Buddha’s Birthday

Today began a little later with respect to the other days: 9 AM. We began the day by going to a tomb from ancient Korea, these tombs reminded me of the hobbit houses from The Lord of the Rings. There was a wooden chamber at the base of the mound, then a pile of stone over the wooden chamber, then a layer of clay, then finally a layer of dirt. Eventually grass grew on this layer of dirt, which gave it that previously mentioned look to it. Apparently back in the olden days of Korea, the royal family was able to select their favorite servants and have them buried with them. But the servants did not grow old and die, instead whenever the king or queen died, the favorite servants would then be killed and sent to the afterlife to serve their master even in the afterlife. This portion was surprising to me because I would have hoped that the servants would be able to live their lives but that was not the case.

After the tombs we had gone to the royal bridge. This was fairly neat because it was a bridge especially designed for the royalty or noble class. It was a very nice bridge, redesigned of course because the old one was destroyed when many of the invasions of Korea happened. After the bridge we then went to the royal pond (pretty sure that’s what it was called) and that was pretty cool also. There were plenty of fish in the pond that I’m pretty sure were koi fish.

We had then gone to lunch which consisted of about 10 small platters that were to be shared among four people. I love the food here in Korea but I think that when I get back home to the U.S I won’t be eating Asian food for a month or two.

Then we had gone to the national museum. I’m typically not a big museum guy but this museum was fairly interesting because it consisted of many buildings and had some outside monuments that were also neat. After the museum we had a 40 minute bus ride to the next stop which gave me ample time to finally take a nap. I’m usually not a big sleeper on buses or planes, but this time around I was actually able to sleep because I was so tired, which is strange because the night before was the night I got the most sleep. The next stop was a Buddhist temple, but this temple is only open one day of the year: Buddha’s birthday. And guess what day today is. That meant that we were able to see the giant statue of Buddha on the inside. There were many people praying to Buddha when we had walked in. I felt somewhat bad because there were people that really wanted to see the statue for religious purposes and, speaking generally, our group was just there as non-believers of Buddhism. It was interesting to see though. One slightly important thing to note was that this temple was on top of a mountain. We then went to a temple on the bottom of the mountain which housed a tiny Buddha that you could pour water on to grant yourself good luck. Everyone that wanted to was supposed to do this three times, so I gave it a go. We shall see what form this good luck comes in.

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