images of the crossing over

Morning walk, 5.7

Yesterday was Mother’s Day; tomorrow is Buddha’s Birthday. From the fulcrum between the two, sending wishes for everyone’s happiness!

At the (hidden) central point where the three main ridges in this picture meet is our school. You’d hardly know it’s there; most folk don’t until they get out of their car and walk along the traditional retaining wall that outlines the temple’s courtyards through our front gate. If you climb any of these ridges, the temple’s obvious, of course: large, geometric, carving out a sand-and-slate-colored mandala from the otherwise verdant landscape. But our visibility is only from above. From the side, on approach, the temple gives off an air of reticence. Other than our courtyard’s wall, the familiar swooping double-curve of our tiled roofs reveal us; but slowly and quietly without fanfare.

The paddy in the foreground used to belong to the temple, until the nuns stopped cultivating rice and barely. Now the lands are rented out to area farmers. The mountain in the center of the picture is one part of the larger set of peaks and ridges known as “Crane Mountain.” From the interior of the mountains, looking at the peak from an opposite slope, it takes on the aspect of a crane about to lift its wings in flight.

In the left of the picture, two ridges reach down; they form the two arms of the bowl-shaped mountain known as “Reclining Tiger Mountain.” (You can see another view of that ridge here, looking directly between the outstretched arms.) The ridge on the right side of the picture leads up to General’s Rock, a prominent part of the landscape around here.

Between the tigers and the generals, the temple maintains its low profile. Even the color and buzz of Buddha’s Birthday hasn’t brought the temple out from the mountains. It remains, as it was intended to be, a place to be sought, discovered, and seen, and nothing more.


9 responses

  1. beautiful image and description. thank you!

    and happy Buddha’s birthday!

    May 9, 2011 at 1:11 am

    • Thank you, and you too! Happy Buddha’s Birthday!

      May 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

  2. Wow, it looks like fabulous geomancy. Good place to practice!

    May 9, 2011 at 2:26 am

    • Any place’s is a good place; but yes, we like it here. *grin*

      May 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

  3. And a Happy Belated Buddha’s Birthday! I didn’t know about your site until talking with Velveteen Rachel here in Montreal last weekend; so happy to find you here, so happy to see these beautiful pictures and written glimpses into your life. Wishing you the best; I will be back. /\

    May 15, 2011 at 1:01 am

  4. Kumyeon

    Oh my goodness, I just found your blog through a link from Ox Herding. I can’t believe it–I visited your temple with a group from the Korea Society in the fall of 2009, and I have been wondering about you and the other sunim ever since. You were so kind to us and showed me your textbooks (with impressive trilingual notes), and answered our questions. That visit was a really beautiful thing for me. I’m so glad to have found this. BTW, Kumyeon is my dharma name and I never use it online but decided to test it out starting here.

    Now I need to go back and read the rest of your blog. 🙂

    May 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm

  5. How wonderful that the world gets smaller everyday. I was directed to your site by the information you left at WOWH. Your photos are very nice. There is a wonderful collection of photos at WOWH – some I have posted and others I have used for inspiration. I hope you choose to post some of your photos there. Continued good wishes with your studies. ~Jules

    May 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    • Thank you, Jules! I’ll definitely look more closely at WOWH.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

  6. Interesting blog, Venerable. I will be following. 🙂

    June 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

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