Day 6 and 7: Golgulsa Temple Stay
We caught an early bus from Sokcho to Gyeongju. The bus started at 06:40 and it took more than seven hours to reach Sokcho. I think we took a local bus which stopped everywhere. We probably could have taken express bus. But it was nice to see the rural side of Korea. We reached Gyeongju by 16:00. We were already late as we had to check into temple before four. Anyway we took a local bus and reached Golgulsa Temple bus stop. From bus stop its an hours walk. By the time we reached it was 17:15, dinner time. Yes, dinner is early. See the schedule, below.
Food is simple veg food. But its tasty and I really liked it. Sunmudo training feels like extended crossfit training with some martial arts addition. I really liked the morning mediation sessions and tea time. 108 bows are interesting, its full 108 bows to in front of Budha, it could be tiring if you are not used to exercising.
Schedule Day 1
5:00pm – Dinner
6:10pm – Orientation
6:30pm – Evening Chanting
7:00pm – Sunmudo Training (90 mins)
10:00pm – Lights Out
Schedule Day 2
4:00am – Wake up
4:30am – Morning Chanting
5:00am – Sitting Meditation / Walking Meditation (30 minutes each)
6:00am – Breakfast
8:30am – Sunmudo Training (90 mins)
10:00am – 108 bows
10:30am – Tea-time and dharma talk with the temple head
11:30am – Lunch
You can get more information about the temple stay and can book it online. You can stay for a day if you just like to experience. But I think longer stay would help if you are interested in mediation or Buddhism. Temple staff are really helpful and friendly.
You can walk around the temple campus even if you are a visitor. Gulgulsa is at the foot of Mt. Hamwol, is the only temple cave in Korea. On the top of the temple has the Maya Tathagata Buddha. Its a smiling Buddha carved out of rock. Its beautiful.
The next day we left temple after watching Sunmudo demonstration and walking around the temple campus. We reached Gyeongju around 18:00 and checked into Hanokstay. Its modelled after traditional Korean home. It was small but simple, warm and comfortable.