Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Day in the Life

People have been asking, so thought I'd share: a typical day at 천장사 Cheonjangsa, my life for two weeks. As anyone who's experienced a one-night temple stay here in Korea can see, this isn't really your typical temple stay regimen. For me, it felt like just the right balance of free time and structure.

3:00am ~ Wake up; sometimes the cook would do a bit of breakfast prep (떡국ddeok guk or 죽juk)
3:10-3:20am ~ 예불 (yebul) Morning service
3:30-4:00 am ~ Meditation (my choice; others would spend this time bowing and praying)
4:00-6:00am ~ Nap (usually, sometimes I'd stay up and help prepare breakfast
6am ~ 스님 (Sunim)'s breakfast followed by cleanup
6:30am ~ Our breakfast
7:00-9:00am ~ Free time - usually I'd take a hike, or if I hadn't napped earlier, nap, or sometimes study Korean. I met with the head monk and some of the laypeople once or twice to drink tea and have a chat about meditation
9:00-11:00am ~ Lunch prep: Making banchan and rice and the main dish of the day, helping with other tasks as needed
Hitting the moktak, which we used as a dinner bell
10:20am ~ Prepare and bring the 마지 maji (rice offering) to the 법당 boptang (a task usually reserved for the apprentice monks but allocated to me while there)
11:00am ~ 스님 (Sunim)'s lunch
11:30am ~ Our lunch, or if we had laypeople here for the morning service, they would eat first and then we'd eat
11:30am-12:30pm ~ Eating and cleanup (lots of dishes)
12:30-4:00pm ~ Free time. I'd study Korean for a couple of hours, or go hiking if I hadn't gone in the morning, or go to the market with the head monk and some of the other laypeople. We went to the spa twice while I was there (once a week is just about right for me)
4:00-5:00pm ~ Dinner prep (usually lighter than lunch prep since we'd serve some of the same banchan and sometimes the same main dish)
 5:00pm ~ 스님 (Sunim)'s dinner
5:20pm or so ~ Our dinner
5:30-7:00pm ~ Free time - we might chat after dinner or maybe have tea together
7:00pm~ 예불 (yebul) Evening service
7:30-8:00pm ~ Meditation
8:00-9:00pm ~ Free time; we'd usually watch a drama or two (웃어라동해야), or I'd read or something
9:00-9:30pm ~ Bedtime

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