Saturday, April 05, 2014

Seonamsa Templestay: Ask a Monk

Scooping dried tea leaves ($150 a package) into the teapot
A short while later, we reconvened in a room off the area where our sleeping rooms were located. Waiting until the boiled water was at just the right temperature, the monk combined the water with some dried tea leaves grown on the temple grounds. Through an interpreter, he explained that we were indeed honored guests, as the small wooden box of dried leaves was sold for $150 retail. The tea coming from same tea bushes, was prized by King Sejong six hundred years ago. After all had some tea, we were given a chance to ask questions. Even simple questions such as what a monk's typical daily routine was like was answered with a complex, philosophical response. Our tour guide (a Korean) struggled to interpret the monk's response with its technical, spiritual terminology, into English.The monk's sense of humor and wit did come through though.
Pouring the tea


Warned that we had to be up and ready for the 3:30 AM ceremony, I eagerly heeded the advice to go to bed after that at 9:00. The warmth of the ondol-heated floors made the sleeping much more pleasant than the colder "slumber-party" style few hours of "sleep" we had at the jinjabong the night before.

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