)Some more Nepali SNU students with a visiting Professor from Nepal and Korean audience.
Check out Roshan Bhattarai’s website - http://www.anrosh.com Gentleman on the left is Yadav Khanal, Deputy Chief of Mission, Counselor of Nepal Embassy here in Korea. Gentleman in the middle is the President of NKCF, Mr. Prem Gurung.The songs had a lot of people up on stage dancing away to their hearts content. Gentleman on the left is Mr. Park from Gwanak Gu- Namyeong-dong community center.Executive director of Seoul Global Center on the left, President of SONSIK Mr. Tek Ghimire is currently doing his PhD in Seoul National University, and Mr. Yadav. Last of the Gala was the folk song ‘Resham Firiri’. It had everyone tapping their feet and the audience joined in as well to shake a leg.The cultural program ended with the cutting of the cake ceremony and there sure were a lot of candles on that cake.
Also, if you need more information about Nepal Korea Cultural Forum (NKCF) you can visit their website http://www.nkcf.or.kr. Here’s one of their introductory videos -