A Korean shaman dances in Andong.
We headed to Andong for a festival, and spent at least three hours watching this Korean Shamanism ceremony. My tail-end was sore, but I couldn’t believe how interesting and engaging the ceremony was. People in the audience were at once mesmerized or crying or bowing their heads in prayer. Even though I couldn’t speak the language, some parts of the ceremony were very moving. Other parts, were…entertaining.
They put on quite a show. From dancing, to balancing knives on their heads, to parading a dead pig around the stage, the show was [...]
Continue reading Reflection #540 – Korean Shamanism Ceremony
How do you choose the best Korean pot?
One of my favorite books I like to read to my third and fourth grade students is A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. It is about a 16th century Korean orphan whose deepest desire is to become a potter. Unfortunately, only potter’s sons can become potters themselves. Our hero manages to work for the best potter in his town and helps the artist achieve his life’s goal, a royal commission. A fantastic story, one of the things I like most about the book are the descriptions of Korean customs and the [...]
Continue reading Korean Ceramics – How to Buy the Best Pot
Songgwangsa Temple is one of Korea’s Three Jewel Temples of Buddhism, along with Tongdosa and Haeinsa.
All of them are important religious sites. The three temples symbolize the three key tenets of Buddhism. Songgwangsa represents the Buddhist community or sangha, Tongdosa represents Buddha, and Haeinsa represents dharma or Buddhist teachings. These are immortalized in their library of UNESCO World Heritage Tripitaka Koreana, on a collection of woodblocks.
Songgwangsa temple is considered the greatest of the three temples and was founded in 1190 by a zen master whose teachings have been carried into modern Korean life.
Living or traveling [...]
Continue reading Reflection #520 – Songgwangsa Temple, Korea
This is one of those UNESCO World Heritage Sites that is just too, too cool. Located in a non-descript building on the Haeinsa Temple complex are shelves and shelves of Korean and Buddhist history captured on woodblocks. I don’t read or speak Korean, so it was ok that I wasn’t allowed to touch or try to read the volumes, but it certainly gave me a feeling of the ancient wisdom found in this country, South Korea. The temple is absolutely gorgeous as well.
Continue reading World Heritage Site Korea – Tripitaka
This photo is the very first one I tried any photoshopping on, and I have to say it remains one of my favroites.
”Oh come on, Jim, you’ll like it….really!” That’s me imploring Jim that he cannot pass up the opportunity to have his fishy foot massage. Asia is famous for its massages, and let me tell you, those human hands don’t hold a candle to the attention that these little fishes pay to some dry and deserving feet.
What you do: As you walk into Dr. Fish- Spa, Books, and Cafe, you must pay to hang out. The cafe boasts an impressive “self-bar”, which consists of three types of bread and a watered down tea. The houses are rather small in this [...]
Continue reading My Feet, A Feast for Fish
A couple of years ago, the “English” teachers, took Devon and I to this fantastic restaurant and introduced us to Shabu Shabu; it quickly became our favorite Korean dish. This meal supposedly originally came to Korea with the invading Mongols. Jim and I are anxious to see if we have anything like it in Mongolia where ol’ Genghis himself hailed from. All of us had had Shabu Shabu in Japan, and in theory it could be the same dish, but this is definitely one item that trumps the one from Japan. In Japan, the waitress brings you a plate of mushrooms, [...]
Continue reading How to Eat Shabu Shabu
Famous in Daegu is a stone Buddha with a hat. Gatbawi is the Buddha of health, and many Koreans make a pilgrimage to him to attain blessings. We’ve never seen a Buddha statue with a hat before, except for the many images of it plastered all over the city. It would be criminal to have lived in Daegu three years and never climbed Mt. Palgong to see it. So we did. We did it! It was tough, but we persevered! Boy, did our thigh muscles scream for the next four days….but we did it!
We climbed up there last Sunday, exactly one [...]
Continue reading The Killer Trek to the Buddha of Health, Gatbawi- South Korea
We rented a car and wanted to go explore the western coast of the Korean Peninsula. We were on a quest to find the Unesco World Heritage Site ancient dolmens. A dolmen is a very large rock, somewhat shaped by tools, but basically a rock. The purpose of the rock is to cover the grave of ancestors. In the old days, Koreans would visit the dolmen and pray to their ancestors to gain favor, have a good crop, and many other types of things to make their harsh lives a little easier. As it was much more important to have [...]
Continue reading The Three Jewel Temples of Korea