Friday, May 13, 2011

The Gwangdae Performance and Buddha's Birthday

May 8th, 2011
Had a meeting of our dissertation support group with Jenny, Bonnie and Shannon – we brainstormed and gave feedback on writing we had shared—beyond awesome.

In the early evening we watched a performance by 광대 The Gwangdae at 광화문 Gwanghwamun. That's Changyeol, Daecheon, Yeongho etc.'s group. It was quite unexpected. I mean, I thought I knew the direction they were heading with this performance, more towards mask dance drama, but clearly I was mistaken. In the performance everyone is under the thrall of the business world until 이매 Imae (from 하회별신굿탈놀이 Hahoi Byeolshin'gut Talnoli) comes along to wake them up to fun. They turn into squid, then get hooked on religion (literally, but a fisherman with a giant lure and hooks with each religion's symbols on them). Uh? I need to talk to Changyeol some more about it.

After the show Karjam and I went to dinner with Sejeong.

May 9th, 2011
I stayed home and worked on the computer

May 10th, 2011
It was Buddha's Birthday in Korea so I dragged Karjam (who wanted to stay home and keep preparing to record his CD) out of the house. We went to 봉원사 Bongwon Temple, one of my favorites, the head temple of the Taego Order (태고종) and it was a very sweet scene there. Busy and bustling, but we went into each of the halls, did our bows (I did my long series of bows in the 대웅전), offered donations, lit incense, etc. It felt really awesome. Then I went to 조계사 Jogye Temple, the head temple of the 조계종 and I should have known better. It was a mad house. And muddy. And full of people shaking donation boxes and there was a guy on a loud speaker who was –not- chanting. Everyone had cameras out, tons of tourists and there was a LONG line to even get into the hall to do bows. We got out of there pretty fast. I hate seeing Buddhism demeaned in that sort of way. I guess it's a bit like the Catholics who don't want the Christmas and Easter people crowding them out. But at least people aren't standing on stools to take photos of you when you want do what Catholics do in the cathedral (is there communion on those big holiday days?)

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