Last winter, EunBong’s friend told me of a large temple she often goes to just on the outskirts of Suwon. Yestersay, I took advantage of the extended holiday and visited with EunBong, Fina, and my ol’ Dharma brother, Carl, who I hadn’t seen in over a year.
The temple’s name, YongJuSa, means literally, Dragon Jewel Temple. When one of the early Joseon Kings died, his son placed the tomb here and built the temple beside it as a form of protection. Before it was completed, the prince dreamed of a dragon flying into the sky with a its magical jewel clenched in its jaw, hence the name of the temple.
I was very pleased by the over all aesthetic and feeling of the temple. Beside the Main Dharma Hall was a small Cheon Bul Jeon, Thousand Buddha Hall, that I was immediately drawn to. Throughout my discourses with Chong Go Sunim, I’ve learned to pay attention to the feeling I get when visiting temples, this one felt very warm. The thousand white Buddhas glowed in the sunlight that came through the open doors. The Main Dharma Hall had a gorgeous small statue of GwanSaeUm Bosal sitting on a gold elephant but I (usually) try to restrain myself from photographing the Buddha and Bodhisattva statues when there are people in the hall practicing, so I didn’t get a shot this time. Buddha told me he doesn’t mind, but I understand that the people do.
Just before Yebul, a kind monk came and spoke with us for a while. He was a little charmed by Fina and said that 25 years ago he’d been married but then decided to be a monk. He told EunBong that if I wanted to, I could get divorced and become a monk but I’d have to do it before I’m 50. EunBong laughed a little when she repeated it to me, but I’m quite sure her thoughts were contradicting her smile! (I should admit, I quickly calculated how old Fina would be when I’m 50 years old but didn’t bring it further than that, other than to realize I’m a lot closer to 50 than I knew that morning!)
The next several photos were taken in the Hall of a Thousand Buddhas…
and these two were in the shrine of the Mountain Spirit Grandfather
the character for Buddha 佛
straw temple shades…
In a small hall over the stairs leading up the the courtyard, there was this beautiful image of the Buddha. It looks as though it may have been on the outer wall of one of the halls at some point and was moved into this room.