Meeting with History through Backpacking to Gangjin
Meeting with History through Backpacking to Gangjin
  • Lee Jung seungji 기자
  • 승인 2007.12.15 14:43
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Dasan's Remains

Dasan’s Remains

Under rather cloudy weather, we arrived in front of Dasan’s Remains.  Dasan Jung Yak-Yong was a great man of the “Practical Learning” movement in Joseon’s Neo- Confucian thought.  He won King Jungjo’s favor because he not only was a great philosopher but also made many inventions like Gerjungky (windlass).  However after the death of King Jungjo, he was removed from government by political situation for 18 years.  He lived for ten years in a thatched cottage separated from the main building of a house.  He wrote some 500 volumes on such far reaching subjects as philosophy and ethics, politics and the economy, science, public administration, literature and the joy of tea drinking.

 The way to Dasan’s was very steep because his cottage is located in mountain.  Along the passage, I thought about Dasan Jung Yak-Yong.  It was very unfair punishment for him to be expelled.  Some high officials were banished to other sites that were nice.  Although they were exiled from government, actually they were not really punished.  Dasan was really a high and distinguished official and didn’t get the right punishment but he was banished.  Why was he equal to the action?  What did he think in those days?  When I reached Dasan’s thatched cottage, I felt so sad.  The circumstance of the home on the mountain’s breast seemed to be like a jail.  Although now the thatched cottage is repaired, in those days it was a thatch-roofed house like the home of common people.  He wrote as many as five hundred books in such a small room.  He carved a big letter on the stone ‘丁石’(Jung Seok).  Why did he carve such letters?  Almost people didn’t know the reason and I was too.  We did nothing but guess depending on personal notion.  I could appreciate the beautiful landscape of Gangjin gulf in nearby pavilion.  I looked at the view for long time, thinking of Dasan who saw the scenery like me.  I felt really lonely and tantalizing.  So I guessed probably he felt alone and frustrating during those ten years.  Nevertheless he wasn’t foiled his life and he made many accomplishments while he was banished, so I respect him indeed and to follow his example.  I could feel his truthfulness, sincerity and self-respect in the site.  He was a man of the Joseon upper classes.

Baekryeon Temple

From Dasan’s remains to Baekryeon Temple, we walked around one kilometer.  Baekryeon Temple was established at the end of Koryo Dynasty by eight reputable monks.  Above all things, walking was difficult with too many mosquitoes.  We became completely the prey of mosquitoes.  As I shared my blood with mosquitoes, I could listen to the chanting of Buddhist scripture in the mountain.  The sound was strangely fixed with landscape of mountain.

When I reached Temple Baekryeon, I was well and truly exhausted by walking all day.  However I marveled at many camellias.  The camellias of Temple Baekryeon are a precious natural treasure designated by Korea Government.  However the history of the camellias around the temple is not as beautiful as the camellias.  In the Joseon dynasty, Japanese invaders broke into the Temple and plundered people and property frequently.  So, monks could not but fight with the invaders.  And then they planted camellias to hide and protect the Temple.  Now the camellias played an aesthetic role.  When I arrived, people were paying homage to Buddha for a dead person.  This was the first time I experienced such things.  It was strange for me but I watched to the end.  After the worship, we sat down before the main sanctuary.  This was really peaceful!  My friend said, “Probably people could not help drawing the picture, seeing such landscape.”  Although we were tired, we survived vividly.  The emotion filled my mind and I true felt happy.

Around Baekryeon Temple

Traveling in a new place and getting out of daily life are more than enjoyment.  Scenes and people that are different from my experience stimulate me and make me think about myself and society belonging to me.  Won’t you experience those joy through backpacking? 

1. Prepare your trip in advance if you want to have a more enjoyable trip.
2. Bring spare money for transportation and a room to sleep.   
3. Do ample justice to the past.  Prepare snack or chocolate.
4. Meet local people and communicate with them.
5. Don’t have too many plans for one day.

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