May 14th this year saw me celebrating my birthday with Buddha. Welcome to week 278 (5/19/2016) of Travel Photo Thursday. To be honest, I hadn’t realized that his birthday was actually May 14th. I thought it was the week before. There is just so much going on right before and after this huge annual event that it can be difficult to keep track of the actual date. Every temple in Seoul, and throughout Korea celebrates the day. I joined the Royal Asiatic Society for Buddha’s Birthday Tour. Over the course of the afternoon and evening we attended celebrations in five of the city’s Buddhist temples. Enjoy Part 1 of Buddha’s Birthday Tour, and my visit to Mita-Sa and Bomun-Sa Please come back next week for Part 2.
Our first stop was the neighborhood Bomun-Dong, which is very close to where I work. Here, we spent time at Mita-Sa, and Bomun-Sa (sa is the Korean word for temple).
Mita-Sa (sometimes written Mit’a-Sa)
A rather tiny temple, dating back to the 4th Koryo king (950), with a rather colorful history. This includes a king marrying his own sister in an effort to keep undesirable influences from becoming part of the royal family! Today, forty nuns call this small peaceful temple home.
I love these wee lanterns hanging in the pine tree.
Leading up to the temple…
Isn’t this a gorgeous temple door knocker!?
Inside the temple…
This gorgeous lotus painting graces one of the outside walls of the temple.
In spite of it being a busy day, Mita-Sa exuded a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.
Steps away was the larger and busier Bomun-Sa, which came into existence in 1116 during the reign of the 16th King of Koryo, King Yejong. Ranging from four to eighty four years old, approximately 130 nuns call this temple home. The age for entering the temple to become a nun is under 15 years of age. Parents will often partake of the services of a fortune teller to determine if there daughter should become a nun or not.
Sakyamuni Buddha was painted at the end of the Joseon Dynasty. Scroll down to read a bit more about this intangible cultural asset.
The main temple at Bomun-sa.
This ends our photo essay (part 1) of Buddha’s Birthday Tour. Please come back next week for part 2. I hope you enjoyed browsing the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Have you ever been to a Buddha birthday celebration? Let us know in the comments.
Mita-Sa and Bomun-Sa are easy to get to via Seoul’s subway system. Take Line 6 to Bomun Station and come out through Exit 1. Most temples are open daily from sunrise to sunset, and visitors are welcome.
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