Haeinsa Temple Stay

DSC_1486No, I am not meditating or in deep thought here, but rather catching my breath after a lengthy 40 minute hike.

Majestic, breathtaking, serene, inspiring, and impressive are just a few words to describe my experience at Haeinsa Temple Stay. I highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, who needs to get away from the hustle bustle of city life or just needing to recharge your inner spirit. Oh,  there was one thing that bummed me out during my stay: no pictures were allowed during mealtime. I desperately wanted to get some shots of the vegetarian dishes that the monks regularly eat but was told, rather firmly, that no pictures could be taken. And to add insult to injury, we couldn’t talk (or rather shouldn’t) during our meals and we had to finish off everything on our plate. Interesting time to say the least.

Tom Coyner, a reviewer for Trip Advisor, sums up Haeinsa nicely with the following review:

This one of the most beautiful and historic temples of Korea. While there is a rather touristy village about a kilometer from the entrance, the temple is kept in pristine condition on a pine-covered slope of Gaya Mountain. The location is renown for its combination of dark pines, rolling clouds and remarkable architecture. Though now kept thoroughly off limits to most visitors, the temple is a major historical and cultural landmark for its preservation of the Tripitaka Koreana, the whole of the Buddhist Scriptures carved onto 81,350 wooden printing blocks, which it has housed since 1398. The temple was founded in 802.

Haein-sa or Haein Temple is one of the three great Seon or Zen temples of Korea. It remains as a primary training center for male monks. As such, the monks take their religious practices quite seriously and one gets the impression that they quietly tolerate rather than welcome visitors.

The temple owns most of the land in the national park and within the Gaya mountain area. It is thereby one of the wealthiest temples in Korea. It serves as hub for several smaller Buddhist retreats or hermitages that dot the surrounding hills and mountains.

To explore the temple and its surrounding nature, a good half day minimum is required upon arrival. Sturdy walking or hiking shoes are strongly suggested. Most people take the two-hour bus from Daegu City and spend the night at one of hotels that range from modest to fairly upscale. The temple has an excellent tea/coffee house located just outside of the main entrance into the sacred grounds that offers excellent beverages and a nice view into the valley below.

Address : 10, Chiin-ri, Gaya-myeon Hapcheon-gun Gyeongsangnam-do
Tel : +82-55-934-3110 / Fax : +82-55-934-3010
Homepage : http://www.haeinsa.or.kr/
E-mail : haeinsa2@templestay.com — Haeinsa Temple Stay

 

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