Last night Mr. Lee invited Amy and I over for some sightseeing at 10am. I originally thought that we would drive aimlessly through the mountains, but instead our journey took an unexpected twist. And yes that is a garlic bulb acting as a lamp post.
It all began with a mountainside drive, with a 200 year old tree and a road that was all to familiar in Korea.
We soon arrived at our destination, Guinsa Temple in the Sobaeksan Mountains. I'll be honest temples really don't thrill me all that much, but this temple was quite different. For starters it was tucked away high in the mountains like a fortress. Secondly, it was just days after Lunar New Year so everyone was doing there New Year's obligations. As a result, the temple was absolutely packed. Thirdly, it was so beautiful and on such a large scale.
Here are a few pictures of what we saw when we first approached and entered the temple. And yes it sure does look like the elderly woman wanted her picture taken!
The next couple of pictures are visual evidence of the mass amounts of people. And yes, we are starting to come to grips that everyone does not have personal bubbles as big as our American personal bubbles. However, today I did mistake the temple for a rave!
Next up we have Tiger Warriors, Candle Vigils, Religious Symbols, that were a quite alarming sight at first, and some other sights around the temple. Oh, and if you are wondering what is the deal with all the tigers. This year it is the year of the tiger.
These are some really amazing pictures, they really capture the beauty and intricacy of everything. Amy did a great job capturing it. Also, I almost jumped off the mountain when I saw the size of that bee hive. But luckily it was too cold for them to come after me!
We saw some amazing artwork and it just wasn't on the roof, or the doors, or inside. The art was everywhere, and it was quite breathtaking. Also, please notice the many pots everywhere. This is where they store there food, pretty different huh?
If what we saw wasn't impressive enough we next came to a modern part of the temple. The walls were a gorgeous sandstone, the stairwell was marble, the floor was marble. And just to change it up the railing was a beautiful oak. This was not your dad's temple, quite a different design.
We hiked a good 5 flights of stairs and came to the roof, and this is where it really starts to get amazing. There is a shrine set up for the builder of the temple, and his tomb is an hour hike up the mountain. Mr. Lee said we should go but I quickly realized I was alone after the first step up the mountain. The view was absolutely amazing.
Finally, we began our decent out of the temple, and we saw some serious icicles, some people and believe it or not even more people.
In reflection of our time at the temple it was rather surreal. I have never seen people praying and bowing to a golden statue in my life. And although it was so breathtaking and an atmosphere I cannot even describe, it seemed all for not. It wasn't the idols either, because I feel like in the states we have idols, just not made of gold. Idols of self-love, or sports, or money, or things in the form of a never ending want for more. I know because they have been my idols.
What saddened me the most was that the Buddhist sees his faults and realizes the relentless cycle of misery. They even realize that money and things are not enough for true satisfaction. However, there means of breaking free are all man based. And I know from experience, that man has nothing that can remedy his situation. For even our best actions are filthy because they come from a wicked heart. (Isaiah 64:6) Without the sacrifice of Christ our striving for balance and good are in vain. (Romans 3:21-26) They are so close to true salvation, and yet so far. And as much as I thoroughly enjoyed today, there was such a bitter undertone.
On a lighter note, we ended the day with some much needed hair cuts/ hair repair, and with a trip to our favorite coffee spot. I call it Pete's! I had a delicious Mocha and Amy had a Vanilla Latte. And of course it wouldn't be right if we didn't enjoy a lovely over sized waffle.
Finally, here are some pictures of our love ducks. Mr. Lee and his wife bought them for us. When we are fighting we have to face them apart, and when we are happy again we have to turn them back around. I thought that was quite fun and definitely worth sharing!