Day 12 – Study Trip South Korea

-Written by Nick TenBült & Marjolijn Benen-

With one day to go, everyone except for Keven got up at 04.00am, after spending the night at the Myogaksa temple. At 04.50am, while wearing our uniforms again, we all gathered to ring the big bell. A couple of people could already feel the 108 prostrations from the previous day when they walked up the steps to the bell. At 05.00am exactly, the bell was rung 28 times. This number is for the 28 levels of hell and to honour the ones that passed away. Under supervision and in groups of five, we rang the bell. *continues after image

After ringing, we went back to the temple for the morning ritual. This ritual existed out of more prostrations but luckily not as many as the 108 of yesterday! After the ritual, it was time for meditation. We all gathered in the meditation room for an hour of mediation. Luckily, it was not a full hour, but 25min of meditation, a 10 min break and another 25min of meditation. There were only two rules: don’t fall asleep and don’t make noisy. This time we got a special meditation pillow, which we could fold. This made it a lot more pleasant for our lower backs. After mediation, it was time for breakfast, followed by the tea ceremony. For the tea ceremony, we made groups of three people. One was the tea master and the other two were his/her guests. The tea master prepared the tea for the guests. A couple of tea masters prepared a really nice cup of green tea, but a couple of guests got tea that was quite bitter. With some cleaning of the meditation room and restaurant the temple stay came to an end and we returned to the hostel.

The last day in Seoul was a free day. In smaller groups the last locations were visited. One group visited a service in a church with a gospel choir. This church has one of the biggest communities in the world. Another group went to visit the Bongeun-sa temple, the Olympic Park and EWHA Women’s University. And the last group had to watch Diyako buy even more souvenirs.

In the beginning of the evening we gathered at the hostel again. On this last night we went for Korean Barbecue with the entire group in recommendation of the hostel owner. One of the girls working in the hostel had become our adopted participant. The Chinese girl Liuqing has helped us so much the last week and she spend every night with us. So it should not be a surprise that we took her with us to dinner. In groups of five, we barbecued our own meat in the middle of the table. In the small room and the limited ventilation system resulted into a room filled with blue smoke, but this didn’t stop our fun. The night was concluded with a large amount of soju bottles and one last game of Werewolves.

The participants of the study trip wanted to show their appreciation for the work the committee put in with a touching 3-point speech and a small gift for each point. The night was concluded by singing the Mollier anthem all together one final time.