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Audio Tour Part 1 by Flitworth

May 4th, 2008 9:25 AM

INSTRUCTIONS: Record an audio file of yourself in a strange place you like. Describe the place and why you like it in some detail. Explicitly state where you are.

This is the sound of chanting inside the Jogyesa Temple, "the largest Buddhist temple in Seoul", according to Lonely Planet. Although I don't have specific memories of the chanting I heard in the temples in Bangkok, I found that I had a much more visceral attraction to the chanting I heard in Jogyesa. I don't like photography in temples, even when it is permitted. In my eyes it is somewhat degrading. When I walk into a temple I feel lighter and I often spend at least a few minutes soaking up the atmosphere and attempting to live in the moment. Taking pictures, trying to trap a moment in a file, is so counter to my understanding of Buddhism that I can't bring myself to do it. Nonetheless, I was seized with the desire to record what I heard. I used my camera which is why the audio is not ideal and the file is a movie file* - I had the camera pointed at the floor throughout.

In Jogyesa Temple there are three golden statues of the Buddha . In front of the Buddhas were offerings of pears, seasonal squash, and flowers. It was crowded. The day this was recorded there was a high volume of worshippers and tourists. Next week is Buddha's birthday, so there was a parade and much celebratory lantern activity this weekend in the run up to the main event. Most of the floor space in front of the statues was covered by gray pillows and many Koreans, who were quite advanced in years, with prayer books and beads.

I don't just like it, I love it. If I hadn't been with a group of people I would have spent more time meditating. I am personally an atheist but agnostic on a principled basis. The lessons that have filtered to me from Buddhism relate to the important of mindfulness and of letting things go. I feel at peace in Buddhist temples, which seems strange given my absence of religiousness. So this place is not strange because that is an eternally subjective description - but it makes me feel strange. If I am smoke then only in temples, where it is still and windless, can I linger.

*If anyone happens to know how to make a .mov file or even a QT file into only a sound file I welcome your counsel.

- smaller



I made this lantern at the lantern festival, which is part of the celebration of Buddha's birthday. It isn't complete but I love it.

Jogyesa Chanting

Thanks to Loki for making this an audio file and revealing the mysteries of the Media Folder unto me! :)

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7 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Loki on May 4th, 2008 9:53 AM

Excellent completion.

And, you should find a copy of the audio track in your media folder.

(To extract it, I used mplayer. Specifically,"mplayer -identify filename" to get the audio format, then "mplayer -dumpaudio filename" to extract it, then rename stream.dump to a meaningful name with the appropriate extension. At least, that works in linux. Not sure how you'd do it on a non-unix-like platform, though in principle mplayer supports them.)

(no subject)
posted by done on May 4th, 2008 10:35 AM

That chanting is beautiful.
I spent a few months in Asia this winter and I can totally relate to your description of the place. After beeing in Asia for a while I foud myself always more attracted to the busy temples, not the quiet ones, seems that there is more "energy" the more people are around.
Buddhist temples are great places to just be there.

(no subject)
posted by GYØ Ben on May 4th, 2008 12:53 PM

"*If anyone happens to know how to make a .mov file or even a QT file into only a sound file I welcome your counsel."

Alternatively, put Audacity on Stereo Mixer, so it just records the sounds coming from your computer, and hit record on there, play the video, and you'll rip it right off.

It's the cheats' way out.

This whole completion is beautiful
posted by Spidere on May 4th, 2008 12:59 PM

I especially like the phrase, "If I am smoke then only in temples, where it is still and windless, can I linger."

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on May 4th, 2008 8:46 PM

This is beautiful. I love the chanting.

Happy Vesaak (as they call it in Sri Lanka)!
posted by Bex. on May 4th, 2008 9:13 PM

If I am smoke then only in temples, where it is still and windless, can I linger.

Sometimes I feel that way about a really good praxis write-up. Like this one.

(no subject)
posted by meredithian on June 16th, 2008 3:08 PM

again, wow.