Anyway, during my trek through any and every temple, I discovered something interesting that appears to be particular to Korean Buddhists. (But I could be wrong here. I admit that I did very little research on this topic. Okay it was one internet search. So if I'm wrong, feel free to blame the internet.) Anyway, what I found during my travels appeared to be compulsive rock stacking! That's right. People were stacking up little piles of rocks and big piles of rocks and piles of rocks on top of other piles of rocks and even piles of rocks on other tourists who sat still too long! Alright that last part I can't actually prove but based on the other evidence, I'm pretty sure it happens anyway. You see, originally these rocks were stacked on purpose. I'm not sure if they were purely decorative or if they had the purpose the wisdom of the internet discusses, mainly that rocks are stacked as a way of making wishes and the different rocks may be different family members and different wishes. Whether this is true or not is TOTALLY not something I can attest to. What I saw seemed to just be a compulsion... at least it turned out to be that way after I'd seen enough piles of rocks myself.
Here is what the piles that are really old and obviously intentional look like:
Now you'll notice that while this was the first temple in Korea that I saw, already I am obviously drawn to the rocks... I think they might be magnetic.... Maybe I could have even stuck spoons to my forehead like those kids you also see on the internet... I really should have tried it... but I didn't think of it until just now. CURSES!!!
Anyway, if you look at the bottom of the second picture you can see where there are some other more avante garde rock piles as well, but here are more...
This isn't just gravel here. Trust me, it's all intentionally stacked up over every open surface!
At this temple it looked like they'd set up display stations that people had then built on... then moved to the ground as well.
See?! It keeps going! It was rampant... and contagious!
Look at the stack on the top left. Obviously there was a math major here before me. They made pi!!!
It really should surprise no one that after staring at all these rocks, I eventually went like a lemming to the cliffs! I couldn't stand it anymore! I had to stack rocks too. I did it here...
And again here...
But then I found out that there were more serious stackers than me! Check this out!!!!
Now that is some serious rock stacking! Alright, this is supposed to be the standing stones, but really. Is it Asian Stonehenge or is it a really muscular Korean Buddhist. You decide.
Through this whole experience, there was finally one thought that hit me. I need to write a book about this! Really! That's what happened! And I already knew the book I wanted to write. Have you read those books If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? It's about the series of things that would happen if you originally gave a mouse a cookie. It goes through the mouse wanting milk, cleaning your house, tap dancing, building a tree house, and then circles back to it being thirsty for milk and wanting a cookie again. It's genius and I swear all those things make sense that they follow one another in the book... as long as you're about 5 and willing to sort of suspend disbelief. Because mice can't tap dance, people. I'm just sayin'. But anyway, my new book (my only book but don't spread that part around) will be titled If You Give a Buddhist a Rock. And it's going to be really short. Because if you give a Buddhist a rock... he's going to want to stack it... then he's pretty much just going to want another rock. It's a vicious cycle here, dear readers and loyal subjects. Now quick. Someone find me a rock!