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South Korea

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
Korean children are competitive. Every student wants to be the first in certain things. When it comes to who gives a speech first, hardly anybody wants it. On the other hand, when it comes to whose homework log will be checked first or who will leave the hallway first after classes, everybody wants to be first. I’ve told some of my students many times not to run to my podium to show me their homework log at the end of class. They should not run because someone could get injured.

Tonight at 9:00 PM, the students darted out of the classrooms when the bell rang. When I turned off the lights and left the room, I noticed that down the hallway there was a little girl curled up on the floor crying. One of the Korean staff was squatting down next to her, showing care. All the other students were gone. They’ve been told countless times not to race down the hallway. Now, the inevitable has happened. I can’t wait to hear what comes of this incident on Monday.

It’s hard for me when I see children cry after something wrong or unfair happens to them.
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
This afternoon, I visited a Buddhist temple for the first time. It was my first Buddhist temple in Korea and my first Buddhist temple in my life.

I walked around in the garden looking at the flowers and buildings. There was something in Korean and English that explained the history of the temple complex. All I remember is that it was founded in the 19th century and that the residents are nuns.

After the stroll in the garden, I found the actual temple. I placed my loafers on the shoe rack and quietly entered. As I entered, I touched the threshold with my right hand and then touched my forehead and chest with the same hand. Inside was the fragrance of good incense that had been burned. In a prominent setting was a Buddha statue with two bodhisattvas (perhaps that’s what they were) on either side. With palms together, I made my pranāms. Then, I sat down and attempted to meditate. At first it was difficult because I was nervous due to being there for the first time. After a few minutes, I started to feel still. Overall, I spent 15–20 minutes meditating. About 15 minutes before closing time, I got up and left. I was the only person there, it seemed.

My overall experience at the temple complex was very nice. I’m considering going there once a week now.
 

Vinayaka

devotee
Premium Member
This afternoon, I visited a Buddhist temple for the first time. It was my first Buddhist temple in Korea and my first Buddhist temple in my life.

I walked around in the garden looking at the flowers and buildings. There was something in Korean and English that explained the history of the temple complex. All I remember is that it was founded in the 19th century and that the residents are nuns.

After the stroll in the garden, I found the actual temple. I placed my loafers on the shoe rack and quietly entered. As I entered, I touched the threshold with my right hand and then touched my forehead and chest with the same hand. Inside was the fragrance of good incense that had been burned. In a prominent setting was a Buddha statue with two bodhisattvas (perhaps that’s what they were) on either side. With palms together, I made my pranāms. Then, I sat down and attempted to meditate. At first it was difficult because I was nervous due to being there for the first time. After a few minutes, I started to feel still. Overall, I spent 15–20 minutes meditating. About 15 minutes before closing time, I got up and left. I was the only person there, it seemed.

My overall experience at the temple complex was very nice. I’m considering going there once a week now.
They are quiet, serene places. I've gone a couple of times to one near here. We're so lucky that within the dharmic faiths, we welcome each other in that way, and nobody really feels that our of place. We get a few Buddhist and Sikhs dropping by our temple just to sit, or make the rounds of the shrines. I hope you do find time for that few minutes of solace in a stressed life.
 

JustGeorge

Not As Much Fun As I Look
Staff member
Premium Member
This afternoon, I visited a Buddhist temple for the first time. It was my first Buddhist temple in Korea and my first Buddhist temple in my life.

I walked around in the garden looking at the flowers and buildings. There was something in Korean and English that explained the history of the temple complex. All I remember is that it was founded in the 19th century and that the residents are nuns.

After the stroll in the garden, I found the actual temple. I placed my loafers on the shoe rack and quietly entered. As I entered, I touched the threshold with my right hand and then touched my forehead and chest with the same hand. Inside was the fragrance of good incense that had been burned. In a prominent setting was a Buddha statue with two bodhisattvas (perhaps that’s what they were) on either side. With palms together, I made my pranāms. Then, I sat down and attempted to meditate. At first it was difficult because I was nervous due to being there for the first time. After a few minutes, I started to feel still. Overall, I spent 15–20 minutes meditating. About 15 minutes before closing time, I got up and left. I was the only person there, it seemed.

My overall experience at the temple complex was very nice. I’m considering going there once a week now.
That sounds like a beautiful experience. :)
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
They are quiet, serene places.

I agree. The whole place was that: quiet and serene.

We're so lucky that within the dharmic faiths, we welcome each other in that way, and nobody really feels that our of place.

Even though I didn’t encounter anyone there, I felt welcome. Not in the sense of ‘welcoming’ myself in, but in the sense that I am a kindred soul. And yeah, I did not feel very out of place.

We get a few Buddhist and Sikhs dropping by our temple just to sit, or make the rounds of the shrines.

That’s pretty good.

I hope you do find time for that few minutes of solace in a stressed life.

Thanks, Vinayakaji.

