Sunday Photo; in the mist

There were a few different photos I was going back and forth between over the past few days, but today, as I came to post, I decided to go with a photo to suit the weather. After digging through my files, I found this one, a misty morning in front of Donghwa Temple’s Dae Ung Jeon (Main Dharma Hall).

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Photo; in the mist”

  1. There has hardly been a day in August that hasn’t rained at some point, whether it be in the wee hours of the morning, around noon, or later in the evening. This time of year is my favorite time to visit mountain temples.

    What appear as white clouds, drifting through the mountains, turns into heavy, grey mist as you ascend into them, coating the hillsides with an other worldly atmosphere, perhaps reminiscent of a damp day in the Pure Land.

    On this trip, I’d met up a monk friend who was visiting a friend at another temple further down the mountain. After tea and conversation, we spent the night in the guest room as the monsoon rain poured down, rattling against the tiled roof.

    Waking up in the temple grounds gave an intimate feeling for the place, much different from my usual day trips to temple sites. It didn’t do anything to ease my envy of monks who dwell in such places! Later in the morning, we headed up the mountain, and into the clouds, to Donghwasa.

    I’d been to Donghwasa at least a dozen times, but had never seen it on a morning quite like this, a sense of the ethereal floating on solid ground.

    The feature I love most about this hall is the rounded front steps leading up to the front door. (Although, being a lay-practitioner, I’m confided to using the side stairs. ^_^)

    1. Hi Joseph,
      now that you’ve pointed it out, I realize that I’ve never seen stairs like that on any other temple in Korea.

      And this is a really old temple. The sets of stones on either side of the stairs are flag pole supports. In the really old times, there used to be special days when they would hang out huge prayer flags, and perhaps even giant paintings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well.

      1. It would be nice to see the tradition of flags at temples make a comeback! I’m curious what Korean prayer flags would look like. Are there still any examples left anywhere?

      2. You know, I have no idea if there are any of those flags still existing. I would imagine that they are similar to Chinese/Japanese banners in that they might be rectangular, with the long side down along the pole. But that’s just a guess.

        I’ll ask around and see what I can find out. (It’ll take a few weeks though.)

    2. “Although, being a lay-practitioner, I’m confided to using the side stairs”
      – go up the front steps! (and then tell us about it), your mind is not-confinded…

      1. haha, I used to go up the front steps all the time (before I knew better).

        If there’s no one around, I’ll go up them to take a picture or something, but out of respect, if nothing else, I usually keep to the side steps now. A very small humility. ^^

  2. hi Joseph,
    again and again i’m astonished at the opulent extend these roofes reach… here it seems as if the temple could hardly bear it.
    perhaps it’s often misty and rainy and they just ‘suit the weather’ ??
    do you have an idea?

    and yes – prayer flags at a temple is a ‘must have’ ( 😉 )
    always when i come to my Lama’s place even on the way there hang prayer flags – old and new – in windows, trees, at balustrades… and my heart beats faster when i finally reach the centre and there are hundreds upon hundreds of them… so beautiful!

    this Dae Ung Jeon Temple would deninitely deserve some flags, i find

    1. Hi Evelyn,
      I just did a very quick search, and came up with this:

      “The roofs are of special interest. Layer upon layer of whole tree trunks of varying girth are interlaced to produce the strength necessary to support the heavy tiles. Sometimes tiered and gabled to an extreme degree, aesthetic proportions are always kept in mind. An interesting fact is that traditionally, people believed that evil travels in straight lines. In order to stop it from entering the building the ends of the roofs are curved up.”

      They do do an amazing job at shielding the rain too!

      1. oh, i haven’t considered the tiles at all! in the Alpes, in Switzerland, they have their roofs covered with huge stoneplates (glimmering in the sun,rather beautiful), but these roofs aren’t curved up. must be because of the evil;)
        but i can imagine how it shields the rain – as long as you stand close to the house…

        thank you so much, Joseph!

  3. Another great Sunday Photo – thank you Joseph!

    (As for the banners flown outside temples in the past, I’ve seen a few in musuems in Korea – some of them very old).

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