We celebrated our tenth anniversary this past weekend. Over the years we have been to some amazing places for our anniversary: Santa Fe, New Mexico; Durango, Colorado; Gate Way, Colorado. We had our honeymoon in Portland, Maine.
This year, we are in South Korea and Koreans are celebrating Buddha’s birthday. We visited a prominent temple to enjoy the festivities. Devotees were praying in the temple, monks were doing rituals, while hundreds of visitors watched performances, ate a temple lunch, visited the book store and drank coffee at the terrace cafe.
The temple is located on top of a small mountain in the middle of the city. To get from the parking lot to the temple grounds you walk along winding paths covered by large shade trees and bamboo groves.
We walked around for over an hour enjoying the scenery. Then we got our lunch, bibimbap without meat and a bowl of seaweed soup. We found a shady spot to sit and eat. The temple volunteers did a great job serving everyone. The food was great, everything was clean and the staff was in good spirits despite the amount of work they were doing to feed everyone. We were served in large bowls with metal spoons; they didn’t serve us with disposable plates and spoons–someone had to wash all these dishes. We appreciated the effort.
After lunch we went to the cafe, Lotus Book Cafe, and enjoyed cappuccino on the terrace. We were sat with a friend and talked for nearly two hours. She invited us to her son’s wedding next week which, coincidentally is being held at the church we attend.
We also made paper lanterns that look like lotus, a symbol of Buddhism. We sat under a sprawling shade tree gluing tissue paper petals to paper cups.
Getting to see a living religion on a holy day was an enriching cultural experience. It was also a wonderful way to spend the day with my family on our wedding anniversary. Blessings to my wife who chose to join me on the marriage adventure, love you!