Wednesday, June 8, 2011

[SEOUL] Peace of Mind and Chant-Rap at Jogyesa

Jogyesa is one of the most revered Buddhist temples in Korea and can be found in the northern district of Jongno. I found it after wandering for half an hour or so trying to find Hyewa-dong where Filipinos convene on Sundays to go to mass. The temple, with its location along a major road, is not so hard to locate. Via the metro you just have to stop at Jonggak station then head north away from Bosingak (Belfry) and Jongno Tower. You don't have to ID that tower. You will recognize it right away given its unique architectural design.

Before Jogyesa is a smaller temple, the Korea Postal Memorial, housing an exhibit on the history of the Korean post. Jogyesa has three golden giant Buddhas inside and a narrow space for worshippers. To its left is an area where more devotees can join the chanting. There are Monobloc chairs that can be used. There is also a fountain adorned with colorful lanterns that cover the entire area. Next to the temple is a mini palace and the Tourist Information Center where you can inquire regarding a possible temple experience via Temple Stay.

After taking some videos and photos I decided to join the people outside. So I got my own Monobloc chair and just sat there. The monk was chanting something that sounded like, "Zanjoe's Ham. Zanjoe's Ham." This went on for around 45 minutes before he changed tempo and started chanting fast, as if rapping a la Eminem. What I found awesome was the stamina of those middle-aged women doing a routine set of stand up - genuflect - kiss the floor. They did it without stopping. It's cool in the sense that you get not only inner peace but also free cardio, both of which are beneficial for the body and the mind.

I stayed there for an hour just listening to the chanting while watching the worshippers do cardio. It was really relaxing. I felt so stress-free afterwards, which I really needed because I was headed to Insadong. Isn't it cool to find serenity in an old Buddhist temple amidst an area dwarfed by sky scrapers and just a few blocks away from a bustling market road? Seoul is, without a doubt, a city of contrasts!

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful structures! I really love seeing temples since most of them have a long history associated with them. Also, their architecture are just awesome, they (usually) reflect the traditional architecture of the country they're in. :)

ihcahieh said...

True. Wait 'til you see the palaces. They just make you stop and stare. I did a walking tour of four of them and I just wanted to enroll in a Korean History and Culture MA class all of a sudden, hahaha. Awestruck.

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