Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Naksansa, the day after

I went through pictures I'd taken at Naksan in the past two years and when I found a match to a photo I took this morning, I put them together below.

I arrived at Naksan at 8:00 this morning and was able to walk right in. I felt like a real reporter because they arrived the same time I did. It was sad to see the burnt areas but the first thing I noticed was the absence of all the vendors at the main gate.

before the fire Posted by Hello

after the fire Posted by Hello
In 2003, I helped guide an international group of ambassadors around this temple. The upper photo has the banner from that occassion.

after the fire Posted by Hello
I didn't have a good duplicate for these two (above and below). There should be another gate and a building behind the one visible. This is the oldest part of the temple and the missing building is the "Hall of the Great Veneration" or main hall. I did 108 prostrations twice here during an overnight stay.

still working at 8:00am Wed. Posted by Hello

still working on the fire Posted by Hello
I guess the wind had carried burning material high into trees because they were still working on this one at 8:00am.

before the fire Posted by Hello

after the fire Posted by Hello
Sorry about this photo being a little out of focus. If you've been here, this is the temple with the hole in the floor so you can see where the dragon arose and gave Ui-sung a jewel as a sign of his enlightenment.

after the fire Posted by Hello
This picture was taken from Ui-sung Dae, a well known place for seeing the sunrise. Normally the giant Kwaneum is hidden by the trees. I didn't actually get close to the boddhisatva of mercy but it seemed to retain it's white colour.

before the fire. Posted by Hello

after the fire Posted by Hello
Gone are the meeting/teaching hall, cafeteria and sleeping quarters.

undamaged Posted by Hello
I think this wooden Boddhisatva was undamaged. The hall that houses it was fine. The building is about 20-30 years old; it's the big one by the turtle pond.

after the fire Posted by Hello
More fire truck, fewer army trucks.

fire truck plates: Chungnam Province, Seoul, Kimpo and Daegu Posted by Hello

I spoke to some soldiers that spent the night fighting fires and gave them some can-coffee. At around 8:00 they were just leaving. They looked pretty tired.

A key point of Buddhism is accepting the impermenance of things. The temple site is ancient but monks aren't supposed to be excited about old building or possession on the site. As much as I admire the philosophy, I still had a few tears in my eyes (maybe because of the smoke, maybe).

I don't know about Korea, but I noticed in China that they were very good at building old looking buildings. I wonder how they will construct the new buildings.

Beware of fires, don't smoke. Posted by Hello

I suspect that the fire was caused by an inattentive or unlucky farmer, but only because I saw many farmers burning refuse in their fields. I don't know what the cause was for sure.


Anonymous said...

It was so nice of you to give some can-coffee to the soldiers. As a Korean, I'd like to express my thanks to you.

bangha said...

Thank you for your article and picture. AS you told, yours is like a reporter's one. I can get many more information than in the newpaper.

Third Mom said...

I visited Naksansa in 2001, and was heartbroken to hear of the fire. Of all the places I visited, this was the one I took back with me in my heart. Thank you for sharing your photos, although they are very hard to look at.