Today I felt drawn towards making another visit to Jogyesa Temple in Insadong. And I arrived just in time for the Sunday night service! The service was led by a monk who sang and played music…it was deeply moving.
I took a cue from my fellow temple go-ers and grabbed a couple of kneeling mats and made myself at home. I watched the other people~some were singing along with the monk, others were doing the 108 kneeling bows, so I did that, too. I felt very “at home” as the kneeling was very similar to yoga salutations (mountain through to child pose basically). It was actually really cool, almost bone chilling, to link the familiar yoga poses with the actual spiritual part, inside a temple, during a service. The experience, the group singing in a beautiful language, reminded me of my childhood spent at Jewish temple, and tears and emotions flooded my eyes as I kneeled and prayed (to Buddha, to God…to the Universe…to. something bigger than us humans).
At the end of the service, an old ajjima (old lady) came up and started talking to me in Korean and smiling reallllly big…I think she was saying something about the 108 bows. anyways, I thought that was kinda cute. I just replied with a big smile, too and said something along the lines of, “yes, bows! it’s great!”.
I am compelled to learn more about Buddhism…and am planning a templestay next paycheck. Stayed tuned!