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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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According to some observers, Korea has the distinction of being the most wired country on the planet. You can get crystal clear cell reception from a Buddhist temple in the mountains, which we discovered during our stay at Woljeongsa temple in the heart of Odaesan national park on the eastern coast.

Seeking a respite from the frenetic pace of Seou, we have come in the hopes of a tranquil space to decompress and reflect. (“Bali bali!!” or “hurry up!” is far and away the phrase you hear most frequently on the streets, the metro, and in the markets.)

Marveling at the ornate decoration of the temple buildings, we  make our way past images of demons intended to scare the evil out of us and settle into our rooms. These are bare except for a couple of small bolsters and many quilts that serve as both mattress and covering.

For all their austerity, the rooms are made cozy by the heated floors (called ondol in Korean and still in use since their introduction in the first century BC). Here we luxuriate for an afternoon nap.  This practice is de rigeur, we quickly learn, when you’re going to get up at 4 am for morning (or is it night?) chanting.

It's become quite popular for serenity-seeking Koreans and Westerners alike to come for an temple stay, offered at many temples throughout the country. We strike up an acquaintance with the head monk who is leading a group of orange-robed lay people in a month-long program. We learn he is a former member of the Korean special forces who converted to Buddhism after certain experiences about which he remains as silent as, well, a Buddhist monk.

We are invited to practice sitting meditation with the group and later for a hike into the surrounding peaks. We are put to shame by the vigorous pace of local ajummas and ajeoshis (aunties and uncles).

After an all-day outing, nothing is so delicious as simple vegetarian temple food—all locally grown—and barley tea.

Where do you go to find your inner peace?


J. Peterman


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11 Members’ Opinions
February 18, 2009 12:22 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

So, Irving walks into a Bar and sees an old Bar Fly named Emma that he has known for years ... Feeling a little randy, he starts a conversation as he sits down next to her ...

IRVING: Haven't seen you in a while, we should spend some time together and catch up ... How do you feel about Sex ???

EMMA: I like it infrequently .......

Irving: Good! So, is that one word, or two ???

February 18, 2009 12:24 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

Too tired to be typing ... Got the wrong page ...

February 18, 2009 12:28 PM
First-com luludemajorque said...

I think Jalopkin's joke is a very good one indeed even on hte wrong page!

February 18, 2009 12:30 PM
First-com luludemajorque said...

In the wine and cheese...

Taking long solitary walks...

February 18, 2009 1:18 PM
800 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Michael said...

Serenity can come from the oddest places, and any action can become meditation.  Think about sitting in the sun on a warm porch, with a dog resting its head on your lap.  Petting the pup's head relaxes and centers you more than it does the dog.  The repetative nature will lull you into a state where thought becomes unneccessary.  I've reached that same state while throwing hay bales, mowing a lawn, or stirring my special homemade fudge. 

But I would love to visit a temple for a retreat.  Mr. P., if you are ever in need of a travel companion and wine taster, let me know.

February 18, 2009 1:42 PM
First-com luludemajorque said...

Here here I want to go too.....anywhere!!

February 18, 2009 3:42 PM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

lulu:  Thank You ...   It pays not to answer a Phone when you're tired, and still working, and in the middle of a thought .......

COYOTE:   Have you ever experienced the Serenity of being at Sea, nothing but water for a thousand miles in every direction, slipping along at about twelve knots, going away from an Orange, Purple, Gray, Blue Sunset ???    I love to be Steamin' ... one of the things I miss about the NAVY .......   Sometimes after the Sun goes down you can see St. Elmo's Fire ... one of the most amazing phenomenae  I have ever seen ... watching little Balls of Light skip across the surface of the water, and finally jump up on either side of the very top of the Jackstaff ... glowing brighter and brighter for about ten seconds, and then going out, just like a Light Bulb ....... And it is so quiet out there, that even with the wind rushing past your ears, you can heart your own heartbeat .......

February 18, 2009 5:27 PM
First-comFirst-photoFirst-video Skip Hunt said...

I think I'll get off this blasted computer and take myself a little motorcycle ride instead!



February 18, 2009 5:36 PM
800 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Michael said...

Jalopkin: I haven't been there, but I have been in a similar situation . . . in a sea of grass.  The waist high stalks move in the breeze, and there is simply nothing out there to remind you that there are other people in the world.

February 18, 2009 6:41 PM
First-comHr-1 dr bob said...

   i use altered states daily for many of the purposes below, & mostly to step outside external time/space into  creation of my own seperate , inner reality .  No particular beliefs besides conditioning by basic Western culture--it's really necessary for folks like me to go inside regularly for nothing & for balance & self-support/stress managment. 

seems to me all altered states have more in common that not--paths to 'em vary, & depending on training/expectations they're experienced & used differently.  " Altered state "  just means real different than u usually are--that's a scientific definition, believe it or not.  once there inside, u canuse that variation as u chose- just notice..., find patterns,,,yr deeper self/unconscious/soul(whatever its label, they seem the same to me), explore possible paths,  access resources not usually available in ordinary consciousness,  re-program/change yr self toward more desirable goals, calm/recharge yrself, --the possibilities are endless. 

 It's useful & important to view such internal experiences as no-more "Real" than our other experiences, which also depend pretty much on our interpretations of them.

Nuff--tx for the forum to resonate/relate to.b  serems i lost my comment on creationism vs Darwin  --darn.

February 18, 2009 10:00 PM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...

don't forget purposeful dreaming...

Honor Roll

still thinking about today...

Yesterday's Discussion

A few doors down, from March to November, Maison de la Truffle is the place to buy fresh, expensive, black truffles. In 1997, owner Guy Monier purchased the largest truffle ever found in France, weighing in at 1.14 kilos.


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