The main hall and courtyard at Donghaksa Temple in Gonju, Chungcheongnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
I had first visited Donghaksa Temple, just outside Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, back in 2004. Ever since quickly visiting the temple in the spring of 2004, on a late afternoon day with a friend, I had wanted to go back. The opportunity to revisit this beautifully situated temple came during the summer of 2011.
Unlike the previous time I had visited Donghaksa Temple, the sky was overcast and starting to rain. I was feeling a bit unwell, and the weather certainly wasn’t helping.
The long walk up to the temple was a bit hazardous, as they were just starting to lay the ground work for paving the road. However, during this stage of construction, and because of the rain, the road was nothing more than a massive mud puddle.
The beautiful stream that flowed beside the muddy road at Donghaksa Temple.
During our trek up to the temple through the mud, it had been raining on and off. Sometimes it was nothing more than spitting and other times it was a deluge. Having finally arrived at the temple courtyard, we started to explore Donghaksa Temple when the rain rolled in once more. Not only that, but it brought thunder and lightning with it. With umbrella in hand, a la a lightning rod, we quickly took shelter in the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Other than the occasional nun that went running by seeking shelter, my wife and I were the only ones crazy enough to visit a temple during a thunderstorm.
The downpour as seen from the Samseong-gak.
With all that being said, and if it’s possible for a temple to be romantic, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. As the rains beat down all around us, and the thunder and lightning lit up the neighbouring valleys with noise and light, we looked out onto the storm without a care in the world. It was just the two of us, in the eye of a storm, waiting for the storm to pass us by as we hunkered down.