April 20th 2008 - Temple stay

April 20th 2008

Temple stay at Gulgol Temple

Enough is enough ! We have tired of our upstairs neighbors and have been looking for a new apartment all week. It has been a little difficult as the apartment we have now is very nice and on top of that we are now quite hysterical about who we will be living underneath. So it obviously took us a while to find something we liked, but in the end we got there and plan to move next week, before we leave for Denmark and Sweden next Saturday. Paula is very pleased that in a week there will be a change of scenery. I am not looking forward to the act of moving ... we have so much stuff now !

This week we also said goodbye to my colleague Henrik with a reception at the shipyard. He was pretty sad to leave the project ....!

Friday I took off from work a little early to join Paula and 14 others for a temple stay at Gulgol temple. Paula and I had been looking forward to this, as it was at Gulgolsa that we first heard about the possibility of doing a temple stay. Back then we decided that one day we would do it and now, 1 year later, we were on our way. Gulgol temple is a fairly new temple built on the ruins of another temple. The temple is the center for Sun Mudo martial arts, what I would describe as a mix of martial arts and meditation. We arrived at the temple just in time for dinner. One of the basic rules of the temple is never to waste food, so we were all very careful serving ourselves food, as one never know with Korean food. Sometimes it's just too spicy to eat ! Staying away from the bright red and green veggies and sauces, we did alright though !

The girls at dinner.

The guys at dinner.

Checking in.

After dinner we met at the gym for 90 minutes of Sun Mudo training. Starting off with stretching and meditation we soon moved on to more action-packed exercises. After last weeks epic mountain bike ride, I had been limping all week and was still far from feeling my age, so I had to skip all the kicking exercises. I also had huge problems with sitting cross legged on the floor. But Paula was right in there ! After the exercises the masters made a show for us displaying their very flexible skills ! It was all very nice , but I think we all felt a bit disappointed by being taught by westerners and not by Koreans. It was weird, even though these foreigners had stayed at the temple up to 3 years, learning Sun Modu and meditation. They were very good, but Korean teachers would have made it a little more special.

Sun Mudo show

They were pretty fit ...!

Anyway, after training it was off to bed to try and get some sleep before being awoken at 4:30 for chanting and meditation ! We were getting the full packet ! Breakfast at 6 and then a little free time before we were off to a temple ruin a little up the valley, where we were did more Sun Mudo training and meditation in the warm sun. Our stay ended with a tea ceremony and lunch, before driving back home. I was so happy to be in the soft cushions of the car again. My butt hurt almost more than my knees at this point ! Too much sitting on the floor. All in all it was a nice experience though. But not one I would do a second time - mainly due to the discomfort of sitting on the floor.

It was not all training - we had a bit of free time to see the cave temple and the carved Buddha

... at 7 in the morning!

Just walking back and forth within the temple grounds was enough training for most of us. Here we are at the top part of the temple where the cave temple and the carved Buddha is located.

Sun Mudo training in the valley

This was probably my favorite time during our temple stay ... we were not sitting cross legged !

At night, after having regained contact to my knees and behind, we went to the Ocean View hotel to hear the local band play. It is unusual to see the people from the compound outside the compound, so imagine seeing ALL of them at the same time at Ocean View!! It was like the bar at the compound had been beamed to our neck of the woods. They should do it more often ! My previous squash partner Jay, was in Ulsan for a short business trip - it was good to see him again.

A bit of a change from meditation !

Campbell, Ruaraidh, Jay and me

There was a good crowd at the concert and during the second set, the room was jumping

Gary and Pippa