Sunset at Unmunsa

Unmunsa is alive.  It's a temple that feels alive.  It feels lived in and worked in and worshipped in.  It's a place where the number of monks with shaved heads and gray robes nearly matches the number of outsiders walking through.  I enjoyed Manbulsa, but there was something gawdy, something over-the-top about the whole place.  It's a great temple, but Unmunsa brings a simplicity.  A quietness, both literally and figuratively.  There are no thirty meter gold statues, and instead of rows of buddhas greeting you on the road up, the road to Unmunsa is lined with old trees with red bark and deep green needles.  Manbulsa sprawls and reaches and requires at least a golf cart to see it all in an afternoon.  Unmunsa is compact, the buildings all close together in a central area.  It's a big area, but everything is so much closer together.  

At Unmunsa, the buildings are older.  Unlike many of the Korean temples I've visited, the gate at Unmunsa shows its age.  The paint is peeling and the wood is splintering.  Somehow the signs of aging give it a kind of authenticity.  There's also a tree that's supposed to be five-hundred years old.  That kind of age causes some pause.  Some time to stop and think about what a five-hundred year old tree has been on this Earth for.  We stayed at Unmunsa for nearly an hour, walking through the temple buildings, walking through the gardens, waiting for the sun to set.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.
The setting was really beautiful.  Just out of frame to the right is a mountain with a tan rock face.  As the sun set we watched the stone change from brown, to pink, to orange.  

The monks live right on the grounds.  The area where their rooms are is off limits, but they were wandering through the whole time we were there.  If you want to see some monks in action, this might be the place.

The 500 year old tree!  Apparently it gets fed magkeolli once a year.  Magkeolli is a Korean alcohol that makes your organs hurt, but makes trees happy.

There are still flowers hanging on.  I really like these shots with the 10mm, the vignetting and distortion in the corners give the picture an almost 3d look.

As we were leaving the monks entered the bell tower for some kind of ceremony.

Almost none of my pictures have people in them, but I'd really like to change that.  I'm just not comfortable getting in people's faces.  

Love these tiny buddhas hiding out.

I think this is a four picture panorama of the drum.  You can see the wear and tear on this thing, and if you zoom in, you should see a ton of detail.

The main gate.  I'm frustrated because I have a 40 picture panorama that's so detailed you can read the lettering on the bell, but Google keeps telling me it's too big.  I'll post it over in my Smugmug.

One day, two temples.  It was a great Sunday as we said goodbye to summer.  Our Chuseok trip was a bust, but I do have one post from a detour we ended up taking on our way back to Pohang.  Korean traffic is unreal, next year I won't be driving anywhere.

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