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Korea Trip 2004 ~ Day 4: August 23rd
Day 3 began in KyungJu. This is the historic lands of the Shilla kingdom, and the land where the Hwarang prospered. The stops this day were famous for their connection to the Hwarang, their training and their lives. Hiking up to the Sokkuram Buddhist Stone Grotto was long awaited for many people. Books and pictures do not do this site justice - what a moving place to be. Even the rain that morning (the only of the trip) could not dampen one's spirits in this place!
The next stop was an equally famous site, the Bulguksa, the temple grounds made famous by the Hwarang in their hay day. An old cemetery even remains on the grounds of ancestral Hwarang. Touring this temple grounds, one could not help imagine what life was like for the Hwarang back in ancient times.
After another filling and delicious lunch, a stop was made at an astronomical observatory which happens to be one of the oldest in the East Asia area. This is located very near to the KuyngJu tombs, where courtiers and high ranking officials were buried during the Shilla dynasty.
The day didn't end there though as the present generation of Hwarang were able to pay their respects to one of their most famous ancestors, General Kim YooShin. A group bow was in order, as General Kim paved the way for his generation, and left an example to follow for all time.
Especially today his example of the Hwarang spirit is still encouraged in Korea. In modern times the Hwarang Educational Institute instills the development of excellence and character in Korea's youth. The Hwarang tradition is alive and well today!