Re-Visiting A Traditional Korean Buddhist Temple
Baklimsa Temple – Catskills, NY
This is a follow-up post to my previous blog where I wrote about my first experience with a Traditional Korean Buddhist Temple that was nestled in upstate New York in the Catskills Region. Previously, as mentioned, I had visited Baklimsa during the hot summer months (even though the Temple was located in a mountainous region – it still was HOT 🥵). Nonetheless, I am a sucker for seasonal change, especially when Fall approaches. Luckily, my counter-part and amazing partner enjoys seasonal change as well. In fact, SHE was the one who convinced me to go with her once more to visit and take in the breathtaking views of the Fall foliage.
As Fall is here with winter around the corner from us, a return trip back to the Temple felt just right. The first thing we noticed was how pretty and immaculate the Temple grounds looked during the cool October day. The trees were mixed in colors as some of the leaves were still changing while others had changed completely and began to fall off their tree branches. As we stepped out of our vehicle, you could feel the pure energy flowing through the nature that surrounded the Temple grounds. It probably felt more harmonious as we were greeted by the sibling Temple dogs named Gumdong & Eundong. After we were smothered with kisses from the dogs, we then walked up towards the main Dharma Hall towards the Meditation Walking Path. As we took in the cool air while walking, we could hear the soothing sounds of birds chirping and other various sounds of nature. Being surrounded by mother nature herself made us even more excited and felt we made the right choice to re-visit Baklimsa.
While continuing our walk, we were greeted by one of the Abbots (Monks) who basically was the caretaker of the temple. We later found out that the Head Abbot was visiting another Temple in South Korea. After we said our hello and got a warm welcome, we were given a sudden suggestion. The Monk suggested we take the “Walking Trail” while embarking on the Walking Meditation Road, as the weather was perfect for it. We inquired a little more as she was right about one thing: the weather INDEED was perfect for a nice stroll. The Abbott gave us a little more details, as she said that the overall trail is a little over a mile, and all we had to do was follow the “Yellow” ribbons that are tied throughout the trees once we reach the Walking Trail entrance. OKAY – a little over a mile, sounds feasible right? NO PROBLEM, Let’s do it! We thanked the Abbot for graciously greeting us and giving us a nice tip to walk up the Walking Meditation Road and then eventually walk the Walking Trail that’s part of the Temple grounds.
The Walking Meditation Road was immaculate and gorgeous. The Fall weather definitely was noticeable as we walked across nothing but fallen leaves while basking in the additional colors of mother nature showcasing her seasonal change. We continued our walk while taking in fresh air with each and every breath we took. As we passed by additional monuments, rocks, logs and more, we couldn’t help but be thankful for being able to enjoy such a peaceful and tranquil walk through nature. After sometime, we reached the end of the Walking Meditation Road and came to what looked like an open entrance. We saw yellow ribbons tied around some trees and began to walk the “Walking Trail” as directed by the Abbot. As we walked about 5 mins, we immediately noticed something: the yellow ribbons all of a sudden turned pink. We didn’t pay it much mind as we just thought maybe they must’ve ran out of yellow ribbons? Anyway, we continued to follow the pink ribbon path, only to later figure out (the hard way), the pink ribbon path was MUCH MORE difficult. It definitely was not some walk through the park.
As we continued on the trail, we basically had to walk up and over broken tree branches, stones, and more. It was slightly arduous but we felt it was worth it, as it felt like we were getting some much needed exercise through this “hike” NOT A WALK. The overall hike ended up being a little over half an hour. I’ll admit, at one point I started getting a little nervous, as I did not know if we were on the right path and knowing that the overall Temple grounds was situated on over 100+ acres, I was starting to sweat a little worrying about how much longer we may need to walk, ha! Fortunately, as we continued to follow the pink ribbons tied across various trees, we finally ended up finding an exit path. After a long journey, we ended up walking out of the exit onto another walking road that eventually lead to the back pathway entrance to the Kitchen halls of the Temple grounds. Although the walk was a bit longer that I thought, the “hike” was really worth now that I think about it. Having the ability to walk through nature and enjoy the various sites, sounds and smells of what mother nature provides for us, was well worth the “sweat” endured. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in trying to avoid branches and walking through stumps and rocks, we did not have the mindset to take photos deep inside the walking trail woods. MAYBE NEXT TIME now that we’ve taken the trail once…