My Cousin Don drove us three hours south of Seoul, to Gyeongsang. Everywhere I looked there were rice farms and burial mounds. Then suddenly the rural would disappear, a huge city would pop up and then fade away into rice fields again. It made for interesting scenery.
The ride was fun, South Korean turnpikes with real different road-trip food. I ate dumplings filled with spicy pork for breakfast. Did I mention that the food in Korea was AWESOME?
Multiple dumplings and three hours later, we arrived at Haeinsa, a secluded temple still used for worship, up high in the mountains. It houses a famous treasure, the Tripitaka Korea.
Historical Note: Eighty thousand plus wooden blocks of Buddhist doctrine were carved in Chinese characters in the thirteenth century. To quote my guidebook: a superb feat of craft, patience and devotion.
I had no idea, beyond my guidebook, of what to expect. We parked the car and headed up a hilly ice covered walk into the mountain.
We walked along a frozen stream
Then I noticed that many of the rocks had carvings. The location was nothing short of spectacular on this frozen, sunny day.
There were a lot of rock mounds. I thought they were pretty.
It was a long, cold hike. We stopped for tea at a tiny open shop.
Then we passed this memorial; no idea what it meant, but interesting.
Once we arrived at Haeinsa, we had about a million steps to climb.
Suddenly we were at a quiet and holy place. It was so cold we had it to ourselves.
The frozen fish is all you need to know about the weather that day.
We thought the bell temple was lovely. It was so quiet and the wind chimes made a lovely sound when the frozen breeze zipped past.
We liked the big bell
And the fierce fish
And the big drum
Here is a detail of the woodwork in the building.
Finally, we came to the Tripitaka Korea Sanctuary. It was a small building for such a huge treasure.
Here is a look inside the library of woodcarvings.
We wandered around for a long time. The Temple was quiet and lovely, with monks walking around in thin robes and bare feet, kneeling in front of Buddha. I didn't think it respectful to snap pictures of their worship.
Finally, we found the gift shop, also known as a heated building. I was happy to find a potty and I'm pretty sure I peed ice cubes.
Then we stumbled upon Buddha's knucklebone, visiting Haeinsa. It was in a separate corner of the gift shop, displayed on an enclosed velvet lotus symbol, lit up and rotating slowly. Pictures of Buddha weren't permitted, so I took a picture of the poster outside the gift shop.
We explored other buildings and I liked this mural.
We lingered a long time, listening to the wind chimes. Here is a picture of Ms. Dragon Hat, smiling in the cold wind.
Thank you, Don, for a great day!