Saturday, March 29, 2014

Seonamsa Templestay: Daeungjeon

Located in back of the main courtyard, the temple building Daeungjeon was where we would be given some basics of temple etiquette. Typical of most Korean Buddhist temples I'd visited, the wooden shuttered windows and doors were painted in green and framed in a terra-cotta color.

Through the front opening, the large golden Buddha figure and altar was straight ahead. Most of the murals and decorations on the exterior had faded away, coloration faintly visible in some areas and others such as the dragons on either side of the main sign in Chinese lettering revealing the original wood coloring.

Two moktaks (wooden handbells) and a metal handbell were carefully arranged on a small table in front of the main altar. On each side of the large seated Buddha statue were silk lotus floral arrangements. A large mural framed the area behind the statue.

The ceiling of the temple was transformed into a play area for several dragons. Their long, snake-like bodies formed from upper beams slithered towards the Buddha. The heads, with bulging eyes, furrowed brows, and open mouths (revealing the ball inside), appeared to be looking right at the rather impervious-looking Buddha. Their ornamental tails protruded from another wall. Although also suffering from some fading and damage, the interior ceiling and wall decorations were in much better state of preservation than those on the outside. 

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