It was an almost 1.5 km walk uphill from the Haein-sa bus stop to the temple, over roads and paths that were not always paved. I didn't let out a single word of complaint, even though it was pouring rain and my suitcase was heavy and my umbrella was missing its handle - proof that I can tolerate discomfort with monk-like equanimity.
Up at the temple, I sat barefoot on the floor and chatted with a monk while we waited for the lady in charge of accommodation to arrive. Her English was rough, but as it turned out, she had studied flute for some years at the music university in Vienna. So, unbelievably enough, I found myself up in the mist-shrouded Gaya Mountains of Gyeongsang, checking in and receiving my temple-stay instructions in German.
Dinner was taken at 6.10 sharp in the dining hall, which is one big room with separate entrances and tables for monks and visitors. I'd been told that mealtimes were to be absolutely silent. I did notice a few of the monks whispering to each other (troublemakers), but it was pretty close to silent. When have I ever eaten a meal without speaking or entertaining myself with books, TV, or computer? I'm fairly sure the answer is never.
I'm not sure which I liked better - the period between dinner and evening chants, when the temple was closed to the public and everything was quiet and serene, or the couple of hours after breakfast when the temple was closed to the public and everything was quiet and serene. I spent my morning hiking up and down the hills to some of the other temples and taking in some of the forest trails. By the time I had to run off to catch the bus back to Daegu, I was feeling pretty enamored of life as a Buddhist monk.