2018 travel diary 3 – The Smile of Baekje

10 – 11 November 2018. My trips to Korea are usually preceded by a hurried piece of research on the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) website trying to find out what notable items of tangible or intangible heritage, or what other historic or scenic sites there might be, to attract an inquisitive traveller to the places […]

Festival film review: Becoming who I was

Nine years ago Moon Chang-yong and Jeon Jin were in Ladakh, Kashmir – a mountainous region 100 miles or so northeast of where the Dalai Lama lives, and less than 50 miles from Tibet’s westernmost extremity. They were filming a documentary about practitioners of traditional medicine in the various regions of Asia. Their subject was […]

2015 Travel Diary day 9: Yeongsanjae and Seodaemun

Myeongdong, Seoul, Saturday 6 June Bongwonsa temple and the Yeongsanjae rituals Today is the second UNESCO-listed item of intangible cultural heritage of my brief stay. I am tagging along with a small group of American summer students who are getting course credits by having a whale of a time in Seoul. How this works from an […]

Book Review: Robert E Buswell, Jr — The Zen Monastic Experience

Robert E Buswell, Jr: The Zen Monastic Experience – Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea Princeton University Press, 1992, 259pp A curious tourist visiting one of the popular Korean temples will admire the architecture of the buildings; will poke their nose into the main shrine, nervously wondering whether they’re allowed in and if so what is […]

2014 Travel Diary day 3: 사십구재

The 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) for Sena Lee, who died in Seoul on 22 April 2014, held at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the period of 49 days after someone dies is seen as a time for that person to check their consciousness and digest their […]

2012 Travel Diary #19: Beopgyesa Temple and those Japanese feng-shui stakes

Beopgyesa Temple (법게사) is the highest in Sancheong County and at least the third-highest in Korea. The good people of Sancheong believe that Beopgyesa is the highest temple in South Korea, a claim which is supported by Beopgyesa’s entry on the Cultural Heritage Administration website, where the following text is to be found: “It is […]

Cute photos of a Buddha’s Birthday ceremony in Seoul

Some great pics of some young monks getting their head shaved for the first time this Buddha’s birthday at Jogye Temple, Seoul, in today’s Metro. Some of them don’t like it! Links: Children become Buddhist monks as tears flow during ceremony, Metro, 13 May 2012 Buddhist monks caught gambling, smoking and drinking at party, Telegraph, […]