Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Americas, Asia, Colombia, Korea, Narratives, Religion | One Comment

From the middle of the winding dirt road, we heard an engine roar in the distance. Bryan, the Canadian, and Sunnim, the Chinese monk from my Korean class, stopped in their tracks. “Was that the bus?” Bryan asked, with a wrinkle forming on his forehead. I sheepishly looked at Bryan, knowing it was my fault […]

A peek inside a Buddhist sculpture studio

A peek inside a Buddhist sculpture studio

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Art + Design, Asia, Korea, Photography, Religion | 2 Comments

Over the past few years, I’ve attended an array of lantern parades and festivals throughout Asia, filled with skillfully-crafted floats and lanterns. I snapped the photo above at the Buddha’s birthday lantern parade in 2009, and ever since, I’ve been curious as to how these massive, fragile works of art are created. Surprisingly, I happened […]

Prayers and fortune telling at a Taoist temple

Prayers and fortune telling at a Taoist temple

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Asia, Culture, Narratives, Religion, Taiwan | 3 Comments

“Before we eat dinner at the night market, we’re going to pray,” Olivia’s mom said as we stopped in front of a Taoist temple in Taichung. My Taiwanese friend Olivia turned to me, “We’re only doing this because you’re here. We rarely go to the temple.” I smiled, thinking about all the times my parents […]

Notes from the covert world of Korean shamanism

Notes from the covert world of Korean shamanism

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Asia, Culture, Korea, Narratives, Religion | No Comments

CELINE CROSSED HER LEGS and took a long drag of her cigarette. “The shaman told me my grandmother’s hometown. She pointed to it on a map,” she recounted in her thick French accent. “Later, the adoption agency gave me the exact same information.” A couple other exchange students and I sat on perpendicular wooden benches […]

Rising before dawn in the mountains: a Buddhist templestay at Geumsansa

Rising before dawn in the mountains: a Buddhist templestay at Geumsansa

Geumsansa, one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Korea, lies in the quiet, western foothills of Moak Mountain, located in North Jeolla province. “Moaksan, the so-called ‘Mother Mountain’, is the cradle of many different indigenous religions. The mountain’s shape looks like a mother cradling her baby, just as Moaksan embraces Geumsansa,” says the Templestay program. The […]

Holy… Jesus boats!

Holy… Jesus boats!

It’s no surprise that Catholicism has seeped into Filipino culture since the beginning of Spanish colonization, but–I wasn’t quite expecting every mode of transportation– from taxis to tricycles to jeepneys to boats– to bear scripture, prayers, and bold names like “Holy Infant I, II, III and IX.” Taken off the coast of Alona Beach on […]