"Our Happy Temple" (Continuing and Ending)

Update: 13/06/2021


The Happy Temple where I live has modern architecture, not classical one as the style of an orthodox temple in this country. With a three-storey structure: One floor is a large lecture hall as the main hall on the top. The second floor has an office, a small lecture hall for children and a classroom for music training courses. The first floor is where the monks live. The basement is the temple's dining room.

A special thing here is that the pagoda does not have an entrance gate like other temples, but only a "vertical" road along the hillside going up.

Every day, rituals are held on the third floor of the building. The main hall is traditionally worshiped like Korean pagodas, in the middle is Shakyamuni Buddha, on the right from the outside looking in is Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, on the left is Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in Korea have beards, perhaps people want followers to know that when they become Buddhas, are their appearances all male? Or is it just the unique Buddhist culture of Korea?

In the main hall, there is also an altar to worship the gods with different faces and shapes in a large picture and opposite the souls’ altar. In Korea, the Buddha’s hall has a very special feature that has the hanging lanterns with names to pray for peace and rebirth. Multi-colored lanterns are hung to pray for peace while white ones are hung to pray for the deceased. The lanterns are hung from Buddha's birthday this year until next year's Buddha's birthday. This is considered a unique Buddhist culture only in the land of Kimchi.

Of course, each temple will have a different arrangement of statues and worship, but in general, it still contains a sacred meaning and a deep implication about the Buddhist culture of the sect as well as the traditions of their country.

Back to the unanswered question in the previous post ... One day, I was invited by the Abbot to the tea room, while he was having fun, I asked what the reason for naming the temple was? He replied: “Normally, the pagoda's name will be named according to traditional Chinese characters, but it's different for me. The Han script belongs to the ancient language, so few Koreans know the exact meaning. In this era, I hope everyone, all genders when mentioning the temple name, will feel something close and friendly".

Moreover, the scriptures for daily recitation of the temple, the monk also translated them into Korean so that young and old everyone can read and understand the meaning. This was once again the same as my master's intention in Vietnam. Not only that, he also encouraged and motivated young people to come to the temple. Regardless of skin color, race, territory, status.... all are welcomed to return to this spiritual refuge. Therefore, the Abbot named the temple "Our Happy Temple". Now, everyone understands why the temple has such a name.


Jeonju, 2021.06.13 

Tam Dong

Translated into English by Lien My

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