Buddhism has been a big part of South Korea for over 1700 years. At Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam district, located in the heart of Seoul, you can experience the most cultural, exotic temple stay program. By taking part in the temple stay seoul, you'll get a better insight of the country and culture as well as a chance to achieve self-realization. Practice your inner peace through meditation and lots of different activities at the 1,200 year old Bongeunsa Temple.
The program begins with a tour introducing the temple. Bongeunsa Temple was built in 794 during Shilla dynasty and is considered one of the most historic Buddhist temples in South Korea. Naturally enough, the temple is filled with a number of historic materials which will be introduced during the tour.
Orientation for the stay is also provided, introducing some of the basic temple stay etiquette that you should keep in mind while staying at Bongeunsa Temple.
Meditation is the key of Buddhist culture. Seon meditation is to get rid of all thoughts inside you and practice concentration. Chamseon helps you concentrate on your true nature inside and get to the inner peace. For most people living the busy modern lifestyle where focusing on the inner self is not often an option, Chamseon will be a great opportunity to look into yourself and relax.
One of the main meditation methods is a tea ceremony called Daseon. Daseon is where you learn how to properly and modestly brew tea. Then the monk will teach you how to drink the tea. The whole procedure of brewing, waiting and drinking is considered a big part of Buddhist practice. It's believed that at the height of Daseon, you'll find yourself aligned with the tea, as a sense of self-realization. The concept is called Daseonilmi. (Da : Tea, Seon : Line, Il : One, Mi : Taste)
Simply put, Balwoogongyang is the meal time. However in the Buddhist culture, it's believed that there's a lot more than just eating. Balwoo refers to the plates used by monks and it consists of 4 plates in total ; for rice, soup, side dish and water. Gongyang refers to the Buddhist meal.
Balwoogongyang time is surprisingly disciplined. Everyone gets the same amount of food and you're absolutely not allowed to leave any food. There are a few strict rules that you should follow, or else you'll be scolded by the monk. For instance, you must not express your personal opinion on the food, even if it's not the best food you've ever had before. You should genuinely appreciate the food and the time regardless of your personal taste, and that's how you start to train your inner self. The food provided is, obviously, all organic and 100% vegetarian.
The time allows you to look back on the way that most people in the modern society consume food, which is often extravagant.
Yebool takes place twice a day. Everyone in the temple gathers up in a tail and heads to the sanctuary with their hands joined on the chest. Yebool is to pay respect to the Sakyamuni Buddha, so it's kind of a worship ceremony of Buddhism. The ceremony might take a while and require lots of bowing and concentration. The repetitive chanting during the Yebool ceremony is calming and purifying, helping you better concentrate on looking into your inner self.
FYI, embrace yourself since you have to wake up at 3:30 am and get ready for the morning Yebool which starts at 4:30.
There are a number of different activities apart from the official Buddhist ceremony schedules, such as Sutra duplication class, drawing Mandala on a bag (you can bring it home), traditional Buddhist exercises, making lotus flower lanterns and more. Again, all of the programs are aimed to enhance your concentration, only in a bit more fun way.
* Please Note!
- Alcohol consumption or smoking is strictly prohibited within the temple.
- Sleeveless shirts or flip-flops are not recommended.
- Remember to bring toiletries, towels, extra clothes, personal medicine, etc.
- Don't be late on schedule and don't go outside of the temple during the stay.
- Book at least a week in advance.
Address : 531, Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Inquiries : +82-2-3218-4826 / email@example.com (Bookings available via the contact details provided.)
Admission Fees : Adults 70,000 KRW / Students (up to 19 years of age) 50,000 KRW
* Visit the official website for more details.