Sunday, May 9: In the morning, B & I slept in and then took off by bus to see Dosan Seowan, a Confucian school founded by Korea’s foremost Confucian scholar, Yi Toe-gye, whose portrait is on the front of the 1,000 won bill. The complex is set on terraces and the architecture is classical Confucian style. The best thing about this place is its setting. It’s perched on the side of a mountain with a river below; it’s so beautiful 🙂 This was my favorite place in Andong… so peaceful and lovely….
The mountain cliff to the east of Dosan Seowan is Cheonyeondae, borrowed from the Book of Odes; it means “a kite flies high in the sky and fish play around in the pond.” The cliff to the west of Dosan Seowan is Unyeongdae, quoted from a passage from Jujas poem, Gwanseoyugam “light, cloud and shadow turn and turn together.” The combined name of the two cliffs, Cheongwangunyeongdae, is a place of nature constructed “to awake the profound meaning of nature and to speculate on the mysterious truth of nature.”
Finally, B had enough and decided to return home. We returned to Andong, where she gathered her bags and took off for her home. I, however, was determined to see the Jebiwon Buddha. So I took another bus to this far-flung place.
A huge rock sculpture Buddha, the Jebiwon Buddha is believed to be a representation of the Amita Buddha. Below the Buddha is the tiny temple Yeonmi-sa. Jebiwon was disappointing in one way because I thought I’d have to hike deep into the woods to see it; instead it sits really close to the roadside and next to a flat park with no shade! Since you can see it from the road, it could be just a drive-by.
However, when you walk up the stairs and past the little temple, the Jebiwon Buddha looms high on your right and another huge boulder is to the left. In between is a good-sized cubicle where Buddhists can pray and make offerings to the Buddha. Between these boulders it’s very cool, a lovely quiet respite from the heat!
I also sat in the little temple and tried to meditate for about 20 minutes (of course I’m never any good at that…); the temple was so cool and serene. I loved it up close to the heart of this Jebiwon Buddha!!
I am realizing in my travels that all I need to make me happy is a cool breeze, a lovely setting, some nice music, and something unusual to look at. I’m very easily pleased:-)
It takes me quite a long time to find a ride back to Andong from the Jebiwon Buddha because it’s quite off the beaten path. I wait a long time by the road, trying to make some kind of sense out of the bus schedule, but I can’t decipher it; nor does any bus show up. Finally a nice Irish couple who is wandering around offers me a ride back to Andong. That’s good luck for me because, otherwise, I might still be there today. 🙂