That sounds like a beautiful experience. :)

It really was! For my meditation, I did mental nāma japa with each breath, in and out.
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
My students never fail to amuse me!

Today, when I was editing essays, I came across this…

‘If you hurt your head, you have to go hospital. But if you don’t have money, the doctor can shoot you. Sorry you can’t go hospital.’

Another thing that I found today was a couple of interesting errors on a vocabulary test. The student had to spell poop deck and define it as ‘A high deck.’ Instead of that, she wrote poop desk and defined it as ‘A high desk.’

A few weeks ago, I walked to the nearest GS25 during a break to buy a snack and something to drink. As I was in line, there were a couple of elementary students from my academy ahead of me trying to pay for some items that they did not have enough money for. I asked one of them how much he needed. After he answered me, I handed him a little more than what was required. He then looked so grateful and said to me, ‘Thank you! You are a very good boy! You are very handsome!’ What he said made me laugh out loud on spot.
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
In post #63, I mentioned that I had visited a Buddhist temple for the first time in Korea and in my whole life. Ever since that time, I have been visiting the temple almost every weekend. I walk to the temple complex, which takes about 50 to 58 minutes. I also walk back home from it. Every time that I visit the temple, I bring something to present to the Buddha at the altar. Many people leave paper money, bottles of water, and small cartons of milk. People can also offer incense at the altar. I typically leave paper money and offer incense. Anyway, the whole temple complex is a peaceful place and I find it beneficial to go there. One time, a nun greeted me and asked me where I was from. After I replied, she asked me if I liked bread and then she handed me a piece of medium sized round bread in a vinyl wrapper. We both bowed to each other with añjali mudrā. The nuns wear grey robes during services and events. At other times, they wear grey attire that looks Chinese.

In one of my classes, I have a male student of elementary age who seems to admire me. I have many students like that, but this one really stands out. He likes to say, 'Teacher, I love you! Will you marry me?' I told another foreign teacher about it and she said that she has a female student who asks her to marry her. Lol. I figure then that students asking their teachers to marry them is a thing here. They are not serious, of course. I think they 'pop the question' if they just really like their teacher.

Other than that, it has been very cold lately. Winters here are cold, yes, but we are in a cold wave at the moment. The highs have been at freezing or around freezing. Fortunately, there is such thing as floor heating. I feel for those who cannot afford floor heating at this time of year, especially when there is a cold wave. Many individuals, for instance, who escape from North Korea and live here by themselves don't receive enough welfare money to afford to use the floor heating, so they have to wear more layers (it is difficult for some of them to find decent jobs due to their lack of computer skills and even trivial matters such as their accents). Fortunately, spring is around the corner.
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
Tonight, one of my students, of middle school age, who I haven’t seen in about a month returned to class. When I asked him where he has been, he answered that he was in Thailand. Then, I asked him if he liked that country. He said, ‘There is a major problem in Thailand.’ Concerned, I asked, ‘What is going on there?’ His answer: ‘There are transgender there.’ Later, he told me that he went there on a mission. This sort of mindset, from what I understand, is popular in Korea. One time, I received in the mail a pamphlet from an institution whose name translated as ‘National Coalition Against Homosexuality.’ The pamphlet talked about the ‘problem’ of transpeople in the West and that it could appear in Korea unless Koreans vote ‘No’ on an anti-discrimination proposition. Anyway, it’s amazing that some Koreans think transpeople in Thailand are a ‘problem’ there while so many Koreans despise Thai people for being of darker skin and having lower incomes. Why the hell then should they be so concerned about transgendered Thai people?
 

JustGeorge

Not As Much Fun As I Look
Staff member
Premium Member
Tonight, one of my students, of middle school age, who I haven’t seen in about a month returned to class. When I asked him where he has been, he answered that he was in Thailand. Then, I asked him if he liked that country. He said, ‘There is a major problem in Thailand.’ Concerned, I asked, ‘What is going on there?’ His answer: ‘There are transgender there.’ Later, he told me that he went there on a mission. This sort of mindset, from what I understand, is popular in Korea. One time, I received in the mail a pamphlet from an institution whose name translated as ‘National Coalition Against Homosexuality.’ The pamphlet talked about the ‘problem’ of transpeople in the West and that it could appear in Korea unless Koreans vote ‘No’ on an anti-discrimination proposition. Anyway, it’s amazing that some Koreans think transpeople in Thailand are a ‘problem’ there while so many Koreans despise Thai people for being of darker skin and having lower incomes. Why the hell then should they be so concerned about transgendered Thai people?
I hadn't realized there was so much hostility between South Korea and Thailand.
 

mangalavara

हर हर महादेव
Premium Member
I hadn't realized there was so much hostility between South Korea and Thailand.

It’s not so much that there is hostility between the two countries, I think. I’ve read before that so many Koreans tend to look down on Thais and Southeast Asians in general for really superficial reasons. Lately, Thai tourists have been turned away by the South Korean government. This is apparently due to there being Thais working in South Korea illegally.
 
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