A historic, and cultural haven, a temple stay at Dogapsa Temple (도갑사) in Yeongam (about a 50 minute bus ride from Gwangju, plus another 10-15 minute ride in a taxi) was both what I needed, and didn’t know I wanted.
I am not a religious person by any means, but I do have a deep fascination with Buddhism, with it being one of the oldest religions (or perhaps the oldest), and the concepts it embodies. This stay taught me a lot about the praying ritual, the history of Buddha, and the daily practices of a buddhist monk.
Before going (and after) to the temple, there was this wonderful coffee shop my friend brought me to. I love shops that are well designed, and this place definitely wins all my votes.
Most people know how rare it is to find decent coffee in Korea!
There is something you should know about this temple. At this temple specifically (might be the only one!), is a great brother/sister combo. The sister is one of the monks that is in charge of the temple stay, while the brother is the temple stay manager. Being incredibly nice and such wonderful people would have been enough, but their grasp on the English language really puts this stay over the top. They were one of the many highlights of this trip. (there weren’t any bad memories at all haha!)
The day consisted of praying, meditation, and a tour of the surrounding area, which obviously includes the temple itself. The meals were all vegetarian (Korean vegetarian is quite good!), and tea service with dried radish tea was an absolute delight.
There is something magical about meditating in a place, where no cars are driving past, and that you can hear the river rushing, the wind blowing, the birds singing, and the leafs shuffling. I am certainly not someone who meditates daily (or at all), but this experience just might change me. I don’t think I have ever been this relaxed. No timetables, no rushing, no deadlines.
Remember to take off your shoes outside whenever you go into any room/temple!
Anyways, here are the rest of the pictures. I really recommend everyone to go. It is worth the trip to Yeongam.
The nights are incredible. It is pitch black, and well, who doesn’t like a blanket of stars?
Oh, did I not mention? There was also a group of elementary school kid that stayed with us. I made a few new friends (친구), who might be the most adorable friends I have.
And with everything I did this weekend, and all the memories I received, the one thing that stood out to me, was how much I smiled, and laughed in those 24 hours.
Protecting the life in the earth, air, wind, and hell.
Until next time,