South Korea is primarily a Buddhist country. Although you can find other religions here, such as Christianity, Buddhist temples are the religious buildings that prevail here. In some of them live only one monk alone, in the others find shelter hundreds and thousands of them. Every monk has a role here. Some of them cook in the kitchen, others care about greenhouses or work in the information centre.
A home here found also a female monk Hyeonduk, who is helping at the info centre reception. Even though you should never ask the monk about her age, Hyeonduk tells us with a smile. But it’s not that easy. The monks distinguish two different things. One is the age as we know it, and the other is the so-called Buddhist age or the time a person is a monk or a nun. Hyeonduk is a 55-year-old lady who has been meditating for twenty years. Monks choose the place where they do their practice themselves. Therefore we ask our guide why she decided to live in Guinsa. She winks and says,
“I once cooked my dinner at a temple where I was alone, and at that moment it occurred to me. Why bother cooking when I can meditate and let others cook for me? So she decided to move here.”