An Afternoon Adventure With Kindness

Written by on September 8, 2013 in Travel

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 The front facade to Samyeongam Hermitage at Tongdosa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

When my wife and I decided to go on a little road trip, we decided we would head up to Tongdosa Temple to enjoy both the temple and the beautiful grounds that surround it. And it just so happened that we decided to visit the beautiful Samyeongam Hermitage. It’s from this hermitage that a nice little story about Korean kindness sprung up.

When I first visited Samyeongam Hermitage back in 2004, I was blown away by its beauty. I’ve been to my fair share of smaller sized hermitages associated with much larger temples, but Samyeongam Hermitage surpasses most of them. With the twin Koi ponds out in front of the elevated hermitage courtyard, as well as the two pavilions that stretch out over these ponds and the mountains that frame Samyeongam Hermitage, and this hermitage has both natural and artificial beauty.

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 The beautiful pavilion that overlooks the equally beautiful Koi pond.

This beauty is re-affirmed to me each of the handful of times that I’ve re-visited the hermitage throughout the years.  I was out taking pictures of the hermitage’s courtyard on our visit, when the head monk at the hermitage noticed me as he came out of the monks’ quarters. With a passing smile between us, he continued on his way, and I on mine. I continued onto the main hall, where I took some pictures inside the hall while there were no visitors. The head monk noticed this and nicely told me that I should hurry because his morning prayer service was about to start. After that, he disappeared for a bit.

Wanting to get a few more pictures from the hermitage’s courtyard, and down onto the twin Koi ponds, I hovered around one of the pavilions. Suddenly, the window to one of the monks’ quarters swung open. It just so happened to be the head monk, again, holding out a bowl of peanuts for my wife and I. After we took the bowl, he reached down and grabbed some bread, as well. He then motioned us towards the pavilion to enjoy the view and enjoy what he had given us. He then said that if we were still around after the hour long morning prayer, he would like to join us. Unfortunately, we already had plans; otherwise, I’m sure it would have been yet another great conversation with a Korean Buddhist monk.

It’s kind of funny that you set off in exploring a Korean temple or hermitage and you end up eating a bowl of peanuts provided to you by the head monk of a hermitage.

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 The view from the restive pavilion. 

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About the Author

Dale Quarrington

Dale Quarrington has lived in the Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do Province area ever since arriving in Korea in 2003. He’s visited all of the Korean provinces, exploring both the known and unknown temples and hermitages around the Korean peninsula. While he’s not traveling, he enjoys reading books and learning about Korean history.