Tuesday, April 24, 2012
photo-vid of the Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival
There's really no way to put a "Buddhist twist" on this to justify taking part in the festival without being full of bull, but being a Taurus, my ox-ilian nature couldn't resist this year.
I'd seen the bull-fighting on TV my first week in Korea, seven years ago, but hadn't found my way there yet. The festival is just a 40 minute bus ride through the mountains and around the "Persimmon Village" from our new house, so I finally got the chance.
Though they might end up with a little blood around their horns, there was no goring. They just butt heads for a few minutes until one suddenly backs off and runs around the ring a bit. None of them were hurt. And if they didn't want to engage, it was over, immediately. They were lead but not forced into battle. The festival has a 1000 year history in the area. Its roots are in a game between local herdsmen, when their bulls would shove each other around, trying to establish grazing territory in the fields.
And honestly, I do find it an interesting contrast to the "ox herding" metaphor, so prominent in Korean Zen. Ox head-butting is more like a living metaphor for not following the path...