Monday, April 07, 2014

Seonamsa Templestay: Wakeup and Chanting

Photo by William Cho
Much to the dismay of temple visitors, the 3:20 gong cheerfully played in front of the sleeping quarters happened all too quickly. Even some of the monks looked rather sleepy as they silently made their way onto their mat, quickly assuming the meditative pose. Much to my surprise, monks staggered in late, the 3:30 chanting already starting. One particularly sleepy-looking monk kept his knitted hat on much longer than the others. All wore multiple layers under their grey uniform. One monk initiated the ceremony by striking an umbrella-shaped brahma bell, used to release the sufferings of beings in hell (according to this website. Chanting occurred, followed by interspersed strikes of the bell. Prostrations (thankfully not 108) were initiated by the strike of a mok-tak, a hollow wooden instrument with one hole and a round handle. Smoke from the incense placed near to where I was sitting began to drift my way, permeating the room with its scent. Following the chanting, the monks silently left the temple, and we headed over to a nearby building for some yoga-type exercises. 

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