Saturday, April 3: My first adventure with my friend Kathy in her Matiz is an attempted trip to Gyeongju. We get on the highway and see signs for Gwangju. It turns out Gwangju is near the southwesternmost tip of Korea, on the opposite side of the country from Gyeongju, but we think, because of the multitudes of misspelled transliterations throughout the country, that they are the same. We believe we are going east toward Gyeongju, but instead find ourselves in the Gaya Mountains on the west side of Daegu. Of course Gwangju is still miles and miles away. I keep wondering why we’re seeing signs for Seongju, where we teach, to the west of Daegu.
We end up salvaging the trip by exploring the Haeinsa Temple in the Gaya Mountains, which is perfectly lovely.
Haeinsa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in the Gaya Mountains in South Gyeongsang Province. Haeinsa is most notable for being the home of the Tripitaka Koreana, the whole of the Buddhist Scriptures carved onto 81,350 wooden printing blocks, which it has housed since 1398. Sadly Kathy and I don’t see this today. Since we come upon this place by happenstance, it’s only later that we discover what we missed.
We walk around the temple complex on this cool spring day. There seems to be some kind of festival going on, but we have no idea what it is. Colorful lanterns are strung up along all the pathways and it seems to be quite crowded and festive.
We have lovely time exploring the Haeinsa Temple, even if it wasn’t our intended destination. 🙂