Hongreanam (홍련암), perched on a cliff at the edge of the eastern coast and facing the sea. I saw it last Wednesday on a trip with my family & was rather impressed by the overall look of the place–charming size, pleasing location–but it was easy not to fall in love because it was so crowded and bustling. That fairly killed the dramatic juxtaposition of Solitary Fragile Wooden Structure Stands Unperturbed Next To Vast Roaring Sea.
The Chinese characters which form the name collectively mean “red lotus miniature Buddhist temple.” “Hong” (紅) for red. “rean” (蓮) for lotus. And “am” (庵) for amsa (암사), which refers to a diminutive Buddhist temple. No lotuses, much less red ones, but a profusion of hydrangeas.
Not quite at Hongreanam, but nearby, I observed the most winsome (I wanted to use the word “adorable,” but it doesn’t seem quite appropriate on such a serious old man poring so sombrely over his book!) monk reading on a bench. He had a toothbrush tucked into his pocket. I was irrationally delighted because the monk made such a convincing anachronism, what with his Chinese letters and complete disregard for the excited tourist hopping about him making a fuss. But I know I was just being silly. Dental health is very important. Your body is a temple.