Visiting Buseoksa

Authored by:
Taylor W.

Taylor W.

The CIEE Seoul program gave students the opportunity to visit Yeongju, which is about three hours away from Seoul. During this trip, we were able to visit Buseoksa, which translates to floating rock white mountain and is the second oldest Buddhist temple in Korea. During the tour of the temple, the tour guide told us the story of two Korean men on the path to enlightenment. They had both planned on traveling to China to find enlightenment; however, one of the men found his enlightenment in Korea while in a cave. He found that perspective changes everything after drinking water during the night and feeling refreshed. The next morning, it was revealed that he had drank from a human skull and felt disgusted. The other said he hadn't fully accomplished enlightenment, so he headed off to China. There he found his long-lost love that he had believed to be given to a Chinese king as a gift. However, he had devoted his life to Buddhism and could not be with her. She understood his devotion and just asked him to simply come back after he found his enlightenment. After he had reached enlightenment, he couldn't face her and left early without seeing her. However, she chased after him with a gift she had prepared for him and threw herself in the ocean throwing the gift ahead of her towards his ship as he sailed off. She immediately was reincarnated into a water dragon and led him back to Korea safely where he set up this Buddhist temple. Being able to not only see the temple but also hear the story behind this temple was incredible and the temple itself was breathtaking. Later, we were able to witness a practicing monk ring the bell to awaken the spirits from their sleep. This whole experience really was a perfect way to start my study aborad experience off right. I felt so grateful to be able to go outside of Seoul and learn about a different part of Korean culture. Through this experience I felt that I was able to take a lesson home that I will remember throughout my study abroad experience. The lesson being perspective truly does make a difference in how we interpret things, meaning understanding many different perspectives is important in better understanding the world we all live in.

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