The hall was full of women singing louder or more quiet main mantra of the Temple...or sutra...Byang Seum Bo Sal and so on like this on and on and on again. They were sitting in the lotus position or not, but as 2, 3 day pilgrims some of them, especially children, had given up on their buddhist duties and gradually fell asleep. To be frank, I made it up to 1 am on the prayers. Later we tried to get a nap, just like other ladies around us.
At 03:20 sharp we were told to appear in front of Dharma Hall. As we went out of our hot sleeping/praying place I saw millions of stars. Total silence surrounded us. Tree tops glisened in the misty light of stars and snow crunched under our feet. We followed monks inside the Temple...in the middle of the night voices of the lama started...what did they sing, what did they speak that I don't know yet. Not for me to comprehend with my limited Korean skills. Not yet.
After the celebration we went out. Our name cards remained inside on our seats. Someone prayed for us. Maybe for fortune or maybe for wisdom. Insight into the right steps. Who knows.
It was then under the stars of the provinsial Korean sky when I realised what I am actually doing. Why am I here and not on a couch in Warsaw. Why am I always on the go.
When I was a kid I read stories of a writer who created my favorite book character, so alive that I still can see how he looks like in front of my eyes. He was a young guy with special curiosity about the world. With his father and friends travelled across the globe to gather animals for Hagenbeck Zoo in Berlin. In one of the stories he goes to Tibet via Himalaya to rescue a friend and in search of gold. Snowblinded ends up in Lhasa Temple where lamas in the buddhist-lamaistic shrine take care of him. Soon after he joins their daily routine out of curiosity....
And it was me Tomek or Tomek me who joined lamas on the morning walk with their praying rosaries in hands. It was me Tomek or Tomek me who walked around the temple. The bells and the gongs made it even more magic. Was it Tibet 100 years ago or was it Guinsa in 21st century? I no longer knew. I knew that I was born to do just the same. Travel. Experience. Gather reality around me and share it with people. If I ever cried with relief it was then.
In an hour we were back in our hot sleeping place. Ladies in trans did not disturb me any longer. I have regained my curiosity of who they are and why they do what they do.
Breakfast had given an answer to my questions regarding sunim. She shared the story of her life with us at that time. Used to be a tv and radio journalist in her previous life and a catholic converted into a buddhist at some point in her path. Found her sense and the meaning in serving the community. She may wear grey jacket and modest uniform but her energy of a reporter is still there. Once we have it we have it forever. That was the reason why I felt connection and why I knew instantly we would stay in touch.
To be continued....